Is there more we should do as Parents?
I had dinner with a friend recently who disclosed that her daughter was being tormented at school, by a long-term friend. My friend’s approach to the other parent, asking if she could have a word with her daughter, unfortunately fell on deaf ears.
Why do we think our sons or daughters would never do anything cruel or unkind? Perhaps it is natural to protect our own children, and sometimes, of course, there is fault on both sides – but with the right approach, a conversation with our children about the need to treat each other with kindness could transform the life of another child.
So, come on people; as parents we have an opportunity to step in here. We can acknowledge to our children that their friends can be annoying or not as cool as others, but we should explain that they have a responsibility to treat them with respect and find a non-bullying response to whatever issues they are having. Such a small step might even stop a bullied child from taking their own life. Words do hurt and because of the online world we live in, it can feel that there is no hiding place. I was bullied at secondary school and it was horrible but 20 years ago, at least I could go home and forget.
We must accept that when it comes to friendship issues, not every child is innocent, and it might be our child who is the bully. If so, we need to understand not only the hurt that they are causing to another and the need to stop it but also why our child might be behaving that way. Sometimes, taking the time to discuss the problem with the “bully”, why they are behaving that way and the effect they are having, can reveal problems or insecurities in your own child. You might be able to improve the lives of two children at once!
One of the really important things we can do is to teach our children the skills and confidence to block anyone who is bullying them online. As parents we need to know how to handle the settings on social media so that we can teach our children how to block unwanted messages. We also need to reassure them that it is okay to block someone and to help them to be resilient in situations where they are blocked by others. We need to explain, when you block a user, they are not notified of that action.
As parents, it is our responsibility to guide, it is our responsibility to work together to stop unkind behaviour and help prevent tragic events from happening.
We have got to work harder to stop bullying. We need to give our children the skills to protect themselves online and take responsibility for any action OUR child might have said or done. Don’t shy away from a conversation with the other parent when a few considerate words might make all the difference. Schools often get the brunt of this and from my own experiences don’t or aren’t always able to resolve any problems or even take any actions. We should be taking the appropriate action and making sure the problem does not exist. Our lives are busy, there is always something else that we need to be doing, but this is a child’s life, and no one should be bullied.
I came across this video over the weekend, which is very powerful. https://www.facebook.com/Ninecomau/videos/1750109161694755/