Thursday, March 4, 2010

Bullying update

We are in an ongoing conversation with the school administration and the classroom teacher. They understand, at least partly, the seriousness of the situation. The bully's mother has been spoken with and the bully herself has been put on probation. It's a start.

We have also discovered that another girl (who had formerly been a friend of our daughter's) was participating in the bullying. Very sad. For everyone. She has apologized, as has her mother.

We are asking the school to adopt a true anti-bullying curriculum, which would require that all the teachers complete a free, online course about how to identify, deal with, and prevent bullying. We'll see how they respond to that. We're also trying to take some proactive steps with our kid - who is small, bespectacled, and a bit fearful - that might help her have more body confidence. To that end, we're looking at a number of options - maybe one-on-one lessons with a female tennis pro, the idea being that more physical strength and confidence might help prevent this in the future.

So day by day, step by step, we're facing the problem and trying to solve it as best we can.

One really touching thing that has come out of all this is how many people have reached out to us, some to offer help and guidance, others who have shared their own painful stories of having been bullied. One friend wrote "I can still remember the dislocation and lack of confidence it produced." That's the crux of it right there. To be bullied is to be made to feel that you are worthless and helpless. The current research shows that bullying, far from making a person stronger, makes them more likely to suffer long-term from anxiety and depression. (And the bullies themselves are far more likely than their non-bullying peers to end up in jail!) So it's a very serious problem and we are doing everything we can to make our daughter's world is safer and give her the tools she needs to prevent this from ever happening again.

Here, for anyone who is interested, is an excellent website/course on bullying prevention (it's free!). It presents the most up-to-date research and techniques in a lucid and digestible way. I highly recommend it!
Pathways Bullying Prevention


Claire M. Johnson said...

Of course bullying doesn't make one stronger. Only people who haven't been bullied say that. Tennis? How about martial arts? I'm serious.

jason said...

going there right now.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

I too was bullied at school and in what was supposed to be my home. My cousins bullied me at home and at school and everywhere else they could get away with it, their mother denied it ever happened, right up until her death this year. I didn't go to her funeral and I have nothing to do with her children now and I never will.

Elizabeth said...

Claire - But it's one of the many prevailing myths about bullying, as I now know from my crash course on the subject. And I so wish it were true.

She's observed a couple of martial arts courses and doesn't like them (too confrontational. Go figure!).

Jason - I have now read several books an a number of teaching units on the subject and this website is far and away the best. Hope you find it useful.

Dr. Monkey - I'm so, so sorry you had to go through that. I wish I could have been there to defend you.


I'm so glad you didn't just give up ..and did something about it..
how about karate..not for self defense but for confidence and son when he was little had a terrible temper..we put him in karate and it taught him so much..became a thoughtful gentle boy.
i found your address will send the wee one a little something for her.

sageweb said...

wow I am glad the school is helping on this matter. I feel so sorry for all the wonder what makes a kid want to bully..what their home life is like..

a thousand shades of twilight said...

Glad to hear that you have made some progress! Your dealings with the school will hopefully help other kids as well as your own dear one.

It's so great that there are websites and courses and pro-active parents like you. It's much more out in the open these days. In my day, while teachers and parents may have been sympathetic, there seemed more of an expectation that the bullied child would just have to learn to cope with it pretty much by themselves. How isolating that was. It's like any dangerous situation. Of course you do whatever you can to get your child out of it. Which is why I loved that you offered to take your youngest on vacation!

Still thinking of you, and sending you all our love!

Sling said...

I wish we could show kids the future,when all those bullies are sitting in jail,and they themselves have moved on to be strong and happy..

Miss Janey said...

Miss J wishes you all the best with getting this taken care of...

more cowbell said...

Good for you! As parents, we have to fight in advocating for our children! It feels like a battle sometimes. I've had to do that, different issues, with my kids, and it is wearying (is that a word?). My sister dealt with bullying when she was young, and you're absolutely right, it does nto make a kid stronger. It can stay with a kid. One thing I've seen though, is that parents actively advocating for kids is empowering, and can make the difference. Good for you, stay on it! Or should I say, bully for you!