Dubai: When a child is being bullied, it may be hard for him or her to cope with it. The decision they have to make is what should they do — retaliate or complain about it? Diana Nahas, a counsellor psychologist at the Dubai-based German Neuroscience Centre, says it’s important that the child does not remain silent.
She told Gulf News: “The child should talk about what happened because it will be a relief emotionally, and it will show him or her that there are solutions to the problem. First, the child should address the issue to the teacher or to any authority at the school to whom he or she feels confident to speak to. This person in charge will know what decision to take. If it is difficult for the child to talk about the bullying at a younger age, let the child draw or write about what happened including all the details.
“The worst is if no one acts to protect the child and this very stressful situation is ignored. Bullying can have a terrible impact on children, such as loss of self-esteem, dropping out of school, anxiety or depression. So, if no action has been taken by the school, parents must get involved and contact the school to diminish the suffering of the child. Parents can ask for an appointment with the school management or counsellor and involve the child in order to hear first-hand what happened. This shows the bullied child that his or her issue is being taken seriously.”
Nahas says that it is important for the attendees to discuss solutions for the following:
- How to work together to resolve the problem.
- How to follow up with the specific issue.
- What action can the school take to prevent bullying and improve the relationships among students.
She said: “At a personal level, action has to be taken. To break it down in three simple steps, I would recommend listening to your child and support him or her, informing the school about what has happened so they can act accordingly, and getting in touch with the aggressor and contacting his or her parents, either directly or with the help of the school, so as to have a meeting with them.”
Nahas encourages school administrations to organise awareness campaigns on bullying. She also asks for schools to enforce strict consequences or punishments for the ones who bully.
She said: “If the bullying still persists, one should consider changing schools. However, before deciding to do so, it is important to make sure that the rights of the child have been enforced in order for him or her to not feel defeated. It would be advisable to include the child in group activities in or after school, to keep him or her motivated. During this period, try to support and comfort the bullied child by reminding him or her that they’re not alone, and that they can count on their family’s support.”