Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): Preventing and stopping bullying involve a commitment to creating a safe environment where children can thrive socially and academically, without being afraid. Tracey Wattley, Guidance Counsellor at the Cayon High School highlighted several healthy ways to deal with students being bullied, adding that guidance counsellors work assiduously to foster a safe, supportive and encouraging environment for those affected.
“We encourage the child to speak about it. We [are] encouraged to bring them to a place where they can accept that… it is not really about me but it is about the person who is bullying,” said Ms. Wattley during her appearance on the October 27 edition of ‘Working for You’. “We encourage them to speak to their parents. If it is that the bullying would have messed with their self-esteem we encourage them to join groups that are positive that can help in terms of building their self-esteem.”
Guidance Counsellor Wattley said that parents are also encouraged to work along with their children, pay close attention to them and look out for any unusual behaviour.
“We also educate the parents on what they can do at home because a lot of work can be done at home like how to motivate them daily, exercise… and eating right. So those are some of the healthy ways that we encourage them in terms of what they can do in order to mitigate against the consequences of bullying,” she said.
She added that although the action is important to consider, the feeling behind the behaviour should also be taken into consideration.
“One of the things that we often say as counsellors is that the behaviour for us is minor. What we want to look at is the feeling behind the behaviour. So, what is it that is making people feel this way? That is where we tackle it from if it is that you feel ashamed if it is that you feel neglected. Those are the aspects in terms of what it is we deal with from the counselling end of it,” said Ms. Wattley.
Ms. Wattley encouraged bullied students to find the courage to report it to a parent, a guidance counsellor or an adult that they trust.