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Bullying & Beyond…this is the reality

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

 

Trigger alert…this post is upsetting.

Lives are destroyed by bullying.

Children’s mental, emotional and psychological health damaged not only in the short-term but often into the long-term.

Lives are lost, too often, to bullying.  Children unable to cope with the torture inflicted on them by bullies sadly see no way out, other than to take their lives.

I might be writing this from Ireland and this story may refer to Yarraka Bayles, a boy on the other side of the world but the location is irrelevant… bullying is bullying and this is the reality for another child and another family. It is a horrific, upsetting reality.

This bullying is focused on dwarfism.  But if it wasn’t about dwarfism it would be about anything else the bully decided they didn’t like about their victim such as their weight or even their accent.  Take a few moments to educate yourself and then take a few moments to educate your children… because this is a reality that is totally avoidable and it is a reality no child or parents deserve!
Le grà,
Mindfully Marie xx

Bullying & Beyond…You can make a difference

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

 

The following “Tips for a better internet together” offers some very practical advice which I’d encourage parents and guardians to discuss with their children.  These simple tips could make a big difference to someone who is experiencing bullying.

“1. Reach out to someone you know is being bullied.  A simple message of support, a like, or a smile can be enough to give hope to someone who feels alone.

2. Include someone you see being isolated.  Invite them to sit with you at lunch, include them in a chat, share jokes with them.

3.  Make a clear statement that you think bullying is unacceptable and not just another part of growing up.  Sharing or liking anti-bullying messages on social networks is a simple way of doing this.  You might even go further and create your own.

4.  Say ‘No’ or ‘Stop’ when you see someone behaving unfairly.  Standing up takes real courage but not doing it is the same as giving your permission for someone to be bullied.

5.  Get help from an adult if you think that standing up to a bully might put you at risk of being hurt or becoming the next target.  You might not always be able to fix things without putting yourself at risk, but you can always do the right thing – and that means getting help.  In fact telling a parent or teacher is usually the moment when the situation stops getting worse and starts being dealt with.

6. Report it.  All good schools and clubs have ways for you to report bullying incidents.  Find out what they are and use them.  You can also click the report abuse button on websites like Facebook and Twitter.  They all have to take reports seriously and remember they won’t reveal the identity of the person making the report.

7.  Don’t bully back no matter how angry you feel.  You should never accept bullying but don’t cross the line and bully the bully.  It’s ok to point out that the bullying should stop but it’s not ok to send abusive messages in retaliation.  It makes it more difficult to get help from your school.  They might even end up punishing you too.”

Source: http://www.webwise.ie

MySelfie and the wider world

Webwise Primary Anti-Cyber Bullying Teachers’ Handbook

What advice do you give your children if they see someone being bullied?

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

 

Bullying & Beyond…Acceptance & Resistance

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

 

The turning point came, the day I learned to accept our son John’s inability to attend school or to live a functioning life.  His life had become dysfunctional because of school bullying.  I shared some of the backstory in Bullying & Beyond… Painting the pain, part three.

Learning to accept his dysfunction as a result of bullying, was a slow process but it was the catalyst for change which allowed him to break free of his dysfunction and move forward with his life.  I shared that in Bullying & Beyond… “Acceptance”, Love & Time.

Our daughter Emma also suffered at the hands of bullies and sadly we are, to this day, still dealing with the aftermath.

It has been a struggle to stay strong and be resilient.  It was often one step forward and two steps back.

But yesterday I remembered the power of acceptance and I let go resistance.  I see yesterday as two steps forward and one step back and that is progress, it is a sign of change to come…

Let me try to explain…

We attempted to drive to Newbridge to visit Newbridge Silverware’s Doris Day exhibition.  You might like to learn about this wonderful event here… https://visitnewbridgesilverware.com/doris-day

We got half way there when Emma could no longer contain her anxiety.

Yesterday was our second attempt, the first attempt we achieved about a third of the journey so yesterday there was progress.

But the biggest progress for me was remembering my ‘acceptance‘ of John’s dysfunction, thanks to the reminder of my Psychologist to let go ‘resistance,’

I was able to make peace with this event and love Emma for herself.  She did her best. We did our best. We sat in our car, in a service station, having a coffee while Emma took a short walk and some air.  We made peace with the situation.  We were truly grateful and expressed our gratitude for that time, that moment, having coffee, having family time, living life to the best we can.

We turned for home with no regrets or upset or shattered expectations but with happy hearts and later last night, Emma announced that she wants to try again next Saturday!

This exhibition means a lot to Emma.  She adores Doris Day and that entire era.  She is training her dog, named ‘Doris’ after Doris Day, to be the first recognised Psychiatric Assistance Dog in Ireland.  She is pushing politicians to recognise this existing EU law, in Ireland.  It is a slow process. I would love you to give her some support as she shares her IG account at dorismakesmyday.

I shared some of Emma & Doris’ backstory in Petition please support…Bullying & Beyond… Painting the Pain, Part II

If you are relatively new here, thank you for reading.  Thank you to my regular readers for your comforting presence as we journey and learn life lessons together.  Your company makes all the difference.

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

Bullying & Beyond…Dealing with Cyberbullying

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

 

School bullying, particularly cyberbullying is very upsetting.  Parents can’t afford to sit back and avoid educating themselves about cyber/online bullying.

A good place to start, is with this simple advice on Dealing with Cyberbullying.

1.DON’T REPLY TO MESSAGES that harass or annoy you.  Even though you may really want to, this is exactly what the sender wants.  They want to know that they’ve got you worried or upset.

2.  KEEP THE MESSAGE  You don’t have to read it, but keep it.  If you keep getting messages that upset you, you will need to have evidence in order to get help.

3.  BLOCK THE SENDER  You don’t need to put up with somebody harassing you.  Simply click the ‘block’ button.

4.  TELL SOMEBODY YOU TRUST  Talking to your friends, parents, a teacher you trust, or guidance counsellor is usually the first step in dealing with any issue.  If you need to talk to someone straight away please call Childline on 1800 66 66 66.

Have you or your children experenced school bullying or cyberbullying? Is so, how did you deal with it?

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

A resource of the National Centre for Technology in Education – Professional Development Service for Teachers

Available at webwise primary pdf

 

Bullying & Beyond…Defining Bullying

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

 

Have you ever considered what bullying is, and what bullying is not?

In Ireland, the Department of Education’s definition of bullying is “Unwanted negative behaviour, verbal, psychological or physical, conducted by an individual or group against another person (or persons) and which is repeated over time.”

Therefore there are 3 important flags to watch out for in defining behaviour as bullying behaviour, namely…

1.  There must be INTENT (DELIBERATE)

2.  There must be an IMBALANCE OF POWER

3.  It must be REPEATED OVER TIME

However there is an exception in that it is deemed a cyber-bullying offence, if a child is bullied just once, via an open social media platform; where hurtful information or images can be reshared.

I hope you found this post helpful and that you feel confident in defining what bullying is and what bullying is not.

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

 

Bullying & Beyond…the challenges?

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

 

I have been writing on the topic of bullying since late last year and I greatly appreciate all the support, encouragement and insightful feedback and comments which I have received to my Bullying & Beyond posts!

In order to access the most up to date information available on bullying and gain some insights and understanding of the Government’s education policy regarding the prevention of bullying,  I decided to join a blended learning programme being offered by NABC; the National Anti Bullying Association of Ireland, entitled Bullying Prevention & Intervention Online Course for Teachers.  It is a ten week online programme which also includes two face to face sessions in DCU, Dublin City University, St Patrick’s, Drumcondra, in Dublin.

And so, I would like to invite you to share your thoughts with me and in doing so, help me inform my answer to the first question we have been posed…

What do you think are the greatest challenges teachers face when dealing with bullying behaviours?

I look forward to your thought provoking responses!

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie

Bullying & Beyond…”I was only messing…”

 

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

 

When our son was being bullied and he told the bullies to ‘stop’ they wouldn’t stop.  When we sought help in school we were told “Sometimes you have to stand up for yourself.”  When he stood up for himself and physically fought back, it stopped some of the bullies.  Sometimes when one bully started a bout of verbal bullying others would join in and John would be out-numbered and unable to put an end to the unwanted taunting and teasing.

That sadly was the unpredictable and repeated reality for our son.

Some days school was what it was meant to be, a happy educational and social environment.  He came home to us full of chat, in great form and ready to engage with after school sports or other hobbies.

But other days the school torment returned…

Slowly we noticed him retreat into himself and take refuge in his room.  He started to delay getting ready for school and for his hobbies.  We couldn’t understand what was happening to him.  He couldn’t sleep and soon developed insomnia.  We took him to his GP.  Many rows centered around him always being late. He began to drop away from his hobbies and miss more time from school.  We felt all our efforts to communicate in a positive and respectful manner were met instead with fits of temper.  Now we know that he was unable to voice the painful abuse he was enduring, his behaviour was his only way of showing us his distress.

Bullies are cunning.  Part of their power lies in the unpredictability of their attack and in their ability to silence and keep their victim in fear.

His tormentors knew that over time, with sustained and unpredictable abuse they could break him.

“I was only messing”,

“I was only having a laugh”,

These are just two excuses that children offer when they are caught bullying another child and challenged for their behaviour.

As parents or teachers it is important to discuss with all children what bullying is and what bullying isn’t.  It is important to encourage children to talk about bullying, whether it is bullying they are experiencing, bullying they have witnessed or bullying they are perpetrating.

When boys are engaged in horseplay; which is a common way for adolescent boys to behave, the physicality is okay once all involved are willing participants.  But if one child is being targeted by another child or by a group of children and being verbally or physically mistreated then this behaviour is unwarranted and needs to be addressed.  Children buy into group behaviour and follow the lead of other more assertive children, often for fear of being a target themselves, if they don’t follow the bully’s lead.

As parents and teachers we can’t assume that all children understand when ‘messing,’ or ‘having a laugh,’ over-steps its boundary and is no longer just a bit of giddy fun.

Whether at home or in school, children need to be educated about bullying and made aware that when a child objects to any unwanted, continuous and upsetting behaviour, if it does not stop, then it is deliberate and willful bullying!  If bullying is left uncontested it can and will undermine the victim’s physical, psychological and emotional wellbeing.  If you would like to read about some of the consequences of bullying, we have shared our experiences in Bullying & Beyond… Painting the Pain, part one.

Have you ever discussed bullying with your child?  Have you ever watched your child retreat into themselves as a result of bullying?  Is “I was only messing” ever a good enough excuse?

Le gra,

Mindfully Marie xx

Autumn Aglow…

Inspired by Frank at Dutch goes the Photo.

Today’s prompt… Fall

 

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The view last Autumn from our back door… A firewall of autumn aglow!

 

Don’t live your life in the shade, find your unique glow and share it! 

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

 

Bullying & Beyond… Blossom

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

via Daily Prompt: Blossom

 

‘NYCTINASTY’…that’s what it’s called when a flower closes in on itself at night to protect itself from a night-time chill or a nectar thief such as bats.

 

But when you watch your own child close in on themselves the ‘NYCTI’ vanishes from your mind and all that remains are the questions, those ‘NASTY’ nagging, unanswered questions!

 

You can see your child’s pain and of course being a parent, you can feel their pain but the worst pain is the helplessness you feel being unable to rightify their pain.

 

There are, you begin to realise, so many things outside your control but over time I’ve learnt that there is so much you CAN do…

 

You can regularly let your child know that you see that IT’S NOT EASY for them at the moment.

 

You can also voice, with confidence, even if you don’t feel confident, that you ARE THERE FOR THEM and that you have their back.

 

You can also be adult enough to realise that the temper tantrums and door slammings are their ONLY way of voicing what they are otherwise unable to verbalise.

 

Even when their words sting and hurt you to the core you can hold your tongue, which surprisingly is the strongest muscle in our body yet is possibly the weakest when we feel under attack!

 

The closing-in, the isolating self-protection you see in your child, unlike the flower’s nyctinasty, is not something that reverses itself overnight like the flower that reopen to the first rays of morning warmth.

 

Your child’s process of re-opening to the world, may take much longer… But be patient and ‘JUST LOVE’ your child and in time they will re-open to the world around them, and you will see how amazing it is when they BLOSSOM!

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

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