In my previous post on bullying I shared some listening tips I found helpful Read it here
Another important aspect of listening, when bullying is an issue for you or your children, is listening to what your own body is telling you.
When you are stressed you might notice that you behave in ways that are out of character. Examples could include cancelling a day out with a friend, missing time at work or increasing your consumption of food or drink, as a source of comfort. You might realise you feel anxious and ready to snap at those around you. If this sounds very familiar then self-care is the answer.
There is a well known saying… “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” No matter how tough we think we are, any on-going, distressing situation can wear down our resilience and make us want to run as far away as possible from the upset. I’ve been there, many times, when I felt helpless to improve the situation for both our children. I felt totally stressed and unable to concentrate on other aspects of my life.
Thankfully I realised the importance of self-care. I realised I could not be a source of support to others if I did not look after my own health and welfare first.
To be your best self and function at peak capability, particularly at a time of crisis, YOU need to make time and space for YOU.
I can’t emphasise enough, the importance of that last sentence! Self-care might initially involve some professional counselling support for you or your child. Finding a Counsellor or Psychologist experienced in the area of bullying, and building a positive relationship based on trust, will be the corner-stone to making progress.
Another important part of self-care is finding ways to forget your worries. Part of the reason why I developed this blog and called it “Create Space” was to “create” some “space” for me, to zone out from my concerns, and focus instead on my interests and the positives in my life. This creative space helped me recharge. I forgot my worries and built my resilience!
Try to find what lights your fire, whether it is joining a yoga class or having coffee with a friend. Try a walk in the fresh air if you can’t think of anything that would brighted your day. Self-care will nurture your inner child, lift your spirit, help you put things into perspective and clear your head to enable you consider new solutions.
Remember to practice Self-care! Better still practice “Self-care, times 10!”
I hope you found this helpful or maybe you know someone who might find it helpful. I’d love to hear your thoughts. What happens when you neglect self-care? What’s the last thing you did for fun? How does having “me” time make you feel and why would you recommend it?
With a new goal in mind, I’ve had to reluctantly decide to refrain from writing new blog posts, for the immediate future. To keep my blog active I am instead going to re-run my existing posts.
I’ve had to come to this decision so I can dedicate time to my writing project.
I am in the process of compiling my Bullying & Beyond posts into a book. To give adequate time to this project I have to be proactive in managing my health (due to the challenges of living with CFS/Fibromyalgia, as anyone living with a chronic illness will understand).
I’ve really appreciated your constant company while I shared my Bullying & Beyond posts.
Your friendship, encouraging comments and shared experiences have played a huge role in helping me overcome the pain of supporting our children through school bullying and has enabled me to reclaim my voice and write about our experience. I am so grateful to all of you for this gift!
If you would like to share any information about supports available in your area or if you would like to research any bullying prevention and intervention resources that are relevant to where you live I would be delighted to hear from you and look forward to your participation.
I hope you will continue to keep me company and continue to share your thoughts with me. I will of course reply to any comments received!
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!
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…
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.
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.
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?
Mindfully Marie xx
A resource of the National Centre for Technology in Education – Professional Development Service for Teachers
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.
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.
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.