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Social Isolation

Social Isolation           reply
05/10/2011 22:53 - Bullying (Locality: Sligo)
I am heart broken for my daughter. She is a kindhearted & intelligent 11yr old girl who is being isolated and ignored at school. I feel there is not much I can do as I live in a small community where bullying is as rampant among the adults as it is the children. I am a newcomer with no strong social network. I´ve always been friendly, helpful and never a gossip. I felt the tide turn on me when I wouldn´t join in with any of the cliques and now their children are turning on my daughter. How can one realistically thwart social isolation? I have approached other mothers to discuss what was happening between the children only to be told that children can not be forced to play together. I got no sympathy & even was even asked if there was a problem with my daughter. It seems as though the parents themselves are big adolescents. My daughter doesnt want me to go to the school- in fact she is pretending that there isn´t a problem. All her friends, have turned away. I see her each day on the playground on her own. Any advice for a loving mam?

re : Social Isolation           reply
06/10/2011 09:37 - Bullying
Bullying in primary school is a painful and sensitive issue that affects thousands of children and families. There is an air of secrecy about bullying that often means that the victim is reluctant to tell others and so the bullying continues unchecked. It seems a shame that the other parents in your area are not getting involved in sorting this out so I think it would be useful to approach the school. Most schools have an anti-bullying policy. Chat with the principle and teacher and explain your concerns. That way, the teacher can watch out for incidents of bullying and if necessary, address the problem.
As parents, we can do a lot for our children. Children with good self esteem and good confidence are better able to deal with bullies. You can help your daughter to be confident by encouraging and praising her as often as possible. Make sure to build a very strong connection with her by spending time with her, taking an interest in her activities, being affectionate and caring and most importantly, chatting and listening to her. A strong connection with your daughter will help her to feel that she can talk to you about difficult situations and feelings, as the old adage says, “A problem shared is a problem halved”. Just being able to talk it through with you will help.
If your daughter does chat to you about feeling bullied or excluded, it is important that you remain calm. As upsetting as it may be for you, don’t become distressed in front of her as she may shut down for fear of further upsetting you. Listen carefully and make sure that you understand and hear everything she is saying. Watch her body language, tone and expressions – you will be able to read her feelings by watching these clues.
We often try to rush in to solve problems for our children when it is best to try to step back a little and help our children to work out a solution themselves. Chat with her, explain that bullying is wrong and it is not her fault. Talk to her about what she can do or say in the situation and help her to identify possible solutions.
Keep the lines of communication open with her. Chat about school and how things went with the situation. Try to be casual and chatty about this rather than bombarding her with questions as this may put her under pressure to feel that she has to have something to ‘report’ to you each day.
I hope this helps. Do let us know how she gets on!

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