By Joel Hines – Principal, Daylesford Dharma School
Reflecting back to June last year when I was lucky enough to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Perth. It was quite a surreal experience meeting this living Buddha who exudes kindness and compassion. Meeting His Holiness was an experience I will never forget, the grace and gentleness that he carries is certainly something to aspire to.
They say in Buddhism that we do not pray to external images or statues of the Buddha but rather look to them for inspiration for the qualities we would like to display ourselves. Certainly being in His Holiness’ presence gave me some inspiration to speak, think and act with more compassion, generosity, patience, kindness and wisdom.
I don’t think you can help but smile when you see him, you certainly cannot help but laugh when his face lights up and he emits his infectious laughter.
In the land encircled by snow mountains, you are the source of all happiness and good, all powerful Chenrezig, Tenzin Gyatso please remain until samsara ends.
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:
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)