Last week I wrote a blog post about my top five tips for teaching your child bully-resilience, then this morning an article appeared on the front page of Brisbane’s Courier Mail, with this disturbing headline –
13 Child Suicides in three years prompt call for action as bullying victims take their own lives.
I thought I would share with you the Media Release I prepared today. This issue impacts on all families, but in particular, as parents raising children on the Autism spectrum who are 80% more likely to be bullied than other children – it raises particular concerns.
But… you can do something about it. You can be proactive in teaching your child Bully-Resilience. This is not just a school issue, it is a society issue. The most powerful thing you can do as a parent, is help your child, by initiating steps to teach them to be bully-resilient. It is a skill that they can use, not only at school, but for their entire lives.
AUSTRALIA RANKED WORST IN THE WORLD
FOR SOCIAL NETWORKING BULLYING – WHAT PARENTS CAN DO!
Bullying has been the likely cause of a record seven child suicides in 2012-13 with Australia ranked worst in the world for social network bullying. Parenting expert and author Sally Thibault says that parents have to look at this issue with a degree of urgency to prevent further tragedies.
“Parents can no longer think that this crisis has to be fixed by somebody else.” says Sally, a Professional Counsellor and author of three books, including Asperger’s Bullying and School and her new book Wisdom Parenting, Raising children in the Social Media era, due to be released soon.
“The problem is that bullying is absolutely endemic in our society – and it is a ‘top down’ issue, and the focus to ‘fix’ it, is pointing in the wrong direction. Social media has given everybody a voice, and unfortunately also breeding a generation of kids who lack compassion towards others.
“Schools battle every day in teaching children about bullying and cyber-bullying – but when we have a country where bullying is endemic, they are fighting a losing battle. Bullying is just an accepted way of behaviour – from Politics, to Reality TV, to Gossip Magazines – our children are growing up on a diet of bad behaviour by adults, making it incredibly challenging for schools.
“It is also a response to the ‘It’s-all-about-me’ generation”, says Mrs Thibault, “Many kids have grown up believing that they are entitled to happiness, or a reward, or that they are ‘brilliant’ just because they are born. When life doesn’t turn out the way they think it should, they turn that frustration towards those who are either extremely vulnerable, or in many cases their peers especially many who are high achievers. Social media sites make them feel powerful, because they can say what they want without seeing the face of those who are the recipient”.
Parents can put in all the ‘technology’ controls possible to stop their children being attacked, but the best way to fix the problem is to teach their children how not to be a victim.
Sally, who specialises in teaching parents how to make their child “bully-resilient’ says, “There are three top things parents can do straight away.”
1. Help teach their children to understand and recognise their emotions so they learn to trust their own intuition. Our intuition can be so powerful. We need to teach children how emotions ‘feel’ so they recognise danger, and feel safe in telling their parents and teachers how they are really feeling. (Click here to read more)
2. Insist on family dinner times, with TV off and phones turned off. Studies have shown that the ‘simple family dinner’ can in many cases help children develop a stronger sense of self, do better in school and are more likely to talk to their parents about issues that are concerning them.
3. Be your child’s silent friend on their social media sites. Make it a rule that you must be their friend, but never, ever comment on anything they do on the site. If you have concerns, talk to them in a non-judgemental calm manner.
These and many more tips and strategies are available in my e-book Aspergers Bullying and School – Helping your ASD child develop Bully-Resilience at School and for Life. You can get the ebook and access the Bullying Video Library by just clicking on the picture below:
Sally Thibault is an Author, Counselor, Speaker and Media commentator and University Lecturer, who speaks regularly about children on the Autism Spectrum. Sally works with parents, carers, teachers and trainee teachers to understand the challenges Autistic children face in school.