Archive for bullying

The Mathematically Challenged Child

“That is enough of fooling around, Nicole. You are doing finger counting. It is straight forward and there is no confusion. You are trying to make it sound like you are mathematically challenged. Stop all those silly excuses, focus and finish your work in two minutes. ”

Helen was fed up of her otherwise angelic eight year old daughter Nicole’s excuses to avoid Mathematics. Nicole hated Maths and Helen wanted to change Nicole’s attitude towards Maths.

But, Nicole was facing a much more difficult situation than Helen. Nicole found it weird that she was not able to understand the mathematical concepts most of her friends seemed to pick up from the class. She had difficulty in imagining a number line; she found it hard to count objects in groups, even when the group was as little as two to three objects.

At the age of 10, Nicole found it really annoying that her classmates said addition and subtraction was easy when she still had no clue about how it works. Her inability to do Maths reflected not only in her low Maths grades, her self-esteem was also shattered. Nicole felt no one is able to understand her situation. So, she did not share her worries with anyone, not even with Helen. Nicole started spending her time inside the locked doors of her room after school. Helen was worried, she felt she did not understand her daughter at all.

Nicole’s low confidence attracted bullies towards her. The next four years she suffered severe bullying, without the knowledge of her family. Panic attacks became part of her life.

Mathematically challenged child - dyscalculia

It was then that a new teacher joined the school. The teacher noticed Nicole’s behavior and her performance. She observed that Nicole was performing extremely well in writing and drawing. She advised Helen to test Nicole for dyscalculia.

The results came back positive for Nicole. She was diagnosed with dyscalculia at the age of 15. Nicole was mathematically challenged, but that was not a measure of her intelligence. Her test results came back with very high IQ scores. Her high IQ helped her breeze through all other subjects except Maths.

When Helen came to know about this relatively unknown learning difficulty, she felt guilty. She realized her child was not acting ‘mathematically challenged’. She realized it was not her child’s carelessness that resulted in her poor performance in Maths. She realized she needed to help her child. Nicole was relieved, as she did not need to blame herself for not getting the results for all the hard work she was putting in.

What is Dyscalculia

Dyscalculia is a brain disorder that causes severe difficulty in learning and comprehending arithmetic among the sufferers. It is also known as Mathematics Learning Disability and Math Dyslexia.

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What are the Symptoms of Dyscalculia

Have you ever felt that your child or a loved one is mathematically challenged? Do you think they could be suffering from Dyscalculia?

Helen gave me a list of symptoms she now thinks she had overlooked in the past. The list below also includes some pointers from AboutDyscalculia.org.

  • Difficulty in reading analog clocks

  • Difficulty in stating which of two numbers is larger (for example, is 6 larger or smaller than 4)

  • Particular difficulty with subtraction

  • Difficulty with multiplication tables

  • Difficulties with imagining a mental number line

  • Difficulties with finger counting

  • Many symptoms of dyslexia

  • Attention deficiency (not in all cases)

  • Anxiety towards maths

  • Difficulties with budgeting

You can find a comprehensive set of symptoms at AboutDyscalculia.org.

You may find these symptoms in many young children when they start to learn the concepts. So, instead of jumping into a panic mode, please take some time to assess whether your child’s confusion with numbers is age appropriate or it is something you need to really worry about. If you worry that your child could have this disability, please approach an expert for a diagnosis.

What is the Next Step if your Child gets diagnosed with Dyscalculia

Nicole got diagnosed at 15. So, the child who should have been diagnosed with dyscalculia and ADD when she was at least in primary school, did not receive the diagnosis and treatment until the age of 15. But, it still was not too late.

The parents got the counseling on how to deal with the situation. Helen and the whole family rallied behind Nicole to support her to regain her lost confidence. They moved Nicole to a school system that acknowledged and understood the condition. The new school supported her to pursue excellence in other areas of her life in spite of her disability. They got special permission from the examination board so that Nicole does not need to learn math as a subject. She still learned math, but that matched her ability to learn it.

Now, Nicole is a smart and confident 19 year old pursuing her undergraduate degree in Australia. She has proved herself to be a good writer and a stage artist. She is not learning math, but that is neither dampening her future nor her enthusiasm for learning.

The world is slowly coming to acknowledge Mathematics Learning Disability. Every year the Dyscalculia Day is held on the third day of March to spread the awareness about dyscalculia.

In Asian culture, Maths is given a lot of importance. There are a lot of gadgets and Apps in today’s world to support us with our day to day Mathematical needs. If a child is mathematically challenged, it does not stop them from achieving greatness and enjoying a  normal life.

If your child or a loved one gets diagnosed with dyscalculia, the best thing you can do is to accept and understand the situation. Once you become aware and understanding, it will be easier for you to find ways to support them. You can find a lot more information on dyscalculia at http://www.aboutdyscalculia.org and http://www.dyscalculia.org.

Please visit ACE Minds^ Workshop for our workshop on study skills.

Share this article with your friends and colleagues, so that they too are aware of this amidst their busy schedules. 

Do you have any insights or tips that you use? Would you like to share that? Please use the comments section below and let us know!

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The Kidz Parade Magazine 

Are you looking for a special present for an adorable child? Why don’t you give a present that will leave a lifetime positive impact? When you give The Kidz Parade Edutainment Magazine as a present, you are opening the door to a world of Creativity and Communication. NEW POSTER 6 copy

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About Sindu Sreebhavan

Sindu Sreebhavan is the founder of As Many Minds Minds Pte Ltd and the chief editor of The Kidz Parade Edutainment magazine, Asia's premium publication for cultivating creativity and creative writing in children. “The best gift you can give a child is the power of Confidence, Creativity and Communication” is her tagline. She speaks and consults on creativity, communication, innovation and leadership in children. She is passionate about educating parents and kids about bullying. She supports children, parents, schools and several organisations in these areas.

This is How Bullying Could Affect Your Child’s Self-esteem

I was hurt, I was in pain, I was shattered.

What I had endured from the age of 10 to 14 years old had left deep emotional wounds that would not heal. It was easier to numb the pain by suppressing it and seeking other unhealthy ways of coping. The subconscious mind is a powerful thing. It controls our thoughts, feelings, and resulting behaviors. As much as I try to hide, ignore, or deny the pain of bullying, it is always there stored away in the subconscious part of my mind.

When it started I didn’t realize it really started.

bullying affect self-esteem

As a young child, I remember desperately wanting to be liked and accepted by my peers. At 10, I was at an impressionable age trying to discover who I was and where I fit in. The bullying I experienced was what many refer to as friendship bullying. Every friend I thought I had, at some point turned on me in a very vicious way through verbal, physical, and social bullying. They were the popular girls, and had a lot of social influence and power. As a result, when the bullying started, I had no one. When they turned on me, the entire school either participated in the bullying or stood by and did nothing.

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During the 80’s bullying was not taken seriously and was not even recognized as an issue that needed attention. It was considered a rite of passage and so, I had no support from the school or the teachers. I was alone. It was the single most painful experience of my life. The shame left me feeling unworthy of love and acceptance

My Self-esteem. My Thoughts. My Feelings. My Actions.

When we are bullied and continually beaten down with fists, words or through social humiliation, there is a cause and effect reaction that occurs. Our experience will begin to change the thoughts we consciously have about ourselves. Those thoughts then create feelings that are stored within our subconscious and ultimately determine our actions and behaviors. I’ll use my own experience to illustrate how Self-Esteem (thoughts about ourselves) trigger our feelings or emotions, that then result in our actions or behaviours.

The physical, verbal, and social bullying that I was subjected to for a period of over three years led to the following thoughts, feelings and actions.

My Thoughts

“No one likes me or cares about me.”

“Nothing good will ever happen to me.” 

“There’s something wrong with me.” 

“I’m not good enough.”

“I wish I was someone else.”

My Feelings 

Loneliness, hopelessness, anger, fear, self-consciousness, insecurity, and paranoia.

My Actions / Behaviors

I would criticise and gossip negatively about others to feel better about myself. I became outwardly aggressive towards others to feel powerful. I sought any form of attention that made me feel loved and accepted. I avoided social situations or new experiences so I wouldn’t feel inadequate or scared. I married and stayed with an alcoholic because I believed I didn’t deserve any better. I became a perfectionist at work because it gave me a false sense of worth and value. I always anticipated and thought the worst of every situation to protect myself from feeling disappointed or hurt. 

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The list goes on. Of course not everyone who is bullied will experience low self-esteem or have the same thoughts, feelings and behaviors. There are other factors that contribute to the severity of damage on ones sense of worth from bullying.  For example, support from schools and teachers, a child’s home environment, their resilience, and the duration of the abuse has a direct link to the severity of the effect.

In my case, I did not have the support of anyone and the duration was over a period of three years. My behaviours were clearly destructive and part of a cycle that created more feelings of guilt, resentment, fear, and sadness. In the process, I deprived myself of joy and happiness. I became someone I didn’t want to be, someone controlled by their emotions.

The longer we suffer from low self-esteem, the more habitual our thought patterns become and the more difficult it is to alter or change our behaviors. The good news is, we consciously choose our thoughts about ourselves. This is our “Self-Talk”.  We can choose to belittle and degrade ourselves, or we can be loving and accepting of who we are.

What can you do to help?

Do you know a child or an adult suffering from bullying? It is critical to understand a few factors if you want to help them.

1. Often it is the devastating shame they feel that keeps targets of bullying from talking about the emotional trauma.

2. Healing can only begin when we talk about the shame. To prevent possible long term mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, one must often relive the painful trauma and talk openly about how they are feeling. This should be done in a safe, trusting environment with a professional who understands the issue of bullying.

3. As parents and care givers we must have a heightened awareness of the bullying epidemic. Know the signs and if you suspect someone you care for is being bullied seek help.

4. We must never underestimate or minimize the profound effect bullying can have on one’s self-esteem and how that lack of self-esteem can drive unhealthy behaviours.

5. If you or someone you know is suffering from the residual effects of bullying please reach out for help.

Read 10 things every parent needs to know to protect their children from bullying to know more about how you can prevent, support and protect a child.

Share this article with your friends and colleagues, so that they too are aware of this amidst their busy schedules. 

Do you have any insights or tips that you use? Would you like to share that? Please use the comments section below and let us know!

Junior Public Speaking & Confidence Building Workshop

Public Speaking for children Singapore

The Kidz Parade Magazine 

Are you looking for a special present for an adorable child? Why don’t you give a present that will leave a lifetime positive impact? When you give The Kidz Parade Edutainment Magazine as a present, you are opening the door to a world of Creativity and Communication. NEW POSTER 6 copy

Public Speaking Camp

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You might also be interested in Testimonials Confidence Hub Junior Champs Leadership Camp

 Junior Champs Leadership Camp

Public Speaking for children

You might also be interested in Testimonials Confidence Hub Public Speaking Camp

About Angela Fryklund

Angela Fryklund is the founder of Beyond Bullying Recovery Services, Ontario, Canada. She works with people who want to recover from the emotional effects of bullying and to restore their self-worth. She is also a speaker and speaks to youth on the potential long-term mental health issues related to bullying by sharing her own personal story. Angela is a certified professional coach with the Certified Coaches Federation of Canada and also with the John Maxwell Team.

Bullying: 10 Things Every Parent Needs To Know To Protect Their Child

“They dumped a can of insects on me… and I thought they were my friends”, 17 year old Tanya (name changed for this article) told me bravely while I shuddered on hearing that. She was a survivor of bullying. Today she is a confident teenager who is active in debating, theatre and writing. But, not many people know about the baggage she carries from the days she got badly bullied – the panic attacks. Surveys show 1 out of 3 children in the age group 7-14 get bullied and it can be very scary. Many parents wonder what can they do to protect their child from bullying.

Bullying could leave kids with short term and long term side effects. It could be physical or psychological. It could happen at any age from kindergarteners to adults. So, something has to be done about it! Here, there are 10 tips that you can utilize to protect and support your child in the fight against bullying.

1. Keep your communication channels open

10 Things Every Parent Needs To Know To Protect Their Child from bullying

Many studies have come up with the finding that more than anything else, kids are looking for someone to talk to when they get bullied. Signe Whitson, the author of the  8 Keys to End Bullying: Strategies for Parents & Schools and Friendship & Other Weapons: Group Activities to Help Young Girls Ages 5-11 to Cope with Bullying says “Encourage your child to tell trustworthy adults about any instances of bully behavior, either in his own life or that he sees occurring with a peer.”

Does your child feel comfortable enough to share excerpts from their life with you? When your child is able to share their mistakes and shortcomings with you without being criticized, you are helping them to develop their trust in you. Develop this trust as early as you can so that they will let you be in their life when they most need you.

2. Involve your child in finding a solution to the situation

10 Things Every Parent Needs To Know To Protect Their Child from bullying

Even after suffering bullying for a few years, Tanya’s parents did not know what she was going through. “I have a very supportive family. I talked to them after getting bullied for the first time, they went to school and spoke with the teachers about it. This is what many parents do. But, in my case, it backfired. The bullies retaliated and took revenge on me. I was young and I was scared. To protect myself from further retaliation by the bullies, I hid every such incident from my family thereafter.”

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Your child is not always looking for your direct involvement in the event of bullying. Many a times, what they need is your tips and unconditional support in handling the situation. Discuss your plan with your child, incorporate their suggestions and tackle it together. Your support will give them the strength to handle the situation with confidence. This will develop their self-confidence to handle similar situations in the future.

3. Help your child feel proud of their strengths

10 Things Every Parent Needs To Know To Protect Their Child from bullying

I spoke to a group of 10-11 year old boys about their observations on bullying, during a workshop. They said they see bullying more on a verbal level than on a physical level when it starts. Usually it starts in the form of teasing. The topics of ridicule vary from appearance, learning difficulties, speaking styles, unique strengths and many more.

In Tanya’s case, the bullying had started when her friends came to know about her learning difficulty.

Diversity is becoming the way of life. People come from different backgrounds with various skills and abilities. Being able to understand and respect people different from themselves will pave your child’s way towards acceptance by others.

Rather than your child feeling embarrassed about their shortcomings and loosing confidence, focus on boosting your child’s confidence by giving opportunities to showcase and excel in their talents. With this you are not only protecting your child from bullying, you are also empowering them to protect themselves.

4. When friends become bullies, what can you do to protect your child from bullying?

10 Things Every Parent Needs To Know To Protect Their Child from bullying

Many a times, you will come across friends turning bullies. This is what happened to Jay (name changed for this article); even he didn’t realize he was getting bullied. It started with his friend Nate (name changed for this article) pushing him into a swimming pool one day. Jay insisted to his parents that his friend did it unintentionally. Over the years, many such incidents happened which, Jay convinced his parents, were not intentional bulling. Finally, one day when Nate teamed up with another bully and kicked Jay, Jay realized how his good heartedness was taken for granted.

Teach your child what real friendship is. If your child needs to make unreasonable sacrifices or suffer insensitive ridicules from their friends, perhaps it is not a friendship worth investing in.

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5. When the bullied becomes the bully

10 Things Every Parent Needs To Know To Protect Their Child from bullying

If your child is a survivor of bullying, there are two things that you need to check:

  1. Your child continues to remain safe and confident
  2. Your child is not bullying anyone.

Tanya told me she had developed a tendency to bully others once she learned how to stand up to the bullies. She said, “I am not sure why I started doing that. Perhaps I wanted to show my ex-bullies that I am strong and bold and they can’t touch me any more.” Luckily in her case, she realized her mistake at a very early stage and was able to nip it successfully.

In another bullying incident I witnessed, the mom of the bully could not believe her son had bullied. She said, “My son always used to be at the receiving end of bullying. I don’t believe he can bully others.”

When you instil confidence in your bullied child, ensure that they are developing confidence not arrogance. This is essential in protecting your child from bullying as well as protecting them from becoming bullies.

6. Does your child show bullying tendencies?

10 Things Every Parent Needs To Know To Protect Their Child from bullying

Many children may not understand some of their actions are bullying in nature. If your child is showing bullying tendencies, make them understand the effects of their behavior.

Bullying is all about power. Some kids turn to bullying or hang around with bullies to avoid being victims themselves. Bullies feel the world treat them unfairly. So they need help as well.

One mom told me it is better for her child to bully than be bullied. Bullying is not a childhood behavioural pattern that vanishes once the child gets into adulthood. If you do not nip bullying in the bud, it turns into other serious forms of aggression as the child grows up.

If you see your child speaking or behaving in a negative way, your child needs to explicitly hear from you it is unacceptable.

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7. Not all disagreements are bullying

10 Things Every Parent Needs To Know To Protect Their Child from bullying

Children are developing their social skills during their school years. Give them opportunities to express their viewpoints. Let them understand it is ok to have a opinion different from others. The difference between disagreements and disputes is in the way opinions are expressed.

Help your child to develop their communication skills. This will prepare them to express their viewpoints effectively and to respond to other people’s viewpoints in the right way. Teaching effective communication skills are a major part of protecting your child from bullying.

However, if you observe repeated harassment, physical or psychological in nature, it is bullying.

8. Help your child’s school address bullying effectively

10 Things Every Parent Needs To Know To Protect Their Child from bullying

Encourage your school to develop policies regarding bullying. Work with your child’s school to support your child with protection against retaliation.

9. Get professional help if needed

10 Things Every Parent Needs To Know To Protect Their Child from bullying from bullying

Tanya’s parents came to know about her problems at a late stage. At that stage, they took her to a counselor and later relocated to another city. If you think your child is in a very difficult situation, get professional help.

10. Report to law enforcement officials, if you suspect something serious is going on

10 Things Every Parent Needs To Know To Protect Their Child from bullying

We have read and heard about many unfortunate incidents related to bullying. If you think the mental or physical harassment your child is facing is criminal in nature, do not hesitate to contact the law enforcement officials. After all, there is nothing worthier than your child’s life. So, protect your child from bullying.

Share this article with your friends and colleagues, so that they too are aware of this amidst their busy schedules. 

Do you have any insights or tips that you use? Would you like to share that? Please use the comments section below and let us know!

Junior Public Speaking & Confidence Building Workshop

Public Speaking for children Singapore

The Kidz Parade Magazine 

Are you looking for a special present for an adorable child? Why don’t you give a present that will leave a lifetime positive impact? When you give The Kidz Parade Edutainment Magazine as a present, you are opening the door to a world of Creativity and Communication. NEW POSTER 6 copy

Public Speaking Camp

public speaking for children Singapore

You might also be interested in Testimonials Confidence Hub Junior Champs Leadership Camp

 Junior Champs Leadership Camp

Public Speaking for children

You might also be interested in Testimonials Confidence Hub Public Speaking Camp

About Sindu Sreebhavan

Sindu Sreebhavan is the founder of As Many Minds Minds Pte Ltd and the chief editor of The Kidz Parade Edutainment magazine, Asia's premium publication for cultivating creativity and creative writing in children. “The best gift you can give a child is the power of Confidence, Creativity and Communication” is her tagline. She speaks and consults on creativity, communication, innovation and leadership in children. She is passionate about educating parents and kids about bullying. She supports children, parents, schools and several organisations in these areas.