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Bullying & Beyond… Whose expectations?

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

 

Have you ever expected or wished for the easy path?  I know I have on many occasions!

 

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The Path of Life or The Easy Path at The Japanese Garden, Irish National Stud, Kildare and in life!

 

Life is easy if as a parent/teacher your children/students excel at sport, are the high achievers, are highly academic or simply, functioning!

But that’s not always reality and as a parent or teacher you’ve noticed your child/student disengage and opt out of school and fail exams. Your dreams and expectations are fading in front of your eyes.  You’re upset, disappointed maybe even embarrassed.

Your child/student ‘should’ be independent, ‘should’ be academic, ‘should’ be functioning… but they’re not!

They’ve just ruined all your well laid plans and you feel bad!  Now, spare a thought for how bad your child/student feels and that’s before you opened your mouth and added insult to injury.

So now what?

Well now is the perfect time to review YOUR expectations!

If your child/student had just been diagnosed with a major heart complaint, what expectations would you have?  I bet you’d focus on what they can still achieve.  You’d admire them for getting out of bed.  You’d be pleased they pushed through their health limitations and managed to attend school!

So please, also take mental health into consideration and revisit YOUR expectations .  The verbal and non-verbal messages you give your child/student, can be life-defeating when they struggle with mental health issues, bullying or what may even seems like an uncomplicated adolescence.

So if your child/student manages to turn back in for class…

1. Start by acknowledging that there is some issue.

2. Next acknowledge the fact that your child/student is in attendance TODAY.

3. Note the possibility they may not make the grade… but look for the bigger picture.

4. Practice unconditional, non-judgemental love and see the effort they are making, no matter how small.

5.  Acknowledge their presence.

6.  Recognise their engagement. Tell them you see that they have pushed through their health limitations to attend school and mix with their peers rather than self-isolating themselves in their bedroom!

Now you’ve realigned YOUR expectations!  Now you’re telling them they are good enough, exactly as they are!

This approach will help your child/student learn to accept themselves as good enough.  They may even let themselves feel happy!  This very powerful feeling is addictive and soon they will want more.  They will, in their own time, step into the driving seat and begin to empower themselves.

As a parent/teacher, try to understand, what is run of the mill and easy for one child/student, can be very challenging for another child/student.  Placing value on their efforts not their achievements can be a game changer.  (If you can see no effort, review your expectations again.  Maybe just breathing and staying alive is taking all their effort). Love them even more, they need it more!

Watch them as they engage with life on their terms, at the level they are able for, at this precise moment.  Now you’re encouraging them to pass the more important and real test – the test that is not the easy path but the path of life!

Have you ever had your expectations dashed?  Have you realigned your expectations and seen your child/student flourish?

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

 

 

 

Bullying & Beyond… Mindful Heart!

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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…23.Who cares?
I shared some of my guesses as to why victims of bullying hide how much they care.

Mich at Michnavs joined the conversation and her insightful comment got me thinking, so I’m breaking with my tradition of waiting to post at the weekend.

This is what Mich said… “Very well said Marie. I am fortunate to have been a teacher and a mother as well..having said that, I got to witness different behaviors and coping mechanisms of kids from different ages…and it’s not easy to spot a problematic or bullied kid…because sometimes they are really good at keeping it cool…but nevertheless I have kept a very mindful heart..”

This was my reply to Mich..

Thank you Mich, I appreciate your encouraging feedback. Thank you also for sharing your thoughts and experience. Bullies are very cunning, manipulative and powerful in their control over their victims, so you are correct in saying it’s not easy to spot a bullied child. Victims have many reasons, (as we’ve seen in my previous post), to become masters of disguise, making it very difficult for teachers of large classes and with ever increasing workloads, to detect a child who is struggling with bullying.

I really like your term a “mindful heart,” it is a good marriage of heart & mind and I envisage it being very Rogerian, (Carl Rogers), encompasing UPR (unconditional positive regard), empathy (being able to step into the victim’s shoes) and congruence (being your true, genuine & real self), all positive, powerful and necessary attributes for teachers, and the core conditions, enabling teachers create effective and theraputic relationships in their classrooms.

These core conditions are the foundation of every successful relationship be it in school, at home or in society.

https://trueselfcounseling.com/2016/02/20/3-core-conditions-for-therapeutic-change/

As a parent, teacher or victim of bullying, what do you think?

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

‘I’ before ‘You’… on Monday’s Memory Lane

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“I” before “You” Credit for this amazing photo has to go to the talented Katie O’R and the subject… our wonderful son John!

Welcome to Monday’s Memory Lane where I introduce you to a post written before we came to know each other.  I hope you like this post where I share some powerful ‘I’ statements…

“I” before “You”

Bullying & Beyond… 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

Just One Minute Monday… Child-self!

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Your Child-self helped create your present picture, how you choose to fill the shelf now is up to a very capable you!

Consider your inner child… your child-self that has got you to where you are today, through the good and the bad!

It’s time to show your child-self the love and appreciation they deserve.  Shower them with an abundance of love at every opportunity. Listen to them when they are sad or angry, they have an important message they want you to hear.  Be gentle and kind in how you talk to and treat yourself… this impacts your child-self.  Encourage your child-self to relax, to make time for fun and leave their worries about your future in your capable adult hands.

Now just sit back, be patient and watch yourself flourish!

Much love,

Marie xx

Calling ‘TIME’… the benefits of saying ‘NO!’

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Calling ‘TIME’…the benefits of saying ‘NO!’

 

The moment came… I knew I finally had to call ‘TIME,’ I finally had to say… ‘NO.

I’m pretty sure my life is not too dissimilar to many of yours. I have family and friends, I have a career, a home and dogs. I have an illness. I have meals to cook and bills to pay but for a while I’ve been really struggling. The daily grind had become harder. Pain and fatigue had been eating away at the passion within me. My motivation had dwindled. For someone who is a ‘glass half full’ person, I found this difficult to cope with!

So after a lot of deliberating, I had to face my employer and I had to do something very difficult. I had to admit that I could not… just simply could not, return to work. I know it must have looked strange after two months of Summer holidays with plenty of time to recharge but my health finally shouted loud, and long enough and against my will I was forced to listen…My body told me I could not give what I had not got. I needed to call ‘TIME.’

Now almost five weeks on and I’m beginning to feel a little better. Better still I’m finally beginning to learn from the whole experience.

I thought you might be interested in some of the insights I’ve gained…

I’ve had to learn to listen to my body. You can only ill treat it and ignore it’s cries for so long.

I’ve had to learn to respect my body by giving it the time out and rest that it needs.

I’ve had to learn to speak up for myself, admitting that I could not commit to what was expected of me, was very difficult.

I’ve had to learn to let go of the pretence. For almost 20 years I’ve pretended to be something I’m not. I’ve pretended to be well but in fact I’ve got an illness that impacts and restricts every part of my daily life. It took courage to overcome my fear of being seen as a failure.

I’ve had to fight for my rights to illness benefit even after presenting certificates from my GP but I contained my emotions and focused on the issue; my financial stability.

I’ve had to withstand the pressure of enquiries about when I expected to be fit enough to return to work. I chose not to see this as bullying but instead as an administrative timetabling issues.

I’ve had to find the strength to say no initially but harder still I’ve had to find the strength to accept myself for saying no and for slowing down. Finding peace for myself within that decision was probably the most difficult hurdle I had to overcome. Thank you Dr.Andrea at Thriving Under Pressure for your timely post and comment. The Paradox of Strength

I’ve had to silence the self-doubt that comes with an invisible illness because for example, you might have seen me out for a twenty minute walk and heck, I look well. I’ve had to remind myself that you won’t see my post exercise malaise or feel the pain the next two hours or entire evening will bring.

I’ve had to do battle between exhaustion and isolation and try to make peace with these two evils.  Read about that battle here.

I’ve had to learn to let go, trusting that the things I don’t reach on are not necessarily vital things and that the people I don’t reach on will understand and not cut our connections.

I’ve had to learn that life goes on without me, my role can easily be covered by another healthier body and I’ve had to work hard to accept the lack of enquiries as to my wellbeing from my employer and not engage in predictive thinking where your inner voice wants you to believe it’s because you are easily replaced.

I’ve had to ask myself “who am I” without my job, without my students and colleagues and I’ve acknowledged that I need people in my life but I’ve also acknowledged that you can be alone in a crowd. Thank you Dutch for your insightful comments and shared quotes.  Dutch @ onthepathleasttraveled

I’ve had to learn that I don’t need to travel this road alone. I’ve done that for 20 years too long. Now I need support with this illness and I’ve already learned a lot about CFS/fibro in the last week or two and I’m hoping to come to understand it and myself a little bit more. Thanks Jennifer @ Tea with Jennifer for a lightbulb moment…Knowing your bodies capacity

Saying ‘No’ meant I stepped into the unknown. It was a sign that I was finally unable to contain my vulnerability, and that was scary territory for me. I used to be able to manage my CFS/fibro and hide my vulnerability. By calling ‘TIME” and finally saying STOP – FULL STOP, I have learned a lot and now I am stronger than I was. I have regained some motivation and the passion is returning. Also, the cat is out of the bag… I no longer have a hidden illness. I am Marie with CFS/fibro and if my life has to change as a result then I say, bring it on!

Thanks for taking time to visit and please feel free to share your thoughts. I will reply to your comments as quickly as I can.

Have you had similar struggles? Have you hidden behind a mask? Have you like me, been afraid of being a failure?

How do you bring passion back into your life?

Much love,

Marie xx

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