By Rosa Grube
Auburn, NY — Can you believe that the summer is almost over? I will now try to look forward to the joy of fall without regretting my misspent summer.
There is a great deal to look forward to with the coming of fall. For our young people, the upcoming school year opens possibilities of learning new and exciting things, seeing old friends and meeting new classmates. However, I remember that this return to school isn’t always positively anticipated by all children. As an adult, my daughter looks back at her time in school as a time of stress and anxiety.
She remembers hoping that each new year would be the year that she would not be teased and bullied. I remember the fear and dread that she expressed as she left the house to go to school. We talked about her concerns, but she did not disclose to me that what she feared most was rejection and teasing by her peers.
The child who is bullied at school often feels alone and hopeless. That child feels that what is happening to them is somehow their fault. The bullied child may feel that they are different and that the bullies are justified in making their lives miserable. For that reason, the child might not reach out to adults for help, but may suffer the taunts and teasing of the bully in silence.
My child was a perfectionist and I made the assumption that she was worried about schoolwork and grades. I talked to her teachers about making her school experience more positive, but missed the factor that was causing her the most distress. I would encourage parents to talk and especially to listen to their children. We need to let children know that we respect their efforts in working out their problems, but that at times, adults can be helpful. Bullying is still a prevalent and widespread problem in our schools, and is a problem that should not be tolerated. No child should have to dread going to school because of being bullied.
How can we help? I’ll give you steps that I have put together through various readings and a bit of experience on the subject.
1. It’s always important to talk to your child about their day. Be specific. I thought that my daughter’s response of “it was OK” really meant that it was OK. I needed to ask how classes went, who she sat with at lunch, did anything cause her concern. So that you’re not making the same mistakes I made, you need to listen carefully and be responsive. Kids know when you’re distracted and just going through the motions. Full story.