Hearing your child has been excluded at school, or is having trouble making friends is heartbreaking for parents.
A survey by the The Ophelia Project, national non-profit is dedicated to addressing relational aggression, found it’s more common than you think.
The results showed 48 per cent of students have experienced relational aggression.
Relational aggression is a type of aggression in which harm is caused by damaging someone's relationships or social status. For example, exclusion, gossiping and rumour spreading – to name a few.
While schools are doing their best to stamp out bullying, telling children what not to do isn’t the only solution. Parents also need to teach children pro-social and inclusive behaviours.
Four ways to teach children to be includers
Model appropriate behaviour
If you want your children to be inclusive, then parents should model inclusive behaviour. One way of doing this could be to look for other parents at school who are standing alone and introduce yourself to them.
Little things like smiling and remembering people’s names are great starting points for young children. Teach children one new social skill at a time and let them master it before moving on.
Keep an eye out for exclusive behaviours
Observe your child as they play, watch for any exclusive behaviours and educate them. For example, a child declaring out loud that they want to sit next to someone, means they don’t want to sit next to anyone else. As children get older (five to seven years) they should start to learn how their behaviour affects others.
Teach your children how to meet people
Children between the age of three and five, should be developing the skills to approach others to join in. Encourage children to look out for others playing on their own. For birthdays, parents can urge their children to invite a child that needs a friend. If a student in new, set up a play date.