Saturday, April 12, 2008

Dealing with bullying - been thinking about this.

Ben had someone over this week for an over night stay. This little chap is at school, and when we all sat down for tea he talked about how lucky Katie and Ben are to be at home "not having to work or put up with horrible bullies". I soon put him right on the "not working" bit and he laughed lots when I told him that home isn't that much different to school - Katie and Ben still give me hassle about learning on some occasions.

On the bullying side though it was interesting to hear his story of a particularly nasty chappy who seems to continue to make other children fear him and his small "gang". It seems that one child was so put out by it all he had to change school. We heard that the playground staff, teachers and head didn't really want to hear the whole story when it came to this bully (we've come across this before). What made the whole thing interesting was the complete shock horror on Ben's face when he heard about the antics this boy was getting up to, and his suggestion for putting this guy in his place! It made me realise that although Ben had experienced upsetting problems with a particular child from playgroup to the day he left school, he was still shocked to hear that bullying went on, and he didn't really have the best ideas for dealing with it (he said he'd give him a good punch, much to the horror of his friend who rightly pointed out that this would get Ben into more trouble than the bully!). Katie, being a little older and having also experienced bullying (more of the verbal kind) at school didn't seem so put out. Perhaps girls react differently to boys, or perhaps, being a little older, she wasn't so fazed about it all and felt she'd be able to deal with it in her own way. I guess I'll never really know, not yet anyway, but it did make me wonder if I am cushioning my children by not exposing them to these sorts of issues. How often do I get told this is good practise for their futures! We seem to mix with others that are decent, welcoming, happy, friendly and eager to get along with everyone. Are Ben and Katie going to have a shock when they hit the real world in a few year's time or do you think by discussing the subject and how to deal with it will be enough to see them through?

Please feel free to leave your comments. This has really made me think.
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6 Comments:

At 11:10 pm, Blogger HelenHaricot said...

i worry that sb would be bullied at school, because she opens her heart and soul to everyone. i can't bear to tell her to be distrustful, so am gradually introducing the odd story with bullies into her repertoire gently [ethel in the worst witch for example] and we have a discussion around it. no, i don;t think children need to be bullied to join the real world, but i think at some point they have to be aware it exists, and that they need a number of possible strategies depending on who and where. today at work, a member of staff clearly felt they had been bullied into a corner, and i helped to extricate. i think that learning to recognise and recover is important, but to not be allowed to be bullied.
i love the way in HE they are both free to explore and make friendhsips, but there is less opportunity for bullying, as the play is more visible.

 
At 9:06 pm, Blogger Elle said...

Thanks for that Helen. The idea of reading stories that touch on this is a good one as it's hard to explain how to deal with a problem that's not actually in their lives at the moment (thankfully). Elle

 
At 10:29 am, Blogger CJ said...

I've been occasionally told that I'm wrapping my kids in cotton wool, by not letting them experience the 'real' world of school...

I guess we do protect our children, but I view it the same as I would expect them to wear their cycle helmets, riding helmets etc. I don't view it as cotton wooling them.

They don't need to experience bullying to be aware of it or to 'stand up for themselves'

As helen said, introducing the subject through stories, or play acting, is good. If you let your children keep up with current affairs via say something like newsround. They are made aware of what goes on in the world, there are some nasty bullying people out there.
It's using coping strategies and the lines of communication open...that helps.

CJ x

 
At 12:44 pm, Blogger Elle said...

Thanks CJ. We've started including some of the not so nice parts of life into our lunch time chats which is making for very interesting conversation. The Newsround idea is good - we used to read this some time ago but Katie gets quite upset reading or listening to the news on the radio - it is quite often doom and gloom, although I know Newsround is quite a positive site.

Elle

 
At 9:53 am, Blogger Ruth said...

I find it very odd - most people accept that being badly hurt is bad for children. They accept that divorces damage them, that emotional and/or physical abuse in the home is a bad thing, and that these things are sometimes unavoidable, but always regrettable.

How come the same level of abuse/damage in the playground isn't regrettable at all? You can't protect your children from all forms of hurt and pain, but you're pretty much obliged to try, surely? Protection is a big chunk of the job description.

 
At 1:12 pm, Blogger Elle said...

Well put Ruth. We love, care and protect our children in their young years and hope that they can carry that love with them to enable them to deal with all situations the best they can. Hopefully too, they will feel they can talk about any problems with us and seek advice without feeling alienated. Elle

 

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