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Bullying & Beyond…Calling Irish Post Primary teachers…

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

 

Anti-bullying training for teachers that is evidence based and backed by up to the minute research is vital if students are to have access to the best possible education in an educational environment that is bully free.

The NABC, National Anti-bullying Centre in Ireland is providing an anti-bullying programme for teachers working in Irish Post primary schools…read more here and please share…

Calling All Teachers to Register for Anti-Bullying Schools Programme

“The FUSE programme is part of the Department of Education and Skills Wellbeing Framework and supported by the NABC, ISPCC and Dublin City University, and funded by Facebook. To run FUSE in your school and learn more about the programme please visit the FUSE website: https://antibullyingcentre.ie/fuse/ or please contact us on Tel: 01 884 2012.”

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

 

Bullying & Beyond…”I was only messing…”

 

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

 

When our son was being bullied and he told the bullies to ‘stop’ they wouldn’t stop.  When we sought help in school we were told “Sometimes you have to stand up for yourself.”  When he stood up for himself and physically fought back, it stopped some of the bullies.  Sometimes when one bully started a bout of verbal bullying others would join in and John would be out-numbered and unable to put an end to the unwanted taunting and teasing.

That sadly was the unpredictable and repeated reality for our son.

Some days school was what it was meant to be, a happy educational and social environment.  He came home to us full of chat, in great form and ready to engage with after school sports or other hobbies.

But other days the school torment returned…

Slowly we noticed him retreat into himself and take refuge in his room.  He started to delay getting ready for school and for his hobbies.  We couldn’t understand what was happening to him.  He couldn’t sleep and soon developed insomnia.  We took him to his GP.  Many rows centered around him always being late. He began to drop away from his hobbies and miss more time from school.  We felt all our efforts to communicate in a positive and respectful manner were met instead with fits of temper.  Now we know that he was unable to voice the painful abuse he was enduring, his behaviour was his only way of showing us his distress.

Bullies are cunning.  Part of their power lies in the unpredictability of their attack and in their ability to silence and keep their victim in fear.

His tormentors knew that over time, with sustained and unpredictable abuse they could break him.

“I was only messing”,

“I was only having a laugh”,

These are just two excuses that children offer when they are caught bullying another child and challenged for their behaviour.

As parents or teachers it is important to discuss with all children what bullying is and what bullying isn’t.  It is important to encourage children to talk about bullying, whether it is bullying they are experiencing, bullying they have witnessed or bullying they are perpetrating.

When boys are engaged in horseplay; which is a common way for adolescent boys to behave, the physicality is okay once all involved are willing participants.  But if one child is being targeted by another child or by a group of children and being verbally or physically mistreated then this behaviour is unwarranted and needs to be addressed.  Children buy into group behaviour and follow the lead of other more assertive children, often for fear of being a target themselves, if they don’t follow the bully’s lead.

As parents and teachers we can’t assume that all children understand when ‘messing,’ or ‘having a laugh,’ over-steps its boundary and is no longer just a bit of giddy fun.

Whether at home or in school, children need to be educated about bullying and made aware that when a child objects to any unwanted, continuous and upsetting behaviour, if it does not stop, then it is deliberate and willful bullying!  If bullying is left uncontested it can and will undermine the victim’s physical, psychological and emotional wellbeing.  If you would like to read about some of the consequences of bullying, we have shared our experiences in Bullying & Beyond… Painting the Pain, part one.

Have you ever discussed bullying with your child?  Have you ever watched your child retreat into themselves as a result of bullying?  Is “I was only messing” ever a good enough excuse?

Le gra,

Mindfully Marie xx

Bullying & Beyond…Shame

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

 

When your child is being bullied at school, it is important to reach out and find professional support.  There is a lot of qualified support out there but it is very important to find a counsellor that you and/or your child can relate to.  The trust you build with your counsellor is vital to the healing process.

Shame is an important aspect of bullying and an aspect I’d like to raise awareness of.  Teachers carry a heavy task, large class sizes and a wide variety of needs to be met but I think it’s important, for parents and teachers, to be very aware that children remember shaming remarks and wear them like a label, long after the event. The emotional growth of children is stunted if they are shamed in front of their siblings or peers.

I’d like to share a post from the blog of Jim O’Shea, Counsellor. http://www.jimoshea.net/shaming-children-leaves-a-lasting-impact-and-gives-them-core-shame-which-they-bring-into-adult-life/

This experienced and knowledgeable gentleman played an important part in providing insights that helped us heal our family.  Of course when you gain insights from counselling, you can choose to learn from them and use them to heal your family or if you so wish, not learn from them or use them.  At the end of the day, the path you choose is up to you…

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

Shaming children leaves a lasting impact and gives them core shame which they bring into adult life

Shaming remarks made to children under twelve have a more drastic and permanent impact that can become core because, like parents, teachers spend a lot of time with them, and the frequency of these remarks is a key element in laying the crop of shame. A combination of parental and teaching shaming is particularly damaging and reinforces the sense of not being good enough in the child. We can choose not to shame any child. Education is not just about intellectual or cognitive development, it must include emotional nourishment as well, which is facilitated by praise and allowing children the space to interact with each other. So, I will leave this part of the blog with a simple poem by an unknown poet on the practical difference between shame and praise –

“I’ve got 2 A’s” the small boy cried,
His voice was filled with glee
His father very bluntly asked
“Why did you not get three?”

“I’ve mowed the grass” the tall boy said
“And put the mower away”.
His father asked him with a shrug,
“Did you clean off the clay?

“Mom, I’ve got the dishes done,”
The girl called from the door.
Her mother very calmly said
“And did you sweep the floor?”

The children in the house next door
Seemed happy and content.
The same things happened over there,
But this is how it went:

“I’ve got 2 A’s the small boy cried,
His voice was filled with glee.
His father very proudly said
“That’s great! I’m glad you live with me.”

“I’ve mowed the grass,” the tall boy said
“And put the mower away,”
His father answered with much joy,
“You’ve made my happy day”

“Mom, I’ve got the dishes done”
The girl called from the door.
Her mother smiled and softly said,
“Each day I love you more.”

Children need encouragement
For tasks they’re asked to do
If they’re to lead a happy life,
So much depends on you.

Posted in Shame
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Highest achievers?

 

The results of Ireland’s Leaving Certificate State Exam were released on the 13th of August.

This exam is the culmination of five years of study and it holds the key to the future of many students.

For months before the exams, which are held each year in June, two things happen.

1.  Some students don’t cast the upcoming exams a thought.

2.  Some students stress themselves to the point of mental and physical distress over sitting these exams.

For weeks before the results are released in August, two things happen.

1.    Some students don’t cast the upcoming  results a thought.

2.  Some students stress themselves out worrying about the outcome or points they will achieve.

And that is the story of life.

The students at 1. above, takes things in their stride, they do not struggle with their emotions or become anxious.

The students at 2. above, are predisposed to an anxious nature.  They struggle to handle their emotions and cope with stress.

And that is the human story or condition.  We are all different, in how we see the world and how we cope in the world.

The Leaving Certificate acknowledges the high achievers and rightly so!  It tabulates the results and rewards students accordingly.  It is a grading system.  It however, fails to grade students on how they function and cope emotionally or psychologically.

So please consider a few important things.

1.  Look past the A4 sheet of Academic Outcomes and see that each student, teenager, boy, girl, non-gender, behind the A4 grading system is individual, unique, different and consider how they truly feel. They may not be the highest achiever in maths or biology but they might be the highest achiever in resilience or mental health management.

2.  Don’t compare them to others.  It doesn’t matter what their friends or peers got.  Don’t expect them to get the same results. Do expect them to react or cope in very different ways and be there for them, if their world falls apart.  Be calm, be capable and let them see that by supporting each other this will all work out!

3.  If you are a teacher or parent and your student, son or daughter haven’t reached the exam stage yet, then make the most of it!  Tell them, right the way through school, how unique and different they are.  Watch out for and acknowledge their high achievements, whether it is academic or simply turning in for school.  Remind them that they have numerous talents, some of which will be uncovered academically and many, many more which will only surface when they study at the college of life!

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

 

 

 

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

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