Protect & Educate Against Bullying

For most parents there does come a time where your child becomes restless, bored, irritable, difficult or just not happy. While there is no one reason for any of these behaviours, there are a number of possible contributing factors. The obvious ones are perhaps your child is having difficulty at school or amongst friends.

Bullying and teasing is a problem which is getting more publicity these days (as it should). Perhaps your child is the subject of bullying. If your child does demonstrate behaviour which is not normal, not right or not the same as usual, it might be a good time to talk to your child in a way which encourages your child to open up about anything that may be happening. Every child is different, but as parents we all should be able to find a way to communicate effectively with our children and to make our children feel 100% at ease to come to us as parents any time there is a problem, a concern, an issue or just the need to talk.

We have all heard of the very sad results of many bullying cases around the world and also here in Australia. Bullying is such a nasty and cruel thing for any child to be subjected to, as parents we need to protect our children from bullying and we need to also educate our children about the effects of bullying so that our children do not become a victim, but also to ensure our children do not become a part of the bullying problem for other children.

If your children is being bullied, you must do everything possible to find the root of the problem, be it at school or be it somewhere else. Once you know where the bullying is occurring you must do something about it. Sometimes this is as simple as talking to your child’s school principle or your child’s teacher or coach. Occasionally this will mean talking to other parents, don’t just talk to the parents of the children who are doing the bullying.. talk to all the parents of your child’s class or school. This can also help as other parents will talk to their children about the bullying and its effects. Children can be very sympathetic to another child who is having a hard (sad) time and your child may find further support and friendship from children he or she had not previously had a great deal to do with.

Once you are aware of a problem with bullying, please don’t just assume that everything is ‘ok’ as your child’s behaviour is normal once again…… sometimes children will learn to pretend things are better and things are fine, yet this may not always be the case.

If your child was the victim of bullying and upon your intervention things have improved then that is great, but if your intervention has not helped to fix the situation then you must look at other options. These may include changing schools, counseling for your child, talking to the school again, talking to more parents or the same parents again or a list of other things.

It is also important that you help give your child other enjoyable activities and things to do. This is aimed at ensuring your child does have several activities and events each week which he or she really does love and enjoy and really looks forward to.

There are many after school type activities which will help improve your child’s level of happiness and social skills as well as improve your child’s self esteem levels. Most after school activities can be broadly classified into three groups, recreational, educational and society oriented. The third group usually comes in when your child is already a bit grown up and can voice their own interests.

Educational activities aim at furthering the knowledge of your child. Your child’s general awareness, understanding and his memory are targeted and he is given various techniques that will assist your child to improve one or all of these. Programs such as intensive memory training and speed mathematics are educational after school activities. There are academic programs that will go over your child’s homework and class work and help your child gain more in depth knowledge in the various subjects. Thus academic programs have a definite edge over the fun and games, especially if parents feel that their child has a lot of catching up to do.

Recreational activities include sports and games, fine arts, painting etc. The main thrust here is to have fun. Of course, classes become more competitive as the child climbs up the ladder. Many sport events, competitions, stage performances etc are held to encourage the child.

When we compare the merits of the two kinds of activities, I believe that the recreational programs have more meat. Firstly, children do not enjoy learning unless they themselves feel curious about something. Most academic programs are standardized courses that are not too flexible. They have a general purpose and a well laid out methodology. After a number of hours at school, the child may feel bored. Further study may overwhelm your child and make them feel frustrated. Burnout is very much a possibility here.

Recreational programs provide a welcome break from the monotony of learning and studies. The mental challenge and the physical exertion make the child feel a renewed zest and a pleasant sense of fulfillment. Group activity teaches social skills, discipline and patience. It is a proven fact that children involved in extra curricular activities get better grades than others. Sometimes closing the textbooks and playing a game may be the best way to handle your studies.

Whatever after school program you choose for your child, regular evaluation is the key to it all. Your child should always have the freedom to reject an activity if and when they feel bored with it. Generally, programs that combine the educational with the recreational are best suited especially for younger children. This way, children can have fun while they learn, which is really what being a child is all about !