Schools are burdened with heavily Testing our children along with their Education. However, parents are supposed to be teaching Life Lessons and mentoring them. Today it is very difficult for the average family with both parents typically working. Children get less "self-correction" by family members because the opportunities are less than they were 20 years ago.
Yesterday, my child came home with a perfect example of a bullying moment. The bully said something with his 3 buddies behind him. My son handled it well, albeit different than how I would have back when I was in school. During my childhood children Problem Solved daily, and rarely tattle tailed because we were always out on our own. Today, children are encouraged to "Tell" if you are Bullied because of the No-Tolerance rule concerning this. It gave me time to further reflect and look for a better solution other than to just report to the prinicpal and hope for the best.
My son's school principal handled it just the professional and caring way I would have liked - giving the children and parents awareness to the issue.
What could we do? I think a form template letter to the families would be in order. So, if your child came home and said a child (with his friends in back of him) came up to your child and said "...fatso..."; "....gay...."; "...your so ugly..."; "...ur so stupid..."; "...look at your shorter arm, that's...." WHATEVER mean thing that bully could say, would you instruct your child quip back with: 1) saying something equal 2) Denying it & say leave me alone and walk away 3) It's too bad bullies are always looking for pray - that's because they have so many problems 4) fighting?
Well, this is clearly a different era and kids are told not to handle situations of bullying without later reporting it. I know when I was a kid I handled it back with angry words being fat and my mother dressing me in horrible Big Yank clothes (UGH!).
Do you feel if your child shares the incident with you, that this is an opportunity to inform the principal and demand this be addressed with those children? This way the incident is known to the parents of the bullies, further helping them to understand their actions and hold them accountable?
I also feel a form letter entitled Bullying Incident - your child partook in an action today that hurt another child's feeling concerning: ___weight or whatever___. Again, this would give ALL parents the opportunity to have a life lesson of learning about it. The parents could initial they read it and the child would return it to school. Do you feel the impact would be more than just chatting with the children? Also, it would be a pimple in that child's file that would eventually go away...but could aid in monitoring if this is a common occurrence with this child and perhaps further discipline (ex: community services at the school) would help that child more. What are your thoughts?
The Huffington Post just had an excellent article entitled " Bullying and Mental Health: Study Links Anxiety, Hyperactivity In Kids to Bullying". http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/22/bullying-mental-health-problems_n_2001583.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false You should know, 1 in 5 school children suffer with some sort of mental illness, along with 21-22% of the children having a Learning Disorder (LD = Disability), that people need to consider when addressing these situations. This can account for the Bully's behavior or pointing out that children need to understand their actions because of so many kids with LD. "There is a larger story behind why children bully," said study author Dr. Frances Turcotte-Benedict, a Brown University masters of public health student and a fellow at Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence. "And part of that story may include the diagnosis of a mental health disorder."