Nambour mums Sharn, Kylie and Nicole say taking part in the Healthy Harold Hundred is a way to give bullied children a voice and let them know that people in the community care.
Sharn, a busy mother of five, Kylie also a mother of five and Nicole a mum of two, are passionate about addressing the impacts of schoolyard bullying.
“One of our sons who is only eight years old has been bullied mercilessly. This is our way to give him a voice and say, ‘This is not okay,’” Sharn says.
“My daughter was also bullied at the start of Grade 1. She’d have little boys coming up and giving her wrist burns on her arm. I was constantly picking her up and finding her at the classroom with an icepack on her arm or her head because she had something thrown at her.”
Sharn is quick to point out that she is not blaming the children’s school for the situation, acknowledging that bullying is a complex issue that requires specialist expertise, time and resources.
“Although schools say they have no tolerance to bullying, it seems like the education system and teachers are under the pump,” Sharn says.
“They don’t have the time and the resources to help children who are being bullied, but also to give the appropriate care to the bullies to determine the root of the issue,” Sharn explains.
Holistic solution to bullying
Drawing upon her experience as an early childhood educator, Sharn says it’s important to help both the perpetrator of bullying and the child being bullied.
“There’s generally something causing the bully’s behaviour: whether they’ve been bullied themselves, or maybe there’s a lot going on at home – perhaps parents separating or maybe they’ve even witnessed domestic violence at home.”
“As for the person being bullied, sometimes children are told to just ignore the bullies, but there’s only so much a child can take before bullying eats away at their mental health.”
Standing up for mental health
Sharn says for parents in her circle, their greatest fear is that relentless bullying could push a child or teenager to extreme self-harm or even suicide.
“Every year we hear about children taking their own lives because they can’t deal with the bullying anymore and the children seem to be getting younger.
“As parents, it scares us. America is fighting a war on guns and parents are scared to send their kids to school because of shootings, and here in Australia, at some schools, we’re scared to send our children to school because of bullies.
“The fact is every child has the right to access a safe education.”
Halfway through the Healthy Harold Hundred challenge, Sharn is enjoying every step with her teammates to complete her 100 kilometres.
“As a mother of five, most of the time, I have no trouble covering 3.3ks every day,” Sharn says laughing. “We are taking on the kilometres and taking a stand against bullying. Bullying is a very big issue, and it needs to be tackled.”
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