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Bullying & Beyond…20 Knowledge is Power!

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Time and the right conditions not only preserve but bring about something of beauty – Marie Clancy.

In a previous post I wrote about the importance of finding and using your voice…Bullying & Beyond…17. Stand up, speak up!

So where can you start?

Start with a confident front, let your child see that you can handle this upsetting situation, even if underneath you are emotionally upset and probably unsure where to begin.

The first thing you can do is quip yourself with information, search the internet, empower yourself through learning.  Remember these three words…”knowledge is power” and knowledge will ensure you are no longer stuck…

Write a list of things you can do, which could include…

1. Contact your child’s class teacher or the teacher your child feels they have a connection with and trust most. Initially make contact by phone or by letter, be discreet, limit your physical contact with the school as your presence may be observed by the bullies and cause repercussions for your child.

2. If the bullying persists, arrange an appointment with the school Principal, again be discreet as in point 1 above.  Have a list or record of bullying events so that you communicate the details accurately and effectively.

3. Consult your General Practitioner for medical support. In Ireland you need a G.P., referral to access Counselling, Psychology or Psychiatric support.

In Ireland you can also…

4. Contact a member of the Board of Management, a member of the Parents Association (most schools have a Parents Association) or the National Parents Council. Read more about NPC here… http://www.npc.ie

5. TUSLA, The Child and Family Agency is now the dedicated State agency responsible for improving wellbeing and outcomes for children. Read more about TUSLA here… https://www.tusla.ie/services/educational-welfare-services/service-strands/the-statutory-educational-welfare-service/

Under the Education (Welfare)  Act, 2000 Educational Welfare Officers (EWOs) of TUSLA, the Child and Family Agency work with young people and their families who are experiencing difficulty with school attendance. Their main priority is around the welfare of children and young people and ensuring that concerns and problems around attendance are addressed before attendance becomes a crisis issue. Read more here… https://www.tusla.ie/services/educational-welfare-services/service-strands/

In schools participating in the Department of Education and Skill’s DEIS initiative (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools), the Educational Welfare Services of the Child and Family Agency have responsibility for operational management of two school-based support services – the Home School Community Liaison Scheme and the School Completion Programme. You might like to read more here… https://www.tusla.ie/services/educational-welfare-services/school-support-services-under-the-deis-initiative/

If you are not getting the answers or support you need, schools in Ireland also have the support of NEPS; the National Educational Psychological Services.

NEPS psychologists work with both primary and post-primary schools and are concerned with learning, behaviour, social and emotional development. They work in partnership with teachers, parents and children in identifying educational needs. Read more about NEPS here…www.education.ie/en/Schools-Colleges/Services/National-Educational-Psychological-Service-NEPS-/NEPS-Home-Page.html

If your school does not inform you of the availability of this service, request that the NEPS Psychologist is contacted or contact them yourself as I did.

NEPS, National Educational Psychological Service https://www.education.ie/en/Schools-Colleges/Services/National-Educational-Psychological-Service-NEPS-/Information-for-Parents.html

If you or your child are/have been bullied then I would like to hear from you. Was it difficult to find information and the support you needed?

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

Bullying & Beyond…17. Stand up, speak up!

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Time and the right conditions not only preserve but bring about something of beauty – Marie Clancy.

 

 

Your child is or has been bullied at school and you have found an opportunity to talk to them, making a written record of events as you discuss them, without being caught up in frustrating and emotionally upsetting arguments. Now pause to acknowledge the progress you have made, you’ve managed to… 6.Avoid the hook!

You’re now aware and can understand that the changes in behaviour you’ve seen are signs of bullying. Those signs probably included your child;

avoiding situations,
reducing their academic performance,
refusing to go to school,
lacking motivation, wanting to achieve goals but showing perfectionist traits, then appearing paralysed,
disappointed by not living up to the high standards they set themselves,
withdrawing into themselves,
being stressed, having emotional outbursts,
showing signs of anxiety, depression, OCD or specific phobias,
consuming excess alcohol, or maybe using drugs,
getting into trouble in school,
being charged with social disorder,
or engaging in self-harm
then…

If you are like me,
you probably struggle to know what to do.

You are unsure of where to turn next.

You are probably paralysed like we were.

You probably struggled to even accept the situation.

You wanted to wave a magic wand and fix everything…

If any of the above resonates with you, it is very important that you are pro-active. Do not allow bullying to render you paralysed. Your child might not want you to speak up for fear of making the situation worse or been seen as ‘a grass’ or a ‘cry-baby’. You must be very discreet but you must seek out support to help you stand up and speak up to bullying!

In this post I help you list what you can do.  Bullying & Beyond…20 Knowledge is Power!

Have you noticed your child’s behaviour changing? Have you struggled to understand the changes you’ve noticed.  Can you see it from a different perspective now?

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

Bullying & Beyond…5.Loneliness

 

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Time and the right conditions not only preserve but bring about something of beauty – Marie Clancy.

 

In my previous post I wrote about the importance of self-care, you might like to read it 4.Self-care x 10! When you or your children are struggling to cope with bullying it is very important to continue to practice self-care during and after the event.   Being bullied can cause strong feelings of loneliness which come from the isolation of bullying. Bullying thrives on isolation and fear. Lack of access to information, lack of support and worse still lack of knowing which way to turn or who to ask for help all serve to enhance the isolation and loneliness you feel!

The loneliness was something I found hardest to cope with as I struggled to find answers and effective support.

But there is help out there.  Don’t allow yourself to be rendered voiceless.

So I want YOU to know that I am here for YOU and YOU are not alone…reach out, share your concerns and talk about the bullying you or your child are experiencing.

What has been your experience of the loneliness of bullying?  How would you describe the loneliness of bullying?  How did you overcome it?

Much love,

Mindfully Marie xx

 

 

“Acceptance” on Monday’s Memory Lane…

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In this post I tried to share a parent’s exhilaration and gratitude at the sound of a toilet being flushed! I fully understand if you are confused and I invite you to step into my shoes by reading along…ACCEPTANCE!

Have you or your children struggled with the impact of school bullying?  How did it impact your/their/your families life/lives? Can you recall the first sign of recovery and how it made you feel?

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

Bullying & Beyond…4.Self-care x 10!

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Time and the right conditions not only preserve but bring about something of beauty – Marie Clancy.

In my previous post on bullying I shared some listening tips I found helpful  Read it here

Another important aspect of listening, when bullying is an issue for you or your children, is listening to what your own body is telling you.

When you are stressed you might notice that you behave in ways that are out of character.  Examples could include cancelling a day out with a friend, missing time at work or increasing your consumption of food or drink, as a source of comfort.  You might realise you feel anxious and ready to snap at those around you.  If this sounds very familiar then self-care is the answer.

There is a well known saying… “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”   No matter how tough we think we are, any on-going, distressing situation can wear down our resilience and make us want to run as far away as possible from the upset.  I’ve been there, many times, when I felt helpless to improve the situation for both our children.  I felt totally stressed and unable to concentrate on other aspects of my life.

Thankfully I realised the importance of self-care.  I realised I could not be a source of support to others if I did not look after my own health and welfare first.

To be your best self and function at peak capability, particularly at a time of crisis, YOU need to make time and space for YOU.  

I can’t emphasise enough, the importance of that last sentence!  Self-care might initially involve some professional counselling support for you or your child.  Finding a Counsellor or Psychologist experienced in the area of bullying, and building a positive relationship based on trust, will be the corner-stone to making progress.

Another important part of self-care is finding ways to forget your worries. Part of the reason why I developed this blog and called it “Create Space” was to “create” some “space” for me, to zone out from my concerns, and focus instead on my interests and the positives in my life. This creative space helped me recharge.  I forgot my worries and built my resilience!

Try to find what lights your fire, whether it is joining a yoga class or having coffee with a friend.  Try a walk in the fresh air if you can’t think of anything that would brighted your day.  Self-care will nurture your inner child, lift your spirit, help you put things into perspective and clear your head to enable you consider new solutions.

Remember to practice Self-care!  Better still practice “Self-care, times 10!”

I hope you found this helpful or maybe you know someone who might find it helpful.  I’d love to hear your thoughts. What happens when you neglect self-care?  What’s the last thing you did for fun? How does having “me” time make you feel and why would you recommend it?

Much love,

Mindfully Marie xx

 

Bullying & Beyond… 16. Social Media, a Silent killer!…

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Time and the right conditions not only preserve but bring about something of beauty – Marie Clancy.

 

I’m always grateful when readers share their experiences with me, it starts a conversation on bullying and prompts further reflection.

I’d like to share two such responses to my post, Bullying & Beyond… 10.Painting the pain, part three.

Paula at Paula Light https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/74951

bravely said “I was bullied for being fat and nerdy and bad at sports. Thank God I could get away from the kids outside of school and escape into books and tv shows. I also found my own hobbies, such as needlepoint. But today, with social media, there’s no escape. That’s the worst ~ I can’t imagine the horror of never escaping the peer group.

Parikhit Dutta at Weeping Pines https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/56154764

responded with empathy saying…
“I’m so glad for you Paula. It can be so frustrating to live the pains of bullying always, never being able to escape. And isn’t it a silent killer”.

My thanks to both Paula and Parikhit for prompting this post.

I can, from experience, confirm that bullying via social media is as noxious as poison gas, it is a silent killer!  

One Christmas while we were enjoying a family gathering our daughter was suffering in silence in the midst of us, as bullies targeted her with vile and upsetting messages on social media.   We were oblivious to this happening until our daughter could no longer contain her distress and broke down telling us.  Even after the girls in question were reprimanded and made close their social media accounts, the bullying continued because they were able to create new accounts using fake identification.

Bullying & Beyond… 10.Painting the Pain, part one.

Social media enables bullies to infiltrate the victim’s home; often the only safe space victims have. Online bullying is omnipresent, affecting children, adults and even Politicians, as we’ve seen during the United Kingdom’s Brexit attempts.

When bullying is frequent and continues over a protracted period it can cripple the victim leaving them distressed and confused. The implications can be life long, leaving them with low confidence and self-esteem, and can cause them intense dislike of themselves for being too fat, too thin, nerdy, shy or a miriad of other perfectly normal human characteristics just because a bully decided these traits were “unacceptable”.

Other sign of distress can include mood swings, anxiety, depression, insomnia, panic attacks, eating disorders, OCD, and finally but not exhaustively, self-harm until another innocent, tormented life could be lost to bullying.

Having witnessed the effect of online bullying I’d like to highlight to parents the distress children feel at, the horror of never escaping from this silent killer.”  I’d also like to stress the lasting impact of bullying and encourage parents, adults & society to be vigilant.

Have you or your children been bullied? Did you/they experience “the horror of never escaping the peer group” because of the pervasiveness of social media? Did you watch this silent killer in action?

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

carpenter, mile, Jupiter…

 

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For you,

Just you…

I’d beg a carpenter

To craft

Something,

as authentic as you.

 

For you,

In bare feet

I’d walk many a mile

And back

With a smile.

 

For you I’d implore

Jupiter,

chief Roman god,

the god of light,

of the sky and weather,

To bridge

the distance

between us,

So I

can give you

all the love,

I have to give!

 

Just so, you know,

That you are loved!

 

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

Paula’s Three Things Challenge.

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/74951/posts/2217660651

 

Bullying & Beyond… 15. Sympathy?

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Time and the right conditions not only preserve but bring about something of beauty – Marie Clancy.

When dealing with bullying, empathy is key as shared in Bullying & Beyond… 11. Resilience.

Another hurdle we faced when trying to search out help for our son was the problem of sympathy.  We were told by a responsible adult, that our son would be dealt with in a more “sympathetic” way.

Children, just like our son, who are being bullied, need to know that others care about them and are sorry about what they are going through.

Some children, particularly boys and teenagers might be embarrassed by being in the spot-light receiving sympathy.  They may not want others feeling sorry for them.

Sympathy while supportive can reinforce a child’s belief that there is something wrong with them and can make a child worry that they are at fault.  It may take the locus of blame off the bully, where it rightly lies. Too much sympathy can compound feeling of helplessness and of being powerless.

I believe that every child, be they a bully or bullied… need sympathy backed up by action.

My trust and respect was weakened when I asked one adult in a position of responsibility, if they had ever seen a case like our son’s, as he had been struggling with school not just in the short term but over the majority of his time in secondary school and I was amazed to receive a resounding “No.” This answer exemplified the fractured and broken school system that enabled bullying to flourish.

I believe the solution lies in education for all involved, including regular professional development opportunities to raise awareness of the short and long-term effects of bullying.

Did you or your child receive sympathy, how did it make you feel? Were you able to access competent, professional support when needed?

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

 

Bullying & Beyond… 14. “Acceptance”, Love & Time.

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Emma and Andy, besotted and at peace.

 

I wrote this post one morning as I really struggled to cope, to accept, to hope…ACCEPTANCE!

When I think back I can still recall how visceral my emotion was that morning.

We had struggled under the weight of both our children being victims of bullying and its short and long term consequences.  We watched both our children suffer and we searched for answers to many questions…

With no avenues left to follow, sadly one day we were forced to accept that the situation was outside of our control.  I recall the pain of frustration and of what felt like failure.

We offered it up to God, to the Universe, to the silent expanse of the countryside… We were exhausted, depleted and we knew we had to sit back and develop patience.

We tried to listen with love, we spoke with love and we encouraged with love. We learned to trust, to hope and to let go control.  We let go our need to fix, our need for things to be as we thought they should be.

As I look back now, it’s amazing how acceptance, love and time changes things!

Hardly two years on, time has intervened…

With time, he re-tuned his body clock.  He began to re-engage with life.  His motivation to study slowly improved.  He spoke of sitting his exams. We quietly encouraged him to do what he thought was best for him… And it worked!

He took back power over his own life.  He regained his voice; the damage from bullying being slowly put behind him.  He decided how he wanted his future to look…

Now reaching towards the end of his second term of college we see… that acceptance, love and time... was the key.

For our daughter, who continues to struggle with her mental health, a mischievous puppy named Andy may well be… the key!

If you’d like to follow their journey as Andy works to become the first Psychiatric Service Dog in Ireland and Emma resorts to training him herself, while continuing to lobby politicians; although losing hope that her months of requesting them to help her make this service available, will come to any fruition… then you can find them on Instagram @reallyhandyandy or on Facebook at Emma and Andy.

Has bullying impacted your life? What was the key to overcoming your challenge?

Much love,

Mindfully Marie xx

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