As we begin preparing for our homeschool year, I started thinking about how, as parents, we strive to help our children. Whether we are working on lesson plans that will give them the best opportunity to learn, all the way to coping with everyday stressors that arise. As parent’s we want nothing but the best for our children. As a former public school family, I knew right away that my younger boys were struggling. Not just in school, but with bullying. I fought their fight. I pulled them from public school because I didn’t want them to be afraid. I wanted them to have the ability to learn in a stress-free environment. I wanted them to know that they are loved and appreciated. That their opinions are just as important as the next persons and to be equally responsible for their actions.
As I sat down this month to meditate on things, a notion popped into my mind. I couldn’t help but wonder… was my help actually hurting them?
- We can protect our children from many things – but if our protection leads to a difficult adulthood, we have not helped them as much as we think we have.
- We can provide lessons on character building, motivation, and grace, but without the proper application skills, these lessons will prove fruitless.
- As parent’s, we are responsible for validating our children at home and in public to ensure they are aware of who they are, and who they want to portray themselves to be.
- As educators, we are the fighters of righting wrongs that may suppress our children from growing into productive members of society, not realizing that we have suppressed their experiences, whether positive or negative, when it comes to handling pressure from outside influences.
- Through prayer, fasting, and guidance, we can help our children understand that pressure and be able to cope with it in a positive manner.
- Personally speaking, I believe we have the tools we need to promote personal growth without the added anxiety of public school and/or bullying.
In all, it is up to us to see to it that our children are armed with the best tools for success – from education to personal protection – and every facet in between. With this comes the notion of emotional intelligence. A fascinating article written by Brackett and Rivers shows some interesting data on bullying and the emotional toll bullying plays on the victim, the perpetrator and the bystander. In fact, according to the authors, “The targets are at a higher risk for depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation. The perpetrators experience depression, anxiety, and hostility, and are prone to substance abuse and antisocial behavior. The bystanders often feel hopeless, insecure, and show symptoms of trauma.”
In a 2008 article written by Mishna, the author suggests the role of anti-bullying programs and how it is effectually important to recognize the roles educators play in preventing bullying. Additionally, “…Targeted levels include some combination of peers, the classroom, teachers and administrators, parents, and the whole school.”
One way doctors and educators are working together is by elaborating on the positive reinforcement of friendship promotion. The American Occupational Therapy Association developed an info-graphic which includes various statistics, as well as identifying areas in which victims and their perpetrators may be suffering, including: “…rejection from peers, isolation, family stress, educational issues, work, and lack of interest in leisure activities…”
Now that you’ve read some facts and you’ve heard some opinions, put yourself to work. Go out there, validate your child, arm them with the tools they need to succeed and show them they are more than a victim – they are an emotionally intelligent person capable of handling whatever comes their way – and that is all the help they need!
You can find more information at www.stopbullying.gov.
Until next time,