Although the total elimination of bullying remains a distant goal, it is important to review the culture and find out if targets are coping, bullies are behaving, and if the peer group feels empowered and safe. Schools need to monitor their policies, programmes and interventions each year to make sure that they are reducing bullying. They should obtain objective measures to confirm their effectiveness, e.g. improved academic results, fewer discipline issues. Then they can modify, discard and update where appropriate.
■ Schools must respect their ethical and legal obligations to provide a safe learning environment.
■ The school community includes students, teachers, parents, the school board, the local community, etc.
■ Schools have many options to reduce bullying.
What to do
• Investigate: what is the school doing at present? Does it promote emotional and social resilience? What options does it have?
Children and adults cope better with life stressors when they belong to a caring support network. Thus, human beings need to be social beings. Resilience depends on your social survival skills - how you relate to yourself and others. This is the basis of'The Six Secrets of Relating'. It is a synthesis of my personal and professional life.
The butterfly symbolises growth and metamorphosis - the key to developing into a social being. These 'Six Secrets of Relating' form a generic, circular model useful in any context to develop emotional and social resilience in children, adolescents and adults. The first three secrets relate to your inner world; the second three to the outer world.
Use this model as you need it, rather than strictly adhering to the sequence in which it appears.
The Six Secrets involve learning new skills, so Part Three is directed at your child, although it will help you, too. (The few sections for parents in Part Three are tagged with either a 'Parents activity' icon or a 'Parents and kids activity' icon.) I want the children reading this to feel as though I am speaking to them directly, as I would in my office, to help them make appropriate changes in their behaviours. If your child is too young to read, spend ten minutes at night reading The Six Secrets together and discussing them. Even young children will understand the concepts.
Note: As this part of the book is addressed mainly to your child, 'you' usually means him or her.
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