Bullying – What does it mean to you?

Bullying can happen to anyone at anytime and any age it isn’t just something that happens to kids. With my daughter starting school soon it is something that has played on my mind as she is starting Kindy in the Education support unit. “Children with disabilities—such as physical, developmental, intellectual, emotional, and sensory disabilities—are at an increased risk of being bullied. Any number of factors— physical vulnerability, social skill challenges, or intolerant environments—may increase the risk.” (https://www.stopbullying.gov/at-risk/groups/special-needs) Every parent worries about their child starting school it is what we do as parents. I was bullied relentlessly as a child and even at times as an adult so having my child start school when she has some challenges already I hope she never has to go through that.

“Bullying is now regarded as a health problem and not just a disciplinary problem. Increasing evidence shows both traditional bullying (e.g. hitting, teasing) and cyber bullying have lasting effects on young people (both those who bully and those who are bullied), including damage to self-esteem, academic results and mental health.” (https://www.telethonkids.org.au/our-research/research-topics/bullying)

Last year there was a nine news exclusive interview with a mother who claimed their child was hung with a skipping rope. It was still being investigated at the time she did the interview.  This happened at a primary school yes you read that right a primary school in Western Australia. It was in reports that the child had been bullied for 2 years. There was also an incident noted at a high school in Rockingham WA by a special needs child that had been constantly bullied verbally and physically to the point she had to be pulled out and home schooled.

Bullying is still happening everyday in our schools and workplaces. A study has shown that 1 in 4 Australian students experience bullying. This covers the areas of verbal, physical, social and cyber bullying. If your child is struggling with bullying they can talk to an adult they trust or they can call Kids Help Line 1800 55 1800. It is important the school is notified and an appropriate plan of action is taken and discussed with the parents of the children involved.

As adults a lot of people will not take you seriously if you use the term bullying if it has happened to you as an adult, which is just plain ignorance and shows how far we haven’t come. It is 2019 and people still ignore others asking for help or calling out bad behaviour. Even flicking from the news to a tv show like the bachelor it’s clear bullying happens at any age to anyone.

Workplace bullying is verbal, physical, social or psychological abuse by your employer (or manager), another person or group of people at work. Your employer has a legal responsibility under Occupational Health and Safety and anti-discrimination law to provide a safe workplace. Employers have a duty of care for your health and well-being whilst at work. An employer that allows bullying to occur in the workplace is not meeting this responsibility. In the case of workplace bullying it is important to talk to someone at work like HR or a manager you trust. If you do not feel comfortable doing this then there are options you can talk to your workplace health and safety authority to get advice and report bullying incidents, the Australian Human Rights Commission to get advice, or to make a complaint about discrimination, harassment and bullying covered by anti-discrimination law the union representing your industry who can give you advice on your options and your rights.

It is never ok for anyone to be bullied and it is important for the person being affected to have a voice and support.

Mummy Mondays

I have a little tradition with another mum called Mummy Mondays. I met my friend through our children. We are both single mum’s of special needs children. We met through a school program the kids were both attending. We discovered we had a lot in common with being first time Mum’s who are also single Parents of a child with Autism.

It is hard having your first child friendship circles change people you thought were friends drop off as you move in different circles and you have to find your feet as you adjust to a new part of your identity as a mother. Just as you are finding your feet from becoming a first time mum you end up a single parent. The same thing happens again friends drop off while friendships adjust to the separation. Being a woman you have to deal with the stigma of being a single Mum. Believe me this is very much still a thing. People assume being a single mum you are hungry for another man. Assumptions are made. Oh she must have chased him away. Oh she must have cheated, She must be after everyones husbands now as she wont want to raise a child alone. Oh she has a different last name from her child bet she has lots of kids with different surnames. Oh she must get another man so she is take care of. So many assumptions I wont even list them all. All I wanted to do was focus on my daughter 3 years later and I am still single and not interested in dating properly as my focus is my child and working on my writing. I’m not someone who needs a partner its nice if the right person comes along but that’s just not my focus or a priority im happy on my own.

It takes a while to adjust to becoming a first time mum and becoming a single parent. Just as you think ok ive got this you start noticing that your child isn’t hitting milestones the way they should be and there is unusual behaviors. I had a feeling she had autistic traits and made sure I spoke to the child health nurse and pediatrician. She was first diagnosed with borderline global developmental delay before later being diagnosed with Autism.

My friend went down a similar path and we got talking at school and become friends. Neither of us really got time to go do fun things just as adults. We were lacking much needed self care time. The kids both go to the same day care on a monday for socialization. So we made Mondays a self-care day where we would go do something fun. We generally go to the shops and/or go to the movies maybe grab a bite to eat. Just time to hang out and get some much-needed time out. Self care is so important and being a mum of a special needs child with multiple specialists, NDIS and all the stuff that needs to be done at home to help early intervention self care is needed to ensure I don’t burnout . It is exhausting. Dont get me wrong I am extremely proud of my daughter and how far she’s come she amazes me everyday but, I need time out to re energize so I can be the best mum I can be for her. It is so important for everyone to have some self care time. You can’t help fill everyone’s cup if your cup is empty. So make some time to smell some flowers or better yet get yourself some flowers and enjoy them brightening up your house. Make some time for you can be as simple as taking 5 and doing some mindfulness or taking a day like we do and just have some fun. Laughter and socializing is good for the soul. Make some time for you.

Nadia – xoxo