Bullying; How To Be an Expert at Avoiding It

Given that this week is Anti-Bullying week, November 11th – 15th I thought I would write a post to help children avoid bullying from both sides; becoming a bully and being bullied.
I am a parent therefore I am no expert so this blog is purely my personal opinion only but after being bullied for a few years when I was younger I certainly have had the experience of it.
In addition having children, especially one with Down Syndrome, it is something I really do not want them to experience even though I often hear regularly “Children are just mean….. they all get bullied”
This shouldn’t be the norm and I feel as parents it is up to us to educate our children on this behaviour as change does start with us.

Who is a Bully?

A bully is defined as
‘a person who habitually seeks to harm or intimidate those whom they perceive as vulnerable’
As a verb bullying is defined as
seek to harm, intimidate, or coerce (someone perceived as vulnerable)’

So generally this can be anyone in my eyes who is being nasty to someone else. Now whilst I get not everyone has to get on or like everyone, it doesn’t give any child or adult the right to intimidate or worse, harm another human being. Bullying doesn’t have to be physical, it can be vocal and not even in given face to face given that cyber bullying is on the rise.

How to Avoid being Identified as a Bully?

I would like to think it was quite simple not to become a bully but I do understand the pressures young children get today from peers, from wanting to be accepted to be part of the ‘right crowd’ however it does come back to us as parents to talk to our children daily. To explain and encourage positive behaviour,

Three Ways to Help Your Child Who Maybe Bullying Others

  • Talk to them to help them understand how much harm they are causing by bullying someone (many adults never forget these emotional scars and damage can truly affect someones life)
  • Talk to them to help them understand why they are actually bullying someone; is that the only way to know how to react to someone, are they angry at something else and if needs be speak to someone that can help them (a counselor)
  • Talk to them to understand the consequences involved in bullying others as it can often lead to expulsion and even arrest
    For further guidance check this guide out https://www.wikihow.com/Stop-Being-a-Bully

How to Avoid Bullying

After being bullied myself this is quite hard to write but I feel so important. Bullies tend to pick on those more vulnerable, those less confident and those who appear unsure. Now whilst words can help a child ‘Say No’ simply saying to your child ‘Stand up for Yourself’ may not help them as much as putting actions into practice that can support your child on a daily basis.

Five Ways You Can Help Your Child Avoid Being Bullied

  • Instill confidence into them daily
  • Consider self defence classes to protect themselves
  • Practice affirmations together
  • Encourage them to make friends and ask for support from their friends
  • Get them to tell someone in authority immediately

A link that may guide you further with online bullying
https://www.wikihow.com/Avoid-Being-a-Victim-of-Bullying

I write this from a parents point of view and nothing else, not to patronise or sound condescending but I do believe that if we all choose to educate our children about the seriousness of bullying then it should start to reduce it. You could ask them to watch this
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQ6Yxh-44qY

Be A Friend Not A Bully

I do hope one of these resources might help you as a parent and whilst this is something completely different to what I write about usually, I am all for inclusion matters, every child matters, education for all, changing attitudes and raising awareness.
I’m curious were you bullied at school? If you would like to reach out to me privately then please get in touch here
https://t21hub.com/contact-me/

As always. thank you for reading and
Until Next Time
Sharon x

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The A-Z of Words that Parents Associate with a child with Down Syndrome

My blogging journey is all about educating people about Down Syndrome and I thought what an effective way of doing this was to create a simple A-Z to parents from parents who are raising a child with Down Syndrome. It is a collaboration with the help from other parents in our Facebook support group Wouldn’t Change A Thing (see attached). Together we devised this A-Z of words that we associate with having a child with Down Syndrome.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/801281006738525/

We hope you like and as they say

“Let’s start at the very beginning, it’s a very good place to start……”

Let’s start with the beginning of the alphabet
A – Ability; just because your child has Down Syndrome does not mean that they are not able. They may have alternative ways of speaking, of learning and at times to reach milestones but trust me – they do have the ability. Simply give them the space, the means and the encouragement
B – Be Yourself; this is not just for your child who I firmly believe will never have an issue with this concept but more for you, the parent. Acknowledge the syndrome and then when you can, forget about it. Be yourself with your emotions, with your expectations and with the outside world….just be you!
C – Chromosome; yes Down Syndrome simply means that your child has an extra chromosome on chromosome number 21. The End.
It does not define them as you will see, if you continue to read.
D – Determined; take a look at every day skills which are required to perform simple tasks. Now take on a learning difficulty, sometimes an additional disability, smaller limbs and do the same task.
Well your child will do it as they are more determined than ever.

Ellie trying archery

E – Education For All; many parents worry about mainstream and schools for children with additional needs. All children with Down Syndrome need educating. We are no longer in the 50’s and there is more than enough proof that mainstream is working. Look at what is being achieved today. Schools and councils need to stop worrying about budget cuts and concern themselves with education for all.
F – Fun; who doesn’t have fun with their children (well when they’re not shouting at them)? To all new parents, this will become part of your daily routine.
G – Genuine; this I personally love as my daughter Ellie just says it like it is. I have been told on more than one occasion that she is kissing the baby in my belly (yes you guessed it…I’m not pregnant!) and more recently hearing ‘No thank you mummy, I don’t want to move my plate right now’
H – Happy; it’s a biggy. NOOOOO children with Down Syndrome are not always happy. Ellie cries, screams and has moments as much as her brother Billy and I beg you to ask another parent ‘Is your child always happy?’ and watch their eyes role.

Ellie’s serious face

I – Inspiring; I understand that most parents feel inspired by their children but those children that have Down Syndrome do need to put a huge amount of effort in to simply get to the same milestones as their peers. This could be physically, mentally and more and because of this they inspire us parents each and every day.
J – Jokers; I am not joking (see what I did there) children with Down Syndrome have a wicked sense of humour and whilst Ellie can be very dry, to the point and lateral she really can make you laugh out loud.
K – Kindness; the type of kindness that children with Down Syndrome currently have comes from the heart rather than for a favour.
L – Love; all parents have unconditional love for their children. Parents with a child with Down Syndrome have that little extra and they do become their No.1 fans.

Girls Trip

M – Milestones; it is every parents dream when their child with Down Syndrome meets a milestone (whatever their age) because they have worked so damn hard to get there. I personally cried when Ellie first giggled which then resulted in her crying. We shrieked when she started walking (I think she was 2.5) but without any other complications they do all get there in the end and as they get older it does get less of a worry.
N – Never, Never Doubt or Underestimate; I have watched some amazing videos recently which has motivated me more with Ellie can achieve. Our children can and will always surprise you.
O – Own Agenda; Each child has their own agenda, their own journey and their own way of doing things. You will see children bottom shuffle to get to where they want to go. You will see children with Down Syndrome just find ways to get what they want and in their own time no matter how much you push and shove. Encourage but don’t force and watch the magic happen.
P – Perfect; children with Down Syndrome are perfect in their own unique way to their parents and family and they really wouldn’t change them for the world. When families stop seeing that label (it took me a while) the magic begins.

Perfection

Q – Quite Brilliant; do I need to say more or should I change that to Extra Quite Brilliant
R – Resilient; truth! Many parents of children with Down Syndrome say their children are resilient, tough, bounce back easy enough and have the capacity to keep on going. Not a bad quality to have in a child don’t you agree?
S – Superstar; trust me you will say this one day, your child is a superstar
T – Truthful; now this is a fabulous trait when those words are kind however it has been said on more than one occasion from Ellie that she is happy for the baby in my tummy.

Ellie fighting pneumonia

U – Unique; whilst facial characteristics are similar that is where it ends. Each child with Down Syndrome is unique in their own unique way; from character to both strengths and weaknesses and you will not be able to tell this from birth.
V – Victorious; each year as a parent you will feel victorious, trust me.
W – Wouldn’t Change A Thing; ask 90% or more of parents and they wouldn’t change a thing about their child. I now 100% believe Ellie is Ellie and she wouldn’t be Ellie without that extra choromosome.
X – Xtra ordinary; that xtra chromosome provides xtra cuteness, xtra potential and xtra stubbornness don’t you agree?

Ellie s unique

Y – You Can Do Anything; without any extra health or mental issues each child really can do anything. Stop limiting your beliefs, let your child shine and believe anything is possible.
Z – Zest; great enthusiasm and energy. Enough Said!

Do you agree with this A – Z, could you write your own; could these be said for any child? I would love to hear from you in the comments or contact me today. Thank you to all the parents of children with Down Syndrome whom contributed on this A-Z and as always, thank you for reading.

If you have enjoyed this blog and are looking to understand more about Down Syndrome, please read Myths and Stereotypes
https://t21hub.com/2019/05/08/challenging-some-myths-and-stereotypes-around-downs-syndrome/

Until Next Time
Sharon x