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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… 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

Bullying & Beyond…Perpetuating Social Norms…

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

 

Today I would like to share T.S’s very emotive, true story from his blog “Crazywriterof6.” As I read T.S’s distressing reality, I felt my body became anxious.  I felt his apprehension and fear.  His sense of loneliness and isolation is palpable.  He says… “Maybe some of you can relate and see that even then, you weren’t alone”. No child should be in dread every day, isolated and living with the fear of bullying!

In my last post I wrote about the difficulty I had in supporting my children, both victims of bullying, because of the pressure on victims to remain silent.  You might like to read it… Big Boys…Don’t Cry!

We now hear in T.S’s own words, his deeply ingrained and debilitating belief as to why he was bullied… “The torture continued. Many moments before this event, many after. I have written some of them out, just to get them out. All this because I was different than the “normal people”, different from what society says I should be. Different because I was overweight”.  I believe he was not different… everybody is different and everybody has the right to be respected for who and how they are.

Please enhance your understanding by reading his story…

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/48424428/posts/20

At a funeral yesterday, one sentence struck me, that sentence was “We could all be better people,” meaning we could all do more to be there for others.

Let’s break down the silence and begin a cross cultural, worldwide conversation about bullying.  Let’s educate ourselves and our children about bullying and let’s tear down out-dated social norms.

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

 

 

 

 

Bullying & Beyond…Denial

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

 

When we deny who we are and how we really feel, either physically and/or mentally we silence our authentic self.  We reject ourselves. For years I didn’t admit that I have fibro/fatigue, except to a few family members and close friends. When we reject ourselves we are bullying ourselves. We think we are not good enough, we focus on our flaws and feel a sense of shame.

Similarly, when we are bullied we are also silenced. We are judged by someone and denied the opportunity to be our real selves. We think we are not good enough and we withdraw from society or family. When we withdraw emotionally we block off our true emotions, denying ourselves the right to acknowledge and feel our emotions.

When our daughter experienced bullying, it caused her to step into survivor mode. She put up a front whilst crying inside.  She couldn’t let the bullies see her crying. She knew if she broke down crying, it would fuel even more bullying.

After finishing secondary school she moved past bullying, building back her resilience. She participated in further education and in society. She set and achieved many new goals. She met new and inclusive peers, friends and educators. All these mature, self-aware people bolstered her confidence.

However, even if it’s been years since you were bullied, a simple, present day event may unexpectedly trigger the same feelings. This was the case for our daughter.  It only took one educator to criticise Emma and her work, in front of her peers, to bring our daughter right back to survival mode.

This time it was different. Emma found the courage to address the issue to her school counsellor. She sought advice. She spoke up to that educator. She stood up for herself. She didn’t need to call upon her parents. She was self-sufficient.

But despite speaking up for herself, the trauma of being disrespected and denied the right to be herself, triggered her survival mode. All the things she could do with ease soon became overwhelming. That was almost nine months ago.

Anxiety
Low mood
Mood swings
Isolation
Fear
Agoraphobia
Panic attacks
Loneliness

All symptoms of bullying.

Then Emma’s new puppy, Doris arrived.

 


More mental health support came on-board.  But there are still ups and downs.

She felt lonely a few nights ago but she didn’t deny her feelings. She didn’t hide it. She cried for the loneliness and for the years of denying her true self.  You can learn more about isolation here Bullying & Beyond…A victim’s abject loneliness.

She cried while we were away, only showing us a glimpse when we returned. But a glimpse is enough to show us that she has turned a corner because now she is beginning to listen to and acknowledge how she feels.  She is learning to externalise how she feels instead of internalising the pain. That is a big step and an important lesson!

We can also learn a lesson from her new, trainee Psychiatric Assistance Dog, Doris.

Doris saw Emma’s upset. Doris didn’t deny her. The opposite in fact, Dorris, a little puppy, stretched herself across our daughter’s lap and kissed and licked her. Dorris accepted Emma exactly as she was.

Have you been denied the right to be yourself?  Do you deny yourself? What supports can you access to build your resilience and be your true self?

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

Bullying & Beyond… Yes, you were bullied too!

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

 

Did you know that every time your child is bullied, it leaves a mark, physical, emotional or psychological

And did you know that every time your child is bullied… so are you!

Every time you seek support and fail to get the support you need for your child, you and your family are being bullied again through neglect and broken, dysfunctional systems.

Don’t stand by and let that happen.  Trust your gut instinct.  If it doesn’t feel right, then it isn’t right!

Don’t stop looking for and expecting solutions until you receive some.  If you failed to find answers in the past, don’t beat yourself up or feel guilty, instead, keep in mind this quote “I did then what I knew how to do.  Now that I know better, I do better” Maya Angelou.

Now, refocus you efforts and more determined than ever, continue your search for answers.

Have you ever felt bullied because your child was bullied?  How did it make you feel? Did you listen to your intuitive gut feeling and renew your efforts to find answers?

You may like to start your search to find some of those answers here on Create Space in my Bullying & Beyond series, here are two suggestions,

Bullying & Beyond…3.Improve your Listening Skills!

And when the challenge becomes overwhelming, remember

Bullying & Beyond…4.Self-care x 10!

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

Bullying & Beyond…Who cares?

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

 

When you are the victim of bullying, you want people to care about you. You want them to understand how you feel but you behave in the exact opposite way. You pretend you don’t care to protect yourself. You put up a front, isolate yourself and sink further into despair. You believe teachers don’t care and you believe parents don’t care.

What gets in the way of caring? As a mother who has witnessed the impact of bullying on children, here are my guesses why children change their behaviour…

1. Fear that teachers/parents will utter one more disparaging remark about them in front of the other students/siblings.

2. Feeling stupid because they don’t want to be feeling like this but they can’t help it.

3. Feeling frustrated because they feel silenced by bullying.

3. Shame because no matter how much effort they’ve put in, they can’t break the cycle of bullying by themselves.

5. Worry that their resilience is at breaking point and being terrified of what will happen to them if they can’t cope.

6. Feeling worthless because they can see that other students/siblings around them are getting better marks or making progress.

7. Guilt that they are upsetting their teachers/parents and feeling that they are a burden.

Dear Teacher/Parent, please care!  Please look beyond the puzzling behaviour that you, as a teacher or as a parent are seeing and realise that it is an ingenious front.  Please look at the pain this child is in and see what “I don’t care that you don’t care” looks like. Please empower yourself to care by seeking advice, which will help you realise what really matters here, their mental health.

Have you/your child had similar feelings because of bullying?

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

Bullying & Beyond…A victim’s abject loneliness.

Abject … sunk to or existing in a low state or condition : very bad or severe…

Loneliness… being without company, sad from being alone…

If you feel lonely, you are ironically not alone in that feeling, you are one of many, part of a silent epidemic, not unique to Ireland…

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.independent.ie/irish-news/health/loneliness-a-silent-epidemic-and-the-last-taboo-in-ireland-37018602.html

And if you want to identify the different types of loneliness and why it matters, you might like to read…

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-happiness-project/201702/7-types-loneliness-and-why-it-matters%3famp

But when mental health is being impacted by bullying, loneliness is one of the many feelings you experience.  

It wasn’t unusual for our daughter to come home from school sad and lonely.  The cause, we’d eventually learn was the result of exclusion by bullies.

Some of this exclusion came inadvertly from her quiet nature, making it difficult for her to feel free and easy in a crowd unlike her younger brother.

It’s also possible that she was labeled ‘a snob,” her quietness being mistakenly judged and found lacking; labeled unfriendly, aloof or too big for her boots.

I am compelled to warn parents to be vigilant, as the exclusion our daughter felt was very real.  

Exclusion is just one piece of arsenal employed by bullies.  It is actually a very nasty and common tool used by bullies.  It is both physical and psychological in it’s make-up.  It takes only one bully to disrespect and isolate your child and soon the bully will manage to sway the other, easily led children to do the same.  Often the other children are uneducated on the topic of bullying and being uninformed, they are unaware of the powerful and damaging impact of their actions.

Soon your child is isolated…

Alone…

Lonely…

Confused…

Voiceless…

And they begin to wear the labels, “unfriendly, “shy,” “snobby,” “not good enough” until that feeling of loneliness permiates their entire being.

Slowly their inner monologue changes from warm and fun-loving to I’m alone, unwanted, unloved.  

Before you know it, it deepens to “there’s something wrong with me, and the bullie’s labels turn your child’s belief that they are “shy” into social anxiety.

Be mindful that any ongoing stress, even when professional support is sought out, can still trigger anxiety years later.  

Panic attacks can develop, leading to further self-exclusion or worse still panic disorder.  This feeling of being overwhelmed by any social interaction can lead to agoraphobia (ag-uh-ruh-FOE-be-uh), a type of anxiety disorder in which you fear and avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic and makes you feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed.  You can learn more here…

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/agoraphobia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355987

So don’t stand for bullying, address it immediately, be aware of the power of exclusion and don’t allow bullies to bully you into silence and loneliness through your child.

Have you or your child experienced exclusion? How did it affect your/your child’s inner monologue?

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

… to lowest pitch of abject fortune thou art fallen — John Milton (in Sampson Agoniste)

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

Bullying & Beyond… Sauce, Diamond, Lynx.

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

My writing has brought me through the best of times and the worst of times to a Spring of hope from a Winter of despair to paraphrase Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of two Cities.”

And thanks to Paulas Light and her 3TC prompts for helping me to voice this…

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/74951/posts/2244712447

NAMELESS…

She might have thought
She got the sauce
When she retired
To a lush and early pension pot,

That Educator
With no principles or thought for
The children in her care,

Those innocent children, each a
Diamond, she was entrusted to polish
To bring them from the rough
To their most lustrous, luminous shine
She denied,

And so she left him,
unaided,
when he bravely told her
He was being bullied
Him, she left in no doubt,
That he was nothing;
NOTHING in her eyes
Far from a diamond,
Thanks to her cowardice…

“Sometimes you have to stand up for yourself”
As she said
Her damage, that depleated
The diamond of his right
To glow and shine,

Or brought his sister to the front of class

And belittled her grasp of maths

Until her peers laughed

Because of what as an

Educator and Teacher she had lost or

Worse still maybe never had..

But fear not
All is not lost,
Those diamonds
Once voiceless and violated
Have, thanks to the power of

LOVE

AND

LIGHT,

Found their inner sight and

Right to luminosity!

And fear not teacher
with no principles
Or thought for the children entrusted and dependant on your care,
For Face you will, the

Lynx that latently lies,
Lurking
Within
And your
Lush pension pot and early retirement
Will like the diamonds you failed to polish,
Quickly lose their shine and
Your demise will be one of unrelenting

SHAME…

You took our childrens childhood happiness by trampling on their cries for help,
whether it was the bullying you ignored or the bullying you perpetrated yourself
or the mental health implications,

You were implicit in creating or ignoring,

You crept inside our home
And you depleted
Our childrens childhood happiness
And bullied us, we now know, through their distress and left us unrequited…

But one day I know you’ll read this and you’ll realise, without a doubt, exactly who

You are

and what you’re made of,

And you’ll answer for it…

Have you been failed by the education system? Have you been bullied?  Just know that I have your corner, I hear you and you are a true and beautiful Diamond and you are not alone!

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

Bullying & Beyond… 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

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