Outraged mum: My daughter was NOT bullied at school and I’m furious
Do you agree with her?
By Jonica Bray
www.instagram.com/the.wandertwins/ Contributing Editor / February 10 2019
My daughter Caja, 11, is at our local public school and she loves it. She has some solid friendships, enjoys her lessons and passes tests with reasonable results.
It's such a relief because a few years ago we experienced some moderate bullying at a Catholic school and after many months of tears at bedtime where Caja would beg for the following day off, we decided to move her and for the past couple of years I have been happy with the decision.
That was until last month.
Since our bullying days I always make an effort to check in with my daughter about how things are going socially and who she is playing with at break time. And she has always been happy about it all.
Then last month, by chance, I heard, through another parent, about some shocking and upsetting things that were going with some kids in her year.
One child was being singled out and bullied in such a horrific and cruel way.
They were ostracised from games, called names and told not only that they were not welcome, but that they should die.
There were some other things said too. Things I can’t even bring myself to write and honestly things I never ever imagined 10-year-olds would know.
After what we had been through, I felt terrible for the parents of this child and asked Caja what she knew and she burst into tears.
Caja was aware of the bullying and had witnessed it time and time again. It was clear she was wracked with guilt for not standing up or saying anything, but at the same time she didn’t want to risk becoming the next victim.
And while as her mother, I want nothing more than to protect her from hurt I also feel a sense of responsibility on our part.
Research tells us that kids tend to over estimate how comfortable their classmates are with bad behaviour – experts call it 'pluristic ignorance,’ and if ignored we can end up with everyone doing something they are not comfortable with just to fit in.
Not only that but kids seeing this are becoming desensitized to bad behavior and it was only when I asked how she thought the other kid must feel that it really hit home.
Bullying is obviously prevalent in our schools with some very serious cases being bought to light recently, but what the system is trying to do is just not working and as a mother it makes me furious.
But as a parent of a child who is not a bully and is not a victim, I feel more focus needs to be put on the by-standers. The way I see it, our kids get two choices – they ignore it and become an enabler or they stand up to the bully and risk falling foul themselves.
I explained these options to my daughter and while I didn't want her to be put in a vulnerable position, I don't want to give the bully any extra confidence with her silence.
She no longer watches, or turns away pretending it’s not her concern. Because she now knows it is.
And you know what? It’s working. Other kids are following her lead and standing up for the underdog.
They are telling the instigator his actions are unfair and that they don’t want to be a part of it.
As parents we feel thankful our kids are not being bullied but one day they could be and I know I feel a lot better knowing their peers have the skills they need to identify right from wrong and to take action.
So, please next time you ask if they are being bullied and they say no – maybe ask them who is being bullied and what they can do about it.