Something to offer

In my time of working with students of all ages and counselling I am constantly reminded that we are of course all different but we all have something good to offer. As students are put under pressure not just by their schools but often parents too I try to re-adjust the balance whenever I get an opportunity to say that we cannot all be academics or A* students but please do not write us off!

Similarly a fellow life coach and I acknowledge on a regular basis that anyone who is dyslexic is not ‘stupid’ as previously labelled as this challenge is in no way an indication of a person’s level of intelligence.  Personally speaking I really enjoy the challenge of helping those who are considered ‘different’ by society and often unkindly judged and misunderstood.

I was encourged as a child to ‘not mock the afflicted’ that may be considered now as non pc but the message behind came from my mentor and one who accepted and saw the good in everyone. If you look for the good in somebody you will find it…some hide it better than others of course. Remember what some perceive as being naughty is infact somebody with a brilliant mind who may be bored and/or has a personal challenge they may be in fear of revealing.

If you come across say somebody with a speech issue such as stammering, be patient, be kind and try to avoid finishing their sentences or words it just makes them more anxious. Bear in mind they may be recovering from a stroke and re-learning to speak all over again.

Let’s celebrate who we are and be more accepting of others around us.

Cyber bullying

Glad to See Prince William discussing and supporting the modern day problem of cyber bullying. As I have written many times before school time bullying was just at school now its 24/7 and its effect can bring heartbreaking outcomes for families as victims feeling desperate sometimes take their own life.

Online bullying seemingly has no escape and it is so personal. Sadly we have a generation of people who post first think after…or not thinking at all. Parents, teachers need to remind all users of the ramifications of their actions.

Please read my article on Innovate My school’s website

http://www.innovatemyschool.com/industry-expert-articles/item/1670-how-schools-can-tackle-cyberbullying.html

What’s under the surface?

A lot of my friends and colleagues have ventured into pastoral type roles the past few years and recognise the importance of the support they give more often than not as a vocation to our struggling teens.

Modern life is a stressful path for our students aside of the stress of exams they have a lot of what many may see as self-imposed pressure via modern media. However, the emotional pain runs deep for many who suffer with various forms of peer pressure, cyber bullying and body conscious issues.

I am reminded today how we cannot always notice the signs as it is difficult to help somebody who is doing everything they can to hide their feelings. The following simple example explains a lot!

Think of a flower and its roots: The flower is things you can see happening  – what people say and do.  The roots are things you can’t see  – what people feel and think!

Delve deeper, ask the questions and give your children the platform to share they are our most precious gift.

To those in education holding the purse strings invest in our youth they are the future! We need more funding in pastoral departments not staff cutbacks.

Looking for the best

I am a great believer in giving the other guy the benefit of the doubt and trying to look for the best, but appreciate that with some individuals this is not so easy.

As a child I remember my mother asking us to even make allowances for the bullies as after all they were basically unhappy children.  Some truth in that of course and my regular followers know that anti-bullying is a subject of frequent posts.

In life it is often about changing our own attitudes which makes us stronger.

To quote Mahatma Ghandi:-

‘Before we expect to see our desired qualities in others, we should assimilate them in ouselves. We are all wonderful and extremely beautiful from the inside and the more we see the same thing in others, we shall get the same in return.’

Even in business this is true and from an early age I was encouraged to ‘kill customers with kindness‘ backed up by great training films featuring John Cleese on how not to treat them!

Keep smiling.

Preventing bullying

As the new term at schools commences there will be many children and parents concerned about the bullying that sadly exists within schools. Hardly a day goes by when we are not hearing about a tragic account of either face to face or cyber bullying and the drastic affect it has on the victims. Schools and parents should be reminding pupils to take responsibility for their actions and just how dangerous bullying can be when it gets out of hand…banter is only banter when everyone is laughing.

Only this week I was talking to a mother who expressed her frustration in the poor way her son’s school had reacted to her pleas for help. This was also the subject of a phone in today on This Morning TV.  Sadly, parents who are faced with a distraught child are often feeling so understandably emotional and helpless that they do not have the energy to fight their child’s corner. In addition they can be met with reluctance by some schools to actually deliver the ‘anti-bullying programme’ they are duty bound to impose.

I echo the advice given today; if your school are not proactive, talk to the chair of governors, local authority or when appropriate the Police.  Please read my piece on tackling cyber bullying on Innovate My School’s website:- 

http://www.innovatemyschool.com/industry-expert-articles/item/1670-how-schools-can-tackle-cyberbullying.html

Support for eating disorders

Recently watched the Panorama programme dedicated to eating disorders in men and boys presented by Nigel Owens the Rugby referee. Worrying stats were revealed of young men being affected by eating disorders with 42% increase in referrals over the last two years.

As with most mental illnesses intervention early really does aid success for recovery. Sadly youngsters wait far too long for referrals for support help and often are turned down because of shortage of staff and a variety of other factors.

We all keep hearing how the government are investing billions into this area with aims to see children within four weeks, one week for real emergencies! In reality this will be impossible to achieve meanwhile a lot of male youngsters suffer in silence.

The documentary covered various cases demonstrating the devestating affects on the body and mind with 13 -17 most at high risk. It revealed facts from support agencies; Beat charity receive 20,000 calls a year. Often eating disorders are viewed as ‘female illnesses’ when this is clearly no longer the case – even so this ‘assumption’ can make it harder for parents and GP’s to recognise/diagnose.

As ever modern media plays its part in making youngsters concerned about their visual appearance and so it starts. Often eating disorders are associated with boys who are struggling to come to terms with their sexuality too.

Nigel closed the episode by saying it is a strength to admit one has a problem not a weakness, and advising viewers not to be like him still suffering some 27 years on. Get help and stay one step a head and have a chance of recovering.

 

‘Growing up Gay’

I have to agree with recent media comments that everyone whether Gay or not should watch Olly Alexander’s documentary ‘Growing up Gay’.  It gave a very honest insight into the many problems that teenagers have in coming to terms with sexuality. It covered bullying within schools, self harming and eating disorders as well as drug addiction.

As ever it included worrying statistics about the mental health issues that young people face and the damage and low self-esteem often from rejection by parents…sometimes leading to homelessness for many.

However, Olly also allowed cameras to film his participation in Diversity Role Model schemes being rolled out in some schools, with positive statistics that 40% of students used homophobic vocabulary before the sessions and reducing to 15% after.

Those that regular follow my blog know I do my bit to support anti-bullying and again this programme showed how students suffer in silence preferring not to tell the school or their family.

I whole heartedly agree with Olly’s comments that awareness and consideration to LBGT should form part of sex education within schools, the earlier we are encouraged to be accepting of others the better.

I know that as with other similar documentaries Olly’s will hopefully encourage those struggling to talk to somebody and get support.

Be kind to one another this weekend and remember to ask ‘how are doing?’ and be willing to listen. Be that friend.

Helping students

Communication has always been the key to success whether in business, teaching or parenting. Innovate My School’s website has an amazing wealth of advice provided by experts within the education sector. I am always happy to be associated with this great procurement tool as one of their contributing writers.

Please read my latest article on combating student stress.

http://www.innovatemyschool.com/ideas/combating-student-stress-through-communication

Start the week with kindness

Regular followers will know I often write about kindness and how it is a strength and not a weakness.  As children we were taught to be considerate of others and their feelings and how simple acts of kindness can go along way.

Somewhere in the midst of modern media the kindness factor seems to have disappeared and replaced with bullying as though it is ok to be unkind, rude and insensitive. I encourage mothers of teens to get them off of social media and out in the community.  Working with families I see on a regular basis just how damaging the ‘modern techno fun’ really is. Cyber bullying is causing all sorts of health and emotional issues for students and at a time when they are really vulnerable.

‘It’s a generation thing’ I am constantly told..sorry that doesn’t ring true it’s either right or wrong and hiding behind technology is no excuse.

I consider myself so lucky to have had a great mentor and friend in my own mother who quoted positively on a daily basis.  ‘A Mother’s Love’ Gospels according to Dorothy is available to download from Amazon Kindle which includes her story and mine and simple parenting advice.

Mother-s love (1)

Being kind can be cool you know kids!! 

Bullying in schools

At last we see the subject of bullying tackled in our various soap programmes, dramas and day time chat shows. What worries me is how much of this still goes on in schools without the victims of bullying and their parents seemingly powerless to stop it.

Aside of the 24/7 bullying via the various types of media available to our children to misuse and become the target of bullying on site bullying still goes on too. What a lot of people do not realise is that even bullying taking place outside of school hours and away from the school premises can have repercussions for the bullies. Students can be excluded from school and from taking exams a point some may need to be reminded of and that they must take responsibilities for actions

If a student’s wellbeing is being affected and his/her school work and attendance suffers then the school have the power to take the bullies to task. Moreover schools must be seen to be taking bullying seriously and following the guidelines and procedures and if you feel your school is failing your child, first point of call after the Head teacher would be the Governors.

Sadly so many children who are being bullied remain silent but there are signs as parents and teachers to look out, the NSPCC and Childline websites list the signs including becoming isolated, change in sleep or eating patterns. Often children who selfharm or who have eating disorders are doing so because of bullying. It is not just children with SEN’s that are bullied though they are often targeted.

Please read my article on Innovate My School’s website:-

http://www.innovatemyschool.com/industry-expert-articles/item/1670-how-schools-can-tackle-cyberbullying.html