Each week in Moms Talk, our Moms Council takes your questions, gives advice and shares solutions.
Our conversation starts today with a topic that all parents will deal with at some point: Bullying. Last week, Assistant Superintendent of Schools Patty de Garavilla presented the results of the fall bullying survey to the School Committee and the results indicated that Reading students are less likely to report bullying to an adult than they were last semester. So this week, we asked the Moms Council: How can you make sure your kids are comfortable reporting things like bullying to an adult?
As a parent of three children I am certainly busy. I wanted to be a parent, it is my first responsibility and I am thankful for the opportunity. My job is to make sure my children have all their basic needs and when it is afforded we do indulge them within reason. As a parent, hearing the topic of bullying is as concerning to me as drug abuse is.
Bullying is an issue that can be altered by good communication and parental involvement. Bullying isn't knew to the school community, but cyber use is newer. How can we expect children to communicate effectively about problems when we are encouraging them to abandon that skill set and replace it with texting plans? Yes, texting is fast and easy, but too often just like emails, the message is misconstrued and it should not be a replacement to communicating with your children. Technology is supposed to be an asset not a detriment.
Negotiation is a true skill set and children learn it early on; yes, if you get ready for bed quickly, then I'll read three books before bed. Yes, if you finish your homework right after school you can go to the game. Negotiations are an integral part of our lives, especially as a parent.
There was an issue at one of my daughter's schools and even though she was only eight, she was able to articulate and communicate effectively, but it did bother her and we needed to address it at home. I feel confident with my children that they would report an issue because we encourage open dialogues in the house, but as a parent I also have to be involved and aware and address any changes in behavior. It's not easy, it's work but it's also my job as a parent.
Bullying is a hard subject for all involved. It is not only hard for the child being bullied, it is very hard on the parents of the child being bullied. One would also think it is hard on the parents of the bully too. It is so hard to not over react and loose your cool when you hear of a bullying incident (especially when it is your child).
I think in order for your child to want to talk to you and keep the lines of communication open you need to let them know that you are there for them, no matter what. Even if they tell you they did wrong it is how YOU react to it that makes the child want to tell you more in the future. Parents are the first line of defense for the kids.