Sunday, March 31, 2013

Our Recommendations to the Australian Government


  1. Introduce or change existing legislation to try to make bullying in schools completely illegal or at least decrease it hugely;
  2. Introduce a national framework to cover the entire nation's schools - as things currently stand the system differs in every state which is very confusing for everyone, particularly those families that move interstate regularly due to work commitments;
  3. Introduce a step programme or similar of punishment for bullies:    1 - a mild warning; 2 - more severe warning and mild punishment; 3 - very severe warning and more severe punishment; 4 - expulsion, pure and simple;
  4. A system for the schools to report back to the Dept of Education in their state about any bullying incidents and the reactions of the school/staff, how it was handled, who was at fault, punishment for the bully and not the victim, unless it was provoked;
  5. Have all schools nationwide include their policies on their websites;
  6. Have some sort of 'reward' system put into place for teachers and staff generally who 'do the right thing'.
Most of these suggestions have actually originated from varying MPs around Australia and/or members of staff of some MPs.  I do believe that a couple of the states have had a few of these policies in place for a while already while a couple of others are considering some.

I would like to see ALL of them included, as would many of the public, so I understand.  I am also assured that these recommendations are quite feasible - but most of the Depts of Education that I have had contact with over the last couple of years do seem to feel that the current system is 'enough'.  They all tell me that they take school bullying 'very seriously indeed' and this I can believe - to a limit.  Each and every one of them has responded to my letters telling me about all the resources, specialist advice etc etc they have on hand for the use of the schools if they want it - in other words, from what I can ascertain, none of it is mandatory.  

I believe that the Depts themselves set out a draft for anti-bullying policies for the schools to adopt so they can produce their own, to suit their own individual circumstances, which is absolutely fair.  I now believe that there are two areas which are sadly at fault with the system as it currently exists - one is that none of the above is mandatory - yes, the schools DO have to have policies and can include the points set out by their state departments - but, nationally, I don't believe that any of the above are included across the board.  I also understand (from some teachers around the nation) that in many respects, the school staff and principals are at fault.  Feedback suggests that while some teachers do take this act seriously enough that they have actually set up programmes to help educate and try to decrease it, this is not necessarily being supported by their principals and when that particular teacher moves position or leaves the school, or whatever, their successor is not interested in the programme so it is forgotten, particularly if there is also no support from the principal.

And so the fight continues.  I would welcome any suggestions, thoughts, feelings etc.  Can be emailed to:
Thank you.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

This article has been provided courtesy of nannyagency

Feb 26

10 Telltale Signs Your Child is Being Bullied

Bullying is a problem of epidemic proportions, and can affect every aspect of a child’s life. While visibility around the issue has been raised as the most severe cases make national news, there is still a prevailing idea that bullying is part of childhood and is only a sign of “kids being kids.” Parents of children who are frequently the butt of bullies’ jokes know that the problem is much more severe than mere child’s play. If you’re concerned that your child may be the target of schoolyard or cyber-bullying, here are some signs to be on the lookout for. 
  1. Withdrawal from Activities – Has your child lost interest in extracurricular activities he once enjoyed? This could be a sign of your child being bullied. If he once loved his after-school clubs or teams and now actively avoids them, there could be harassment taking place that makes him reluctant to attend.
  2. Eating and Sleeping Habit Changes – Noticeable changes in your child’s eating or sleeping patterns can indicate that she’s under some sort of stress, which could be the result of being targeted by bullies. She could have a lessened appetite because of the thoughts running through her mind of her tormentor. If she’s eating more at home than usual, it could mean that her lunch is being stolen. Her sleeping habits could have changed because she now has nightmares about the person picking on her. There are a variety of potential causes for these changes, so they should be investigated.
  3. Irritability – Being picked on can put anyone in a bad mood, so try to look for the root of increased irritability or a shortened temper after school. Bullies wear on a child’s self-esteem, and a child with low self-esteem can lash out from that added tension.
  4. Avoiding School – The occasional faked stomach ache is a common ploy to get out of school for a few hours of sleep or to miss a test she’s not prepared for, but regular attempts to get out of going to school may be a sign of a child who’s actively avoiding her tormentors.
  5. Decrease in Grades – It’s difficult to concentrate on school work and getting good grades when that mean kid in class keeps kicking your chair or making fun of you. Your child’s grades might be suffering, not due to indifference to school, but due to a bully constantly nagging.
  6. Fidgeting – If your child used to sit still very well and for long periods of time but now seems to fidget, it could be because of a bully. A physical bully may spur the “flight” half of the “fight or flight” instinct, causing them to be hyper-aware of their surroundings and always ready to bolt.
  7. Unwilling to Discuss School – A child who avoids answering questions about his day or answers evasively could be hiding the fact that someone was picking on him. The part of the school day that has the longest impression on your child right now may be the fact that someone doesn’t like him and he’s being made fun of. It’s tough to remember the exciting parts of the day when your child’s thoughts are consumed by the torment of a classmate.
  8. Acting Out – Increased aggression and violent outbursts can be an indicator of bullying, as kids who spend their days being harassed seek an outlet for their frustrations. Any sudden personality change should be cause for concern, but a turn in a more aggressive direction should be addressed immediately.
  9. Being Mean to Younger Siblings – Is your child starting to pick on your other children? If so, she might have a bully she’s dealing with when you aren’t there. It’s natural to want to unload your burden onto someone else in the same way it was unloaded onto you. Your child could just need to get her anger out of her but doesn’t know how to, so she resorts to doing the same thing to her younger siblings that is being done to her.
  10. Unexplained Bruises or Injuries – Physical bullies do still exist. If your child comes home with bruises or injuries that are not linked to the regular rambunctiousness of a child, it’s time to get concerned. Yes, it’s possible that he fell down on the playground, but it’s also possible that he was pushed down by a bully and is scared to tell you about it.
The shame and embarrassment that can accompany being bullied is often enough to keep kids quiet about their troubles, especially if they’re afraid that they’ll be subjected to retribution for tattling. Be patient with your child and let him know that you’re on his side, and that you’ll find a solution to the problem together.

How to Help Your Child Stand Up to a Bully Without Getting Beaten Up

How to Help Your Child Stand Up to a Bully Without Getting Beaten Up

2013 FEBRUARY 12
by Michelle
bully1 How to Help Your Child Stand Up to a Bully Without Getting Beaten UpOnce upon a time, bullying was regarded as a natural part of childhood and frequently attributed to “kids being kids.” These days, however, bullying is making headlines. Awareness of bullying and the inherent dangers it can pose has risen dramatically, but that doesn’t stamp the problem out altogether. With modern technology making it easier than ever for bullies to access their victims around the clock, it’s important for a parent to understand and recognize signs of bullying. Bullying can range from physically attacking someone to verbally assaulting them and from gossiping about people to cyber bullying them. Cyber bullying includes harassing or intimidating behavior via emails, text messages or social media sites. Because you can’t protect your child from everything she’ll encounter when you’re not there with her, it’s best to teach your child appropriate ways of avoiding such encounters or, if necessary, standing up to a bully without physical retaliation.
Children who are bullied are at an increased risk of depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. According to a study published in the Archives of Pediatric Medicine, children who are bullied are also more likely to contemplate suicide. If you notice your child complaining of aches and pains as a way of avoiding school, or if you notice abnormal bumps and bruises, it’s time to start asking questions. If they can’t explain certain injuries, missing articles of clothing or poor school performance, a bully might be the culprit. If your child is old enough to use social media sites, check in with them in regards to online accounts as well. Set boundaries and request access to the sites if things aren’t adding up.
If you suspect that your child is being bullied, start a conversation that allows him to speak freely without fear of judgment. Encourage him to speak up about his concerns regarding what’s going on at school. Ask him to describe the occurrences, how often they happen and who is involved. Ask him if any other children or adults have witnessed the accounts and find out what he has done so far to try and stop the bullying. Brainstorm ideas of how to avoid encountering harassing situations. Involve your child in this conversation; it will help them visualize appropriate ways of responding to a pestering bully. Be supportive in the discussion, but remain calm. It might be heart wrenching to hear your child talk openly about these types of situations, but it is important to be a calm influence, rather than another angry voice.
Socialize, Mobilize, Empathize
Encourage your child to stick with a group of friends when walking home from school, riding the bus or eating lunch in the cafeteria. Let your child know that it’s okay to ask adults or other school officials to accompany them. Bullies tend to target kids that stand out. Encouraging new hobbies and interests might help your child make new friends and find a circle of people with similar interests. If the bully is persistent, don’t endorse verbal retaliation or physical violence.  Teach them and encourage them to maintain their composure, tell them to turn and walk away. Children start to learn to empathize at an early age. Encouraging your child to empathize with the bully is a way of teaching compassion. If compassion is present, forgiveness is soon to follow, which can remove much of the emotional burden of being bullied. At the very least, it may help reduce the long term psychological effects of having been bullied as a child.
Keep checking in with your child, even if it seems the bullying has subsided. Sometimes kids will become embarrassed that the harassment has continued and may feel both hopeless to stop it and mortified that they are repeatedly a target. Keep the lines of communication open. If the bullying hasn’t ceased, contact the appropriate authorities. Getting the school principal, bus driver or class teacher involved and aware of the problem is a good start, and will provide extra sets of eyes and ears when you can’t be with your child. It is also worth an attempt to contact the parents of the bully. Be prepared for a defensive response or outright denial, however. Many parents find it difficult or impossible to believe that they could raise a bully and may refuse to accept the situation on principle. By making them aware of the problem and attempting to calmly enlist their help in remedying the difficult situation your child is in, you may be able to get the p