Miss Caitlin Anderson – Wellbeing Health Promotion Officer
Relationships play an integral role in shaping all areas of a child’s development.
They teach a child how to: explore, observe and problem solve; communicate thoughts and emotions through words, facial expression and body language; think and understand; develop social and gross motor skills. In this way, we recognise and appreciate that every relationship is unique.
Interestingly, studies show that children who grow up in an emotion-rich language environment are more likely to have a higher emotional intelligence and social skill set, allowing them to stick up for others who may be ‘victims’ in bullying. This can be achieved by regularly naming and observing different emotions through: reading story books; watching movies; and reflecting on our daily interactions.
As a school, we are dedicated to teaching our students about the intricacies of relationships, and the ingredients needed to foster a positive one. This is achieved through programs such as True Relationships, Real Men Read, Teen Mental Health First Aid, Man Up and Take My Ride, to name a few.
For the fourth year in a row, last week we recognised the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence. Our Director of Counselling and Wellbeing Health, Dr Angela Zagoren, shared traits of a modern day ‘bully’ – one that rarely resembles Nelson from the Simpsons, but more commonly a popular or well-liked student. According to the National School Definition of Bullying, these situations are not once-off attacks, but rather an ‘ongoing, deliberate misuse of power either online or in-person to cause physical, social and/or psychological harm.’
Dr Zagoren also shared that approximately 50% of children who have experienced bullying-like behaviour have used that against another child at some point. Similarly, those involved in bullying are more likely to see changes in their academic performance and experience depression later in life.
So where to from here?
We know that children benefit when there is a strong partnership between schools and families. We also acknowledge that children can ‘make mistakes’. Here at TSS, we are fortunate to have systems in place that allow all of our students to not only feel safe and secure while at school (TSS Counselling, Stymie, Deans, Who’s On Your Team); but to also provide a learning opportunity when addressing poor behaviour.
So as part of this year’s NDA theme of ‘Take Action Together’, we encourage you to start a conversation in your family about relationships. Help your children increase their emotional literacy by actively discussing emotions, help them understand that people and feelings can change, tough situations will always pass, and that there is always a solution.