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Thread: Article: Tiffs tagged as bullying

  1. #1

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    Default Article: Tiffs tagged as bullying

    Thought this was worth sharing. I have often thought we are often too quick to call any behaviour we don't like as bullying.


    Tiffs tagged as bullying

    by: BRIANA DOMJEN EDUCATION REPORTER
    From:The Sunday Telegraph September 23, 2012 12:00AM


    PARENTS are too quick to tag playground tiffs, which are forgotten about by the end of the school day, as "bullying".
    While bullying is one of the most prevalent issues in NSW schools, child experts urge parents to "have an open mind" before turning up at school with accusations over incidents where no malice was intended.
    "Bullying is a hot word that I think parents and students are very quick to use," child psychologist Dani Klein said.
    "We call it the B word because it's almost like straight away they are going to use that as a label when it is inaccurate.
    "Many times it involves a normal playground tiff which can be difficult, stressing and upsetting, but it is not necessarily what we would classify as bullying."
    Ms Klein said parents need to be cautious about labelling other children with the term "bully". She said parents and students were quick to use the word and it was a tag that could stick permanently.
    "Many times one child one week can be the protagonist and three weeks later they might be the victim, and vice versa," she said.
    NSW Secondary Deputy Principals Association spokesman Chris Presland said: "According to some people, if someone ostracises someone else from a group, that's immediately bullying. If someone calls someone else fat, skinny or shorty, that's immediately bullying. It's like any individual instance of inappropriate behaviour - not that I am condoning it - automatically gets interpreted as examples of bullying."
    Teachers Federation president Maurie Mulheron said parents should get the full story before labelling an incident as bullying.
    "I think the last thing parents want to see is their child being bullied on an ongoing basis so they possibly do quickly use the term, and my advice would be to make sure they always have an open mind when they go to the school and hear the advice they are getting from teachers who are well placed to give the parent some context of where the conflict has arisen," Mr Mulheron said.
    "Don't always assume it is necessarily bullying."
    Student Support Officer at Penrith's Jamison High School Steven Lee focuses on teaching both children and their parents what constitutes bullying and what doesn't to minimise the term being used prematurely.
    "We are focusing on getting that definition right," he said.
    "I also put notices in the school newsletters for parents defining bullying and I also hold different events throughout the year."
    Parents and Citizens Association spokeswoman Rachael Sowden agrees the word bully is used too often: "Bullying is one of those words which people think they know what means ... but sometimes the lines are blurred."
    Ms Klein said parents and students need to learn the difference between average playground antics and bullying.



  2. #2

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    Yep I agree. And there should be more work to help the child feeling bullied so they don't end up feeling the victim in all social situations. Labels suck. And have lasting effects. For the child who feels bullied and the child labeled a bully.

  3. #3

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    I agree.

    It would have been helpful for them to include a definition of bullying IMO.

  4. #4

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    I totally agree, and my DH is guilty of this. He was badly bullied as a child and is so worried that the same will happen to our kids that he jumps on every little argument and wants to march down to the school and sort it out. Thankfully he has agreed to leave the school stuff to me and only once have I had to intervene, and more with a personality clash than with actual bullying.

  5. #5

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    In the work place an incident is not bullying if it is a once off. It must be continual.

    I think are still learning social rules, so if they behave in a manner that may be a bit mean it does not make them a bully. They are just learning. So they might call another child fat for example as they are just saying it how they see it. If they continue to call a child fat as they know it makes the child upset then it may be classed as bullying.

  6. #6

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    Agree also - children forget the 'big fights' they've had by the next morning alot of the time, even though they felt their world was ending when it happened.

  7. #7

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    Calling someone names isn't on. OK, so it may not be bullying but instead a playground tiff. But surely we need to work with children so they know how to "fight fair", to debate, to listen and be listened to, and to not stoop to calling people "fat" or "thick" or "smelly" if they dislike their opinion. How many people have posted on BB over the years upset that one person has said used rude descriptors about them? And they are right to be upset, just as we can be upset if someone uses these words against our children. Just as I am upset if Liebling uses these words as weapons.

    Just because it isn't bullying doesn't mean it is correct or that we don't need to do something about it. Learning how to argue starts when the child is young, and the better the skills here the more likely they are to have positive relationships in the future.

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