Growing sunflowers from seed or running the spatuala around the inside of her great-grandmother’s baking bowl as she removes the remnants of banana bread or coffee cake, just two surefire ways, to raise her spirit from the clutches of anxiety! You too can find the sun within your clouds!
In my previous post…Bullying & Beyond…2.Really Listen!…I wrote about the importance of Listening. When somebody, be it a child or an adult, is distressed as a result of bullying, just having somebody who is willing to listen to them can make a huge difference to how they feel. Your first reaction may be to rush in and immediately solve everything but instead be patient and listen.
Here are some simple tips I found helpful,
1.Acknowledge your child’s emotional state -say that you can see how upset, angry etc., they are.
2.Remove or resist any distractions.
3.Make sure you can clearly hear what your child is saying.
4. Focus your attention and concentrate.
5. Be patient, listen to the whole story.
6. Make encouraging, agreeable sounds to show you are paying attention…’mmm,’ ‘I see,’ ‘oh right’.
7. Avoid making judgements – take time to consider before offering solutions.
8. Ask questions to clarify.
9. Keep an open mind.
10. Summarise or sum up what you heard, ‘so the main problem was’ or ‘if I understand properly you feel…’to let them know you understand exactly.
Remember to pay attention to their tone of voice and observe their body language, which can give you insights or hidden messages which they may not be able to voice.
If you agree on any particular course of action or efforts to address the issue, be sure and follow through. Listening needs to be followed up with evidence of action, even if it’s only arranging follow-up conversations. If you fail to follow-through, your child may get the impression that what they have confided just goes in one ear and out the other.
For any victim of bullying, building and maintaining trust is so important and this can’t happen unless you stick to your word.
I hope you find this helpful. Please feel free to share any experience you have had which would have benefitted from active and effective listening.
Alternatively please share some effective approaches you have used. I would love to learn what worked for you.
Welcome to Monday’s memory lane where I share an old post…
In this post I considered the word “Measure”…
A common noun, a thing, a word with a lot of meanings such as the size or quantity of something. It can also mean a unit of size or quantity, such as the size of our home or the quantity or amount of friends we are blessed with. Measure can also mean extent, the range over which something extends; its area, such as the ground our home covers or the extent to which we can depend on our friends or them on us. Measure can also mean action taken, law or even be applied to poetry as poeticalrhythm.
So if one word can have so many meanings and mean so many different things, surely, that’s all the more reason to be measured in the words we use and the things we say.
How often do we stop and measure what we are about to say before we rush headlong into saying it without thought of the consequences.
Has life always been measured or depending on your social standing, not measured at all? Are we either highly valued or of no value?
Do we measure ourselves only by comparing ourselves to others? I envy your attitude, your ability to remain positive in the face of adversity. What a measured put-down and denial of our own measure.
Just check out social media if you are unsure of how you measure yourself. To what extent is our success, popularity and acceptance measured by the number of likes, shares, followers and retweets achieved?
I’m not a professionally qualified Counsellor or expert on bullying but I am a mother who has gained knowledge and experienced of bullying through the lives of our two children.
I have as part of my Degree in Adult Education studied the Psychology of Adult Education and Counselling in Adult Education and found both of these extremely helpful in understanding and coping with the situation we found ourselves in.
Our journey through bullying and its after effects spanned two decades (2002 to 2018) and as a result I’d like to offer my support to other parents who struggle with the impact of bullying on their children.
In these posts I’ll try to share some insights we’ve gained. My first…
1. TAKE HEART.
If your child is suffering the effects of bullying and if it is having a negative impact on every member of your family, try to remain calm and show a capable front. I know how upset you feel. I know that the last thing you can comprehend is that it will all work out just fine. But trust me… with determination to support your child, and by practicing self-care, you will reach a place of peace and progression!
I know because we were there and now we’ve reached that place of peace and progression and learned a lot as a result. My son summed up his journey through bullying in a nice quote; you can read about it here…Bullying…”I am grateful for it all”…
I hope you find this helpful. And I hope to write more on the subject of bullying.
Have you or your children experienced bullying? Is bullying still an issue for you or have you reached a place of peace and progression? Please feel free to share your experiences, it could help inform other parents, provide comfort or encourage somebody else through the distress of bullying.
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?