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HOW TO BANISH BULLIES – WHAT OUR KIDS NEED TO KNOW


banish bullies picture

 

Another golden heart stopped beating because the black hearts made life unbearable.

I can feel my own heart breaking.  I am filled with fear. The fear is for the Goddesses, never far from my thoughts.

How are they to cope in a world that has become the perfect breeding space for bullies?

When our leaders influence with intimidation, how can we possibly save our kids?

 

 

IS IT POSSIBLE TO BANISH BULLIES?

The problem is we can’t stop bullying. It has been around since (human) time began. Many believe it began with our survival instinct and the need to compete for food and resources. Survival of the fittest at its ugliest.

Bullying was a major theme in Oliver Twist, the Charles Dickins novel, first published in 1838.

In 1862, The Times (London) published the story of John Flood, the victim of “long, malignant and systematic bullying”. Flood ended up shooting his tormentor. He was sentenced to death. The Queen overturned the sentence, given his kindly disposition and the circumstances.

Education and anti-bully laws may go a long way towards limiting the incidence of bullying, but the truth is, the world has never been a better playground for bullies.

The internet has provided the perfect platform, its anonymity catering to the key trait of bullies – cowardice.

Hiding behind the armour of a screen, the bullies can allow their venom to pour out continuously like volcano lava, destroying everything in its path.

A GOLDEN HEART STOPPED BEATING

In the wake of another beautiful young teenager taking her life because of non-stop bullying, South Australia is considering introducing tough new anti-bully laws that could see serious offenders end up in jail.

Adelaide schoolgirl Libby Bell, just 13, took her own life on August 28 this year after putting up with years of cyberbullying and physical abuse.

banish bullies picture

Victoria has a similar anti-bully law. Brodie’s Law was introduced in 2011 after 19-year-old Brodie Panlock, a victim of workplace bullying, ended her life in 2006.

Victorian police reported in June 2016 that nearly 60 people had been charged with more than 140 bullying offences since the law was introduced.

Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said he was concerned it was only the ‘tip of the iceberg’.

The insidious nature of bullying, especially with the aid of technology, makes it difficult for law enforcement to pinpoint bullies and to prove they are creating an offence.

We may be able to slow the flow of bullying, but I believe we cannot stop it completely.

So how do we save our kids?

banish bullies picture

We humans seem unable to keep up with our own inventiveness. We failed to foresee the dark side of technology. Now we are left scrambling to deal with the issues as they arise.

Numerous schools now offer wellness counsellors to help deal with the emotional problems of students, such as the impact of bullying.

The sad fact is though, many students do not seek help because they feel embarrassed and ashamed.

 

 

WHEN THE BULLIES ARE BABIES

Now that we are aware of the new dangers and opportunities for bullies, we can help prepare our children while they are young.

The oldest Goddess, who started school this year, was given an award the other day.

There is nothing unusual about that. She seems to receive them regularly.

What amazed me was the reason she was granted the award.

A boy in her year had vomited and while all the other kids responded with exclamations of ‘eww’, she went, unasked, grabbed some paper and cleaned it up.

As her parents told me this story, the Goddess started talking about the other kids and how some of them were mean.

Her mother said she was already hearing so many stories about the nastiness of other kids.

banish bullies picture

The bullying has already begun. – these kids are just six-years-old.

I’m not sure why this shocks me. My own son was regularly hit and punched by bullies in his kindergarten and Year 1 class.

When he told me, I went straight to the school, of course. The head teacher told me she had never seen evidence of it and couldn’t act unless she did. The bullying went on.

The tormentors would wait until my son went to the toilet and then follow him there with the express purpose of hurting him.

I kept talking to the school. It was finally my seven-year-old son who came up with a solution. He suggested the teacher watch as he went to the toilet at recess and wait to see what would happen.

She finally caught the bullies in the act and put an end to their tormenting.

 

WHEN THE STAKES GET HIGHER

When he reached high school, the stakes became higher. He ran home one day in fear of being beaten up by a particularly nasty group.

Again I raced to the school. The receptionist asked if I had an appointment when I asked to see the principal. I told her ‘no’ but it’s ‘a matter of life and death’.

The principal told me she had to be careful how she dealt with these bullies. Their relatives were well-known criminals who had been in and out of jail. It could well be a case of life and death.

“Keep a close eye on your son this weekend,” she said. And we live in a really friendly area with a high school that has an excellent reputation!

All three sons were bullied at some stage. I mentioned this to the youngest as we discussed his daughter’s wonderful award.

He said he felt grateful that, when he and his brothers were in school, Myspace was just starting and all the other social networks were yet to become a thing.

MATCHING HEARTS TO BANISH BULLIES

Times have certainly changed and we need to find a way to help our kids cope with that. We need to find a way to do it without scaring them and creating other negative issues.

We have to speak their language.

banish bullies pictures

I told my granddaughter she has a golden heart. It’s true.

I told her she will meet people with black hearts because the world has those kinds of people as well.

“When you meet a black heart, you need to stay away from them to protect your golden heart”.

“You need to surround yourself with other golden hearts and never listen to anything that the black hearts say because they never really know what they are talking about”.

I’m going to reinforce this message. I’ll tell her how my imaginary dragon, who lived inside me, protected me from the black hearts when I was in school.

banish bullies picture

That dragon used his fire to burn the nasty words, and his wings to fly away from sneers and sniggers.

I’ll explain how as I grew older I realised the dragon was me – my strength and power , and that I could rescue myself and make my own world beautiful,  without the black hearts intruding.

banish bullies picture

Sometimes it’s easier for kids to seek anonymous help. Kids Helpline is a counselling and support service, specifically for children and young people in Australia, aged 5 to 25 years. There is useful information on the website for parents, carers, teachers and of course, kids and teens. You can also free call 1800 55 1800.

Wishing you a world surrounded by golden hearts and glee, Tamuria.

 

 

 

 

 

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16 Comments

  1. It’s so sad to hear of bullying happen at such a young age – of course it is any any age really. I hope the Goddess becomes a role model for other kids and not only receive more awards but changes the world too. 🙂
    Teresa Salhi recently posted…5 Superfoods for WomenMy Profile

    • I was just reading another heartbreaking story about bullying, Teresa. Seems we really can’t get away from it so the only option is to prepare our kids for it before it happens to them. I have no doubt my little golden heart Goddess will do her bit to change the world.

  2. Tami, I know that your little Goddess will be a source of happiness and good in the world. I was a subject of bullying when I was growing up. My son was bullied too. I think it’s so so sad that this happens to our kids; seemingly younger and younger. I think making kids aware of it and how to respond ahead of time is one option. I think the more we can teach our kids compassion, the less bullying will happen.
    Tandy Elisala recently posted…3 Ways to Rebuild Strength After Cancer (even when you still feel weak)My Profile

    • So many of us have been victims of bullying, Tandy, and it seems to be happening more and more. I agree we need to teach kids compassion. Unfortunately, for some parents, it’s a lesson they have yet to learn.

  3. Wow! Thanks for taking on this topic. It is horrifying to realize that some children become so traumatized that they take their life. Your solution is most likely the only one that will work. Strengthen from within. Let our children know they have the dragon within to blot out the black hearts. For myself, when confronted with a person who tends to drain the life out of others. I create a shield of light around me..and that person can no longer drain my energy.

    • I love the shield of light. My little Goddess said she would use a unicorn to take her away from the black hearts.

  4. What a beautiful blog Tamuria. I especially love these.

    “When you meet a black heart, you need to stay away from them to protect your golden heart”.

    “You need to surround yourself with other golden hearts and never listen to anything that the black hearts say because they never really know what they are talking about”.

    I wrote a blog a couple years ago about bullying that comes from parents to children. I talked about the Bully Archetype. Sadly that is where it often starts. The concept of a gold heart vs a black heart though can start early. It would also help children discern groups to go toward or away from. Love it!

    • So true and sad that bullying often comes from the parents, Candess. It’s one of the reasons I believe it will always be around and why we need to teach kids when they are really young and before they can be damaged, how to deal with bullying.

  5. So sad but ever so prevalent. Kids are so mean. Best ways to banish bullies… 1 – not to be one.. and 2 – stand up for others. That’s always a good start. 😉 I hope your lil divas aren’t being bullied… and it’s so sad that there is so much death and hatred among kids.

    • Yes, such a sad truth. Teaching kids to stand up for others empowers them and will help make them stronger if they themselves become a target.

  6. Oh dear, as a mom, this breaks my heart, as I have seen it already. Thank you for sharing your tender, golden heart and your beautiful solutions to this issue.

    • It’s so scary for mums, Reba. I no longer have to worry about this as much with my sons as they have adult coping skills now and are less easy targets. I do worry about the Goddesses though and hope that the adults in their lives can help prepare them to cope, should they need to.

  7. Bullying breaks my heart. For the child being bullied and even for the one bullying. Schools need to be more aware and have stronger consequences. Often you see it going from bad to worse as the child gets older. A good strong sense of self is the best protection against a bully.

    • Yes, a good strong sense of self is wonderful protection to stop kids buying into what the bullies have to say. I do feel sad for the bullies too, often a product of what they’ve been taught. Schools in Australia have strict procedures in place but I think parents need to take more responsibility too.

  8. I not sure but it seems everyone is so insecure that by being a bully, no one will bully them. And, it certainly doesn’t help that some of the world’s leaders are the biggest bullies of them all. What a wonderful message for children to have a gold heart and how to deal with a black heart. I hope that you are turning this into a children’s book.

    • I think you are right, Joyce, that many bullies become so in order to try and avoid being victims. So sad. Extra tough when they see the example some of our leaders are showing.

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