How to stop bullying and social aggression is a question we have all asked ourselves as parents. These are issues that some of us who have kids, feel quite passionate about because they come up time and time again at schools.
Accepting bullying as part of school life is no longer tolerable. But, it is not as simple as that because bullying still goes on. School counsellors repeatedly hear comments from children saying that the way they have been told how to handle stress and conflict by their parents is ‘if someone hits you, you hit them back twice as hard’.
Surely, it must be better to help both children and parents to be better able to deal with bullying proactively, confidently and without reaching out to anger or aggression. It is now widely recognised that on-going bullying can lead to kids having low self-esteem, domestic violence in later life, criminal activity, suicide and other self-destructive behaviours.
If you have a child do you know for instance what your child’s school’s bullying policy states; or how know your child’s school actively deals with bullying? Do they pay lip service to it; brush it under the carpet; deal with it in due course, or deal with it immediately and proactively? Similarly, do you know how to help your child solve problems peacefully and resolve conflicts respectfully – since that is what we should be teaching our children?
By the same token, do you know how to create empathy and recognise body language in your child? What about anger management and emotional control? Do you know how to teach your child guided visualisation, deep breathing and positive affirmations as a way of controlling their negative brainwashing that goes on, on a daily basis at school and elsewhere?
Likewise do you think it is possible to teach children assertiveness or would that be viewed as aggressiveness? How about how your child should handle a bully or a bystander? What about helping children determine friendship qualities; personal boundaries and defining social aggression?
There seems so much responsibility put on us as parents because ultimately we are the ones who are shaping and defining our next generation of bullies or confidential peaceful makers.
Subsequently, it is crucial that if as parents ourselves we are not familiar with any of these aspects because of our own issues, then surely that must be addressed at the outset. Otherwise, how can we learn how to stop bullying?