Bullying interferes with learning and self esteem
Bullying is very common and often invisible. Your child’s self esteem and learning may be being impacted negatively without you knowing about it. Or perhaps a friend of your child is being bullied and is too embarrassed to tell anyone.
In tutoring a student who is being bullied, I discovered that there is no “one size fits all” Western Australian Education Department Policy against bullying. Each Principal has the authority to design or not design interventions. If your child is being bullied, lobby your Principal to run the National Day of Action (NDA) Against Bullying, on 16th March 2018.
The website https://www.bullyingnoway.gov.au has a huge amount of material ready to use, so the workload for administrators would be minimal. Children attending NDA listed schools could then feel more supported. The activities run on the day may change the behaviour of bullies, bystanders and recipients.
The website provides information sections for educators, the community, parents and carers, teens, kids and teachers.
There is a “Steps” decision making tool for schools, to help them decide what they might like to do on the day.
Classrooms can use a Take a Stand Together App, to make an Avatar wall and read advice and tips about bullying. The Allan Adventure App is for young children about making friends and getting on with others.
There is a list of NDA participating schools. Check to see if your school is registered (WA is listed last) at https://bullyingnoway.gov.au/NationalDay/Documents/nda-participating-schools.pdf
If its not, it should be!! Lobby your Principal to sign up.
So what does bullying do?
Bullying of any form or for any reason can have long-term negative impacts on everyone involved, including bystanders.
Sometimes, things are not always as they seem. Interactions and behaviours which appear similar to outsiders can have different impacts on different individuals. Some individuals are much more resilient than others. Some students can be badly bullied, but maintain their self-esteem. But some kids lose all self esteem as a result of bullying.
Unwanted behaviours may, or may not, cause visible harm to the student targeted. This depends on the personal resources (attributes) of the individual who is targeted as well as the protective capacity and support of the system (school and family) around the individual.
What should schools do?
Schools need to respond to bullying whether or not the individual shows serious or immediate harm. Responding immediately and appropriately can stop bullying escalating or happening again.
Bullying is not a harmless part of growing up. The most obvious and immediate effect is reducing students’self esteem, participation, learning and enjoyment of school.
Feeling unsafe or being unable to focus on learning at school can have its own long term impacts. Staying away from school to avoid being bullied can lead to additional problems.
Other impacts include physical health complaints and fatigue, mental health impacts such as depression and anxiety, and social implications including self-doubt and reluctance to participate in group activities.