Sunday, September 13, 2009

VA: Qualitative Research and Interviews.

Bullies seem to be present in everyone's childhood. There is always that older or meaner kid that makes your life living hell. Even though it seems like a natural part of growing up, it can have long-term, damaging effects on a child's self-esteem and personality. I interviewed a group of people in their early 20s for whom bullying is in the past. A lot of information I got is relevant for the kids these days and proves my previous research. Below is a chart I created on my Daytum account that proves that most people were bullied in their early years. You can see more information on my profile.

I also wanted to see the problem from a parent's perspective, so I interviewed Andrea Khan, academic advisor in the ARC. Andrea is a parent of three children, ages nine, six and three.
Here are some things that I thought were interesting.

Do you prepare your children for situations when someone will try to bully them? If so, what do you say?
-Remove yourself from the situation, get away from them.
-Tell a teacher.
-Identify who your friends are.

What would be your initial reaction to finding out that someone is bullying your children?
Depends on the situation. If it is happening at the school, the school should know. If it is outside, she will talk to the parent. Andrea also makes sure the children know what to do if bullying happens again.

Bullying is largely about intolerance. What do you do to teach your children to be accepting and kind to those who are different?
"Talk about people being different. Kids are naturally nicer, more curious and less judgmental," says Andrea. Andrea also explains her children that the person they encounter is perfectly fine the way he is, even if he acts or looks the way they've never seen before. She also says that exposure to cultural or societal differences helps to make children more tolerant. Andrea also made a good point by saying that we are sending children a mixed message. We are telling them to be accepting of everyone and friendly to everyone, but at the same time we warn them not to trust dangerous people that offer you candy or want to give you a ride. She also talks to her children about race and how the things changed, but there are still racial intolerance.

Do you know any parents who deal or dealt with the bullying problem? If so, what was the problem and their actions?
One of Andrea's friends has a granddaughter who went to school with a girl that was bullied by a stronger, meaner girl. Andrea's friend suggested that the two girls should be friends. The granddaughter befriended the bullied girl and the bullying stopped. "If you don't engage in the bully's game, they lose interest," says Andrea.

Do you have any other thoughts or ideas?
Self-esteem is key to anti-bullying. A parent threat also works: "My mom is so mean, you don't want to deal with her."

I am also planning to talk to Bambi Bugard, mother of two little girls, on Monday to get more information.

No comments: