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Are you worried that your child will be a target for bullies? Maybe you’re concerned that they’re being bullied yet they haven’t said as much. Or, maybe you know they’re being bullied yet the teacher doesn’t agree?
I understand. My daughter was bullied by her friend. Daily talks to her teacher left me feeling paranoid and helpless. Was I imagining this?
Maybe it wasn’t as bad as it felt?
Maybe it was my fault for not ‘toughening her up’?
Boom, my self-esteem was in bits. So, now not only was I struggling to feel competent, I was witnessing my daughter deteriorate day by day.
Nausea, anxiety, sleepless nights, loss of appetite, genuine fear of what the next day held – these were becoming our normal.
I didn’t know what to do.
I had assumed the only person that could help me was my daughters teacher. I hadn’t even considered what would happen if the teacher didn’t agree! I had no idea what my options were. I felt like I’d hit a brick wall. I felt crap and was terrified of what this would lead to. Would it mean changing schools? How could I know it wouldn’t happen again there?
Why was I the only one that could see what was happening??
The support of my friends and family got me through. If I hadn’t had them there to show me that I wasn’t paranoid I’m honestly not sure quite how bad things would have got.
4 things you need to support yourself while you’re supporting your child:
1. It’s really important you have a support network. You need people to lift you, keep you focused and not let you spend too much time feeling stuck and dwelling on the unfairness of it all. (Yes it is unfair, but don’t get stuck on that.) These are the people that will get you through this.
2. Beware of the drama-seekers! Those that can’t help but get involved and fuel the fire. Those that are naturally drawn to drama. They seem to be supportive yet whenever you’re with them you’re left feeling drained and wound up. They will not help you. They will keep you stuck and possibly inflame an already painful and vulnerable situation.
There is always something you can do. Staying stuck isn’t an option. Taking action, albeit a tiny step, is the only way you can help your child.
3. Trust your intuition. If you feel something’s wrong then it probably is. Don’t worry about appearing to be a paranoid parent, your child’s happiness is far more important. Teacher’s aren’t always right. As many wonderful teachers have told me they simply can’t see and hear everything that happens during school hours. Quite often they want to help but they can’t unless you tell them what’s happening.
However, if you find that the teacher doesn’t agree then you need to really bring your self-belief into action. Don’t become your own worst critic. It’s exhausting to keep second guessing your every thought or action. If you’re unsure take a moment, sit still and feel your bodies answer – Is your child happy? If the answer is ‘no’ then gather the support you need and keep going. I regularly quote my lovely coach, because what she says is so true – ‘If it ain’t happy, it ain’t the end’. She’s talking about Disney movies but the same applies to your child. If you feel your child isn’t happy then that is reason enough to persevere.
Preserve your energy by trusting your intuition.
4. Self care is not a luxury. If you’ve previously struggled with taking time to look after yourself and refill your cup then now is the time for a drastic change! You can not get through this without extreme self care. The pressure you and your family are under is immense and it will be taking a toll on not only your emotional health, but your mental and physical health too.
Self care will allow you to be and do everything you want to for your child. My lovely friend Hayley Gillard from Self Care Compass regularly tells us that ‘self care is a necessity not a luxury’ and never more so than when your child is being bullied.
You don’t have to book yourself in for a spa day. That might not be youridea of fun and you might feel panicky at the thought of being away for a day. Self care can be as simple as taking five minutes outside with a cup of tea.
You can’t constantly be thinking about what to do next. I promise you,taking a few minutes for yourself will help the answers flow more easily when you’re back in action.
Gemma Hills is The Anti-Bullying Mums Coach and works with parents to help their children deal with and overcome bullying. Gemma provides parents with online resources, coaching and support with real solutions to ensure their child overcomes bullying and thrives.
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