Parents have a critical role to play in their children’s education

By Joel Hines – Principal, Daylesford Dharma School

As students settle in for the school year it is important to outline expectations and boundaries and always follow through.  If things are clear for kids they respond and learn quite quickly.  We have to model the behaviours and attitudes we would like to see in our children and follow through with any boundaries we put in place.  How often do we hear our words reflected back to us by our kids (“Do I really sound like that?”)  As parents, teachers and role models we need to be mindful of how we speak, think and act in front of children as seeing how we deal with things is one of the key ways in which they learn.

Starting School

By Joel Hines – Principal, Daylesford Dharma School

Beginning school is a pivotal moment in a child’s life but is also a big step for parents. Here some simple tips to consider that may make the transition a little easier:

1. Spend some time talking to your child about the upcoming transition. Explain how things are going to be different at school to what they have been used to at kinder. There will be older kids and a different set of rules that they will have to get used to.
2. Rite of Passage – Consider doing something to mark the transition that is symbolic. It could be as simple as buying a new school bag or lunch box.
3. Establish routine early – a week or 2 prior to school starting it is a good idea to start implementing a routine similar to how it is going to be once they get to school. This maybe an earlier bedtime than has been happening through the holiday period, giving your child more responsibility in getting dressed and ready in the mornings.
4. Take care of yourself – For a parent, particularly for your first child, taking the step into school it can be an emotional time. It is important to recognise and honour how you are feeling, surround yourself with other parents who are experiencing the same thing or who have been through the process before.

This is a challenging but also exciting chapter in your family’s journey, don’t forget to take some photos!

Facing your child being bullied – Advice for parents

As a parent, when your child has been subjected to bullying behaviour it is a big challenge. It confronts us, as we tend to go into protection mode and want to storm in and take away our child’s pain and seek retribution on their behalf. This is largely due to our own past experiences and very quickly takes us back to a time in our lives where we may have been subjected to similar unwanted attention.

By Joel Hines, Principal – Daylesford Dharma School

Bullying is not a new thing and is experienced by many Primary and Secondary school students worldwide. According to researchers at Edith Cowan University, one in four Year 4 to 9 students report being bullied every few weeks or more in Australia.

It is important not to confuse bullying with teasing, conflict or one-off acts of physical violence. These are things that all children may experience as they grow up and are an important part of developing resilience.

Bullying is when people repeatedly use words or actions against someone or a group of people with the intention to cause distress. It is often uninvited, repetitive behaviour where one person is powerless to stop it from occurring.

So as a parent what can you do to assist your child? Here are a few tips that might help:

1. Listen – It is important to listen to your child and really hear their story. It is important to give them your attention as it takes a lot of courage to speak up and voice their concerns.

2. Stay Calm – This is a situation where you have to put your personal feelings aside, stay calm and repeat step one. As mentioned previously this may bring back memories of your childhood and bring out the “Mumma” or “Pappa” bear in you and go into protection mode. This is not going to make your child feel supported, so keep your cool.

3. Get the facts – It is important to understand the full story and really understand the situation. You can do this by asking questions and allowing your child the time and space to answer. They want to be heard and understood.

4. Validate feelings – Ask your child how their experience made them feel. It is important to validate their feeling with statements like “That must have been tough for you” or “I see that this has really upset you.” Don’t be afraid to tell them how it makes you feel and possibly share any experiences you may have had. Letting them know that they are not alone or the only ones ever to experience this.
It is important to remember that you do not have to go through this alone. Your child’s school has many resources to assist you with dealing with bullying. It is often more effective when parents and teachers work together to support your child through this difficult time.

Some other resources that may assist:
http://www.bullyingnoway.gov.au
http://au.reachout.com/bullying

Sources:
Australian Covert Prevalence Bullying Study May 2009, Edith Cowan University. (https://docs.education.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/australian_covert_bullying_prevalence_study_executive_summary.pdf)