Whenever you hand over your child to another for care, you trust there will be an active effort to keep them as safe as possible. School. Sports. Day-care. Church...Trust. This is not too much to expect in any setting. Trust.
Part of our “reptilian brain”---the part including control of all our involuntary muscles and survival skills, is really concerned about taking care of “number one”. Me-myself-I. “Getting our way” has been a priority of human beings from time immemorial. Oftentimes, this takes the form of bullying. We have all been exposed to bullying. Luckily, the human capability for understanding and growth and development processes us through this primitive mentality. Learning to deal with bullying is a vital component of growing up. Many adults don’t understand it or still suffer from it so how are we to protect our children?
We are using a holistic approach at Immaculate Conception School. Integral to this is our Steps to Respect program. Recent research supports what we are doing and research supports that we all need to be on board. Bullying is a part of human nature but we do not put up with it here...be it in the classroom, on the playground, or “I’m smarter than you”, and even in sports. We are addressing human nature. Everyone can change. This is a gift we have from God. We’re not stuck in life. It never happens as quickly as we like but we are working on it.
While we have been actively pursuing solutions to help our children overcome these issues at school, they will not work if parents do not do their part at home. We want to raise children with good character, and children with good character do not bully. Parents are the first educators of their children. If you bully, chances are they will too. If you exclude people, whether intentional or not, they will too. Exclusion happens when you limit who gets to come to the party or who doesn’t get invited over, or which rumor are we going to spread today? Social development is hampered when you intervene too much on your child’s behalf or don’t work behind the scenes with the teacher at school to head off a problem. Parenting is hard work. You cannot do it alone. In life we sometimes need a lawyer, a financial planner, a mechanic. Sometimes we need a counselor. We have the tools here to help you with this.
The choice is up to us as parents, teachers, and coaches, to make ICS a place where students can feel included and accepted. We cannot expect to all have equal talent in the multiple intelligences we all possess. We can expect to be respected and allowed to excel where our talents lie at our current developmental stage.
For more information on the Steps to Respect program, please contact the School Counselor, Karen Lundy.
Also, here are links to three flyers from the program: