Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Bullying is Devastating - But we do have a solution

Any parents of a child who has experienced bullying will tell you the most frustrating part of this period in their child’s life is the complete and overwhelming lack of control they have over the situation.

With so many different strands of bullying, it can be very difficult to identify the right solution to the problem.

To complicate issues further, many of the procedures in place to report and combat bullying are either ineffective or are so poorly managed the victim is often left unsupported, disillusioned and in the same place as before they reported the incident.

With the constant changes in technology the way in which people are bullied is continually getting more difficult to monitor, making the reporting of incidents even more complicated.

I have dealt with hundreds of parents who struggle to understand why it is so difficult to get to the root of their child’s bullying experience and deliver the appropriate punishment to the bullies.

So what are the main symptoms of bullying?

Whilst it is inappropriate to suggest that all victims suffer the same symptoms, research has clearly demonstrated that certain negative personality changes occur in a majority of young people. 

Confidence and self esteem take a serious blow, which often leads to the individual becoming reclusive and avoiding participation in activities both at school and home. In more extreme cases, the negative affects of bullying can and often do include swift changes in mood (normally undirected anger) and self harming.

One of the most concerning aspects of working with young people who are experiencing a traumatic period of bullying is watching the people around the victim. I witness parents go through every emotion you can imagine just to try and come to terms with the situation in the first place. Once the anger and disbelief subsides from the initial shock of hearing about their child’s plight, they are then thrust into a roller coaster of emotions trying to be supportive, practical and logical. 

I have in the last few months witnessed the ripple affect of negativity run through the parents and onto other family members, friends and even teachers who have daily interaction with the victims.

There is only one word to describe the overall negative affects of bullying - DEVASTATING

In my quest to provide victims and their families with every tool possible to address these bullying issues, I regularly provide information on websites where parents can research the many different ways others have used to deal with their bullying issues. 

Unfortunately, many of the victims I regularly speak to have little confidence and self esteem so to expect them to take the time to visit web sites and investigate ways to improve their lives is often a step to far.

Most parents will openly admit that their children are more likely to accept information from another individual than through themselves leaving their child to find the motivation required to visit a web site. This is a step to far for many victims.

It is very clear that the devastation caused by bullying to the victim and their family creates such a huge psychological scar that is makes sense to provide young people with a set of simple skills to increase the chance of them avoiding becoming a victim to bullying in the first place.

If we provided a preventative measures education to every young person through the national curriculum we would save the tax payer millions of pounds and more importantly, the victim a huge amount of trauma that is associated to bullying.

Ironically there are many groups splattered around the country that are providing fantastic opportunities for local young people and their families to come to terms with the trauma and work as a team to support each other through their difficult time. 

The problem is that a majority of these groups do not communicate with each other and therefore this splatter gun effect means only small pockets of young people benefit from the powerful services on offer.

Working in different schools on a regular basis, enables me to appreciate the true extent of poor communication that exists between teachers, schools and even local authorities. 
Pick any school in the country and you will find a handful of parents who are distraught at the way their child’s ordeal has been dealt with. 

So what is the long term damage caused by BULLYING?

It is no surprise that a good percentage of young victims to bullying under achieve academically and move into the scary world of adulthood and work with such a low level of confidence and self belief that they are already doomed to a life of half achievements.

All of us will know of at least one person who seriously lacks confidence or the communication skills to become the best they can be.

We have senior posts within every profession that are filled with people that are struggling internally as a direct result of being programmed incorrectly.

Think of the human brain as a computer and every experience we ever have, being software that programmes us to behave the way we do. It goes without saying that a child with a loving family, great education and positive role models will display an abundance of confidence, self belief, communication skills, positive body language and the ability to set and achieve goals regardless of their size. 

On the other hand a child that experiences bullying, who witnesses the negative sides of the human race, who loses faith in those around them, who struggles to see the positive side of anything and who lives to get through the day is going to find it difficult as they grow. These children will constantly be at war with themselves, which unfortunately will affect every relationship they have albeit within their personal life or career.
In an ideal world every young person will have the kind of loving childhood that provides them with the tools to become the best they can be, however we are human beings and this is no more than a pipe dream.

What is the solution?

If there was a single magic button to cure this huge problem then I am sure some brainiac would have discovered it by now. Unfortunately until that time comes, we have to rely on education. 
By fundamentally changing the way we educate all young people from 5 years + we will be able to provide the next generation with a powerful set of tools to achieve all that they want to. They will be programmed to think positively, to see the good in every situation, to belief in their own abilities to make positive lasting change in not only their lives but others to. 

Their will develop an abundance of real life skills that will place them on the stepping stone of success - Confidence, Self Belief, Positive Communication & Body Language skills, The ability to Assess & Avoid a Bullying Situation.

Let’s take the responsibility of educating young people away from the many poor parents who themselves do not have the right programming to benefit their own children. 
To the millions of parents that are doing a great job, we can support them by providing their children with a core set of values that any decent adult human being would acknowledge as being good education.

In the process of deploying a national strategy for developing these core life skills in every child we could establish an educational concept which has stood the test of time. “Kids teach Kids”
Let’s start installing some core values and belief systems into the minds of young people at 5 years of age and as these young people grow let’s enable them to pass their knowledge onto younger students coming through the educational system.

For reasons I can never get my head around, adults seem to complicate everything with bureaucracy and red tape. What is fundamentally a simple process is turned into a maze of confusion, which from my experience seems to delay progress and confuse the very people who created the maze in the first place.

If we kick-start a national deployment of real life skills training, young people themselves will keep it simple and make it very effective.

I am presently working with over 100 young people who have all suffered some form of bullying. Everyone of them has had a different response to the trauma, a different reaction from those around them and a different response from the people they have reported it to.

This group of 100 young people will cost the British tax payer millions of pounds over their life time unless we provide them with real life skills NOW.

The Life Skills for Children course is a simple and effective preventative measures education for young people to learn how to become the best they can be whilst staying SAFE.
Give us just 1 minute to complete a survey - Click here

Once the young people have experienced real life skills and have completed the course, we work with their parents and teachers to make sure the positive programme we installed is maintained.
Working with Reactiv8 ( we provide young people with opportunities to further develop their confidence and self belief within structured work placements.

The Life Skills for Children project “Young People are our Future” is designed to educate, inspire and motivate children through the medium of filmography. 
Together we can make a huge dent in the negative ball of bullying, but it requires us all to stand up and be counted - Parents, Teachers, Politicians - Everyone

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