As with many kids, I too was bullied in elementary school. I also bullied back because I learned that you do this to protect yourself. I went home and cried to my parents. Instead of helping me work through this and teaching me valuable life lessons called coping skills they put me in a private Christian school.
I was still bullied at the private Christian school and I am sure I bullied back. My parents thought I was the "victim" and treated me as such. My mother and father tried to fight my battles. It did not work. While I am grateful that my parents loved me and wanted to help, I wish I could go back and show them what I really needed and how they could help me.
What I needed in elementary and middle school was some role playing coping skills that would increase my self esteem, and empower me to deal with other human beings. I would also need this later in life.
It took me a long time to learn that bullies are everywhere and that I had to set boundaries and use positive coping skills to stop them.
When my son was in the third grade (He is my only child) he was bullied by a very tall second grade girl on the bus. I was furious when I found out and went over to the girls house to "vent" my frustrations and fears that someone would pick on my baby.
I talked to her mother and thought she would stop this child from bullying my son. As much as I feel this mother tried to stop it, she could not. The bullying continued.
I was in counseling graduate school at the time and realized that I needed to help my son deal with bullies in a different way. I was being overprotective and allowing him to develop a "victim mentality".
So I changed my way of thinking and decided that I would step in only if it became severe. He needed to practice some bullying prevention coping skills and here was the ultimate chance!
We started to role play and come up with different scenerios for using coping skills with bullies. Guess what? It worked! He has yet to have an issue with a bully and knows how to be off the bully's radar.
I then began using these skills with my elementary and middle school students. Guess what? It worked again for about 99% of my student population. Also, these students began to show a higher sense of self esteem.
They were learning something that some adults never learn. They became empowered and used assertive skills (not aggressive or passive aggressive). They felt good about themselves because they could handle life situations in a proactive way!
I also began to use these skills on myself. Yes, I get yelled at from time to time from parents, teachers, neighbors, people I don't know, etc. I have found that when I use my bullying coping skills and set boundaries I have less problems in life.
When I worked in a mental institution for adults with addiction and psychological problems I realized that they had never learned bullying coping skills. It is sad to see 40, 50, and 60 year olds who still play the "victim role".
Often, these patients turned to drugs and alcohol because they had a lower self esteem.Bullying Prevention Continued on Next Page
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Disclaimer: This website and its content is intended for trained licensed mental health professionals and school certified mental health professionals to use for their clients / students at their own discretion.
*If you ignore the disclaimer above are using these techniques on yourself and you feel any discomfort or upset it is highly suggested that you seek out a licensed mental health professional immediately.
"Beyond Art Therapy" is the concept from Dr. Stangline that combines all creative fields in therapy. It is not the traditional "art therapy" but goes beyond to include sand tray therapy, play therapy, mindfulness, meditation, color therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and a vast majority of other therapies.
For any other type of mental health emergency call your local 911 / Police Number immediately.
Dr. Stangline does not offer advice / suggestions to anyone who is not a professional mental health provider, or a student who is studying this field and has questions about mental health programs of study.
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