(We received this note from a parent. As per our usual practice, the name has been kept anonymous. You can write to us at email@example.com).
Your last post on bullying touched my heart. I would like to share my own experience as a parent. This year, my daughter went through bullying episodes in school. She’s not yet a teen. The eposodes were severe, and happened during recess, when people called her names and touched her and shoved her. We kept the school informed, but one day, we got a call from the school and from the police. My daughter had tried to take her life. Can you imagine!!! She is not even 10! We were devastated and shattered. Actions were taken and the school suspended few students. But, even now my daughter is very scared and we are taking her for counselling sessions.
I would like to share this with the other parents and also with the other kids/ teens, going through similar things. I want to let them know that they are not alone. I also want to share this so that bullying episodes are not brushed aside as something that is inevitable or ‘just a part of growing up.’ Bullying is serious and should be taken seriously.
A pre-teen came back from school, upset. The reason was that she felt excluded during lunch. No one had said anything mean to her but she was ignored as the rest of the girls chatted away to each other, without replying to her comments. This happened again and again, and though there was no physical abuse, no verbal taunts and no fights, her friends chose to consistently ignore her. The result was that this otherwise bubbly girl retreated in to her shell and became reticent. Very often she would refuse to go to school.
This bullying story is not uncommon and this could be any school and any child. However, this should not go unnoticed. Bullying in any form has a negative impact. It not only affects the self-esteem of the one who is bullied, but it also creates an environment that is detrimental to general wellbeing of all. It is necessary therefore, to understand what is bullying. When parents and schools partner to create a bully-free environment, a supportive and collaborative community is created for all.
What is bullying?
Bullyinginvolves deliberately hurting or upsetting another person through hurtful words, actions or social exclusions. It is often an unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. It may not just be one incident, but a behavior that is repeated (or has the potential to be repeated) over time.
What are the different types of bullying?
Physical: Hitting, punching, pushing, shoving, grabbing etc.
Verbal: Insults, name-calling, teasing, threats and racial slurs.
Social: Gossiping, rumours, and exclusion from group activities.
Online: Cyberbullying through text messages, email and social networking sites.
(See Channel News Asia’s video on Cyber-bullying here).
• Unexplainable injuries and bruises
• Changes in eating habits
• Lost or destroyed clothing, books and stationeries
• Sleeping difficulty
• Frequent headaches or stomach aches
• Feeling sick or faking illness
• Declining grades
• Refusal to go to school
• Sudden loss of friends or isolation
What can parents do to help?
1) Nurture a Bully-Free Environment
Empower your children to stand up against bullying, and to report if they see their friends being bullied as well. You can also talk to your children about the various ways they can support a bullied friend.
2) Stay calm and support your child
Dr Eileen Kennedy Moore, author of Smart Parenting for Smart Kids, suggests that parents should teach their children to keep their reactions neutral in case of bullying. This discourages the bully from picking on them again. Similarly, parents should stay calm themselves while supporting their child. Dr Jole Habel explains more. Watch the video here.
Other preventive suggestions include, regularly talking to your child about the things going on in his or her life, being in touch with the teachers to know how your child is doing socially, andlistening and responding to all complaints about bullying from your children (even if they seem trivial).
3) Nip bullying in the bud
It is not enough to talk just about being bullied. Have a discussion on being a bully as well. Talk to your child about empathy and trust to ensure that he or she does not engage in bullying behaviour. It is also a good idea to have a discussion on consequences and put certain corrective measures in place (if needed).
Our post is about someone who found it hard to fit in. Everyone who struggles to fit in will tell you that they want people to notice what’s good, to acknowledge what one can do, and to try and understand the beauty of uniqueness. We all want to understand and be understood. Only sometimes we have to try a little harder.
Ziyue is a Singapore-based illustrator and a graduate of Ringling College of Art and Design in US. She may not be able to hear the sounds and the words, but she sure knows how to translate the words in to emotions through her illustrations.
It all started with drawing on the wall as a kid,” she says. Art was a form of escape from the struggles, frustration and confusion of “growing up deaf.” Her mum encouraged her to draw and continues to be her biggest supporter. When she was nine, her mum transferred Ziyue from a Hearing Impaired school to a mainstream school, so that she could fit into society despite her disability.
Anyone with a dream will tell you that it’s not easy. It couldn’t have been easy for her too. People grow disheartened when faced with challenges, and so did Ziyue. Somewhere down the road, Ziyue stopped creating art when she wasn’t doing well academically. Eventually though, she managed to complete her schooling and then completed her diploma in Digital Media Design, majoring in Animation. She worked as an animator for a Children’s Television Programme.
Today, Ziyue works mostly on Children’s Books, mural painting and print media from concept development to print. She says that she draws inspirations from life experiences, from memories, travel and people around her, which in her words, is “basically everywhere that comes within my senses”. Ziyue’s world is full of colours. “I’m happy to be an artist, working as a Children’s Book Illustrator and occasionally sketching in my personal sketchbook.”
Her story of colours and warmth is a reassurance. It reminds us of a rainbow after the rain, and of possibilities in a life full of challenges. An inspiration, not only to those who are faced with challenges in life, but also to those who would like to follow their hearts, Ziyue Chen makes it seem possible.
“I like that you emphasized on possibilities and my art, more than on my deafness,” said Ziyue when she read the feature our founding member had done for her. Read the feature here. We are grateful to Ziyue for allowing us to share her story.
* Times have changed: You keep telling us about what you did when you were our age, but everything is so different now. We just can’t relate to that. So, please don’t expect us to behave the way you did at our age. We have to move with the times.
* We need help to manage the stress and pressures in our lives, even if we show that we are very independent and capable. Do check in on us from time to time.
* Give us space to be ourselves. We do need help sometimes but that does not mean that we need constant monitoring.
* Trust us and give us few responsibilities. We might fail at times, but we will try real hard to stand up to your expectations.
* Even “good” kids act out every once in awhile. That does not mean that we have turned “bad” now.
* We need to unwind. Please allow us some personal time to do whatever we wish to, or to ‘do nothing’ if that’s how we unwind.
* We want you, our parents, to be proud of us and accept us for who we are. Please don’t compare us to others.
* We hate to see you fight. It shakes our faith and scares us a lot.
* We care about what you think of us. Even if our peers influence us, what you think of us, matter a great deal to us. Sometimes, even more than our friends (though we may not show this to you).
* Please understand that the internet plays an important and positive role in our lives. It’s not always a bad influence.
* We will make mistakes – but you can guide us through this.
* It’s hard to fit in with people and that’s why we act out sometimes.
* We have a lot going on at school, sometimes more than you realise.
* Sometimes we can’t express our feelings when we are hurt or upset, and that’s why we find ways to release the anxiety (sometimes in ways that you do not approve).
* We love you. We may pull away so that we can establish our own identity, but that doesn’t mean that we dont love you.
(This is a #teenspeak section. For mentoring enquires, contact firstname.lastname@example.org/ email@example.com)
We all want to know if the other person likes us, whether it’s a friend or an acquaintance, or even a significant someone. Of course, it would be great if they tell us straight away, but if they don’t, here are the non-verbal cues to look out for.
Signs that they like you:
1) They give you eye contact: People look at people they like and avoid eye contact with those they don’t.
2) Physical contact: The contact may be a light touch that is gentle and reassuring (not to be confused with a hold or for something sexually suggestive). For example, a light touch of the arm, a fist bump, a light pat on the shoulder, picking lint off of a person’s clothing, straightening a strand of hair etc.
3) Leaning: People lean towards people they like, and distance themselves otherwise.
4) Mirroring: People who like one another mirror each other’s body positions.
5) Questions: If someone likes you, he/she will ask questions to know you better. These may be deep questions to know you as a person or light hearted questions that give indications of your likes and dislikes.
Studying for exams? Here are 8 psychologically proven strategies that will help you remember better.
1) Associate information with an image: Memory is predominantly visual. So, associate an image to things that you need to memorize. It maybe a picture of something the word sounds like or something it reminds you of. Imagine it in your mind visually. Draw it out.
2) Break the information in to smaller bits: When we try to remember a phone number, we chunk it. Similarly, large number of facts can be broken in to smaller chunks. Find a way to relate with a memory tree. Construct trunk, big branches, and then leaves. Label them. The main heading is followed by sub topics and the leaves are the details. Even simple chunking, listing of information is better for remembering information.
3) Associate what you are trying to learn with what you already know: The more mental connections you have to a piece of information, the more successful you will be in remembering it.
4) Use mind maps to organise information learnt.
5) Repeat & write: Write out the items to be memorised again and again. Writing can even be in the form of acronyms, one word or even a sentence. Surround yourself with post-its and small note papers on the wall/ table.
6) Summarise: Summarise each paragraph in the margin. This requires you to think about what you’re reading. Teach it to yourself again. Or better, teach it to someone else.
7) Say it out loud
8) Take care of yourself: Keep hydrated, eat healthy and get adequate sleep to retain information.
(This blog is maintained by Sequel. For mentoring, talks and workshops, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org)
It’s time to move away from that couch, and put your phone away. Singapore has an interesting line up of events in the next few months, and it’s worth looking into! So, apart from the usual suspects, ( Universal Studio, Bird Park, Gardens by the Bay, and the various malls) that have lined up some […]