Bullying or relational aggression can take many forms; it usually involves a balance of power or strength. It may include name calling, shunning or even physical confrontations. The following easy ways to stop bullying are for parents, teachers and children themselves to create a favorable, nurturing and productive environment for all at school.
1. Define bullying in school
Parents and teachers must take bullying very seriously. It is especially important to change the climate at school. Students must be taught that it is uncool to bully and everyone (teachers, administrative staff, school bus drivers etc) should be alert and attentive to ensure that there is none. Teachers must work with students to define rules, especially on playgrounds, to stop bullying. You can photocopy the rules and post them around school. Have clear procedures for supervisors to report incidents.
2. Conduct surveys
Often, adults are blind to bullying. Schools can therefore hand out questionnaires or conduct anonymous surveys to ensure that this practice is not regular at their school. One can also use the data gathered to implement bullying prevention strategies.
3. Parents: watch out for signs at home
Parents: if your child is frightened, unwilling to walk to and fro school or take the bus, comes home starving, cries a lot, or has unexplained scratches or marks on the skin, it is time to talk to her/him. You can also talk to a member of the school staff. Give your child a chance to vent out feelings about bullying and seek help of other parents to prevent it.
4. Some suggestions for victims of bullying
Victims of bullying should, first and foremost, stop thinking of themselves as a victim. If the bully is passing snide remarks, it is best to ignore them. You could also sign up for self defense classes but make sure you do not use the skills to bully others. When bullies stop you, keep on walking and if an entire group confronts you, look the weakest one in the eye and say “this is not funny at all!”. Most importantly, seek help of parents or teachers. Keep a diary of the events as they occurred and time and place so you can report the events to school authorities. Remember Safety first. If a bully demands your money or food, give it up instead of fighting. Likewise, if a bully trips you, give them a chance to say sorry instead of confronting immediately. If you have a chance to tell a teacher, do so since turning a blind eye will only make matters worse. Bullies won’t stop and will continue to bully others.
5. Help the bullies
Bullies usually become the way they are owing to certain underlying issues. Adults must therefore talk to them, without being confrontational. Try to find out why the child is being that way. Set firm guidelines about her/his behavior and ensure that s/he apologizes to those they bullied.
6. Install cameras
Teachers and school authorities can set up ‘fake’ cameras around the school premises for bullying prevention. (They need not tell the students that the cameras are fake!). Watch the incidents of bullying come down overnight! Victims and/or supervisors can also keep a camera on hand. If an incident occurs, take a photo-no bully would want to be caught red handed in the act.
Whatever you do, do not ignore bullying. Whether you are a teacher or a victim, it is important to tackle this matter and nip it in the bud.