Monday, February 9, 2015

New babies, myeloma friends, and protecting our kids from bullies part II

My niece was born over the weekend-- the cutest little girl, Gianna. So the weekend has been crazy busy because I've had my 2-1/2 year old nephew with me. He is so dang cute and bonding with him has been very hectic, busy, but I wouldn't skip it for anything. So I can't write more at the moment because I have no time. Plus, chemo-based fatigue has been nuts Saturday and Sunday. It seems the last 48-hours I've operated in a total fog. I asked William if he can tell that I'm operating on about 40% brain power and he can't. Well thank goodness for that. That's one thing that sucks about having fatigue days-- it's hard to enjoy and live in the present when I can hardly remember most of it. I'll write more about this tomorrow. Because on Friday, I met up with several people I met via Facebook that are all Myeloma warriors or caregivers for breakfast. It was an amazing breakfast. I hate cancer and this journey has been, well, an "experience." But I love the people I've met along the way and I love finding my passion and making a difference in the world. Ok, my nephew wants attention so I must run. Happy Monday!

Protecting Our Kids From Bullies: 6 Ways We Moms Can Step In
by Lizzy Smith                    
February 09, 2015
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Fotolia_71485587_XS.jpgSeveral days ago, I wrote an article about how we can help make our children bully-proof. I mostly focused on encouraging our children to look their bullies in the face, ignore them and thrive. That, I said, would be one powerful way to take the bully's mojo away. And it's true-- it often works like a charm. If we give the bully what he or she wants (namely attention), it simply fuels the bully's innate desire to keep it up. And this is an important life lesson for our children, because they will confront bullies their entire lives-- in their friendships, sometimes from parents and family members, employers and co-workers, boyfriends, and husbands. Teaching our children to recognize a bully and how to protect themselves is a vitally important life skill.

But oftentimes, bullying is severe and the consequences terrible. Simply teaching them to walk away and ignore that behavior isn't sufficient. Then what?

In my experience, we moms can do to protect our children from bullies is to recognize they are being targeted. When I felt bullied, ignored and shamed during my seventh grade year, I didn't tell my parents. If I did, it would just pile on my perceived shame. Instead, I suffered in silence, trying to pretend all was fine at school. At least most of the kids ignored me and I just wanted to disappear. But I saw other kids in my school being called names in the hallways, pushed, shoved and even beaten up. I was sitting out in the lunch yard one day and a group of kids poured milk over the head of one of the students. I felt horrible for the boy and was so relieved that it wasn't me.

I often wonder if that boy's parents knew how badly their son was being terrorized at school. And if they did, what should they have done about it? What was their responsibility to step in? Do we parents go to the bully's parents, the school administrators, police? Do we confront the bully ourselves? This is where I hesitate, because often fighting our children's battles makes it worse.

First, having open and honest communication with our children is important. If we don't have a good, solid foundation of trust and respect with our kids, it'll be pretty hard to know what is going on in their lives and they'll rarely confide in us. So if you haven't already, start developing that relationship now. It's never too early or too late.

Second, ask your children about how their friendships are going at school. Are they arguing with friends, do they see children who are being left out of games during lunch and recess, who do they hang out with at lunch? It's amazing what information I get when I ask these questions both of my nine-year old and 14-year old daughters. Children, I've found, generally want to talk, they just need to be asked the right questions. I often drive my 14-year old daughter's friends home from school, too, and I ask them similar questions and they often give me an earful. Sadly, I think many of them tell me much more than they ever tell their parents.

Third, if we become aware that there is bullying, it's really important to stay on top of the it. Who is doing the bullying? Is there physical violence or threats? Does the offender text or Instagram hateful messages or do it publicly? Are other students joining in?

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