I am not one that likes 'fluff' when it comes to serious issues, so let me get to the point....
School has just begun, and I am amazed how soon I heard from parents that the bullying took no time in getting started, at the beginning of the school year. International Stand Up to Bullying Day takes place in November... I just couldn't wait that long to talk about it.
There are days we set aside for awareness of one thing or another. I believe bullying awareness should be each and every day, not just the day it is marked on the calendar. For the parents that wonder what to talk to their children about, here is your answer. Perhaps every morning while they eat their breakfast before school, remind them today and everyday is 'anti-bullying day.' Talk about the effects from both the bully's side of it and also, the bullied side of it. Talk about empathy. A little daily dose of awareness is just as important as a daily vitamin!
Bullying is serious business from all parties concerned. The bully, the bullied and the parents and caregivers on both sides. The long-term effects from bullying is staggering. Something needs to be done. Nothing will happen if we just sweep it under the mat as a 'passage through school.' It is not a passage.
Statistically, 1 in 4 children are bullied, and 70% will be repeatedly bullied. 70% of children have witnessed bullying and 30% have participated in it. Participation is considered even if you are an onlooker, doing nothing about what you are witnessing.
We need to understand that bullying is an imbalance of power, whether realized or perceived. This can be in the form of physical size, a majority rules (more than one child) and information that can be damaging to another (in many cases, cyber-bullying). Bullying takes many different forms such as, and not limited to;
1) Verbal - teasing and taunting, name calling
2) Social - embarrassment, rumors and exclusion
3) Physical - hitting, pinching, kicking, spitting and biting
4) Cyber - email, social media
Bullying has been around for generations. That doesn't mean it is acceptable. It means something needs to change, and to change something we need education, we need a voice and we need to care.
The reasons someone is bullied, is a never-ending list and is made worse by the amount of information provided by social media. (this is not an attempt to bash social media as there are also good things about social media). With or without social media, this is a problem that needs attention.
What effect does bullying have on a child? It can impact every aspect of their life and it usually stays with them long after the event itself. It is a trauma and if it goes unnoticed, can impact the child into adulthood. It can cause limiting self-beliefs, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, sleep disorders, and inability to develop socially and..... they are more likely to have suicidal ideation, and 20% of these children are more likely to attempt suicide....
I hope I have your attention......
What's needed? Parents and caregivers need to care and be aware of changes in your child. Anything from sleeping changes to friendship changes to isolation, can be a warning sign. If you notice anything, try talking to your child or your child's teacher. This is not a time to just brush it off and say...'it's just who they are'.....it is not....
Many of us feel it is too big an issue to do anything about. If we continue to think that way, then it will be, because we have decided it so. The issues with bullying are not just about the child being bullied, it is also about the bully and the reason or motivation they have, that drives them to this behaviour.
There are so many factors involved in bullying and how to handle it. Each person has their own experience around bullying and responds differently. Bottom line is, kids need and deserve to feel safe, at home, at school and at extra-curricular activities, they have a right to this.
We need to teach children empathy, as this is one way to eliminate such a destructive behaviour.
If you, or someone you know struggles with bullying, and would like coaching on how to deal with this, please direct them to my website; www.bjaninefulla.com and Parent Coaching.
I am also booking speaking requests for October and November 2018.
Let's work on this together so we have less children suffering....
and more children excelling.....
Click the link to view a 15 minute talk I recently gave in Victoria BC at YoUnlimited.
In busy times such as getting ready to go back to school and making plans for the new normal routines, I thought I would just write some words that are worth thinking about.
Read them, acknowledge them............ be the positive....
Model - not Manipulate
Lead - not Intimidate
Support - not Shame
Encourage - not Threaten
Listen - not Lecture
There are so many articles to read regarding putting down the cel phone and iPad and having more 'family' time that, I am sure if you put all the information together it would be a book the size of the Encyclopedia...."A What?" You heard me.....an Encyclopedia. It's the book that we used in the old days to find information about the world and beyond. It wasn't instant information and you couldn't take it everywhere with you, as not all the information was in just one book. And now...in what seems like a few short years, we have a phone that can access pretty much anything we want to know, see, learn about and not to mention in between gathering so much information, we can stop to take a selfie and send a message to our friends with the details for tonight's get together....amazing really.
Today, we now spend more time in front of our devices than we do with face to face people conversations. Geesh, people don't even leave a voice mail now a-days, that would take too long to listen to when you can just type a few words and press send.
Fact: A survey done with Canadian Employers ~~ Pretty much every employer said that while they're happy with the numeracy, literacy and technical skills of recent grads, they're less satisfied with the business acumen and "human skills" they're seeing.....
Although there is a great use for these devices, and positive ones....it still cannot replace real relationship conversations that are face to face. See, what you don't get with a device, aside from the latest emojis, is real facial expression, voice expression, eye to eye contact, body language and the oh so memorable moments where you blurt out something and then wished it came with a 'delete' button, but it didn't. These are the missing items that come with live interactive relationship. These are the triggers that cause us to have empathy, care, compassion, excitement, joy and not only do we feel them, we can share face to face with another human being. We are losing this beautiful face to face expressionism and it is replaced by a screen and buttons, that don't come with emotions....and no....emojis are not real emotions.
Where we once talked off the top of our head, no rehearsal for what was about to come out of our mouth, is now replaced by a keyboard that we can edit several times, delete any parts we don't want, retype, re-read and if it's not quite right, leave it until later to edit and....send. Not overly authentic....
For families, parents are also as much to blame as the kids for being on their devices. It is important for the parent to introduce some boundaries for both themselves and the children. "It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
Here are some ideas to help everyone put down the devices and have that old-fashioned face to face, full of expression and emotion conversations that are completely random and ....real....
1) Choose a time together with the family that you call "charging time." All phones and devices are in a separate room and charging. Now, play a family game or, if you are not the family that likes board games, talk to your children about their future plans, are they interested in college? How do they plan to get there and what are their plans for a career? Another most helpful topic is money. Where does it really come from and how does it really work? Teach them that plastic really isn't the final payment and that the complete cycle involves a bill and it needs to be paid from your bank account. Help them with their own financial plan, teach them the difference between 'wants' and 'needs.' If you are thinking about a family vacation, have a discussion and find out what is important to each person on that vacation....
2) Sleep is so important to our health. Many children and parents sleep with the phone beside the bed. If you need an alarm clock, buy one. Parents....you can decide what is best for you however, please know that children require good sleep to be productive. They cannot get a good sleep with a phone buzzing and lighting up through the night. Because we are facing addiction to these devices, children cannot wait until morning to see who liked their last comment on FB so, kids are waking up, responding, and going back to sleep. Try to put the phones in a basket outside the bedrooms at night so your child can sleep and feel good. Everyone can claim their devices back in the morning and you have the wonderful feeling knowing they had a good sleep and are ready for the day. Don't forget, you are the parent and you make the rules, that's why it's called, "Parenting" and it's not called, "Childing."
3) On a weekend, take the family for a walk through nature where there is no signal......trust me, this will be complete bliss and you will also recharge your personal self. To make it interesting, considering it is now Spring, make this into a scavenger hunt. How many different wild flowers are blooming? How many different bird sounds can you hear? How many trees are starting to get new leaves? How many puddles did you walk past...or through? How many animal tracks can you find? It truly is endless how many things you can see, feel and smell. Soon you will forget about the devices...even just for a while.
Be creative, enjoy looking up, looking around you, and looking at each other. Makes faces, laugh, giggle and.....make some lifetime memories together. I guarantee....you will not make life long memories looking down at devices......
Fear of Parenting. Fear of parenting incorrectly. Fear of what’s coming next. Fear of not being able to control your child. Fear of your child walking the wrong path. Fear of being able to keep your child safe. Fear of not teaching the right lessons. Fear of inexperience…
I don’t know of a parent that has not experienced fear of some kind, on their parenting journey. So, let’s ask….what creates fear?
Fear, is simply not having all the information we need. Consider for a moment that you had all the information on how to raise a well adjusted child and the steps you needed to take, would you still have the same fears?
As parents, there is no quarterly exam to take to ensure you are on the right track, and there is no year-end assessment to re-align your journey. Before we go through child birth, we go through training to learn the steps on how to breathe while giving birth, we learn what to expect and when to expect it. Our jobs give details on what needs to be done and when. Once your child is born, we have nothing, no information and just our hopes and dreams.
All we know is what we were taught by our own parents. If we had a good upbringing, this may be easier than those that didn’t have the best upbringing. Fear sets in because we don’t want to parent the way we were parented but, have no idea how to do it differently or, if it will be the right way to raise our child. There are just so many unknowns. Our communities, our communication and our environments are so vastly different than what we knew, so how do we adapt and how do we know what to do?
Because of fear of not knowing, many parents choose to step back, go to work and leave it up to social media, schools and others to take over the task of parenting and the parent will catch up when the kids are older or, parents decide to not worry about anything until a situation or a problem arises. The parent can then say, the schools don’t do enough, the government needs to provide more support, Johnny just joined the wrong social group, the kids are just who they are….
What if there were steps that you could learn, steps on what to teach, how to teach life lessons that will make a difference in your life….and your child’s life. Would you be willing to learn?
Let’s talk about your fears of parenting. Let’s open the discussion. Simply comment here or if you would like to talk more privately, reach out on my ‘contact page’ and let’s start this conversation….because, you are not alone……
I posed a question to my kids who are now in their mid-twenties, asking them why they wanted me to write this book. Here are their unedited responses:
From my Son~
“Why did I encourage my mom to write this book? I wanted her to write this book because I know it has the power to change your life. Change your life by saving the most important relationship in the world, a parent to a child. She will open your eyes and inspire you to become the best you, and the best parent you can be. She inspires me every time I see her with her positivity, strength and class. I would not have wanted to be raised any other way.”
“I look forward to the future when I have kids and this book will be there to help guide me to have the same relationship as we do. If you do not have kids or your kids have already grown up, don’t worry you still will be able to take things from this book. These are just some reasons why I wanted her to write this.”
“Enjoy! Love you Mom!!!
From my Daughter~
“Why did I want Mom to write this book? In life, there are few people that have the ability to light up a room and share insightful and profound stories. One of those people I am fortunate to call my mom. Everything that has happened in her life - from being adopted, to the relationship she has with parents, to her divorce, to raising her children – has lead her with the tools and strength to write this book.”
“The relationship you have with your child is a relationship you will have forever. No matter what stage you are at as a parent there is room for growth and this book will encourage you to test that. It is never too late to establish a loving, respectful, exciting, and empowering relationship with your children. I have that relationship with the woman that has written this book and I am so grateful for that. So, for the hundred times you have told me that you have been proud of me, here it is back to you.”
“Mom, I am so incredibly proud of you. I love you!