More often than not, what I hear from schools is - wait for it - "how do we deal with the parents", or "the parents can be tricky"!
 
I know we don't want to hear it, but when it comes to our babies it is often hard to hear of their negative experiences, because we want to offer ultimate protection 24 hours a day. We want to hide behind the bushes and lockers at play and break time, to see what is really going on.
 
The truth is we can't; we have to let them go and find their feet, and school is the first place this happens. It is more often than not the first place they experience real conflict, real negativity, and real knocks. Pretending this doesn't happen does no favours. Appeasing them with brimfuls of positivity is great, but they also get to know reality in a way that equips them with strategy.
 
So, when negativity knocks, how do we react? A lot of parents come in guns blazing: their child is a victim, and what is the school going to do about it. I completely acknowledge the need for blame and attrition, but even more so I urge parents to work on the level of responsibility and learning. When the attitude is that the school must fix the smaller issues faced on a daily basis, then we do our children a disservice. We teach them that adults or others will pick up the pieces and they need do nothing. Instead, let's teach them the strategies to go, so they can fix it themselves; to be empowered to cope with negative situations and the voice to do so with strength.
 
In cases of the former, we actually take away their voice, so when they really need it, or when there is no one else to pick it up, they have none. So, my advice is to review the situation in a moment of clarity. See what your child can do or could have done, and make it a learning experience.
 
I speak generally and obviously every situation is different, and some may, without question, require adult/school intervention; but put your child first, and not in the way you may first think.
Psychologist & Anti-Bullying Specialist
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