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Bullying & Beyond…3.Improve your Listening Skills!

 

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

 

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.

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…2.Really Listen!

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

In my first post about bullying I wrote about the importance of not losing heart, Bullying & Beyond…1.Take Heart!

In this post I’d like to focus on the importance of listening

2. REALLY LISTEN!

Children come home from school and everyday we ask them the same questions… How was your day?  What did you do? Tell me something you learned.  Did you have fun? Often it’s the case that we get the same answers.  We fall into a habit… habitual behaviour, repeating what we always do and as a result we often miss out on subtle signs of bullying.

If you suspect your child is being bullied, I can’t stress enough, how important it is to REALLY LISTEN!

When your children arrive home or you collect them from school, put down your phone. Pause from your cleaning or cooking.  Turn off the TV and listen to what your children are saying.  Also try to hear what they might not be saying.  They may not have the words to say it or they might be too frightened to talk about what is happening but their body language or a change in their behaviour might reveal a whole lot more.

Some examples could include;

Your child might become argumentative, almost trying to pick a fight with you or their siblings.

They might become withdrawn and sullen or go silent.

They might damage some of their belongings or some household items.

They might restrict their food.

They might disengage from their favourite hobbies or interests.

These changes will all be out of character.

Test yourself…can you fully recall their last conversation with you?  If not, ask yourself why not?  Did you pay full attention or were you thinking of other things you needed to do? Nothing is as important as being fully present with your child and really listening.  Practice being fully present and challenge yourself to recall your last communication with your child.

I hope you find this helpful and would love to hear from you.

Have you or your children experienced bullying?  How did it impact you or your child? Did it cause a change in behaviour? Did really listening improve your situation?

Much love,

Mindfully Marie xx

 

 

Bullying & Beyond…1.Take Heart!

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

 

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.

Much love,

Mindfully Marie xx

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

Bullying & Beyond…13. Suspicious of bullying?

via Daily Prompt: Suspicious

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If you notice your child avoiding situations,

If you notice your child withdrawing into themselves,

If your child has lost their joviality and are becoming anxious and depressed,

If your child is having emotional outbursts,

If you know your child wants to achieve goals but appears paralysed,

If your child shows perfectionist traits and is clearly disappointed by not living up to the high standards they set themselves, then…

You have every right to be… suspicious of bullying!

We’ve been there and our suspicions were correct…

But don’t despair…Bullying & Beyond…1.Take Heart!

Does this resonate with you? Has your child experienced bullying? Please share your thoughts with me?

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

Much love,

Mindfully Marie xx

Bullying & Beyond… 11. Resilience.

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

Our son was having on-going problems with school bullying, resulting in school refusal and self-isolation, shared in Bullying & Beyond… 10.Painting the pain, part three.

While searching for support, I was told, by an adult in a position of responsibility that our son… “needed to be more resilient.

I found their statement to be judgemental. Being judged by an adult and found lacking is not what any child needs when they are suffering because of bullying.

It’s true, being more resilient makes life easier.

It’s also true that children can be over sensitive and they need to be able to identify the difference between occasional teasing, and the type of verbal or physical abuse which deliberately sets out to do harm.

When behaviour has the goal or intention to deliberately hurt, and happens on an regular basis, it wears down a child’s resilience.

Children who are being bullied need empathy. They need their issues to be acknowledged and they need to be affirmed by a statement that says “You are very resilient to have coped with bullying for so long.

The victim needs to be reassured that the problem lies with the bully, and not with them.

They also need to be informed of what action will be taken and a review date needs to be set. Sticking to the review date is vitally important as the victim has been rendered voiceless by constant bullying and will have lost trust in those around them.  We can gain their trust when we live up to our word and prove that we are trust worthy.

It is vitally important that a pro-active approach to bullying is fostered in every school to ensure that every victim of bullying is guaranteed the respect they deserve in a bully free zone.

Have you or your children experienced bullying?  Was your child’s resilience worn down? Did anybody have empathy for them and did it make a difference?

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

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