Whats Hot Mama
School Yard Bullies - Parents to Pay...
My daughter came home from school in tears yesterday after a school yard incident. It wasn't a physical hurt. It was the manipulative, emotional hurt that little girls are so adept at hurling. We talked about what happened, and how she felt and how she might handle the situation next time. We talked about how its important not to be mean to your friends. I really ached for her. It's a fine line managing her hurt, my ache, the idea of resilience and support and the concept of when to let your kids take a few knocks, because god knows this won't be the last time. And today -she happily ran in to the arms of the protagenists at school drop off. Hmmm.
This wasn't bullying. It was little girl stuff. But what happens when the little girl stuff becomes more serious?
Today this question is asked in the papers - Should the victims of Bullies be allowed to sue the parents of the Bullies?
Alaistair Nicholson, a former Chief Judge of the Family Court thinks so. He also thinks that schools should be legally responsible for student bullying that takes place off campus, and outside school hours.
Nicholson believes that tougher laws which directly hit the hip pocket of schools and the parents of bullies could be a key weapon in the nation's battle against "insidious and dangerous" bullying. In Nicholson's view, this might make schools and parents more careful about how their kids are behaving.
It's an interesting and headline catching proposal. It may well lead to further education programs at schools about appropriate behaviours, and the support at home to reinforce these messages. However, will penalties against schools and parents really change the behaviour of the kids who are inclined to bully? And when does 'teasing' end and bullying stop? And how can schools really regulate the behaviour of kids after school hours and outside of school grounds?
Is this the right answer?
Kate Christie is What's Hot Mama - she owns Babysitters and More an online service putting busy people in touch with local babysitters, nannies, cleaners, personal carers, pet carers and other home helpers.