The friendship game

You need a strong network of decent friends your own age at school to develop social skills, block bullies or stop you bullying others.

• Become closer to three to five classmates - it will take a few weeks.

• Belonging to a group, even if they are unpopular, is better than being padlocked to a best friend. Also, teachers are more likely to believe a group of witnesses than one friend.

• Make social arrangements - visit friends, cousins or neighbours.

• Make your friends welcome when they visit your home.

• Make sure your friends take turns in sharing games, etc.

Sour support network

Identify all those people who can help you when you need it:

• parents, aunts/uncles, grandparents

• brothers, sisters, cousins

• neighbours, doctor, sports coach, Scout leader, drama teacher

• students, e.g. close friends, casual friends, friendly kids in class

• peer-group mediator, older students, school captain, etc.

• teachers, principal, year coordinator

• school counsellor, school psychologist, school nurse, welfare officer, school minister

• chat groups, bullying websites, telephone helplines, and

• the media, the police, your local member of parliament, the mayor. This is a mind map. Fill in the names of your support network.

Family

/

Kids at school

\

\

/

My support group

/

Friends

\

V

y

After-school mates

/

School staff

\

\

/

Help your child avoid hot spots

Although some children are bullied in class only,your child may be bullied in other parts of the school. Write down where the bullying occurs, e.g. on the way to or from school, in the playground, in the corridors, at the lockers, near the canteen, etc. Then write down how your child can protect himself, e.g. walk with a friend, stay near the staffroom at recess, avoid lockers when bullies are there, and so on.

Key points

■ Children who belong to a social tribe cope better than those who are alone.

■ Children need social skills to improve their support networks.

■ Adults can help children develop support networks.

What to do

• Take action to become more social and make good friends.

• Work out safe routes to and from school.

• Who is part of your support network?

Moral Manifesto

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