3 Mindful tips to reduce bullying

At Connected Kids we are proud to be members of the anti-bullying alliance

You may (or may not) know that they have an odd-socks day (hence the pic above!) to help raise awareness and help start conversations within home, school, work and communities.aba anti bullying associate member connected kids

One of the reasons we joined the ABA is their fantastic (free) resources that help to reframe what we think and know about bullying.

Like me, you have either witnessed, or been the recipient of a bullying experience.

Or perhaps you are a reformed bully?

What is important in this situation is to reduce confrontation, blaming and shaming of anyone involved.

Here are a few mindful tips and ideas that could help you and your family if bullying is an issue.

Mindful Tip No.1 – awareness

As adults we think we are aware of our children’s needs.

Pero making time for open and honest communication in our lives will help them to feel heard and seen.  It doesn’t (necessarily) mean we have to fix the issue.  But it’s about giving time and space for young people to talk to us if there are bullying issues.

If we look (or sound) too busy and we are complaining about lack of time, too much to do etc – it’s unlikely that young person will feel they can approach us.  Often young people don’t know how to articulate what they are experiencing and that can be difficult to overcome.

If you notice something different, or you have a ‘feeling’ that something is out of tune, then find a moment to follow tip number 2.  Perhaps going for a walk, when you are in the car together (and ask them to put their phone/devices away for the car journey), or around the dinner table.

Mindful Tip No.2 – communication

On our Connected Kids programme, we help our tutors to develop these skills.

It involves speaking from the heart and listening mindfully. 

Speaking from the heart is where we really tune into (and intend) that the words coming from the heart (not our heads).  We explain how we feel, our concerns for the young person and affirm how much we love them.

I am aware if I move out of this into my ‘lecture mum’ voice… it changes the energy dynamic between me and my son almost immediately.  When I notice this I try to change or (if unable to) take a break and put the conversation on pause until I feel more grounded.

We assume that young people know how we feel or what our worries are – they may look at our decisions (affecting them) and rebel as they feel controlled, when really we are trying to take care of them and keep them safe and happy.  This needs to be communicated mindfully, and with love for them to really ‘hear’ and feel it.

Mindful listening – this works with the awareness (and agreement) that each takes their turn to speak.  It’s tricky with older kids who want to express their voice but not listen.  But practise your deep breathing as they speak, even if what they say triggers you inside.  Breathe into that, own it and be curious about it.  Otherwise we’ll interrupt or project our thoughts and voice onto them, and at that point we stop listening.

Stop the temptation to ‘finish their sentences’ for them – okay? 🙂  It can take time for a young person to process a question – as much as a few to 10 minutes which may seem like such a long time!  But use your personal mindful practice and if they seem distracted, ask them the same question in a different way.

Mindful tip No. 3 – don’t react

I know, that isn’t always easy (trust me I know!)

If you become aware that they have been experiencing or witnessing bullying, it can be tempting for ‘mama bear’  to jump in to protect and fix things. 

I know, it has happened to me once or twice.  But most of the time I manage to practise the above mindful tips.

Then I’ll ask them what they want me to do – if anything.  Sometimes the response is ‘nothing’ they just needed to speak.

Sometimes I might ask if they are okay with me sharing this with their school.

This is important as it gives them ownership and trust in the next step if things are reported/taken further.

As they grow older, perhaps there can be some role play to help them develop their voice and confidence in confronting bullying situations.  This is the most empowering step but it takes time to develop this.

I hope this has been helpful  – please reach out to us by email or book a mini consult if you have questions about how meditation and mindfulness skills can help.

 

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