A LEADING clinical psychologist has urged parents to make themselves aware of the emotional signs of bullying in children and has called on community groups to implement policies which show that bullying will never be tolerated.
David Coleman spoke to parents in Belmullet on Friday night on the subject of recognising and responding to the emotional signs of bullying in children at a talk organised by Iorras Le Chéile, the local Community Development Project.
The author and broadcaster was also filming in the area for his latest television series on bullying which will air in October. Speaking to The Mayo News Mr Coleman explained that children suffering from bullying are often too embarrassed to speak to a parent about what they are going through and it was important that parents and adults recognise the emotional signs of bullying.
“The big thing is that children rarely talk of what they are feeling because they feel if they do it will almost make the bullying worse or they will feel embarrassed as they think they should be able to deal with it themselves. There are a number of different signs which affect children who are bullied and they can become anxious and withdrawn” he said.
David explained that one of the biggest problems for parents faced with such a situation is how to deal with a child who is bullied. He said often parents are reluctant to make a fuss and think it is just the ‘cut and thrust of the playground’ and are not sure of the best approach to take.
One of the main reasons David and the production team came to film in Belmullet was because of the anti-bullying initiatives developed by Iorras Le Chéile. David explained they were ‘unique’ and its model should be adopted in other communities.
Rose Conway-Walsh of Iorras Le Chéile told The Mayo News that since 2006 they have been developing their whole community anti-bullying strategy in conjunction with Dr Stephen Minton of the School of Education at Trinity College. She said their research was both academic and community-based and they were trying to introduce a zero tolerance approach to bullying in the community.
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