- How do we prepare children to identify and respond to bullying or abusive relationships?
- Are you interested in attending a free community seminar with your child to start a conversation, so that you can work with a child in your life to help identify the difference between good and bad relationships?
It seems that we can’t get through the week without another article in the news about children being bullied at school. This week we read about a 12 year old in Queensland who has been told to kill herself, and who has a male classmate follow her around calling out sexual insults.
You can read the article on SBS online by clicking here
This girl has been brave enough to speak out about the bullying, how many more children are going through this sort of torment and their parents don’t even know? The government’s bullying website says that one in four children from Years 4 through 9 report being bullied every few weeks or more.
The same website also states that while covert bullying (secret or hidden bullying that occurs mostly online) is more difficult to detect, it has the potential to inflict more severe psychological, social and mental harm than overt bullying (like hitting, punching, kicking and teasing).
How can we help?
Unfortunately bullying and abuse is something that starts from a young age but continues in varying forms in our society in many different arenas, not just with our friendships but within family units, work places and social groupings. Not only do we see domestic violence (between romantic partners) and criminal violence at Coode & Corry, but also we see far too much family violence (for instance parent and child or uncle or family friend) and bullying and violence in other areas of people’s lives such as online stalking.
One of our solicitors, Janis Donnelly-Coode, speaks with local schools, churches or other community organisations about bullying and violence, in a talk titled ‘No Respect No Relationship’. She talks about how to identify it and how to respond, drawing on years of experience dealing with the outcomes of domestic violence as a family lawyer and helping clients to make decisions about how to get out of those relationships. One thing all of these destructive or bullying relationships have in common is they are not respectful, reciprocal relationships.
Speaking with children about how to identify disrespectful and dangerous relationships is important. The abuser frequently (almost always) works to convince the victim that the abuse is the victim’s fault, that they deserve it, and that no one will help them if they ask for help. You need to empower your child to identify this behaviour, and let them know that you will support them if they talk to you about it.
What we would like to do is have a community forum where we talk with children about respect and relationships, but with their parent or other carer also present. The reason for this is that identifying respectful and disrespectful relationships is not as simple as giving the child an online checklist (such as do they call you names, yes or no). When we talk to community groups we try to start a conversation to help teach a child to identify disrespectful behaviour and avoid those relationships, and to focus their time and energy on reciprocal and mutually beneficial relationships in their lives. We also try to help children to identify when their behaviour is disrespectful, or when a conversation with a friend might highlight something the friend is doing that hurts them without realising it. As all human beings are so different, all relationships are different, and this respect will look different.
We would love to start a conversation between you and the child that you are caring for by giving you the usual information that we provide to children at the local schools, but also providing you with the opportunity to continue the conversation with that child later as real life examples provide you with an opportunity to discuss again what behaviour is acceptable in relationships.
Free Community Seminar
We are seeking feedback from our clients and other contacts regarding running a free seminar for you to attend with a child. Rather than run a seminar when no one is interested in attending, or run it for the wrong demographic or at the wrong time, we were hoping you could answer some questions for us?
If you would like more information about what we talk about at these seminars then have a look at the ‘No Respect No Relationship’ article by clicking on the link.