Posts Tagged ‘Jodie Benveniste’

The Difficulties of Parenting a Bullied Child

March 2, 2012

It must be so difficult on parents to keep their child’s spirit up when they are getting bullied at school or online. My heart goes out to parents of bullied children. It must take quite an emotional toll.

None more so, than father of bullied teen Catherine Bernard:

A government partnership with Facebook is also on the cards to try and stamp out the scourge after schoolgirl Catherine Bernard took her own life earlier this month.

She died after returning home from her first day of year 12.

The 17-year-old Emmaus College student from Melbourne’s eastern suburbs told her dad Michael the night she died she had been bullied at school, and later on Facebook.

An emotional Mr Bernard this morning thanked Education Minister Martin Dixon for taking the issue seriously.

“He has pledged money to support the cause and if he does what he says then it can only be a good thing,” he said.

“All I wanted is to open people’s eyes and I think that is happening.

“People have to take this issue seriously.

“If we can save just one person then it means Catherine didn’t die in vain.”

Psychologist Jodie Benveniste has outlined some tips for parents who suspect their child is a bully.

– Aggressive behaviour beyond the usual sibling spats at home.
– Talking aggressively or negatively about others at school.
– Coming home with money or items that don’t belong to them.
– Spending more time on the internet than usual.
– Being hyped up, aggressive or arrogant after time on the internet.

– Model good behaviour. Don’t be aggressive towards your child.
– Teach them appropriate ways to interact with others from a young age.
– Teach them appropriate coping strategies to deal with life’s challenges and disappointments.
– Keep the lines of communication open with your child. Talk to them often.
– Don’t be in denial. Work with your child’s school to address the bullying.

Would You Notice if Your Child Was a Bully?

February 21, 2012

Psychologist Jodie Benveniste thinks parents are so blinded by the belief that their child is perfect that they are startled when confronted with the possibility that their child has been bullying others:

Psychologist Jodie Benveniste says most parents don’t – until they get a call from their child’s school.

“That’s often the first time you hear about it because you’re not there to observe the behaviour,” she says.

Youth worker and school chaplain Nigel Lane says in his experience parents are usually in “total shock” or “total denial” when they learn their child is a bully.

The experts agree there are tell-tale signs parents can look for, including very aggressive behaviour towards siblings, talking aggressively and negatively about other children and coming home with money or items that don’t belong to them.

Lane, who has written several books and is working on another about how to recognise a bully, says most parents eventually accept there is a problem.

 “Generally I say to parents that the first thing they should do is listen. Listen to the accusation, don’t deny and ignore it,” he says.

“Then do exactly the same with your child. Sit down with your son or daughter and just listen. Ask broad questions, such as, ‘School gave me a ring today to tell me something happened at lunch time, what was it?’ rather than saying, ‘You’re a bully’, which could make them defensive.”

Lane says this “gentle” approach is more likely to bring out the truth or a version close to it.

The bullying stigma has become a massive one. It is essential that we don’t label people as bullies haphazardly. What that does is unnecessarily complicate the issue, while it also puts children who are involved in one-off incidents in the same basket as perpetual offenders.

Parents should be open to the fact that their children acts differently at school than they do at home. Schools must realise that such a disparity often comes as a result of the unnatural array of clicks and the deep social segregation that are a common fixture in many schools.

The reason why parents may be surprised to know that their child is bullying isn’t just due to their lack of objectivity, it’s also due to the ‘dog eat dog’ environment rampant in many schools. Kids are presented with an environment that is often vicious, unrelenting and difficult to navigate through.

This of course doesn’t excuse their behaviour. What it does do, is make schools equal partners with the parents in reforming bullying children.

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