Stop bullying – Special needs child
No one else will rescue your child – will you? Here’s how you can bring hope to a hopeless situation!
Bullying is an age-old problem – but no-one should by any means accept it as the status quo. The effects of bullying can include severe depression and stress. These effects can persist for years in some cases. And for parents of special needs children, the news isn’t great – statistics show that your child stands a greater risk of encountering bullies.
The sad truth is that it seems to be part of our human nature to pick on those who are different, and those who won’t do any harm in return. The surprising converse is that it is often children who have learning difficulties who begin to bully others. This may be an expression of frustration which the children struggle to release in constructive ways.
Whatever the case, the news isn’t all bleak. It remains within the power of the parents to make sure that their children are in environments that are safe and uplifting.
These problems are complex. Parents can’t leave it to the school system to protect their children. It also is not the onus of the parents alone to institute safeguards to bullying. There must be a joint effort between the school and the parents to overthrow the problem of bullying.
Here are some practical ways that parents can prevent the victimisation of their children:
1. Communicate with your child
This is a life skill that is essential to every part of a child’s development. The child should feel supported and encouraged. Try to create a space where the child can talk about anything with you.
2. Don’t allow bullying between siblings
If your older son gets away with picking on your younger daughter, this behaviour could spill over into picking on other kids.
3. Talk with the child’s teacher immediately
If the teacher does not respond, you may have to escalate your concerns by communicating with the principal.
4. In severe cases, remove your child
In the most extreme cases, if all else fails, you may have to remove the child from the hostile environment altogether. This may seem a radical step. But if you weigh up the lifestyle changes against the results of severe bullying and crippling depression, it may be worthwhile – before something worse happens. Remember, as the parent, you are finally responsible for your child.
Is your child’s school creating a safe environment for your special needs child? Here are some ways that schools can look out for the best interests of the special needs children that may otherwise experience bullying:
5. The school ought to investigate allegations of bullying
Certain cases become complicated, especially when there is no evidence that the bullying took place. It is a warning sign for parents if the school shows disregard for the student who claims to have been bullied. In extreme cases, where the law has been broken and harm has been done, there ought to be a willingness to contact the proper authorities if necessary.
6. The school ought to be fair in its investigation
This means that the disciplinarians should be impartial, not taking sides.
7. Keep record of bullying
The school should keep records to see where patterns of bullying become evident. Good communication between staff members over incidents of bullying is essential.
Is your child’s school putting these in place? Japari School in Johannesburg strives to create a place where children with learning difficulties can reach their full potential in a caring, secure environment.