Growing up I was quite fortunate. When I was little I had older siblings who, most of the time, were willing to play with me. Parents who worked hard and loved each of us equally, providing us with a safe and happy environment.
As a teenager, I remember coming home from school, watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles while having afternoon tea, then switching off the TV to do homework before having family dinner at 6pm. Life seemed to be easy. My parents didn’t seem to have too many problems with their three ‘golden’ children – well that’s what I thought at the time.
I didn’t know or see all the challenges my parents faced. I was a little naive to it all in hindsight but thinking about it too, I don’t think I’d want it any other way. My parents had many ‘moments’ with each of us, some they knew of because they were directly involved, some they knew about because they found out through other parents, and one time even through the police (it wasn’t bad, nobody was hurt but that’s a story for another day!).
Now as a parent of two little ones – a two-year old daughter and a five-year old son – I catch myself looking at them and thinking: ‘What mischief are you going to get up to that will cause my wife and I to go CRAZY!?’ These days it’s a lot more difficult to monitor our children’s behaviour. With social media, sexting, and exposure to anything with the web – parents these days have a lot more to contend with.
So to be prepared I did some research. I found a couple of interesting e-guides produced by the Australian Scholarships Group. ‘Help protect your family from bullying’ as well as ‘Help protect your family from cyber-bullying’ outline some great tips for parents. They are written by a lady by the name of Ann-Maree Kelly who holds a Diploma of Teaching Primary, Bachelor of Education Early Childhood, Bachelor of Special Education, and a Certificate of Counselling – it seems that Ann-Marie would have a fair idea of what she’s talking about.
These guides go through are the basics like what is bullying and cyber-bullying, how they’re similar and how they differ, why children bully others, the signs of bullying and tips to help your child.
Some tips that parents can use to help combat bullying/cyber-bullying are:
- From an early age build empowerment and resilience in your child – ensure they are involved in decision-making and coming up with solutions to problems.
- If you notice your child is being bullied at school, approach the school in a calm and rational manner. Make an appointment to see the appropriate person (teacher or administrator) and explain the circumstances that are causing concern. Schools are usually required to have anti-bullying policies and should have systems in place to manage incidents.
- Establish procedures for technology use at home including talking about cyber-bullying. Make sure your child has good skills and knowledge and knows not to share passwords and that they can activate security settings.
- Have computers in a public place in the home and not in bedrooms.
If your child is the bully, some tips for parents to help your child overcome their bullying behaviour are:
- Examining your child’s other influences (entertainment, TV, video games, and internet) to determine if they are providing negative behaviour examples.
- Monitoring your child’s use of the Internet and mobile phones.
- Finding out what the teachers and parents say about your child, as well as listening to your child’s explanation of the bullying episodes.
- Understanding that some children bully because they are being bullied. Listen to what your child talks about and look for symptoms that they may be being bullied.
ASG are changing the way they operate. They’re moving away from just offering education funds to helping parents with information like this that I’ve found. They are growing their resources and online information to help parents nurture their children along their education journey – seems they’re on to a good thing! Plus ASG have helped over 509,000 children in their 40 year history. Check them out at www.asg.com.au to find out more about becoming a member.