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Janine Shamos

Reach for a dream

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In loco parentis? Bullying as a tool for the abuse of power:

Beatings, social isolation, taunting - bullying is any physical or psychological intimidation that occurs repeatedly over time to create an ongoing pattern of harassment and abuse. Bullying is the most common form of violence and its consequences are life-long. But when a child is intentionally targeted by those in a position of power who blame and punish the victim, the devastation caused is so much greater. Too many schools perceive bullying as a non-issue. But by turning a blind eye, schools are in contravention of their responsibility to protect the children in their care. Too often parents take a back seat when it comes to the protection of their children at school, assuming they’ll “work it out”. They too seldom intervene in bullying. Bullying is a learned behaviour that can be examined and changed – but are we taking it seriously enough and are we teaching our children how to effectively cope? There are effective programmes that teach kids the resilience they need - why are these not compulsory at school?

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    Jul 9 2013: I personally believe bullying (and very specifically cyber-bullying) is not the fault of children, but of parents.
    If parents raised their kids to be tough, and taught them early that their words don't mean squat,then lives around the globe would be much smoother.
    I've never been bullied, not because people didn't try, but because it wouldn't bother me.
    Perhaps it's because I come from a black immigrant family who always told me that I had to be twice as good as these white americans, or perhaps it's because my mom always used to say "These people don't pay your bill or put a roof over your head." Whatever it is, I know it's because I had strong leadership at home.

    Stop blaming other people's children and worry about yourself and what you can do to help your own.
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    Jul 5 2013: I was very lucky to spend the day with a South African charity that fulfills dreams from children with terminal or life-threatening illness - it's always a very important eye-opener and reminder of how lucky we often are in life. What is always interesting is talking to the kids and finding out how they adapted, were treated etc. Not one kid (we had 10 today) has ever been bullied - through the hair loss of cancer treatment, amputation, and being bound to wheelchairs, not one! Which reinforces my belief that children often bully because they feel invisible, angry, frustrated or inferior. The more we work together - schools, communities, parents - the more we can teach resilience and lessen bullying. I do believe that to some extent that humans bully - but more than that, humans care and support.
  • Jul 4 2013: Hi Janine. What is at the root of bullying? The very very deepest root? The solution is buried there. :-)
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    Jul 3 2013: I wish that was the case in South Africa. We are having a terrible time with bullying but it is still kept largely under wraps until an incident hits the media then it is hushed up again. Private schools often have anti-bullying policies but seldom act when there is an incident and teachers and students are not taughjt how to effectively deal with bullying - or prevent it from the outset.
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    Jul 3 2013: In my state I know bullying programs are compulsory at school. The most popular one here is Olweus.