Anti-bullying strategies have traditionally targeted schools and school facilities.
They were known predominantly as school problems.
Not so anymore!
In Britain, bullying has become a whole community problem, not just a school problem.
"It is now everyone's business," according to an article in
Children & Young People Daily Bulletin.
New guidance initiatives on anti-bullying strategies have come into effect from the government targeting bullies in six areas :
on journeys to and from school,at play and leisure areas,in youth activities,in children's homes,in further education colleges and in extended services.
What is the Goal of These Initiatives?
The goal is to stop bullying from all angles -- from professionals in every sector that makes up the community's infrastructure.
Part of the mandate as well is to educate the public about the problems and consequences of bullying. After all, most people assume that bullying is only a school problem.
Addressing the problem with strategies that involves the community at large is a clear indication that parenting and nurturing goes beyond the home.
The more we take responsibility for bullying activities in young people, the more we can set up preventative steps to deal with the problem.
School Boards in Ontario, Canada have organized Pink T-shirt campaigns to get students to be aware of the dangers of bullying and ways they can handle the situation.
The Pink T-shirt Anti-bullying campaign was the brainchild of two boys in Cambridge, Nova Scotia. Having witnessed the pain experienced by another boy bullied for wearing a pink polo shirt , these two boys decided to raise awareness of the issue by having the whole school wear pink the next day.
Their novel approach to the problem inspired students from other provinces to do the same. A sea of pink has surfaced in schools all over the country promoting a powerful anti-bullying message to the communities.Child and Teen Bullying: How to Help When Your Kid is Bullied
How Can We Address Problems Specific to the Pre-Teen Age Group?
One area that we can work on is helping preteens ( age 9-13) understand the nature and consequences of bullying. Dr. Carl Pickhardt, whose book Good Kids Act Cruel: the Hidden Truth About the Pre-Teen Years tackles the problem head on.
He claims that kids at this stage are most susceptible to social cruelty. Why?
This is the age when boys can feel insecure about their athletic ability an girls about their weight or body image. Insecurity can lead to bullying or being bullied.
Pre-teens are in the midst of tremendous changes physically, psychologically and socially; these changes can trigger developmental insecurity that exacerbate aggressive tendencies.
Pre-teens are also in a transitional stage between childhood and independence. Even at 9 or 10, many pre-teens have already begun a separation of self from family dependence; in a sense, adrift in a new arena, they are exercising their new found social power.
According to child expert Dr. Michael Thompson, social power is one of the dominant social forces in the pre-teen world. It is in their social network that they experience friendship,trust, intimacy; they also discover the exclusion of groups, cliques, teasing and cruelty. In a typical school, children experience cooperation and respect; they also experience acts of bullying and teasing.
Even good kids are sometimes persuaded to inflict hurt on others.When that happens, you have to look at the situation carefully. Is this a first incident? Has there been other incidents?
According to Dr. Pickhardt, there is a way to test to see if an act of cruelty is something more malicious than kids' play.
If the victim lets the bully know that the act isn't funny and that it hurts, and the aggressor keeps hurting him anyway, knowing harm is being done, then that is a sign that the aggressor needs to be dealt with on a professional level. There is a genetic component to youth violence that can be addressed.
Learn as much as you can about The Secret Life of Bullies: Why They Do It—and How to Stop Them
What other anti-bullying strategies can be developed to target the whole community?
1. Hold communal anti-bullying information sessions for the pre-teen groups. The more they can have the topic out front, the more they can ask questions and the more they learn about the problem, the less likely they will be victims of bullying.
2. Hold communal sessions for the parents as well, informing them of the most effective anti-bullying strategies for parents listed below.
a) Work to bolster your child's self-esteem. Kids who have a strong sense of self are less likely to be picked on or to pick on others.
b) If your child has been
victimized, explain to him that the act of cruelty does not mean there
is anything wrong with him, the child. The action is about someone who
just wants to be mean and is not a reflection on the victim. Separate
the bullying tactics from a cause that is tied to the victim's self
esteem.This is especially important if the child has experienced gay
c) If your child is the aggressor, deal with the situation upfront.
Explain how bullying is a poor reflection of him and that his actions
will become more serious later unless he takes the steps to manage his
anger. Help him develop a sense of
empathy for others.
d) Dr. Michael Thompson states that building a child's resilienceis another anti-bullying tactic. The more interest you show in your child, the more you know about them, the more you interact with them, the less likely they are to succumb to insecurity issues.
e) What do you do if your child is the target of bullying?
Here is what Dr. Pickhardt suggests you tell your child:
1. Just because someone has bullied you does not mean it's your fault. It's about the other person wanting to be mean.
2. Don't let yourself be pushed around. Stand up to bullying.
3. Tell your parents and teachers what's going on so you can have emotional and professional support.
Richard, Joanne. "When Kids Are Unkind." The London Free Press. April 7 2010. p. C8.
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