Archive for the ‘Beat the Bully’ Category

Sibling Bullying and how to prevent it

Monday, May 28th, 2012

extracted from an article published byThe Independant

ELEVEN-YEAR-OLD Jessica is terrified of the bully lying in wait. Every day she is baited, kicked and slapped. Her only solution, she reckons, is to run away from home. For Jessica’s 14-year-old tormentor is her sister.

 

Jessica is one of the desperate children who have rung ChildLine in recent months, targets of sibling bullying and abuse. Of the calls the charity receives about brothers and sisters, 15 per cent involve serious violence.

Scotland Yard’s child protection unit has 318 cases of sibling violence on its 1991 file, including two murders and 30 cases of GBH. But these are only the most extreme cases. It says nothing of the countless children for whom sibling bullying may not lead to a tragedy but certainly leaves bruised minds if not bodies.

Inquiries within our circle of friends alone threw up a surprising number of adults who had suffered at the hands of a brother or sister: knives and even airguns had been used.

In the United States, where the problem has been slowly gaining recognition since the late Seventies, research has indicated that sibling violence – biting, kicking, punching and attacks with implements – is the most common form of domestic violence. Three recent studies reveal that though aggression is more likely to erupt between same-sex siblings, boys and girls are equally aggressive. Other research suggests that siblings do not often ‘tell’ on each other.

Dr Sue Edwards, a domestic violence expert at the University of Buckingham, believes that although we do not hear about abusive brothers and sisters, there are plenty of them. ‘I think we can say it’s a deep, dark secret,’ she says. ‘I don’t know how we would know about it anyway, because what voice does a child really have? Where would a sibling go? How could a 13-year-old girl go to the police and say, ‘My 15-year-old sister is punching me’?’

Dr Edwards believes that the problem is likely to be masked because children are seen as equals. Aggression is usually seen as no more than ‘kids will be kids’ fisticuffs, or good old-fashioned sibling rivalry. ‘It’s been internalised in our language,’ she says, ‘mothers saying ‘it’s six of one and half a dozen of another’ and ‘I’ll knock your heads together’. Fighting is seen as almost an innocent form of development – yet where are the boundaries?’

Childcare experts seem to agree that sibling rivalry reaches danger point when a pecking order takes root. Fighting moves beyond the two-way aggression of normal sibling squabbles and one child is dominant. One child might break up the other’s possessions, even turn on the other’s personal pet.

Dr Penelope Leach, a child development expert, believes parents must rid themselves of the ‘blood is thicker than water’ notion which says that whatever happens within the family must be all right.

‘There’s this great desire to assume, ‘Yes, it’s a love/hate relationship but the love’s always stronger’,’ she says. ‘That’s probably usually true, but you have to be alert to the possibility that it isn’t true. Parents have to ask themselves, ‘Would this behaviour be acceptable if it were school friends rather than siblings?’ ‘

Dr Leach cites an example of one family in which three children, all now successful professionals, lived under the tyranny of the eldest brother. ‘Mostly it was extreme bossiness and power play and they were very frightened of him and have never forgiven or forgotten. It was a real factor in what they felt about going home and desperately not wanting their parents to go out in the evening. The youngest girl grew up with extremely low self-esteem, feeling fat and stupid, and she puts a great deal of that at her brother’s feet.

‘Her parents were aware but they didn’t take it seriously enough. I know the mother would have taken it very seriously if the children had felt the same way about their father. But because there were four children it was a case of ‘Well, we must all try and rub along together and it’s natural to feel like this about a big brother’.’

One possible cause is that children who feel powerless within their family can empower themselves by dominating another sibling. Or a child who is given too much responsibility for their brothers and sisters can lash out at them in anger at their parents.

And there is anecdotal evidence that children who are smacked by their parents may respond with violence against their siblings.

Child psychologists urge parents to be careful how they handle the birth of a new child. An older child can experience overwhelming fears of loss of love and attention and if the transition is not handled in a balanced way it can spark off the intense jealousy that can breed violence.

Margaret McAllister, an educational psychologist, says parents’ ill-judged comparisons between their children can be the harbingers of bullying. ‘A parent might ask a child to model him or herself on another, or else blame the child for not living up to superior qualities in another sibling,’ she says. ‘But covert comparisons may be made by the child. If a child observes that a sibling is preferred, he or she will make the comparison – and react.’

Her advice is to look out for signs of trouble and act. ‘If any parent thinks the relationship between their children isn’t a healthy one, they should seek outside help. Go to a GP for referral to a therapist or ask teachers about seeing an educational psychologist.’

Tring Martial Arts – helping to keep our kids safe

Face Bullying With Confidence

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Here are some practices you can work on with the young people in your life.

1. Walk With Awareness, Calm, Respect, and Confidence

People are less likely to be picked on and more likely to be listened to if they walk, sit, and act with awareness, calm, respect, and confidence. This means keeping one’s head up, back straight, taking brisk steps, looking around, having a peaceful face and body, noticing what is happening around you, and moving away from people who might cause trouble.

Show the differences between acting passive, aggressive and assertive in body language, tone of voice, and choice of words. Coach your child to walk across the floor, coaching her or him to be successful, by saying for example; “That’s great!” “Now take bigger steps”, “Look around you” “Straighten your back.” etc.

2. Leave in a Powerful, Positive Way

The best self-defense tactic is called “target denial,” which means “don’t be there.” Act out a scenario imagining being in a place relevant for each kid. For example, suppose your child gets bullied walking in the school corridor. You can pretend to be a bully standing by the wall saying and doing mean things such as shouting insults, making faces, or pointing. Ask your child what these mean things might be because what is considered insulting or upsetting is different for different people, times, and places.

Coach your child to veer around the bully in order to move out of reach. Remind your child to leave with awareness, calm, respect, and confidence, glancing back to see where the bully is. Let your child practicing saying something neutral in a normal tone of voice like “See you later!” or “Have a nice day!” while calmly and confidently moving away. Point out that stepping out of line or changing seats is often the safest choice.

3. Set Boundaries

If another kid keeps following your child or threatens your child in a situation where she or he cannot just leave, your child needs to be able to set a clear boundary.

Start the practice by pretending to poke your child in the back (do this very gently; the idea is not to be hurtful). Coach your child to turn, stand up tall, put his or her hands up in front like a fence between you, palms facing outwards and open, and say “Stop!”

Coach your child to use a calm, clear voice and polite, firm words- not whiney and not aggressive. Show how different tones of voices and choices of words can sound rude, weak, or both powerful and respectful. Praise your child for trying even if she or he does not get it right to begin with. Realize that acting out being bothered might be triggering for your child — and maybe for you too.

Your people – and adults as well – need support to learn these skills. The goal is to be able to take charge of your space by moving away and, if need be, setting boundaries as soon as a problem is about to start. That way, your child is ready to take positive action rather than waiting.

4. Use Your Voice

Your voice is a powerful self-protection tool – and also an important tool in advocating for others.

Suppose somebody is trying to push, trip, or hit your child, or knuckle her or his head. Start the practice by holding your child gently and, very slowly and gently, acting as if you are about to physically bother him or her. The goal is to practice, not to be scary or hurtful. Coach your child to pull away and yell, “NO!” really loudly. Coach him or her to say, “STOP! I don’t like that!” Coach your child to leave quickly.

Pretend to block your child from leaving a bathroom, using threatening language that your child suggests. For example, “I’m going to get you! You disrespected me!” Coach your child to look you in the eyes and speak in a firm, respectful voice with both hands up and open palms facing between you like a fence, saying, “I’m sorry I offended you. I just want to leave.” Pretend not to leave. Coach your child to practice yelling words like, “STOP! LEAVE! I NEED HELP!” Or, “______ is bullying me in the bathroom. I need help!” Make yells short, strong, and low, breathing from the belly rather than the throat. Teach your child to leave and go to an adult for help.

Practice with your child how to speak up when others are being bullied if it is safe to do so. For example, practice saying firmly and politely, “That was an unkind thing to do. Please stop!” See Speaking Up About Putdowns at www.kidpower.org.

5. Protect Your Feelings From Name-Calling

Schools, youth organizations, social groups, and families should create harassment-free zones just as workplaces should. However, you can teach children how to protect themselves from insults. Tell your child that saying something mean back makes the problem bigger, not better.

One way to take the power out of hurting words by is saying them out loud and imagining throwing them away. Doing this physically and out loud at home will help a child to do this in his or her imagination in real life. Help your child practice throwing the mean things that other people are saying into an imaginary Trash Can. Have your child then say something positive out loud to himself or herself to take in.

For example, suppose someone says, “I don’t like you!” You can throw those words away and say, “I like myself.” If someone says, “You are stupid” you can throw those words away and say, “I’m smart.” If someone says, “I don’t want to play with you” then you can throw those words away and say, “I will find another friend.”

6. Speak Up for Inclusion

Being left out is a major form of bullying. Exclusion to shame or shun someone should be clearly against the rules at school, in sports, and in youth organizations – in fact, everywhere.

However, suppose a child’s negative behavior causes other kids to avoid him or her. This situation is very different than a child being deliberately excluded to make her or him feel bad. In this case, the child being avoided needs help in developing more positive social skills. The kids around this child need help in explaining to adults what the problem is and in understanding ways to be kind towards this child while taking care of their own boundaries.

Young people need to know how to be persistent in speaking up for inclusion for themselves and others. For example, here’s how to help a child practice persisting in asking to join a game. As the adult, you can pretend to be a bully who wants to exclude. Coach your child to walk up to you and say, “I want to play.” Coach your child to sound and look positive and friendly, not whiny or aggressive.

Ask your child the reasons that kids give for excluding him or her. Use those reasons so your child can practice persisting. For example, suppose the reason is, “You’re not good enough!” Your child can practice saying “I’ll get better if I practice!” Suppose the reason is, “There are too many playing already!” Your child might practice saying, “There’s always room for one more.” Suppose the reason is, “You cheated last time!” Your child might practice saying, “I did not understand the rules. Let’s make sure we agree on the rules this time.”

Children can also learn to speak up for inclusion of others. Pretend to be a kid who wants to exclude another kid. Coach your child to speak up by saying in a powerful, respectful voice., “Leaving people out is unfair and unkind.” Or, “Give her a chance!” Or, “That’s not cool!” As the kid who is excluding, say, “If you play with ______, I won’t play with you.” Coach child to say something like, “I want to play with both of you. But, if you don’t want to play with us, it’s your decision.”

7. Be Persistent in Getting Help

Children who are being bullied or who witness bullying need to be able to tell teachers, parents, and other adults in charge what is happening in the moment clearly and calmly. They need to be prepared to persist even if these adults are very distracted or rude – and even if asking for help has not worked before. Learning how to have polite, firm words, body language and tone of voice even under pressure and to not give up when asking for help is a life-long skill.

We have found that practice is helpful for both children and adults in learning how to persist and get help when you need it:

    • Pretend to be a teacher or someone else who your child might expect help and support from. Tell your child who you are pretending to be and where you might be at school. Have your child start saying in a clear calm voice, “Excuse me I have a safety problem.”
    • You pretend to be busy and just ignore your child!
    • Coach him or her to keep going and say: “Excuse me, I really need your help.”
    • Act irritated and impatient and say, “Yes. what is it now?” and keep being busy.
    • Coach your child to say something specific like, “The girls over there are calling me

names and not letting me play with them. I have told them I don’t like being called names and that I want to play but they won’t listen. ” or “Those boys keep coming up and pushing me. I have tried to stay away from them but they keep coming up to me and won’t leave me alone.” Or, “I just saw _____ hitting ______.” At school, teachers want children to try to solve their problems when they can. However, adult intervention is needed if this does not work or if someone is being harmed.

  • You say: “That’s nice!” as if you heard but did not actually listen. This is very common for busy adults.
  • Coach your child to touch your arm and keep going “Please, to listen to me this is important!”
  • Now you get irritated and say “Can’t you see I’m busy!?”
  • Tell your child that sometimes adults get angry and don’t understand but not to give up in asking for help and to say the specific problem again: “I do not feel safe here because (state specific problem again) ______________.”
  • You minimize and say: “What’s the big deal? Just stay away from them.”
  • Coach your child to be persistent and say again, staying calm and firm, “My parents told me that kids are supposed to be safe at school. This isn’t safe, and I need your help. Please listen.”
  • Now change your demeanor so that your child can see you are listening and understanding and say “Oh! I am sorry I yelled at you, and I am glad you are telling me. Tell me more, and we will figure out what to do.”

Remind your child that, if the adult still does not listen, it is not his or her fault. The child’s job is to keep asking until someone does something to fix the problem. Tell your child that you always want to know whenever she or he has a problem with anyone anywhere anytime. Ultimately, adults are responsible for creating safe environments for the children in their lives and for being good role-models for children by acting as their advocates. See Bullying in Schools: Seven Solutions for Parents.

8. Use Physical Self-Defense as a Last Resort

Children need to know when they have the right to hurt someone to stop that person from hurting them. At Kidpower, we teach that fighting is a last resort – when you are about to be harmed and you cannot leave or get help. However, bullying problems are often not as clear-cut as other self-defense issues.

Families have different rules about where they draw the line. Have conversations with your child to discuss when you think a physical self-defense technique is justified and when not. Be very specific. Schools will often punish a child who fights back. Some of our students’ parents have warned the school in writing ahead of time that, since the school has not protected their children from bullying, they will back their children up if they have to fight.

Learning physical self-defense helps most children become more confident, even if they never have to use these skills in a real-life situation. Just being more confident helps children to avoid being chosen as a victim most of the time. Give your child the chance to practice Bully Physical Defense techniques like kicking someone in the shins, pinching someone’s leg or upper arm, or hitting someone in the chest. You can practice in the air or by holding a sofa cushion. There are different self-defense techniques for more dangerous situations that kids should also learn. Consider sending your child to a class like Kidpower. See How to Choose A Good Self-Defense Program.

What’s your schools Anti-Bullying Policy?

Monday, May 28th, 2012

By law, head teachers have to include prevention of all forms of bullying in their school’s behaviour policy (Education Inspections Act 2006). The Anti-bullying Alliance (ABA) believes that an effective way for schools to do this is to produce and publish an anti-bullying policy

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The Anti-bullying Alliance would recommend the following practice in creating an anti-bullying policy:

  • Encourage a senior member of staff to take the lead in promoting anti-bullying work in the school
  • Work with pupils parents and carers to draft, and then review the policy on a regular basis
  • Make sure the policy begins with clear definition of what bulllying is
  • Make sure the policy includes all forms of bullying – this should include specific reference to bullying relating to race, religion and culture, homophobic bullying, bullying related to special educational needs and disabilities, sexist and sexual bullying, and the use of cyber technology to bully
  • Make sure the policy includes the preventative strategies that the school will use
  • Make sure the policy gives a clear outline of how the school with respond to bullying incidents (including the recording procedure and possible sanctions)
  • Make sure the policy includes clear procedures for pupils or parents and carers who wish to report a bullying incident
  • Make sure the policy includes reference to bullying between pupils outside of school and bullying of staff
  • Make sure the policy references occasions where there may be police involvement (e.g. if a crime has been committed)
  • Make sure the policy is shared with all members of the school community (e.g. through the school website, newsletters)

For Tring School – http://tring.herts.sch.uk/anti-bullying/

 

 

Self Defence is not a hobby…

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

                                                                                                                                                                                   Self Defence is not a hobby, it is a life skill.

I was prompted to write this blog today as a result of recent chats with a couple of parents who have just withdrawn their children from our martial arts classes so they can concentrate on other “hobbies”.  I’m very open to children getting a wide variety of experiences in different past times and sports but I think as parents we should also be looking to equip our kids with a very important life skill – Self Defence.

But what constitutes self defence, well most peoples immediate thought would be physical confrontations, using physical skills to defend yourself, but I believe that 90% of self defence is actually in the mind, attitude and how you conduct yourself.  Self Confidence is the biggest skill to defending yourself, knowing that you can defend yourself physically manifests within the martial artist as self confidence but the discipline and respect tied into formal training is what stops that person crossing the line and using their skills in anger.

I get very dissappointed when I hear Martial Arts and Self Defence being lumped into the bracket of hobbies along with Street Dance, Choir Practice, Golf, Rugby, Cricket etc.  Now I love all of these things, perhaps not Choir as I’m not religious and not street dance as I look like a Lizard standing up right receiving electric shocks when I dance.  But each of these “hobbies” have their place and are great for our kids, the level of choice kids have nowadays is amazing, certainly more than when I was growing up.

But I want to urge all parents, let them have their hobbies but insist they learn the life skill of self defence.  If I were in charge of the national curriculm, I would make it part of school life.  If your kids don’t want to go to school, do you let them stay at home or make them go??  You make them go.  But why?  Because school is important for their future, for their lives!

Self defence cannot be a hobby that can be picked up and dropped, it should be a life skill, it should be the one or two days per week that we as parents say no, your’re going to class, the other three days are for your hobbies.

Tring Martial Arts Academy – Keeping our kids safe!

Written by Christopher Allen, Chief Instructor

Cyber-Bullying – an insight

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Cyber bullying is classed as ‘bullying’ but because it happens online or via mobile phones, it can happen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. If you are being bullied, you can usually get away from it at home, but if you are being cyber bullied, you simply can’t escape it. This might leave you feeling unsafe even when you are at home. It can also be difficult to see who is doing the bullying. People are able to cyber bully people anonomously by hiding their computer’s IP address or their phone number. The number of people being cyber bullied may also be much bigger than other types of bullying.

How can someone be cyber-bullied? There are lots of ways in which someone can become a victim of cyber bullying.

Email Sending abusive or nasty emails to someone. The emails might also go to a group of people who then may join in the bullying. Sending emails containing inappropriate things and computer viruses is also considered bullying.

Instant Messaging or chatrooms Using instant messaging or chat rooms to send threatening or abusive messages to someone and asking others to join in.

Social Networking Sites Creating fake profiles in order to make fun of other people. Using them to leave abusive messages or impersonate someone.

Mobile Phones Sending abusive text messages, video or photo messages as well as sharing videos containing abusive content.

I’m being cyber-bullied – MAKE IT STOP!

Although cyber bullying can’t physically hurt you it can still make you feel bad and is still a form of emotional abuse. No one has the right you make you feel like this. It might seem that there is no way to make it stop, but there are things that you can do to prevent it from happening or make it stop.

• Talk to someone you trust like a parent or teacher. They can help you to sort it out. Or you can call ChildLine on 0800 1111 to speak to someone who can help you. 
• Don’t reply to any messages you receive, as this may encourage the bullies.
• Keep a copy of the abusive emails, texts or messages that you receive and when they were sent to you. 
• Never give out any personal details on the internet such as your real name, address, age or phone number. Even telling someone which school you go to can help them find out information about you. 
• Change your online nicknames or user ID to something different. 
• Block email addresses and/ or complain to host website.
• Report the abuse through the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) website.

We are able to teach your children self-confidence through our martial art programmes see http://www.tringmartialarts.com

The Three P’s of Bullying Proofing your Child

Friday, February 17th, 2012

 

1)     Prevent

Using awareness to avoid bullies on the playground, in the hallways, in the lunchroom and anywhere you go.

 

2)     Prepare

 ASSERT YOURSELF – Teach your child to face the bully by standing 10 feet tall and bullet proof, using a strong voice. Your child should name the bullying behaviour and tell the aggressor to stop.

QUESTION THE RESPONSE – Ann Bishop, who teaches violence prevention classes in the USA, tells her students to respond to an insult with a non-defensive question, “why would you say that?” or “why would you want to say that and hurt my feelings?”

– USE ‘I WANT’ – Communication experts suggest teaching your child to address the bully beginning with ‘I want’ and say firmly what he wants changed: “I want you to leave me alone” or “I want you to stop teasing me”.

AGREE WITH THE TEASER – Consider helping your child create a statement agreeing with their teaser. Teaser – “You’re dumb.” Child – “but I’m good at it”

IGNORE IT – Bullies love it when their teasing upsets their victims, so help your child find a way to not let his tormentor get to him. Try pretending they’re invisible or walk past them without even looking at them

MAKE FUN OF THE TEASING – Fred Frankle, author of ‘Good Friends are Hard to Find’, suggests victims should answer every tease with a reply, but not tease back. The teasing often stops, Frankle says, because the child lets the tormentor know that hes not going to let the teasing get to him

3)     Protect (The last resort)

 

Practise with your child – Guard Stance – “I don’t want to fight you, but I will have to, PLEASE leave me alone!” This is a very visible stance that communicates to the bully this is unacceptable and alerts staff or people around that something is wrong.

Help your child learn to deal with bullying by increasing their confidence and equipping them with valuable self defence and life skills.  Call 01442 768057 or see our website www.tringmartialarts.com

 

More on Cyberbulling…

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Recently I was a victim of cyberbullying – yeah crazy I know but I received a malicious email via my website where this person called into question my abilities and suggested we meet up for a fight, obviously I have no intention of meeting up with “Mr Softy” the name he put on his email, but it made me wonder just how many people suffer from this type of bullying which is really abuse?

According to the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/16918052) The charity Beatbullying’s study for Safer Internet Day spoke to 4,605 young people aged 11-16 across the UK.

28% said they’d been bullied over the internet or a mobile phone.

One in 13 said they had been threatened repeatedly – suggesting that as many as 350,000 secondary school pupils have experienced constant cyberbullying.

Victims found the cyberbullying left them wanting to avoid school, suffering from lower confidence, and living in fear of their safety.

But it’s not just children who are victims of cyberbullying – one in ten teachers say they’ve been harassed too. Beatbullying is calling for internet and mobile companies to do more to support children and young people.

Have you been bullied online?

The best thing to do if you’re being bullied, whether online or not, is to tell someone, report it to your parents or if you are a parent then consider contacting the Police, no one should have to suffer from this idiocy.

Cyberbullying

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Text\Video Messaging

  • Don’t reply to text messaging (also known as SMS or EMS) or video messaging (also known as MMS) that is abusive or obscene. Your mobile service provider e.g. Orange, T-Mobile, Vodaphone etc. should have a number that you can ring to report abusive messaging. Try their web sites for details.
  • Be careful who you give phone numbers to and don’t leave your mobile lying around when you are not there

Chatrooms or Instant Messaging (IM)

  • Do not give out personal information
  • Give yourself an alias that doesn’t give out anything about your age, gender or location
  • Don’t respond to abusive posting – ignore them or log off. If you don’t take time off and calm down you’ll end up writing something you’ll regret which will only make the situation worse
  • Think about what you write – it is very easy for people to get the wrong idea about what you write or how you write it

Email

  • If you receive a nasty or abusive email (known as being flamed), don’t reply. If it’s from someone you think you know, like someone at school, they’ll want some kind of reaction, just like they would if they were standing in front of you and bullying you. Don’t give them the satisfaction of replying, and they’ll probably stop
  • If they don’t stop then you need to find out where the email is coming from. Using an email client like Outlook or Outlook Express, clicking the right mouse button over an email will reveal lots of details about where and who the email came from. You can then get your parents to contact the school or the service provider of the sender of the email
  • The email can also come from people that you don’t know, (known as spamming) – email addresses are fairly easy for companies to obtain on the internet, using software called email harvesters. They are also surprisingly easy for specialist computer programs to guess. Under no circumstances should you reply to these types of email, even if they have a Click here and stop receiving this email link – this will just confirm your email address as a real one. The individual sending it can then sell or pass it on to other people and you’ll be flooded with even more junk and abusive emails
  • You can delete the emails, but if the situation becomes serious, you should save them or print them off so that, if you do need to take action, you have some evidence
  • Learn more about your email program from the Help menu – you should be able to find details of how you can create folders, email filters and folder routeing. This won’t stop the emails but it can help to shield you from them

Web

  • If the cyberbullying is on a school or community website, do as you would do if the bullying was face to face – tell someone like your parents or teachers
  • If it’s on a site that you don’t know about, you have to do a bit of research to find out who hosts the website. There is a good article at Bullying Online about general online safety, with a section on how to get more details on possible owners of the website

Tring Martial Arts Academy – Helping to Keep our kids safe – see www.tringmartialarts.com

Call to Change Anti Bullying Law

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Leading education lawyers and charities are calling for a change in the law to protect vulnerable young people from extreme bullying in England and Wales.

Head teachers are not being held accountable for violent and abusive pupils and anti-bullying guidelines should be strengthened, they claim.

The Children’s Legal Centre said more parents had been seeking legal advice.

But the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) said “hyper-accountability” already existed.

England Schools Minister Vernon Coaker said the government’s measures were working, but recognised procedures for parents needed to be strengthened. He said a bill to address this was already in parliament.

The call comes after the Westminster government launched a campaign to help tackle bullying against children with special needs.

Mike Charles, an education lawyer, said schools are too often trying to avoid responsibility.

“I’m seeing a rise in the number of people turning to the law, heads are not being held accountable,” he said.

He wants heads to be forced to report and act on all cases of bullying, and an independent adjudicator to access every school.

Physical and emotional

In a BBC Breakfast News report Debbie (name changed to protect her children) said she had no choice but to consider legal action against the school her two teenage children used to attend.

She claims teachers stood by and watched as her son was attacked – in front of her – by about 40 other pupils.

“They had these temporary metal road signs the triangular ones and they just attacked him with it, beating him.

“Watching your kids being persecuted for no reason – it’s heartbreaking,” she said.

She says her children have been kept out of class for nearly a year because of physical and emotional bullying by other pupils.

The school says Debbie’s child’s special needs were behind many of the problems, and any bullying took place outside the school.

Alison Fiddy, from the Children’s Legal Centre, backed the call to stress the responsibility of head teachers. “We need to see heads being held accountable,” she said.

But Mick Brookes, general secretary of the NAHT, said head teachers were already held to account in a number of different ways and “hyper-accountability [is] out there already”.

Mr Coaker said: “There is a bill before parliament at the current time which will allow those procedures to be strengthened in the small number of cases where things haven’t worked.

“That will allow parents to go to the local government ombudsman,” he added.

‘Distressed child’

The National Bullying Helpline has called for a new code of practice for schools, similar to one used in the workplace by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas).

The helpline’s chief executive Christine Pratt said she wanted outsiders brought in to schools to investigate bullying claims and take pressure away from parents.

“We believe teachers are not necessarily the right person or individual to address a complaint from a parent,” she said.

“That just raises another issue of conflict and then the parent is in a situation where they’ve got a credibility issue and they’ve got a distressed child at home.”

Tring Martial Arts Academy – Helping to Keep our Kids Safe! – for more information on our classes see www.TringMartialArts.com

http://news.bbc.co.uk

I think my child is bullying others – what should I do?

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

I found this great article by a site called http://www.education.com/reference/article/my-child-is-a-bully/ and thought everyone should read it.  Typically its in the US because they always seem to be one step ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to things like this, nevertheless it’s well worth reading.

Your gut instinct is right; bullying must be taken seriously. There can be serious short- and long-term consequences for everyone involved, not just the victim of bullying.

The Committee for Children reports that:

  • Children who bully are more likely to experience a decline in their peer group status, which becomes more and more important in your child’s social development as they enter the teen years; and
  • Children who bully and continue this behavior as adults have greater difficulty developing and maintaining positive relationships.

It can be difficult to hear that your child is bullying others, but denial won’t help the situation. The first step is to talk with your child about what you have heard. KidsHealth recommends a few questions to ask your child that might help get the conversation started and help you understand the situation so you can take appropriate action:

  • How are things going at school and at home?
  • Are you being bullied?
  • Do you get along with other kids at school?
  • How do you treat other children?
  • What do you think about being considered a bully?

Signs that My Child Is a Bully

Given the short- and long-term consequences not only for victims but for the bullies as well, it is important to keep an eye out for signs that your child may be bullying others. The Committee for Children reports that a child who bullies may exhibit some of the following behaviors:

  • Frequent name-calling (describing others as ‘wimps’ or ‘jerks’);
  • Regular bragging;
  • A need to always get his own way;
  • Spending a lot of time with younger or less powerful kids;
  • A lack of empathy for others; and
  • A defiant or hostile attitude (easily takes offense).

Tips to Help Your Child Stop Bullying

  • Schedule an appointment to talk with school staff such as your child’s teacher(s) and the school counselor. School staff that work with your child every day may be able to help you understand why your child is bullying and provide you with some tools to work with your child.
  • Explain to your child that this kind of behavior is unacceptable. Stop any show of aggression you see, and talk about other ways your child can deal with the situation. Establish appropriate consequences for her actions such as taking away privileges and allowing your child to earn them back with appropriate behavior.
  • Examine behavior and interactions in your own home. Is there something at home that is encouraging this type of behavior such as violent media of some kind in the form of video games, television or movies? Are there interactions that may lower your child’s self-esteem such as constant teasing or taunting by a sibling? When you discipline your child, are you focusing on how the behavior is unacceptable rather than your child?
  • Talk with your child about who his friends are and what they do together. Peers can be very influential, especially for teens. If your child is hanging around with kids who bully and encourage bullying behavior, you may want talk with him about getting involved in activities that will help him make other friends.
  • Talk with the parents of your child’s peers about bullying. Discuss your concerns and what you can do together to change the behavior of your children.
  • Model respect, kindness and empathy. You are your child’s role model and she will learn to treat others with respect by watching you.
  • Consider talking to your child’s pediatrician about your child’s behavior. They may have some tips and they may be able to refer you to a mental health clinician that will be helpful in understanding and resolving the problem.
  • Be realistic. Your child’s behavior will not change over night. When you are talking with your child, try to focus on how the behavior is unacceptable, not your child, and show your support for your child with praise for appropriate behavior.
  • Continue to work and communicate with school staff as long as it takes. They should be your allies; working with you to not only put an end to your child’s bullying, but also to prevent any bullying in the school.

Tring Martial Arts – keeping our kids safe