Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Bullying Prevention

Parents play a role in bullying prevention by observing patterns in children's behavior and paying attention to any changes. It's important for parents to talk to their children on a daily basis about what happened before, during and after school to identify any problems that occurred. Children in middle school would rather talk with friends than parents, so parents can consider talking to their children during meal times or having routine communication times about what happened during the child's day.

A warning sign that a child is being bullied, is changes in their behavior such as a change of interest in school. If a child usually enjoys school and likes to participate in school activities but all of a sudden wants to stay home, that's a sign to a parent that something might be happening at school. Something a parent can do is talk to the teachers and staff at school and they can provide information about how a child is interacting with other children. What will be frustrating to parents who may have a child who may be being bullied, is that the school may be reluctant to help in anyway. Look for signs of physical abuse such as bruises or other scars and scratches. It's important for parents to intervene before the situation becomes out of control. Sometimes victims feel embarrassed to admit they're being harassed, so pay attention to signs. Know what your child is doing online and whether or not they're being victims this way. Know what websites they're going to in order to know if they're showing signs of violence. Evidence of bullying, highlights the importance of appropriate supervision by parents, teachers, administration, and other adults.

 To bring bullying under control it's important to be aware that bullying is occurring in the classrooms and hallways of a school. Children should be encouraged to report bullying and be made aware of school policies on bullying and what will be done to deal with bullying behavior. It's important for children to participate in bullying prevention and to recognize the warning signs of bullying and  learn strategies to cope with it. Bullying isn't a normal part of growing up or a normal part of childhood. Bullying has gotten worse over the decades and children have become more violent in what they do to each other. Bullying isn't a normal part of growing up, it's a child acting in inappropriate ways and treating another child in hurtful ways that may even cause harm. Some parents may not want to become involved because of fear that their child will get mad at them. However, there is a difference between being nosy and educated or informed. Webster's dictionary defines nosy as too curious about others affairs, prying. It defines inform as give facts to, get information. A parent who is nosy wants to know what's going on in their child's life in order to control and direct their child's life. A parent that is educated and informed of what's going on in their child's life and what is going on in their child's school is informed.

An approach to the intervention of bullying is social skills training. This is the process of when a teacher or therapist works with a child after the incident occurs and away from the context it happened. The basis of the approach is to help children understand the nature of social interactions and help them apply what they've learned. For example, a parent can teach a child is all right to feel anger but it's not okay to act on that anger through forms of abuse.

Social skills training teaches children the unwritten rules of social interactions that most children learn unconsciously. It's a method that teaches a child something intuitively. The steps to social skills training are: knowledge, action, and application. Knowledge- for example, does the child know they're more likely to be accepted into an ongoing group activity if they wait quietly for a few minutes before trying to enter. Action- is the child able to apply knowledge and behave accordingly to what the child knows. For example, does a child know they don't throw tantrums in the grocery store and behave using acceptable social behavior in the grocery store? Application- is the child able to generalize the new found knowledge to similar settings. For example, does the child understand not throwing tantrums in all public spaces is what is socially acceptable, not just the grocery store? Social skills training doesn't always work because pro-social behavior is complicated and a person's personality, temperament, disposition and culture all relate to social behavior.

If social skills training doesn't work it would be wise to have the child speak to a therapist.

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