Zero Tollerance To Bullying

By Parentline, 20 June 2011


CEO Cathy Hollans’ Column in Hamilton Press 15th April 2011


Bullying in the school yard is a form of violence; it involves repeated aggressive acts by a more powerful child against another child who is less powerful and who cannot easily defend his / herself.

By understanding why bullying happens, we can help keep our children safe from becoming victims and at the same time ensure that our own children are not the ones doing the bullying.

There is a raft of reasons why children bully others. Bullying is seen as a way of being popular, of showing off and making the bully look tough and important.  Bullying is about getting attention.  Bullying might also be a product of a child’s home environment; perhaps for those children who spend many hours alone without any adult contact or supervision;  where no boundaries are set on what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and  because there are no consequences of their negative behaviour, the same behaviour spills out into the community and school.

Children who are bullied are often singled out for no other reason than they look and act differently. Those who are shy and less sociable are quickly identified as easy targets because it is less likely they will stand up for themselves; for those children who excel, then bullying is a means of “bringing them down a peg or two”.

So what can you do as a parent?

First and foremost, if your child is being bullied then listen to what they are saying and be supportive.   Reassure them that it is not their fault they are being bullied. Inform the school immediately and keep in regular contact until you are convinced the bullying has stopped.  Develop a plan to help your child deal with the bullying and at the top of the list include how they can get help. Every child has the right to be safe in the school grounds.

When bullying does occur, there are things you can encourage your child to do. Ignore the bully or tell him / her to stop; walk away; avoid areas in the school where the bullying might occur. Report the bullying to an adult or seek the protection and safety of an adult when the bullying is happening; go to an adult who will believe you because sometimes bullying is dismissed; encourage your child to spend time with friends or make new friends.

It is no longer acceptable to view bullying as “just a part of growing up”.  A recent NZ study reported that 50 – 75% of the children surveyed experienced bullying at some stage during their school life. 10% reported being bullied weekly.

Too many of our children struggle to deal with the physical and emotional pain, rejection, loss and isolation that bullying causes.

For more information please contact Lisa Herewini, Intake Coordinator on 07 839 4536 or email