Although bullying, called bullying, is a relatively new term, since it was coined around 1980 in the United Kingdom, for Tania García, an expert pedagogue in respectful education and founder of the school for families Edurespect, harassment, which celebrates this Thursday May 2 its World Day of Awareness, is something that has always been present. “And for its eradication there needs to be a radical transformation in society. Now there are more and more cases and they occur at an earlier age, even in some cases it can be fatal. The mistake is that we focus on changing the bullied or punishing the bully, which in my opinion is useless. The key is to educate from respect at home and at school ”, the expert emphasizes.
In Spain, the Ministry of Education reported this week that it has detected 5,557 possible cases of bullying in a year, of which seven out of ten (73%) had been taking place for months or years, and half (54%) practically daily (data collected through Anti-Bullying Telephone of the Ministry, the 900 018 018). The data represents a decrease to almost half compared to the same period of the previous year, when 25,366 calls were answered. The Ministry attributes this drop to the fact that several autonomous communities launched their own telephones against harassment.
For García, “the germ of bullying is that we do not treat our children well”: “We treat them without respect, shouting, with slaps, with punishments, which leads them to normalize violence.” Given this, for the expert there can be two situations that affect the minor. The first is to become the harassed, assimilating as normal that others treat them badly or, on the contrary, that they become the harasser, because the only way they have to communicate is by mistreating others, “because they don’t know any other way ”.
How we treat our children not only has consequences in childhood and adolescence, but also affects the evolution of the individual himself, an evolution in which low self-esteem or feelings of guilt are often sustained over time. “They are people who, for example, have been harassed at school and then also at work as adults. They have not been educated from respect: without labels, without blackmail, without bad words, ”reiterates the expert.
“We live in a society in which violence is normalized. I always give an example. If we are in a shopping center and we see a man who tries or hits his partner it seems very bad, and we even try to help him. Instead of a woman it is an animal, it seems worse to us. But, on the other hand, if we see a father giving a cake or a slap to his son, it seems normal to us “, García continues. As he explains, we are perpetuating, we are directly responsible, of all that education that allows punishment, shouting, horrible techniques of punishment such as the thinking chair etc., “and this has to change”: “It is never too late to educate in respect. And doing so will not only affect the future of our children, but also affects today, their present.
García recommends that to educate from respect be taken into account:
- You have to be empathetic. Having empathy does not mean agreeing with what is happening, “but it does mean understanding what is happening. Putting ourselves in the other’s shoes ”.
- The emotional accompaniment: “Maybe many times, we don’t understand what happens to our son and he doesn’t know how to explain it, but we’re there, he can count on us.”
- You always have to remain calm, “we have to understand that our child is growing, that for example, if he is very young, his emotions are coming to light, he is a little one who is emotionally flourishing”, so it is normal that don’t control them.
- Work on self-esteem. Make him see that what he feels, what he is, that what is happening to him is valuable.
- Assertiveness. Assertive language, choosing your words very well, and active listening are essential to educate in respect. Know how to be, pay 100% attention.
- Treat him as you would like to be treated: “Example is everything.”
- Teach him to set limits with others. “An example is when we almost forced them to kiss their grandparents, simply because they were. The kiss, like any other gesture that affects us, must be free ”.
- Finally, we must be consistent: what we say is how we should act.
Working at home is the responsibility of the parents, but in the classroom, at the school, “today the measures to counteract bullying are poor. Typically, teachers can see bullying. What happens is that having normalized violence they do not know when to warn or act. My advice is that from the moment we see the first ugly gesture, the one that makes the child suffer, a rudeness, an emptiness, at that moment, we must act. They are warning signs, we cannot let it go. And, of course, the work must be done jointly by the parents, the school and the children ”, concludes García roundly.