It is something that had not really crossed my mind about schools until I saw the advertisement for Robert Pereira’s bullying seminar at Daystar – is there bullying at my daughter’s school? What about other schools in Beijing? I’ll spare the drama and answer my own questions – if there are more than two children at a school anywhere, there is some bullying going on. Robert’s seminar was not devoted so much to the underlying causes of bullying as much as the immediate reasons that children bully other children. Their reasons are simple enough and usually fall into the catch alls of envy, jealousy, and sheer boredom.
Before Robert’s three-day seminar began, I thought back over my own childhood experiences with bullying and how things were handled. I can recall times in my early childhood where I discussed matters with my mom, but later on, I distinctly recall avoiding telling my parents about events in middle school and high school. I’m not even certain why. Maybe I thought parents wouldn’t understand the social intricacies of teenage life. Whatever my reasoning, the one time I felt concern for my own physical safety, I do remember confiding in an older sibling. Thankfully, my brother intervened on my behalf and the situation was resolved, though he never told me directly about his involvement (sneaky older brother). Yet despite my own recollections on the subject, I didn’t give bullying any consideration when it came to picking schools or even how to assist our kids when they encounter bullying or worse, if they start bullying other kids. As a parent, what do you do?
Thankfully, Robert’s seminar covered all of this and more. Robert Pereira is an educator and an educational consultant with a penchant for subject of bullying. His experience in the classroom with children of all ages is evident in the stories he shares in his seminar and in his book, “Why We Bully” which is driven by real accounts from children on the subject. He has worked with hundreds of school in Australia and New Zealand, and in recent years, has traveled to Singapore, South Korea, and China to help children, educators, and we parents, to understand the ways of the bully and the bullied.
The three days were divided into three sessions: an overview of why children bully and specific girl and boy issues, applying PET skills to addressing girl issues, and applying those same skills to boy issues. Thankfully, Robert arms parents with the basic skills to listen to their children with an empathetic ear and to sort out the root of the problem when a child has experienced or witnessed bullying. He also went on to give some tips on how a parent can help their children to deal with these situations.
As a parent, the seminar was invaluable, but what was painfully obvious was the need for Robert to present his workshop to the teachers, staff, and students of the school. And by school, I mean all schools. The knowledge that Robert shares, and the manner that he draws the lessons out of children’s own experiences is transformative. His seminar can alter young lives in ways that are difficult to calculate, but can clearly rescue kids from lives of misery and make school’s better, safer, healthier learning environments for all children. Although Robert cannot reach every school, he does have lesson plans for schools and teachers that are prepared to address the problem of bullying that so many schools simply choose to overlook and ignore.
To find out when Robert is returning to Beijing (or to twist his arm to come back sooner), for resource material, or to simply to ask questions, visit www.bullying-prevention.com or email Robert at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos by Christopher Lay