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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…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…Moving Forward with Hope…

 

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

 

This is a photo of  Emma and Doris taken in the run up to Christmas

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Doris has grown quite a lot in the past few months…

but so has her amazing mum Emma…

Emma shared her photo to her Instagram account.  Emma’s growth from this journey is evident in what she wrote about being relentlessly bullied in school…

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If you have experienced school bullying or your children have or are being bullied, don’t despair, there is always hope and because we’ve been there and have grown from our experience, we know you too can find peace and move forward with hope!

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

 

 

 

 

Present…the best present…

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Emma was fully present, lost in flow as she created this gingerbread house, a replica of our home and I just love it!

 

Present

P… for present, being present, living in this very awesome moment with the conviction that any struggle lived in the moment before, is now dead and gone and any pain in the moment ahead, is but an illusion…
R…for reality, creating your unique reality, living your dream, accepting nothing less, appreciating the dreams of others even if they could never be your dream
E…for evolving, changing, growing, mindful that to remain static is not an option
S…for senses, trusting your senses, feeding them with experiences not possessions, not needing to be anything or anyone but yourself
E…for encouraging others, seeing the best in them, challenging them to see their own capabilities
N…for nature and nurture, learning from nature, changing like it changes with the seasons, nurturing your soul and noticing your creativity and spirit evolve as a result
T…for taking time to practice gratitude, thankful for significant others, thankful for coming to know yourself, thankful for being fully and amazingly present… the best present.

I hope you receive the best present this year.

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

 

Bullying & Beyond…Defining Cyber-bullying

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

 

In Ireland, the Department of Education & Science, (DES) gives clarification on what constitutes bullying using social media:

Placing a once-off offensive or hurtful public message, image or statement on a social network site or other public forum where that message, image or statement can be viewed and/or repeated by other people will be regarded as bullying behaviour’ (DES 2013: 9).

In contrast, one-off incidents of negative behaviour, such as isolated hurtful text messages and private mails, which cannot be viewed or repeated by other people, are not considered to be included under the  definition of bullying.

The fact that the internet provides anonymity can have particular consequences
for cyber bullying. Being able to act and communicate anonymously online removes
some of the deterrents that would help prevent children from getting involved.  The fear of negative consequences is lessened for the perpetrators and it increases the psychological distance between them and their actions.  The perpetrators can therefore refuse to take responsibility for their actions.  In most cases, cyber-bullies know their targets, but their targets don’t always know the identity of their cyber-bullies. This can lead to children and young people being suspicious of, and alienated from, all their peers.

The fact that the distinction between bystanders and active participants can be
less distinct in the context of online bullying also makes cyber bullying more difficult to
deal with than traditional offline bullying.

The bystander effect refers to incidents where an individual in need of help is not assisted by an onlooker because the onlooker assumes that someone else will intervene.

Responsibility for bullying often goes beyond the person who creates and posts harmful content online. Sharing, or commenting on content on social networking websites or joining, subscribing or following online sources of content
intended to humiliate or harm individuals can also be considered bullying behaviour.

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

 

Source #UP2US Anti-Bullying, Teachers’ Handbook, Junior Cycle, SPHE

Get Resources

I recommend you check out the “Let’s Fight it Together” video.

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

 

 

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

Bullying & Beyond… Acquiesce.

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

 

I’m angry, and it’s not often I’m angry!  I’m also amazed…amazed at how a word can evoke such angry emotion!

This word ‘Acquiesce,’ gives me such an uneasy feeling because for too long, despite our best efforts we were silenced in a system that was disjointed and had no cohesive plan in place.

Slowly, I knocked on every door.   I struggled to be heard. I contacted every service.  Finally, I discovered the flimsy support that was available.  I wasn’t told this support existed.  I uncovered it, step by painful step.  I came to realise that every school in Ireland has access to a School Psychologist through NEPS.

Our school was one of those schools.

Here’s a small excerpt of what to expect… ”

What do you do if you think your child may need to be seen by a NEPS Psychologist?

  • You need to begin by discussing your child’s needs with the class teacher and/or school principal. Not every child needs to meet the psychologist in person. Each school makes referrals to their NEPS psychologist who helps the school to plan the work”

You can find out more here…

https://www.education.ie/en/Schools-Colleges/Services/National-Educational-Psychological-Service-NEPS-/FAQs.html

I rang a contact number, I spoke to the School Psychologist.  I told her our son wanted to achieve his Leaving Certificate.  I told her our son was being denied this opportunity because of the impact of bullying on his health.  I reminded her that every child is entitled to an education.

Soon I got a phone call from that Psychologist, a meeting had been arranged with the school to discuss our son’s education.

It did not solve the issue.  The impact of bullying on a child’s well-being and mental health does not disappear overnight but this State funded and readily available intervention went some way towards helping me realise that I was not alone, that we were not alone and that there were support services available that we had not been informed of!

 

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A screenshot from… https://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/education/primary_and_post_primary_education/educational_supports/national_educational_psychological_service.html

 

And now I refuse to ‘acquiesce.’  I won’t, under any circumstances, accept, agree or allow something to happen by staying silent or by not arguing.  I won’t acquiesce until I do my bit, no matter how small that may be!

I want to ensure victims, bullies, passive bullies (those who stand by gutless, watching and let the victims suffer), teachers, principals, parents, the community, society, and every nationality have a conversation.  I want them to see the damage school bullying causes. I want to paint a picture of the pain it inflicts – a picture that leave you in no doubt of the long term effects of school bullying.  Please help me break the silence and as we do this, together, please 1.Take Heart!

Dee’s Word of the Day

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/80183056/posts/2151594850

Have you or your children been bullied or silenced? Have you stood by and watched a victim suffer at the hands of a bully?  What would you do differently now?

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

 

 

 

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