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Christmas can be stressful

I was talking to an acquaintance this week who was clearly thrilled to have received what he described as “the first nice email from my ‘ex’ almost forever”.  They had a child together and his ‘ex’ had written to say what a joy the child was and to thank him for being a part of their life and helping to bring the child up.  We discussed how much more readily we complain about the negative things in life and yet, what a warm glow can be created by the simple act of saying something positive.

Christmas can be a stressful time for many and we are constantly reading about the growth in mental health issues in our young people.  Let’s tell them how much we love and appreciate them – how special they are to us and what joy they bring.  For some, this may be a much-needed boost to their self-esteem, and even if it’s not strictly needed, we all feel better for being appreciated.

So, in this season of goodwill, can I encourage you all to create a warm glow for one or even lots of your family and friends.  Let’s all make an effort over the coming weeks to say something positive to our partners, our children, our parents and yes, even our in-laws and “ex’s”.  You don’t need to wait for something spectacular to happen – we all know that the bedrooms will still be untidy and the bins still left for us to take out!  But a heartfelt acknowledgement or thanks for something they do or say or even that, just by being around, they make you feel happy or grateful could make a really big difference – and it doesn’t cost a thing!

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Setting an example

 

Setting an example

With the huge rise of online bullying and with Anti Bullying week, on the theme of “Choose Respect”, commencing 12 November, we need to think about why so many children treat each other with little respect.

It is interesting to see the recently conducted survey by the Anti Bullying Alliance.  Their research talks about the worrying numbers of children (41% of 11-16 year olds) who had seen adults bullying each other in the past 6 months – 21% face-to-face, 18% online and 20% in the media.  Not only do children recognise that this sets a bad example, but the report shows 97% s would like to see more respect shown between adults.

I have been talking for quite some time about adults embracing positive behaviour and how, if we change this, it could reduce the number of children being bullied.  I am starting to believe that, if we started with the grownups, we really could make a difference.  I see frequent posts on social media speaking about people in a negative way.  I have seen posts calling people “selfish” for parking their car incorrectly; another calling a person an “idiot” for jumping in front of a train and causing mayhem with transport.  When our children are being bullied, parents post their frustration online, which I do understand, but this is contradicting the very advice we give children at school; telling them not to respond or retaliate to bullying.

Have we lost the ability to feel compassion and think about why people might act in certain ways?  Are we becoming a nation of opinionated campaigners who can’t tolerate an opposing viewpoint or debate an issue without throwing insults?  I do believe this strongly and I regularly talk about this subject in my workshops.  Adults are worse than children when it comes to posting online.  It is no wonder that children have little respect for each other when, in fact, they are just mirroring behaviour that they have learnt from the adults around them.

 

We all have a responsibility to help

 

Did you put Anti Bullying Week in your diary?  Have you made plans yet?

We all have a responsibility to help both the child that is being bullied and the bully.  How the school responds is key, and can make such a difference to all parties that are involved.  I hear so many stories from both parents and Schools where children could have been supported in a better way.  Just because your member of staff has read KCSIE or the Anti Bullying Policy, it doesn’t mean they have understood or even know how to deal with it.  This subject is too complex for just a tick in the box.

Only the other day I was speaking with a school concerning a vulnerable child and the Safeguarding Lead’s response was “We have 500 children to deal with in the school and cannot focus on one child”.  Wrong Answer??   You can imagine my response.  Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing schools that are so on top of this topic.  Only yesterday, I was with the Head of Education for 15 Schools and it was so refreshing to listen to how sensitively they deal with issues across the board, not just bullying, but grooming and sexting too.

According to research from UKIE, 64% of 12-13 year old’s didn’t know who to talk to about being bullied.  I know from my own personal experience that I never told my Mum that I was being bullied at school; it went on for 3 years.   Could we be doing more and do we have the right mechanisms in place to respond?  Just make sure that the way you respond to incidents is the same as your anti-bullying policy.

I am sure your school has it covered and that your policies are in place but most importantly we need to support both students.  Sometimes we focus so much on the person that is being bullied but fail to also consider the bully and why they are behaving that way.  What’s going on in their life? What’s going on at home? Is their bullying a sign of inadequacy masquerading as strength?  Are they being bullied themselves?  Are they seeking to impress their peer group by bullying a weaker student?  Can we change the attitude of their peers to remove the incentive for bullying?  I know there is no easy fix, but maybe if we focused on the cause, (why the bully bullies) and the wider peer group, as well as supporting the victim, we might have a bigger impact.

Our latest Alert is advice for the whole school community, feel free to share with your parents.  To access the resource login or register it will only take a few seconds of your time.

We are very pleased to say that we have created a great partnership with Kidscape.  We are supporting the charity and helping to launch their Friendship Friday theme kidscape.org.uk/friendshipfriday.  There are FREE PDFs for Primary Schools  with advice for schools, Parents and children.

If you have any questions or queries please feel free to call.