Bullying – Summary of what to do

I’ve been blogging about bullying for ages, but it’s a complicated subject and I realised that you might be needing a quick summary on how to start tackling the issue.  Please bear in mind that you will probably need to read my other blogs to get the background situation and examples, plus you will definitely need to read the Bullying Summary of the concepts.

So this is a ‘quick’ summary.  With the proviso, that it is ‘quick’, not thorough, and there are different degrees of bullying, some of which are quickly resolved and some of which you might need some assistance with.

 
Step 1 – Deal with your issues first so you can be objective

This is an emotional subject and you are likely to either be upset because you are remembering what it was like to be bullied yourself, feeling terribly protective, or really mortified because you feel guilty that your child has been doing the bullying.  So in order for you to deal with this, you first need to be able to see the situation clearly.

 

Step 2 – Stand back and have a look at the Support/Challenge

If your child is being ‘bullied’, where is the support/ease/life going the way they like it?  Where are they ‘popular’?  Where are they getting their own way?  Are they ‘over-protected’ somewhere?

If you child is the ‘bully’, where is the challenge/difficulty/unease in their lives?  Are they feeling insecure, lacking in power, bored, or needing more freedom?

 
Step 3 – What are they getting from it on both sides?

 
What is your ‘bullied’ child getting from being bullied?  Why do their so called ‘persecutors’ need to do it?
What is your ‘bullying’ child getting from the bullying?  What are their so called ‘victims’ getting from it?
What do they all need to learn?
What is it directing them to do or not do?

 
Step 4 – Devise a strategy

 
1) Where can you help to re-balance the support/challenge in your child’s life? Does the bully need something to give them more security, or more clear guidelines/boundaries, or for a parent to back off, or for a parent to stand up for themselves more?
Does the bullied child need more responsibility at home, less spoiling, or more consistency and rules.

 
2) Help your child learn directly, what they have been learning indirectly.
Now my son is nearly 4, so I can have chats with him, but I also need to use things like role playing with puppets to get the point across.  If your child doesn’t understand chats, then you might want to look for a media that they will understand for example a story/book/film/TV program that will initiate a conversation.  If they are bullying they may need to understand the consequences of their actions, either with a form of punishment or a look at how it will affect them detrimentally in the future.  How can you teach them the social interaction lessons that they are learning from the episodes?

 
3) Involve the school
Just because I don’t think that bullies are bad kids, doesn’t mean that I don’t think that the school should get involved.  I don’t think that vilifying the bullies will help, or rescuing the bullied.  However, clear signals an rules as to what is expected and allowed in behaviour at school is definitely necessary.
 

4) Create a plan of action & monitor it
Remember you can’t remove bullying from your child’s life, but you can rejig where it displays.  So create a plan of action, and then monitor it over a period of time to see where it is and isn’t working.  Get in touch with me on my fan page or via my website if you require any assistance.
 
 

Bullying Summary of the Concepts

I thought it might be useful to summarise all the concepts that I have covered in my Bullying Blogs for you guys.

(See my other blogs for the background information for these, you’ll probably need explanations to explain why these concepts work):

 

1) Labels are not useful and don’t fix anything.  In fact in some way everyone is a Bully, just as much as each other; it’s just that the majority of us do it in subtle or more socially acceptable ways.

 

2) Bullying can not be destroyed as it is a part of human nature, so trying to remove it is naive and will just move it to more subtle or difficult places to monitor; that doesn’t mean that it can’t be dealt with though.  It is therefore in all of our lives, the problem is when it is in a place or focussed so strongly that it causes distress or when the parents don’t know about it.

 

3) The objective instead is to understand the bullying and learn from it, so that it becomes something our kids don’t notice or that just goes over their heads.

 

4) A child who is being bullied will be being overly supported / protected / liked somewhere in their lives.  There is always a balance in our lives (although it’s often not easy to see) of ease/difficulty and support/challenge.  It can help with the resolution of the problem to look at the other side of the picture.

 

5) Everyone is both liked and disliked to an equal degree, it is impossible to be liked by everyone, but also more comfortingly we will never be disliked by everyone either!

 

6) The ‘bullied’ child will gain benefits from being bullied (the silver-lining), and if we can help them understand, appreciate and learn from this and the concepts above, then they do not need to feel victimised & powerless.

 

7) The ‘bullying’ child also requires some assistance (although I’m not against consequences and punishment either), as the reason that they are ‘bullying’ is to gain a supportive/enjoyable experience in order to deal with something else in their lives that they are finding challenging or because they need someone to put their foot down and give them boundaries that are lacking elsewhere.

 

8) An example of what the ‘Bullied’ child can gain from the experience is to learn to stand up for themselves, or to mix with other children who might be a ‘better influence’ or more suitable for them.

 

9) An example of why a ‘Bullying’ child does it, is because they need Power, Freedom, Belonging or Fun, i.e. they feel powerless at home due to under-dominating parents, or have lack of choice due to dominating parents, or are insecure about belong loved or belonging, or are bored.

 

10) The ‘Bully’ is not ‘horrid’ or ‘evil’ and the ‘Bullied’ is not an ‘angel’.  Thinking of them like that will cloud the issues and stop them from being resolved, which is the most important thing.

 

Now, if any of this pushes some buttons (and I would totally understand if it does, as bullying is a very emotional subject), please read my other blogs before jumping to conclusions.  I’m not just saying all this for no apparent reason and with no background.  It has come from 10yrs of studying, a 40yr lifetime of experience, plus being a Mum myself.  So bear with me, I’m attempting to help us all resolve the growing problems of bullying in the UK.

Dangers of positive thinking

The Dangers of Positive Thinking

Dangers of positive thinkingPositive Thinking has been a popular catch phrase for sometime now, so it might surprise you to find that I’m not a fan.  Recently, there has even been scientific research into the fact that it can be detrimental to people of low self-esteem in particular.

The reason I’m not a fan is because to be Positive all the time is an impossible task, and therefore both pointless and soul destroying.  The world we live in is made of North/South, Light/Dark, Electrons/Positrons i.e. a mixture of both, and we are both happy/sad, positive and negative.  I know a really retentive guy who about 25yrs ago was really trying to be positive all the time, so he decided to record how he felt (using a scale) every 2hrs every day for 2 YEARS!  Madness!  Anyway, at the end of the 2yrs, do you know what he found out?  It all balanced out; he’d been as positive as he was negative all the way through.

If you try to be positive all the time, you are ignoring a whole aspect to yourself that is really useful, just as if you try to be nice all the time, you are not using all your skills to the fullest.  You’ll probably find the following will happen:

1) You’ll keep feeling secretly guilty because you know that you are not really being positive all the time, but just don’t want to admit it.

2) You’ll every now and again explode with repressed irritation and anger at all the people that you have been gritting your teeth around.

3) You’re kids will be behaving in a really angry/aggressive manner for no apparent reason; basically living out the frustration that you are repressing.

4) People will take you for granted because you are being ‘nice’ all the time and it will be difficult to discipline the kids.

So what do I recommend then, being negative and miserable all the time?!!  No, of course not!

What I’m suggesting is to be firstly honest with yourself about how you feel.  Be open about it, before it all comes bursting out at an inappropriate time.  If you are feeling rubbish, then have a look for the positive things in your life to balance it out.  If you are feeling positive, then have a look for the not so good things in your life, so that the universe doesn’t need to do it for you.  Plus, use your ‘less positive’ aspects ‘for good’!  What I mean is for example, embrace your mean side when you have to keep your child safe and therefore not let them go somewhere dangerous.  If you don’t feel guilty about it, you will make a much better job of it, and they will accept what you say much more easily.  It’s when we feel guilty or uncertain that things tend to go wrong.  So, think about why it is helpful to them for you to be ‘mean’?  Does it help them appreciate what they do get, or what they have?  Does it make them appreciate when you are happy?  Does it help them to understand that they will still be loved, even after someone is angry with them?  Does it give them a healthy respect for you?  Does it teach them to express how they feel as well?

When it comes to being ‘positive’, instead think of it as being ‘factual’ or ‘truthful’.  There are some negative thinking traps, which help to spiral you into feeling worse and worse about your life, plus they are plain untrue!  So have a look for these tendencies:

  1. Dwelling on the negative predominantly
  2. Jumping to conclusions
  3. Mind Reading
  4. Fortune Telling
  5. Over-Generalising
  6. Saying ‘Should’
  7. Saying ‘Must’
  8. Awfulisation
  9. Down Playing the Positive
  10. Blaming yourself for everything
  11. All or nothing thinking

Most of all, don’t feel guilty for being who you are.  I promise you will always be both good and bad, extraordinary and boring, nice and mean, kind and horrid.  That’s who you are, that’s who we all are!

Pregnant and Feeling Disempowered?

Mums often feel disempowered, especially when pregnant.  I’m amazed how quickly it has hit me again, being only a couple of month’s pregnant.

The key to empowerment/disempowerment, is to understand that it is all in the mind!  But how ever imaginary, it can have a drastic effect on your life.  I’m going to concentrate on being pregnant in particular for this post, however the same holds true for any situation, and I’ll write again about it in more depth.

I was shocked first time round by how disempowered I suddenly felt when I became pregnant.  Of course one of the problems can be that our hormones go a bit haywire, so any ‘normal’ worries are also accentuated.  Let’s look at the 7 areas of life and why it happens …

Spiritual – this is all about knowing where you are going and what your greater purpose is in life.  Now if you are worried at all about your options being limited, then you are bound to worry about this.

Mental – well, the brain just goes to jelly doesn’t it!  I’ve just got back from attempting to pick up pills at my homeopath, to find they were shut – I thought I heard open from 10am-1pm, infact they aren’t open until 1pm!

Financial – it is true that it is very likely that our financial health will be affected by becoming pregnant.  It is bound to affect our earning capability, at a minimum for 2 months, but for most of us it could be years.  Plus there is the expense of having a baby/toddler/child/teenager!

Vocational – the ideal appears to be able to work part-time.  But there are many Mums who find their type of job incompatible with becoming a Mum, so have to take a career break, or alternatively are not able to take time off, so they have to work full-time.  It’s true that many workplaces view Mums as unreliable, because we have to look after our kids when they are sick, and we can’t do the long hours we might have done before.

Social – this was the biggest shocker to me when I first became pregnant!  I found myself treated almost as if I didn’t exist, and often totally ignored.  In particular, there was the male nurse telling me that I wasn’t experiencing contractions, but braxton hicks – I was 3 cms dilated!!!

Physical – it’s the whale comparison that is the problem!  First we just feel fat, then there is the pregnant like on the TV shows stage, and then there is the ‘my god I didn’t know it was possible to get so huge’ stage!  There’s the additional exhaustion and so called morning sickness, and the fact that there is a baby in our tummies sucking everything good out of our food for themselves!  So it’s not difficult to see why we take it badly!

Family/Relationships – Our relationship may suffer a bit if we are worried about Sex.  But apart from that, here is the one good piece of news, as family becomes much more important, so we do tend to gain in our perceived power here.  Although, it is obviously more difficult for single Mums etc.

Put all that together, and we can feel quite rubbish about being pregnant!  If you let it get you down too much, then other people will pick up on it as well.  They feel it subconsciously, but it then affects the way that they treat us.  For example, if your boss doesn’t feel that you value yourself, they may then think that they shouldn’t either.  Plus if you feel unimportant, then people are more likely to ignore you.  In the worst cases, this is one of the reasons for father’s having affairs whilst their wife is pregnant, because their power structure has changed so dramatically.  I’m not blaming either the wife or husband for this, it kind of creeps up on the father without them expecting it, or understanding how come they are less attracted to their wives.  Meanwhile the fact that it is so taboo to be unfaithful to a pregnant woman, makes them ignore the potential for it, and get caught unawares.  So, don’t let yourself feel disempowered, because you don’t need to!

Here’s a beginning view of why you are a powerful, fantastic woman!

Spiritual – the great thing about kids, is that they give you certainty of what you will be doing.  Maybe it’s unclear as to how soon you will be back on track for something else.  But you can be sure that each morning, you will know what you have to do – mainly attempt to get dressed, feed the baby, sort out the rest of the family if there is more, change nappies, feed the baby, and then go back to bed.  You will have an incredibly clear purpose for a period of time.

Mental – whilst forgetting the simple things that we always remembered before, like petrol, keys, coats etc, our bodies are building a new brain.  That brain is learning to beat a heart, move fingers & toes and do all sorts of things.  Plus our brains are focussed on new things – scans, weeks, folic acid.

Financial – instead of thinking of money as an exact amount, think of it as the amount of value in your life.  If you can sit down and look sensibly at your budget & needs, then you can actually increase the amount of value in your life.  You wont need the same amount of money, because things change.  (Check out my free podcast on money and values on my website http://www.MummyWhisperer.com).  You can feel rich without money, or without the same amount of money.  Also, remember, even if you decide to be a stay at home mum, you are actually saving money.  I saw an article recently that put the price of a SAHM at £35k, and to be honest I think that is low!  Try listing what you are worth!

Vocational – think of the project management & multi-tasking skills that you have gained as a Mum!  Plus a company could view Mums as their most loyal and steady employees, because they do tend to be more grateful for the opportunity to work, especially part-time.  For many mums, it actually creates a new career, which is a scary, but exciting option.  Realistically, all sorts of things can go wrong in a Man’s career as well, so they may have to take a step back at some point.  Perhaps, it isn’t the drawback that we think it is.

Social – ok, so this might seem a bit cheeky, but you need to learn the power of the ‘pregnant card’.  This requires not holding back & going for full on pregnant tantrums – they won’t ignore a CRYING pregnant woman!  It got members of my family into action following the death of my Mum, and got me seen by a midwife when I knew I was in labour ;o)  It’ll get you a seat, which you need on a train/bus – it’s not a weakness, it’s a sensible thing to do, to take care of yourself & the family.  Remember, you are creating the new society, we have the power in the end!

Physical – there are women who love being pregnant, so it is totally possible!  The pregnant form was the earliest goddess symbol, and is inherent as a picture of growth and potential.  If you encounter people who find it unattractive, remember, it is not because of you, but something to do with their upbringing, because it is not ‘normal’ to dislike it (i.e. they have some ‘issues’!).  Check out the books that show you what you are growing each week.  Enjoying aqua-natal classes, or yoga for mums and learn about this new body (with great boobs!), that you have got.  It will connect you to something primeval that you didn’t have before, and not everyone is able to do it, so that makes you special.  Plus, your baby will think that you are beautiful.  Max is 3.5yrs old and tells me every morning that I’m beautiful, despite the muffin top & cellulite ;o)

Family/Relationships – they do take time to adjust and grow, but be patient and your family will blossom over the coming year.  This is a time for you to create your own family, and you are the heart of it.  Don’t worry if you don’t have a partner, or grand-parents.  People will arrive to fill those boots, and you will still create the family that works for you.

So now you have got some ideas, think about each area of life and look at what you have got, gained, and the value that you bring because you are pregnant.  Keep listing things until you realise that you are truly powerful in all areas.  Because you are. Rose Kennedy’s mission was to create a family of world leaders, and she did that with the kennedy boys.  You are about to create the future.  I may have learnt loads about personal development, but Max was my greatest teacher in my life, and if you go into it feeling empowered, rather than worrisome, you will be able to make the most of the opportunities your child is offering you.

Be you, the beautiful you xxxx

Bullying Pt11 – More Insights into the Bully

This weekend, I met a ‘bully’ and gained even more insights into their psychology.  I think that the important thing to remember is that each person and situation is unique, and to remember the concept of balance.

What are they balancing out within their family dynamic?

What are they balancing out within themselves?

What are they balancing out within the social/school/work dynamic?

What reaction are they tending to get?  Is it the same or different in the alternative situations?

 

For instance, I talked in a previous blog about a child, who was balancing out her mum’s very peace loving nature, because in a family there will always be a balance of war/peace or gentleness/aggression.  In her situation, she was gaining her Mum learning to get in touch with her tougher side, in order to give that little girl clearer boundaries.  She was not only going to gain from the boundaries, but also from a stronger Mummy who would learn to take care of herself more.  Here, the family can just redress the balance of gentleness/aggression and learn to love their un-peaceful sides, to bring the family back into balance.

 

But you can also get a child who has bullied because they are ‘bullied’ at home or at school.  So it comes from the fact that they are feeling very powerless in one area and are wanting to redress the balance and regain the power.  Here, if the ‘bullying’ is at home and the family can be shown how to regain control using calmness, then the child’s need to bully will reduce.  If the bullying is at school, then the child can be taught how they are wonderful, and given more self-belief, so that they no longer feel a lack of power.

 

In a social or work situation, they will be balancing out that the ‘bullied’ is getting loads of support from elsewhere.  This was certainly the situation for me one evening this weekend.  I suspect it was infuriating for the ‘bully’ who expected to walk into the social situation with a position of power, to find me already nicely ensconced.  Meanwhile, I had assumed that the evening would go as other’s had done, so my protective boundaries were down, and I was unprepared for the situation.  However, I gained from it, some practice into what my lovely PR girl calls a ‘rat trap’, which was a much better way to do it, than in front of a journalist, plus I didn’t handle it as well as I might if I’d been prepared, but I did OK, so I came out looking alright from it, which is important to me because it was the easiest way to prove to some of the other people there, that they will be safe in working with me in the future.

 

So what does a ‘bully’ gain when someone stands up to them?  They are getting a reminder to bring themselves down a notch or two.  If they learn the lesson, it makes them a great deal more attractive to other people, because being arrogant is not a characteristic which tends to be popular.  Of course, some are generally just bored, because they have an easy life of it elsewhere, so they are actually looking for a bit of excitement when they upset the ‘bullied’ and hence get a good argument going.  So what they are getting from it, is very much to do with the type of reaction that they get.

 

When people let the ‘bully’ get away with it, then they are gaining power, and improving their self-worth.  If they have gained a following, which often happens at school, then they will then continue with the tactic in order to maintain their position and feeling of belongingness.  I remember a girl at school who would pick on me repeatedly.  But then one day her best friend decided to become best friends with my best friend (girls!!).  So they came to me and this girl and asked us if we would be best friends in order to make sure that we were not alone, and we duly complied!  It totally worked, she got the same degree of belonging by being my friend, as she had from picking on me!

The 6 Step Flexible Family Solution

I have created the 6 step Flexible Family Solution as an adaptable process that I can teach to Mums to deal with their unique families and ever changing daily challenges.

There are 6 steps:

1) Step 1 is for the Mum to learn what her needs are

2) Step 2 is to learn what her Family’s needs are

3) Step 3 is to clear the brain noise from the Mum’s head

4) Step 4 is to add a Reality Check

5) Step 5 is a Dash of Knowledge.

6) Step 6 is to learn to Appreciate life as it is

Step 1 – The Mum’s Needs/Values

The reason why it is so important for a Mum to understand herself and what makes her tick, is because that is the only way that she can be sure of maintaining a balance in her life and keeping herself going as well as the family.  When we are really tired from a tough time, there is only a short amount of time available to pick ourselves up.  So if we know what makes us tick, then we can find something to re-energise ourselves quickly.  Also, you can use that knowledge to push yourself to do the things you hate doing or motivate you to do what you would like to do, by linking what you know you love, to doing the tasks.  This improves our energy levels, because hating something, makes it a lot harder to achieve!  Whereas, if you have linked it to something you love, you’ll be much more up for it.  Most importantly, if you know what makes you tick, you’ll know how to balance your needs & the family’s needs, rather than putting the family first all the time (which tends to backfire big-time).

Step 2 – The Family’s Needs

This helps you to understand the difference between what they ‘Need’ for their basic survival versus ‘Want’, which is unnecessary.  Plus that being ‘Caring’ is not just doing things for people, but doing things that they would actually like you to do!  You’ll be able to negotiate more effectively with your family about those tricky things that you need them to do, as you’ll have learnt how to speak in their ‘language’, rather than your own, which could be entirely foreign to them.  Plus you’ll learn how to tackle those Worry and To Do Lists.

Step 3 – Clear Out The Brain Noise

Brain noise is all the fear, guilt, worry, shame, blame which fills up our brains and makes it difficult to think straight.  You learn how to tackle those very dangerous ‘Should’s about what life should be like and we should be like and break those fantasies that make us miserable.  We also look at tackling the beginnings of depression or feeling down (although for anyone in the depths of full blown PND, more assistance would be required).

Step 4 – Reality Check

It’s important to learn to compare yourself and your family fairly with others, rather than thinking that you are worse or better.  Our home circumstances might not be what society considers as ‘ideal’, but we can make them work for us, rather than punish ourselves for the way that it is.

Step 5 – Knowledge

Finishing off is a dash of knowledge because a little bit of knowledge is always important to give you some ideas for tackling the challenges and because you now understand your family & yourself, you can be much clearer on which options work for you.

Step 6 – Appreciate Life

It’s old fashioned, but counting our blessings has been proved to be great for our health and our day to day well being.  Learning to appreciate life as it is, adds tremendous relief and enjoyment to our lives.

We put all 6 steps in a bowl and mix in with a simple decision making process, and you have a reliable, achievable and sustainable way of tackling the daily challenges that Mums face and making those complicated decisions that we often feel so overwhelmed by.

Bullying – Pt10 – What on Earth could be the benefits?

So, if you or your child is being bullied, then it may just be in a minor form, and so it’s not a huge button presser.  However, if bullying is a big deal for you, then it is really worth you checking out this post.  Keep an open mind while reading it please!  Remember, the reason I’m telling you all this is so that it is possible for you to change/shift the way that bullying turns up in your families lives.

I’m not an overly positive person, but my training has proved to me that the universe is not totally cruel, so the old-fashioned saying of ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ is true.  That means that there will be a ‘silver lining’ to when you are bullied or when you have been bullied.  (I do understand that this is a challenging concept when applied to harsher subjects, but I can promise you that there isn’t a single situation that I haven’t been able to find the silver lining for my clients for, however ‘horrific’ the event, and it becomes very comforting to them to know that it is there).

The important thing when looking for what someone gained from a situation, is to remember that everyone is different.  So what one person gains, would be totally different from someone else.  It’s important to think about what you value in life, to have or do or be.  What do you do, where do you do it, why, and how do you do it?

Normally when something happens, we will react in a certain way.  So why would did it help to react that way?

Then sometimes over time we change our behaviour and learn to adapt, e.g. by standing up for ourselves, or not getting drawn in.  So how did the adapting help out?

If you then look forwards to afterwards, what wouldn’t have been able to happen if they/you hadn’t been able to learn that skill?  Remembering, that we are just like toddlers.  Sometimes we have to experience something over & over again, before we truly learn, just as they put their fingers in a drawer over & over!

So if your child is being bullied, it will help you to see your way clear and what to do about it, if you can look for the silver-lining, because then the emotion will be reduced a bit.  Emotion is understandable, but it gets in the way of us parents finding a clear solution.  If your child is bullying, then you will be able to see them much more easily, if you can understand that when you bullied someone will have gained something from it, and the same can be said of the children that your child is bullying.

I’m not saying that just because there is a benefit to bullying, that there shouldn’t be any consequences for the bully.  I’m just saying that to really change the way it appears, we need to able to see the problem clearly.

For me as a child, the benefits were mainly that it made me very competitive academically.  I worked extremely hard and enjoyed it, whereas my brothers all focussed on sport.  It gave me an incredibly good foundation, the opportunity to do a degree, and a wonderful job for 13 yrs in IT.  As a daughter arriving to elderly parents 20yrs after their sons, there was the possibility of me being spoilt.  Whereas, the responsibilities at home and bullying at school, made sure that I didn’t become a precocious little brat (in my opinion anyway!).  Plus, as my parent’s health worsened in my teenage and I struggled with it, I was less likely to ‘get into trouble’ as I was quite old-fashioned.  I got used to being different, and even now I have studied the most cutting edge techniques that I know will make the most difference to Mums, in comparison to standard ‘personal development’ or ‘parenting techniques’.  I wouldn’t give any of that up, in order to have not been bullied at school at all.

For my little boy so far, it has taught me how to balance the scales of support and challenge very easily at home, as it was just is a minor, although scary situation for him (i.e. it’s not long-standing).  This balance, is giving him more consistency and a fairer balance between myself and my husband.  Plus, it will change my choice of school for him and clarified what I’m looking for in his present/next nursery.  I would probably have taken the easy route of leaving him at his present nursery until school, whereas now I’m much more likely to send him elsewhere for the final year.  We’ll see what he gets from that!

Bullying Pt9 – Everyone Is a Bully

Oooh, that’s a challenging title.  But bear with me.

Some has just contacted me to say that ‘Once a bully always a bully and once a bullied always a bullied’, which is what prompted me to write this post, which I’ve been meaning to get around to for ages.  There is an ounce of truth in the quote that I was sent, but with a slight difference, which is:

Everyone is a BULLY.  

Everyone gets BULLIED.  

ALL the time.  

AS much as each other.  

Just in DIFFERENT ways/places.

 

Now that might be a bit challenging, but bear with me and I will explain myself!

The reason that I’m saying this, is because if you really want to transform the bullying in yours/your child’s life, then we need to start with a true understanding of the situation.  From there, we can make a real change.  After all, how depressing would it be if it was really true that you were labelled as either bully/bullied from the start and that was how the rest of your life was going to be.  Things would be looking pretty miserable for me, that’s for sure.

 

Step 1: Define what bullying means to you

Surprisingly you will find that it is different for different people.  E.g. general picking on to making someone feel unconfident/unhappy (my experience of school), name calling, physically beating, scareing someone (this is what happened to my little boy), taking things from them, ignoring them, making them do things they don’t want to do – oh the list is endless.

 

Step 2: Now have a look for where you have done that definition elsewhere

It’s quite likely that if you were bullied at school, there were at least a couple of incidents where you also ‘bullied’ (see your definition above), or stood by and let it happen to someone else.  But keep looking in different places in your life, either then or now.  For example, work, spiritual views, finances, physical health, social networks, family/relationships.  Plus, it might not have been to the same extent or focussed at just one child, it might be that it was lots of little times.

In my life now I totally do that!  I definitely don’t let Curly Headed Boy do what he wants to do all the time, that’s when he says I’m being ‘rude or naughty’!  There are times with my clients, that I have to initially help them to see someone painful before we can move on.  There are other times that my clients are a bit full of themselves and not appreciating their lives/relationships/work and my job is to bring more love of their life back, which requires me showing them how great those things are, and that maybe they are not the as much ‘the best thing since sliced bread’ as they think; you know we all need to be brought down a peg or too sometimes, for our own health!  You’ll have taken promotions and jobs away from people, and affected the financial health of your family by deciding what could/couldn’t be afforded.  There will be people that you didn’t invite around because you were not keen on their views.  Do you see, how it goes?

It’s not that you had the intention of bullying someone.  It’s just that they saw something that you did in a specific way, and therefore felt a certain way about it.

 

Step 3: There is an equal amount

If bullying or being bullied has been an issue for you or your child, then take a week or so with a big notebook and write down all the times that you/they have felt like a bully or like they are being bullied.

Admittedly the ‘bullying’ may always be coming/going to a particular person in a very focussed way.  Whereas the balance/opposite could be coming/going to many different people in many different places.  But if you can start to understand that it is always there, and always will be, then we can really help to transform it in your lives.

Remember at the beginning I said that bullying is always there.  BUT you can change the way it shows up in your life or your kids life.  That’s what I’m looking for with my kids.  A balance of both me and my husband bullying him at home, so that it isn’t purely the ‘job’ of one person to keep him on the straight and narrow and give him boundaries.  Plus a balance at nursery/school which doesn’t come from a particular child, but is generally mixed around all the children when they are a bit grumpy.

 

This is something that is achievable.

Plus it doesn’t make anyone powerless or a victim.

Plus once you learn it, it will stay with you, so it is sustainable.

So even if it is a little tricky to get your head around, I’d love it if you would have a go and let me know how you do.

 

Bullying Pt 8 – Why Bully?

Understanding why a child bully’s and helping them is much more complicated in my view than the bullied, but still possible.

As I’ve mentioned before, they are balancing out the support/challenge (ease/difficulty) in the bullied child’s life.  However, the question is, why them, why are they balancing it out, rather than someone else?  What is the balance of support/challenge in the bully’s life?

The first hint, is in what they gain from it, which is the opposite to the bullied child.  The bullied child is being taught to stand up for themselves in some way. The bully is being taught to be more humble and understand how other people feel.

We all bully in some way, but the question is, what leads them to be bullying so extremely with the kids at school.  Where they bullied themselves, so they are getting a view of the ‘other side’?  We all do this, criticize someone for doing something and then end up finding ourselves doing it somehow.

Plus of course, they maybe unaware of the bullying and see it totally differently.  When I went back to several school reunions, (the last one being 20yrs – how scary!), the ‘bullies’ met me with what appeared to be really genuine pleasure.  They were remembering the times that we had got on, whereas I had remembered the times when I had been upset.  Looked at objectively, they couldn’t possibly have been bullying me 24hrs a day.

Then there is the very aggressive child with the really gentle and ‘nice’ parent.  The parent is repressing all their anger and frustration, and the child tends to display it instead.  When the parent is stronger with the child, giving them boundaries and clarity, then the child calms down.  This is the balance of aggression within the family.  I remember a really lovely girl looking at me desperately as her daughter smacked Curly Headed Boy over the head again, and in her sweet quiet voice saying ‘I just don’t understand why she does that’.  The answer was that the Mum didn’t like upsetting people, so she didn’t express her true feelings and the daughter was attempting to push her to do so.

Or is one or both of the parents aggressive with them, so they feel powerless at home and are trying to feel in control of at least one part of their lives?  It would be natural to then copy their parents habits wouldn’t it.

Then look at what the bully is attempting to achieve?  Is it to have Freedom/Choice, Power/Recognition, Love/Belonging or Fun/Progress (Thes are 4 psychological needs according to Dr William Glasser’s Choice Therapy).  What do they think that they are going to get out of it, and are there other ways for them to get it that we could teach them?

For example, if they want freedom/choice, then they are feeling that they don’t have enough of that elsewhere, maybe they have a very domineering parent, who could do with stepping back a bit?

Or if they would like more Power/Recognition, then maybe then need to feel useful and be given a role and responsibility.  Are they picking on the other child because they are being reminded of their own powerlessness?

If it is to do with Love/Belonging, are they concerned that they are not loved, in which case, is there a way to help them to feel more confident?

If they are getting enjoyment out of it, maybe they need to understand the consequences and have their fun reduced by some kind of punishment, with additional encouragement and ideas of alternative ways to have fun, so they aren’t bored any more.

Punishment alone is unlikely to help, as it won’t address the child’s problems.  I’m not say don’t punish, it depends on the situation and scenario.  But what is more important is to address their perception of where they have Freedom/Power/Love/Fun and looking at any imbalances at home that can be addressed in the support/challenge balance.

Realistic Expectations

I’ve been thinking about how unrealistic society’s expectations are on babies & children, and the fact that I think that there are some unpleasant consequences.  I mean how confusing is it, to expect a toddler to behave maturely as quickly as possible, but then to be outraged because at 10 they want to be adults!  There was all that hoo-hah about Holly on Britain’s Got Talent, because she was given a second chance at singing (which she rocked, plus the next night – proving that she was a little professional).  Some people seemed to think that at 10, she should have the emotional maturity to understand that ‘there are no second chances’, plus have all the experience of a 40yr old at handling stressful situations – phewy!  It is well known that as humans, we take a very long time to mature and grow physically, emotionally and mentally.  Initially weeks can make a big difference, then it is months, then it is quarters, then six months, eventually years, and finally, there is probably little difference between a 100yr old and a 120yr old!  So there is a big difference between 10, 11, 12 etc.  Plus, each child matures each bit of itself at a different speed.  We can’t expect them to all grow uniformly at the same rate.  Therefore we can’t expect them to all be able to handle the same things at the same age e.g. performing on BGT.

So when you are worrying about your child and what they are or are not doing.  Double check your expectations.

Are you expecting a 6 week old baby to sleep through the night?  Maybe you could do with checking the stats on how many don’t.  Are you irritated by the trantrums of your toddler?  Have you read up on how difficult it is to learn to manage our emotions and ways of helping them?  Is your child refusing to go to bed immediately you tell them too?  Have you explained it to them in terms of what they care about e.g. racing, adventures, reading, cuddles etc or in terms of what you care about i.e. getting them to bed in time to maintain their health and your sanity?  Are you infuriated by a teen who just growls?  Did you know that the wiring in their brain means that they are less capable of recognising emotions in faces than toddlers?

By the way, this rule works for other people as well!  Are you expecting your husband to understand the ramifications of having a baby in the early months?  Sorry, many take at least a year to really get their head around it.  Are you upset because your old friends don’t seem interested in hearing about Poo?  Poo conversations are for your new Mum friends, not the singles!

Having realistic expectations of yourself, your partner, your kids, your friends, your family and your work mates, will make your life so much easier, and much less painful!

How do you do it?

– Knowledge – The internet will tell you anything and be way more up to date than any book.  So if you want to find out about baby/child/teen development, it is there, right at your finger tips.

– Ask people! – Talk to other people and get a fair comparison – then you’ll realise there probably isn’t as much difference as you thought.

– Find out what those people/children value – I’ve just done a podcast about values (see http://www.Mummywhisperer.com), and am bound to blog about it really soon.  Find out what they like, where they like it, how, why and when.  When you understand someone’s values, you can have realistic expectations.  Because they will always be loyal to their values.