Parent involvement a way to prevent bullying

By Shine Salt
Navajo Times

FORT DEFIANCE, August 8, 2013

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D anelle Price remembers back in the eighth grade when a young boy was being bullied.

Like many who are bullied, this young boy committed suicide.

And like many, who commit suicide to get away from being bullied, they're typically good kids that had potential.

"I always think about that because he was a great person," said Price, who is the prevention specialist for the Diné Nation Boys & Girls Clun in Fort Defiance. "He was very smart and he was headed for success."

With school back in session for many across the Navajo Nation, those like Price are preparing for those who might come to them with questions on how to deal with being bullied.

There are ways to tell if a child is being bullied, Price says. When a child starts to act differently, such as being sad more often than not. The child may even become withdrawn, such as not wanting to go to school or on family trips.

"Find out why they don't want to," said Price. "Why is their mood or their attitude changing? If you get an answer it might be bullying."

Sometimes, according to Price, parents can be caught up in their daily schedule and become too busy.

Price advises, if a child is trying to inform the parents, the child must keep trying to seek help and not give up.

"Someone may not be paying attention and taking it serious but soon there will be someone," Price said.

There are different types of bullying.

Bullying can be verbal that can affect the person emotionally. Physical bullying involves hitting, shoving and pushing.

A study conducted by the Fort Defiance Office of Youth Development staff in 2012 showed that at the intermediate schools in Ganado and Sawmill, Ariz., more bullying occurred within the hallways, recess areas and even on the bus.

"We put the results on a big poster and gave it back to the school, said Nathaniel Natonabah, the senior counselor at the Office of Youth Development. "It gave a viewpoint where teachers needed to be to supervise if the bullying is occurring at these general areas. It helped create a change."

Natonabah said the students, who participated are anonymous and he had to get permission from the school.

Natonabah wants to do another survey at other schools from public to private starting from the beginning of the school year to the end.

"Even now we hear kids talking about people they knew who couldn't take bullying anymore and it shouldn't be this way," Price said. "These kids should be able to grow up and be happy. It takes all of us, especially parents to teach our kids."

Bullying can also happen in a relationship, when the partner does things such as spreads lies, or makes the person do things they don't want to.

Cyber bullying is one type of bullying that is becoming more prevalent with the increase in access to technology, says Price.

Often times though, Price says, it harder to monitor but parents need to monitor their child.

If a child is being bullied, proper steps is meeting with the school, putting your concerns in writing, request a meeting with the teacher or the principal, and along with the parents of the student who is doing the bullying.

"Do your best to be involved with your child's education," Price said. "You can even teach your own children that bullying is not OK and help your child by talking with them about what's right and what's wrong."

For those that hear their classmates or friends are being bullied, Price says, they can make all the difference, as friends are the ones who can influence the most.

"Encourage the person who is being bullied to get help together," Price said.

When a person is being bullied, sometimes the causes can be detrimental psychologically and may start to think they don't see any good coming out of their situation.

"When someone is bullied they have low self-esteem because when someone is telling them they're stupid, or they're ugly, or they're fat, over and over and there's no one there to tell them, no that's not true," Price said. "They start to feel worthless or (that) nobody cares.

"(They begin to think) there's just no one there to help them realize those things that are being said about them are not true."

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