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Advice to Parents about Bullying


Advice to Parents about Bullying

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									Advice to Parents about Bullying

Parents will find information about the school’s anti-bullying policy elsewhere on this
website in the policy section. Bullying is kept to a minimum at this school because the
issue is always treated seriously when students make a report.

Bullying is a symptom of poor relationships within a group. At high school, as students
learn to form their own relationships, mistakes can be made and conflicts arise.

Bullying is described as a clash between those who feel they have no power against those
who are trying to project an image that they do have power. Anti Bullying programs aim to
redress this imbalance of power forming more stable and long lasting relationships.

A group of teenagers may fall into a habit of making bullying comments and using other
strategies that exclude a person from their group and these situations can range from minor
and isolated issues to major and systematic events.

When a teenager experiences ongoing bullying it is:

1       Rare that they can solve the situation without appropriate adult assistance
2       Uncommon for a single intervention to work
3       Often the result of a number of incidents that have occurred over a period of time.

What Parents Can Do

1       Open discussion at home, on any topic, before it becomes an issue will give your
child the confidence to ask for advice should a problem arise. It also helps students to develop
strategies that influence the way they will respond in bullying situations.

2       Always encourage your child to talk with their teacher. It can build self esteem if a
student feels they are taking action. “I don’t feel I have been treated fairly when……” is a
great way for your child to start telling their year adviser when there is a problem. If they
cannot go alone then go with a friend.

3       Keep the school informed. There are a range of strategies the school will use once
they know there is a problem. The initial responses are implemented so that consequences get
stronger if the problem continues. The school needs to know if problems persist. Keep telling
us. We need to have all available information especially if problems continue.

4      If you wish to talk about a bullying issue, ring the school and ask to speak to a Year
Adviser or Deputy Principal. All teachers at this school are committed to helping students
because bullying can be a major factor in stopping students from learning effectively.

5       Read as much as you can about bullying. The school has excellent books on bullying
that can be borrowed from the school library and if you ring the teacher-librarian a parent
loan can be arranged.

6        Parents, students and staff all need to work together to improve student relationship
skills and to stop bullying from being seen as acceptable. The adult world through television
programs, advertising and other media sends mixed messages to teenagers.
7       Parents are powerful people. If they don’t support these mixed messages about
bullying in other areas of family life and in wider society then bullying becomes less
acceptable to teenagers.

8       Parents should not appear to be angry. Talking about bullying issues in a calm and
thoughtful manner with adults encourages students to be confident. The more confident a
student becomes the better their chances will be to overcome difficult situations.

9       “What is in it for the bully?” is an excellent starting point for conversations between
parents and their child. A student may not be able to control what the bully says or does but
they can control what they say in reply and what look is on their face in response. An
important strategy is to not give bullies what they are looking for.

10      Encourage students to apply strategy to the situation. Students have power if they take
action but the action should be carefully thought through as part of an overall strategy.

11      Don’t give advice such as:“Stand up for yourself”, “Just ignore them”, “Hit back”,
“Walk away” This advice makes students feel it is their fault. They are also examples of poor
strategies that can give power to the bullies. Encourage students to talk to their Year Adviser,
the Counsellor or the Deputy Principal. They are key people in the school’s anti bullying team.
Report it again if it keeps happening.

12       Bullying among teenagers is not a simple problem that can be resolved by just the
harsh treatment of the bullies. Where punishment is the only strategy used on bullies, this can
drive the problem underground and make the problem even worse. Remember we are dealing
with teenagers who are learning about relationships. They all need to learn sound relationship
skills and this can take time.

13      Anti bullying experts talk about “Bully- proofing” your child. Examples include,
forming friendship groups outside of school, being part of an interest or sporting club, having
hobbies that require them to mix with others. These all develop communication and
relationship skills.

14      Supervise student internet use. It is easy for students to make comments that can be
misinterpreted when chatting on chat-groups such as MSN. Without the non-verbal signals
that accompany face to face communication internet comments become a huge source of
conflict for some teenagers. Text messaging and internet chats can be significant sources of
bullying. Should your child be exposed to “cyber bullying” that relates to school you should
document the events and bring them to the attention of the school or the police where threats
are made.

More useful information about bullying can be found at http://bullyingnoway.com.au

Last updated Sept 09

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