Like other countries around the globe, the bullying situation in Ireland isn’t very pretty. According to a nation-wide survey of the threat conducted by Trinity College Dublin, around 31 percent of primary and 16 percent of secondary students have experienced bullying at some time. Furthermore, around 23 percent of the 200,000 school-going children in Ireland are at risk of getting bullied. In order to curb the problem, the Minister of Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D. and the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald T.D. launched an Action Plan on Bullying last year, with the importance of parents’ role in tackling the problem highlighted in the report. One proposed action in the Plan was to provide assistance to parents against bullying by offering them training and resources, which led to the inauguration of the Anti-Bullying Parent Training Program.
A positive impact of the initiative
In order to help parents stop bullying, the Minister of Education and Skills provided funding of €60,000 for the first iteration of the Anti-Bullying Parent Training Program last year. 105 anti-bullying parent training sessions were delivered to 3,279 participants across the nation by the National Parents Council Primary and the National Parents Council Post Primary. The motive behind the training sessions was to help parents realize the importance of their role in the fight against bullying and provide support to their children and the local school in combating the problem. Over 90 percent of the parents who attended the sessions said that they’ve felt more confident dealing with the bullying issues since the sessions. More-or-less the same percentage of participants said that the sessions made them more confident and thus prepared to engage with the local school in case their child was involved in a bullying situation.
The training sessions return
Deriving encouragement from the positive impact of last year’s anti-bullying parent training sessions, Quinn announced a funding of €60,000 for the Anti-Bullying Parent Training Program 2014. Holding the parent training sessions for the second year in a row would definitely help to further reinforce the efforts of the government and organizations working to eliminate the threat of bullying from schools. The Minister of Education and Skills seems to be convinced about the major role that parents have to play in dealing with the bullying behavior among kids.
How the anti-bullying training session can help curb bullying
The anti-bullying parent training sessions can contribute significantly to the uprooting of the threat from schools. By educating parents about the problem and helping them gain a better understanding of it, it becomes easier to make them realize the importance of their role in combating it. They may also be made to realize how they may be adding to the problem of aggression in kids themselves. The sessions can also help parents to identify early signs and symptoms of trouble so that they may make a timely intervention. Teaching parents how they can deal with different situations of bullying in an effective and conclusive manner can also help in discouraging kids from engaging in further acts of bullying or hiding their victimization from concerned adults. Most importantly, it can guide parents on how they can instill resilience and empathy in their offspring.
The fight against bullying is s too much for the schools to handle alone. By making parents realize their portion of the responsibility, the problem can be dealt with far more effectively. The Minister of Education and Skills has indeed taken a step in the right direction by backing a program that is aimed at preparing parents to undertake their share of the responsibility.