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"Bullying is a form of aggressive behaviour which is usually hurtful and deliberate"and involves "an abuse of power and a desire to intimidate and dominate" (Tackling: 1). However there are many variables that can protect and help children survive experiences of bullying.
Children possess many individual characteristics which protect and ensure survival of bullying. A child should have a deep awareness of self-concept "the set of attributes, abilities, attitudes and values that an individual believes defines who he or she is" (pg446), as this allows for appreciation of their unique individuality, confidence in their abilities and moral values and reject intimidation or isolation for not confirming with stereotypes or peer pressure. They will realise their potential as individuals. An important attribute of self-concept is Self-esteem, "the judgements we make about our own worth and feelings associated with those judgements". Victims of bullying usually "are shy or have a weak character" (Elliot 59) therefore a high level of self-esteem came protect and help children survive bullying and experiences of isolation or intimidation as it develops an "attitude of self-acceptance and self-respect"(pg449)
Autonomy fosters high self-esteem as the child has a "sense of one's own identity and an ability to act independently and to exert some control over one's environment, including internal locus of control, and self-efficacy" (website). Therefore the child will believe in their individuality and self-respect. As Bernard notes if a child develops a sense of resilience and resistance "refusing to accept negative messages about oneself" and of detachment "distancing oneself from dysfunction", the child will survive acts of bullying as the child will recognise that these actions are morally wrong and discrimative. (Website). In order for the child to survive bullying and protect themselves they should respond "assertively to a situation, make "assertive statements" and resist manipulation and threats"
Bandura states that a child's personality characteristics and social behaviours are reinforced by behaviours surrounding them, therefore an environment where bullying is not tolerated by adults must be established as "Victims need to be reassured that they are not alone and that it could happen to anyone" (Elliot Bullying: 58).
Relationships within the family contribute significantly. Parents are universally important and provide emotional support for their children to survive experiences of isolation, crucial in protecting children from effects of bullying. A strong level of attachment would be vital in protecting children as attachment behaviours are "elicited when the individual has need of care or support or comfort "support a child would need if victimised. Parents who adapt an authoritative child-rearing style will help protect their children as it incorporates "high acceptance and involvement, adaptive control techniques and appropriate autonomy granting" (pg564) which would foster self-reliance and identity in the child (Barber &Olsen 1997, Gray &Steinburg 1999, Hart, Newell &Olsen 2002).Ref: This child-rearing style allows for the development of strong communication, it encourages the child to express her thoughts feelings and desires therefore not to be intimidated by a bully if not conforming with stereotypes. Victims of bullying with this secure attachment and surrounding environment would feel comfortable to inform their parents and seek support if bullied. This type of child-rearing style has fostered competence such as "high levels of self-esteem, social and moral maturity and favourable school performance" (Amato & Fowler,2002, Anuola, Stattin & Nurmi, 2000, Herman et al, 1997, luster &McAdoo 1996; Mackey, Arnold &Pratt, 2001; Steinberg, Darling &Fletcher 1995 pg564). A child who has self-respect and self- worth will survive and protect themselves from bullying as they will not succumb to intimadation but realise and respect their individualism. It can lead the child to a mature underatnding their unique characteristics are valued in community and should not be a factor in their isolation. Also relationships with siblings can be seen as an area for emotional support. Older siblings often "assisted younger siblings with academic and peer challenges" (pg576) and may aid development of resilience to effects of bullying.
Teachers can work collaboratively with parents as "There are many advantages in parents and teachers working in partnership" (Besag, 1989, 1992, 1999, Randall, 1996: Bullying Michael Elliot). Relationships in school in particular teacher practices can protect children from experiences of bullying. The personality and values that a teacher brings to the classroom can influence the level of protection available to children from . The teacher should create a positive learning environment where bullying is frowned upon but friendship and value of individuals are to the fore. A telling atmosphere should be established where the children feel confident to seek support or report bullying behaviour. Just as the issues outlined in "Guidelines on Countering Bullying Behaviour in Primary and Post Primary Schools" (1993) the teachers must be vigilant for bullying behaviour, maintain clear records of incidents, and be watchful of any academic or physical signs of bullying.
The teacher "through curriculum work on bullying , can raise awareness amongst pupils about bullying behaviour and they can challenge attitudes about bullying behaviour, increase understanding for bullied pupils and help build an anti-bullying ethos in the school".(tackling bulling LAN). Drama is a powerful convention that can be used to explore bullying and for children to discuss their feelings and understanding about bullying. However the teacher must be careful not to encourage free role play of bullying, but use drama to raise awareness of bullying through a fictional lens. Teacher can also use literacy to explore bullying as there are many novels that deal with bullying in a sensitive manner such as "The Diddakoi" by Rumer Godden. (tackling bullying lan).
The teacher can promote high self esteem through subjects such as SPHE by engaging the children in games describing themselves to their peers, raising their self-respect and confidence. It must be noted that positive relationships with friends in school can help protect children from bullying as they too provide a secure base providing comfort and support to overcome intimidation and isolation. Also a person they can confide in or look to for support in telling a parent or teacher.
Teachers "have little chance of successfully helping victims unless a school has a clear, well-developed, anti-bullying strategy" (Elliot:58) The school must develop an appropriate anti-bullying ethos and policy "which establishes a clear set of agreed aims which provide pupils, staff and parents with a sense of direction and an understanding of the commitment of the school to deal with bullying behaviour which provides a "framework for intervention and prevention" (tackling LAN).The policy gives staff an understanding and to be "consistent in their approach to bullying behaviour and to promote anti-bullying values within the school."(Tacking LAN). Culture affects the concept of bullying, in this way a policy relating to bullying must consider the social economic and religious values of a society. Different cultures reflect different values which influence the policy as a school with values is aware of the importance of integrating with the community (DEB omoore). Also the ethnic group that a child is from influences their protection and survival as different ethnic groups use various rearing styles which result in different characteristics in the child. Different ethnic groupings in societies reflect different attitudes morals and in turn use different rearing styles therefore children. The community should work in partnership with the school. Parents' councils could be established in the school where the community involved in "drafting new or revised school policy/codes" and also these councils should "ensure that their local communities are bully-free" to ensure a comprehensive approach to bullying in all aspects of the child's life: at home, in school and in the community.
It is evident that through a comprehensive inclusive approach to bullying those children can be protected and survive experiences of bullying.