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Bullying- A Family Issue

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S: Bullying- A Family Response

FC: Word Count: 2207 approx | Bullying- A Family Response | W0101323 Caitlyn Frame | EDO2104 Assignment 2 21/01/13

1: Bullying- The Family Response

2: Bullying is an issue becoming more and more prevalent every day. | Introducing the Issue

3: Bullying within the school environment is a significant issue that has had substantial media coverage in recent times. Although there are many types, levels of severity and influences, it becomes apparent that the effects of bullying can be detrimental to all involved. While determining what constitutes bullying, how bullying influences those involved and what causes bullying are all crucial steps involved in eradicating such issues from society, it is also important to consider the role of the family in causing, resolving and preventing these issues (Stevens, De Bourdeaudhuij & Van Oost, 2002). As an educator, it becomes vital that work is carried out in consultation with families to develop strategies for both victims and bullies in order to eradicate this issue from within the school environment. However, there are several perspectives on the role of families in relation to bullying. Many individuals believe that it should be the school that deals with bullying within the grounds. Alternatively, an opinion that families need to work cooperatively with children and the school to ensure the cases of bullying are reduced and harm minimised.

4: 7 Similarly, the perspectives vary when looking at the families of the bully as compared to the families of the victim. When analysing the issue of bullying and the role of families it can be identified that there are several assumptions and biases present when interpreting the issue. | These include: An assumption that parents are willing to work to resolve the bullying issue within which their child is involved An assumption that the school adapts a whole-school approach to bullying A bias that identifies a victim and desires to support the victim and family to resolve and repair issues and damages caused.

5: THE MOUNTAIN TEMPLE, WAT ARAT | November 8 | Perspective 1: The first perspective that can be identified within the issue of bullying is that of the families of a victim. Within the education system there are more and more children being subjected to bullying resulting in significant issues for these children and their families. The perspective of the victim’s families often is fueled by anger and outrage and results in families becoming highly critical of the policies implemented by the school and teachers (Snyder, n.d.). In many cases, the blame appears to be passed throughout the school towards the teachers that are seen to be responsible or negligent in identifying or appropriately supervising to avoid bullying (Barboza et al, 2007). It has been identified that victims often hide the bullying from their families and therefore once the bullying is brought into the light it has been occurring for a prolonged period of time. It has become particularly apparent in recent times the rising numbers of suicides and suicide attempts linked with bullying. Dakoda-Lee Stainer’s death is just one example of the horrific effects of bullying. The Courier Mail (McDougall, 2012) reports on Dakoda-Lee’s death on February 14, 2012 after attempting suicide in 2009 and being left with severe injuries. Numerous situations similar to Dakoda-Lee’s have caused families of victims to call upon various bodies including politicians, schools and mental health services to make changes to assist in preventing these situations.

6: Perspective 2: Alternatively, there is a cry being made from the families of the bullies. This perspective identifies the need for families to be supported when attempting to deal with children identified as bullies. When families become aware that their child is bullying other students there appears to be two clearly identifiable responses. Firstly, the families are desperate for help in appropriately dealing with and identifying why their child has become a bully. For these parents, as is the case for Katrina (Crane, 2012), there is a plea for support in finding an answer for a child’s emotional instability and inappropriate actions. For these parents, support of professional therapists can provide answers. However, in many cases the bully has already been banned from activities that can assist in facilitating an appropriate return to the schooling environment. Banning students from participation in sporting groups is an example of this exclusion. Another perspective presented by families of bullies is to outright deny their child’s involvement in the situation and place the blame back onto the school or even the victim. In these cases the bully often does not receive any reprimanding from the home environment and in some cases causes the cycle to continue or even escalate (Kaltiala-Heino, Rimpela, Rantanen, & Rimpela, 2000). Overall, the situation of the bully’s family is difficult and causes significant distress for those involved. In most cases the school will work with parents to create a system to avoid reoccurrence of bullying.

8: Re-examination of bias and assumptions: Upon reflection of these perspectives it becomes apparent that these issues are far deeper than what is first imagined. The effects on the families of both bullies and victims are significant and in many cases can cause life-long trauma. The assumption that parents are willing to work to resolve the bullying issue within which their child is involved is true in most cases. However, there are opinions that state the “boys will be boys” or that bullying is a natural part of growing up and builds resilience (Snyder, n.d.). While many studies prove this to be wrong, some families still live by these principles and therefore refuse to take action when their child is bullying other students. Similarly, when reflecting on the reports related to bullying, it is easily identifiable that students are still falling through the cracks of the whole-school approach to bullying. It has been made apparent that in many cases schools are failing to reflect and improve on the bullying programs in place and therefore unsure if the program is effective at combating the issue. Finally, the opinions stated in many of the articles related to bullying clearly identify and support the bias of the victim. In these cases, readers are positioned to have sympathy for the victim and therefore develop a negative attitude towards the bully.

9: Critical Reflection | Upon reflection of bullying, its causes and effect, it becomes apparent that a large influence on the issue surrounds the school environment as much as the family environment. It is for this reason that teachers have a crucial role to play in the intervention and prevention of inappropriate situations. While bullying intervention can occur on a number of different levels, they will often occur on a class level or whole school level. Research demonstrates that school-based policies often have the most favourable outcomes (Smith & Ananiadou, 2003) when implementing anti-bullying programs. One popular form of intervention is based upon the Bergan Anti-bullying Program. This program outlined by Smith and Ananiadou (2003) demonstrated significant reductions in bullying behaviour when implemented across 42 schools. It is demonstrated that bullies need to stop receiving social reward from the behaviour and the school environment should be organised to introduce clear rules against bullying as well as including peers and adults in the process. Successful anti-bullying programs integrate the roles of school, classroom and individual in a cohesive manner (Carrera, DePalma & Lameiras, 2011). It is for this reason that it is crucial that a program is selected for it’s inclusivity of the family.

10: At a school level programs should strive to implement a program suited to the type of bullying prevelant within the individual school. Forms of bullying will vary depending on socioeconomic area, age levels and ethnicity (Wienke Totura, Green, Karver & Gesten, 2008). Class groups should develop clear and concise rules which are enforced at all times. This should include the opportunity to develop appropriate behaviour management plans when either a victim or bullies struggle with the expectations. Individually, students should then be involved in a process where consequences are put in place for inappropriate behaviour. On a family level, it is important for the educator to engage with the parents of both the bully and the victim. This includes needing to inform all stakeholders in the situation and the plans to improve and rectify the situation.

11: Critical Reflection | Overall, bullying is behaviour that has detrimental effects on students of all ages. However, the effects on adolescents can cause long term damage that can not be rectified. The physical, emotional, psychological and social effects of bullying provides significant trauma for an adolescent student (Roberts, Walter & Coursol, 1996). The cause of bullying is difficult to control and varies between environments. It is for this reason that the teacher plays a crucial role in improving the school environment in a way that eliminates bullying. This can be done through the implementation of a positive behaviour program or anti-bullying program which reinforces positive behaviour choices. Following the implementation of this bullying program, the educator must work with the families to ensure the most effective implementation of the bullying program.

12: WEST KRABI COAST | November 10 | Personal Reflections: As a part of my professional development, I have identified that bullying is far more prevalent than what I initially expected. I have also identified the importance of being a proactive educator in addressing and supporting students and families in regards to bullying. Another key aspect that I consider important is my ability as an educator to implement an anti-bullying campaign that effectively incorporates family and school practices. I believe that this integration is crucial. It has been made clear to me that I must further develop my skills in relating with families in order to provide a more well-rounded approach to dealing with bullying taking place. This improvement will lead to greater acceptance of the campaign with families and in the long term, improve the outcomes for all students involved. However, I believe it is important for me to understand that each bullying scenario will be unique and therefore my tactics for each situation and family must be flexible and easily developed. I feel that I must learn to accept support from other school networks in order to achieve the best outcomes possible. Alternatively, I must learn that I am not solely responsible for bullying occurrences that are reported. The responsibility I must uphold is to do my best in intervening in the situation and rectifying the situation with parents, students and other relevant stakeholders.

13: Personal Reflections

14: Resources: Bullying. No Way! (2012) is one of the most well known Australian anti-bullying campaigns. One of the strengths of this campaign is its involvement of parents, teachers and students in combating the problem. The purpose of this campaign is to educate all on the dangers and warning signs of bullying. This resource links very closely with the issue by engaging parents in what to do as the family of the bully as well as the family of the victim. The “Working Together” resource (Queensland Government, 2010) is another anti-bullying campaign that effectively demonstrates the need for co-operative methods of dealing with bullying. This particular document outlines the role of families and parents in fighting bullying. This resource supports studies that outline the role of parents as being significant in preventing bullying and supporting victims in recovery. Psychologist, Michael Carr-Greg (2010), has created a series of six videos designed to assist parents, teachers and students in order to combat bullying. These videos are easy to understand and clearly identify steps that can be taken by all stakeholders to identify and discuss bullying in a safe environment. This safe environment is important in ensuring that the victim is being heard, as well as understanding the bigger picture before taking further action.

15: Useful Resources

16: Barboza, G., Schiamberg, L., Oehmke, J., Korzeniewski, S., Post, L. & Heraux, C. (2007). Individual Characteristics and the Multiple Contexts of Adolescent Bullying: An Ecological Perspective. Journal of Youth Adolescence. 38, 101-121. doi: 10.1007/s10964-00809271-1 Bullying No Way. (2012). Bullying. No Way! Retrieved January 12, 2013, from Carrera, M., DePalma, R. & Lameiras, M. (2011). Toward a More Comprehensive Understanding of Bullying in School Settings. Educational Psychological Review. 1-21. doi: 10.1007/s10648-011-9171-x Carr-Gregg, M. (2010). Dr Michael Carr-Gregg quick tips for parents- How do you support your child. [Video]. Retrieved from Crane, K. (2012, March 12). Desperate mum at wits’ end over bully son. Retrieved from Kaltiala-Heino, R., Rimpela, M., Rantanen, P. & Rimpela, A. (2000). Bullying at school- an indicator of adolescents at risk for mental disorders. Journal of Adolescence. 23, 661-674. doi: 10.1006/jado.20000.0351 McDougall, B. (2012, February 29). Casualty of cruelty: bullied boy Dakoda-Lee Stainer tormented to death. Retrieved from Queensland Government. (2010). The Parent Toolkit. Retrieved January 12, 2013, from Roberts, J., Walter, B., Coursol, D. (1996). Strategies for Intervention with Childhood and Adolescent Victims of Bullying, Teasing, and Intimidation in School Settings. Elementary School Guidance and Couseling. 30(3). Retrieved from

17: References | Roberts, J., Walter, B., Coursol, D. (1996). Strategies for Intervention with Childhood and Adolescent Victims of Bullying, Teasing, and Intimidation in School Settings. Elementary School Guidance and Couseling. 30(3). Retrieved from Smith, P. & Ananiadou, K. (2003). The Nature of School Bullying and the Effectiveness of School-Based Interventions. Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies. 5(2). 189-209. doi: 10.1023/A:1022991804210 Stevens, V., De Bourdeaudhuij, I. & Van Oost, P. (2002). Relationship of the Family Environment to Children Involvement in Bully/Victim Problems at School. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. 31 (6), 419-428. doi: 0047-2891/02/1200-0419/0 Snyder, M. (n.d.). What parents can do about childhood bullying. Retrieved January 12, 2013, from Wienke Totura, C., Green, A., Karver, M. & Gesten, E. (2008). Multiple informants in the assessment of psychological, behavioural, and academic correlates of bullying and victimization in middle school. Journal of Adolescence. 32, 193-211. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2008.04.005

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