Quote No.80 from Encourage Yourself Encourage Others by Anne Devine.
Now that we have more time on our hands, share it freely but think before you unwittingly create a new unspoken contract. It may or may not be easy for you to move on after lockdown if you’ve developed a binding contract!
In my previous post I wrote about the importance of self-care, you might like to read it 4.Self-care x 10! When you or your children are struggling to cope with bullying it is very important to continue to practice self-care during and after the event. Being bullied can cause strong feelings of loneliness which come from the isolation of bullying. Bullying thrives on isolation and fear. Lack of access to information, lack of support and worse still lack of knowing which way to turn or who to ask for help all serve to enhance the isolation and loneliness you feel!
The loneliness was something I found hardest to cope with as I struggled to find answers and effective support.
But there is help out there. Don’t allow yourself to be rendered voiceless.
I want YOU to know that I am here for YOU and YOU are not alone…reach out, share your concerns and talk about the bullying you or your child are experiencing.
What has been your experience of the loneliness of bullying? How would you describe the loneliness of bullying? How did you overcome it?
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?
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 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 in you, 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.