Dec 12, 2019

The purpose of bullying is to exert control over another person and make him or her do things that the victim does not want to do. That is why the disease Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is sometimes known as the “bully within”.

Some children are able to ignore the bullying and move on – and they are the lucky ones. But all children are not the same. There are many who are not able to ignore it, and for them, impact of bullying can be significant. Some people argue that children need to learn how to deal with bullies because sooner or later they will most likely have to deal with bullies. But the problem is that as children, they still don’t have the maturity yet to be able to ignore bullying. Once they develop into responsible adults with a positive self-esteem, it typically is possible for them to ignore the bullying that they might have to face.

In fact, if we continue to let children fend for themselves, it may be difficult for some of them to develop the positive self-esteem that they need for future years. The consistent bullying they face during school years might come back to haunt them for many years to come. That is why it is extremely important for all adults to understand that bullying must be prevented and all children must be provided with a positive and safe environment during these developing years. Otherwise some of them may end up having to deal with mental health issues such as obsessive compulsive disorder.

 

Dec 05, 2019

Most employees want to do a good job for the employer they work for, and do not deserve any kind of bullying and harassment. If an employee is not meeting expectations consistently then there are other ways to deal with that situation rather than bullying or harassment.

Some supervisors and managers believe that yelling and shouting at employees is the only way to get them to get their work done. That in fact is a form of intimidation and should not be acceptable. Most employees want to do a good job, but if at times their performance falls below the acceptable level, then it is important for a supervisor/manager to discuss the performance with the employee concerned and discuss ways to help the employee improve his or her performance. All of this needs to be done through performance feedback, development planning, training, follow through, etc. None of this needs to be done in a harassing manner.

It is important for supervisors and managers to keep in mind that employees do their best when they are happy at their work. A manager’s responsibility is to make sure that the employees perform their duties well, while maintaining a positive and rewarding environment. The main point is that all employees typically understand that they need to meet performance expectations and that there may be consequences if performance is consistently below expectations, but there should be no room for bullying and harassment by the supervisor/manager.

 

Nov 29, 2019

Any amount of effort spent in prevention of child sexual abuse is absolutely worth it. In my presentations I always try to deliver the message that all children deserve this protection against risks of sexual abuse.

In the story I have written about in my book “Father figure – my mission to prevent child sexual abuse”, I had to put in a lot of time and energy to protect two young children from possible risks of sexual abuse. I had to spend even more time because I was an ordinary citizen – a family friend rather than a member of the family. I found it difficult to get systems (such as Law Enforcement and Child protective services) to act in a preventive mode. It took a lot of effort on my part to get some of the extended family members to act so the children could be protected.

As I was going through this process I found it to be frustrating and discouraging at times and it would have been fairly easy for me to give up and not worry about it anymore. But I did not give up until some protection was in place for the children. Many people who have read my book have commented to me that most ordinary citizens would have given up much sooner if they were in my place. However, survivors of child sexual abuse, who have read my book, have told me that they wish there was someone like me in their lives to protect them from what they had to experience in their childhood. This told me that all my effort was worth it and that is why I continue to promote that any amount of effort in this regard is absolutely worth it.

 

Nov 22, 2019

Most children can deal with some occasional mistreatment by other kids. But it is difficult for most children to deal with sustained mistreatment on a regular basis for several years. Bullies enjoy harassing other kids on a regular basis and that needs to stop.

That is why I find it difficult to understand when some adults say that kids just need to learn to ignore it and keep moving forward. The point is that a child can probably do that once in a while, but when it happens a lot and on a regular basis, it is difficult to ignore, and it starts affecting their emotional well-being. And if a child is not feeling well emotionally, it is extremely difficult for him or her to focus on school work.

Even many adults are not able to ignore bullying and harassment on a regular basis. That is why we hear a lot these days about bullying and harassment in the workplace. When even adults are not able to ignore consistent mistreatment, how can we expect young children to be able to ignore such behavior from others?

That is why it is critical for all school staff and parents to understand that schools must provide a bully-free environment for all children. It is not acceptable for schools to just establish a “bullying prevention” program and assume that all children will be safe. It is critical to make sure that the final goal of “bully-free” environment is achieved.

 

Nov 14, 2019

Bullying and harassment in the workplace is impacting a lot of people across the country, significantly affecting their personal lives on a regular basis. This is not something that should be ignored. Bullying and harassment in the workplace must be prevented.

Most employees expect a certain minimum level of professionalism in all interpersonal communications at the workplace. They typically work hard with dedication and they expect to be treated fairly. If a worker fails to perform at the expected level on a continuous basis, then he or she can be asked to leave the company. That option is always available to the employer. But there is no reason whatsoever to treat that person or anyone else with disrespect. In other words, it is appropriate for all employees to expect a bully-free environment.

That is the main point I try to make whenever I make a presentation based on my book “How to stand up to workplace bullying and take on an unjust employer”. Consistent bullying and harassment can have significant negative impact on the employees, in terms of their emotional wellbeing. No employees deserve that. It is heartening to know that most Human Resource departments across the country seem to understand that it is important to maintain a positive workplace environment. It does take some training and effort, but treating all employees with respect typically always works out to be positive for the organization.

 

Nov 07, 2019

Background checks can provide a lot of information about a person and can be a useful tool when it comes to prevention of child sexual abuse. It is important to do a background check before a person is allowed to have a lot of unsupervised interactions with a minor.

Some people believe that it is disrespectful to do a background check on someone. I believe most people will understand especially if children are involved. In fact, if someone objects to it, then that might be a red flag that it is probably not a good idea for the children to spend any significant amount of time with this person.

All mentor organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters or Kinship Minneapolis do background checks plus other detailed evaluations before accepting someone as a mentor. All mentors do understand this well and accept the process. I have been a mentor for the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization and I fully support their evaluation process.

In my book “Father Figure – my mission to prevent child sexual abuse”, I have suggested that single parents with young children should do a background check before starting to date a new person. This should never be an issue if the person has nothing to hide. Safety of the children must come first and it is important to maintain a preventive mindset.

 

Oct 31, 2019

A strong emotional health and a positive self-image are key ingredients for overall success in life. If a child is concerned about having to deal with bullying on a regular basis, it is difficult for the child to focus on the positive aspects of school and social life. Bullying must be prevented.

 

For academic success of all students it is critical to maintain a safe and nurturing environment for all children. When we talk about a safe environment for children we must include discussions about creating and maintaining an atmosphere in schools where ALL children can feel free to be themselves and learn most effectively at their own pace. If a child has to face negative environment on a regular basis, it can lead to long lasting negative impact far beyond the school years. There should be a constant focus on developing and maintaining a school culture that has three key objectives – acceptance of differences in people around you, being kind and respectful to others as opposed to negative behavior such as bullying, and focusing on self-acceptance so you can achieve success in life.

 

I try to make these points through some of my presentations based on my book titled “A Life Interrupted – the story of my battle with bullying and obsessive compulsive disorder”. The most unique aspect of this book is the focus on a definitive connection between bullying and its long-term psychological impact. This is an extremely serious issue that often goes unnoticed and undetected during school years. Prolonged bullying can trigger devastating long-lasting mental illness and that impact can torment a victim long after the school years are over. It is important to develop and maintain a school culture where everyone learns to respect others because mistreatment can cause serious life-long impact.

 

Oct 24, 2019

Every organization must assign someone as the officer responsible for maintaining a bully-free environment. For larger companies it is typically the responsibility of the Human Resources department. In smaller companies, it can be the CEO/Owner or someone assigned by him/her.

However, the person responsible must have a thorough understanding of how bullying and harassment can impact the employees. He or she must also understand that there can be serious consequences for the organization if incidents of bullying and harassment are not addressed adequately. That is why it is important for the responsible person to go through some appropriate training on this issue so he or she can be successful in performing this task. I have experience with a Human Resources Director who was not very proficient in handling issues of this nature.

The main point is that the person must be able to put in appropriate processes and procedures to be able to handle any complaints from employees and then follow through rigorously in a timely manner. It is important for employees to develop a trust that any complaints will be taken seriously and appropriate investigations will be conducted according to the established processes. It is not good for the companies if the employees feel that no one cares about these issues and if they believe that they will face some form of retaliation if they made a complaint.

Oct 17, 2019

Child sexual abuse is a horrible crime that must be stopped and must be prevented. The responsibility for prevention falls squarely upon all the adults around the children. We all are responsible and must work hard and stay focused on prevention.

First of all, there is still a hesitation to talk about it openly. I have been to some school officials’ conferences where the organizers thought that it would be a good idea to speak about this topic. However, it turned out that very few of the school officials were interested in attending the session, apparently because some of them felt that it was too serious a topic, while some others apparently felt that they really did not need to know much about it. Either way, it demonstrates an unwillingness to get involved in this effort. However, I certainly appreciated the efforts by the organizers to include this topic.

I must however admit that there were also many other school officials’ conferences where the attendance was excellent, and in one case, it was even overflowing. So clearly, there are people who take this very seriously and want to remain well informed. But it is important for us to continue this effort so we can get more and more adults to take this topic seriously.

Once people are well informed, they will become more comfortable in keeping an eye open for possible red flags and in promoting prevention.

 

Oct 10, 2019

When I speak to children about how bullying triggered obsessive compulsive disorder for me, impacting my life significantly, most of them do understand the possible terrifying impact of bullying, and many change their behaviors appropriately. I have received messages from them.

I believe that they understand very clearly that:

  • If you treat someone poorly, the impact on that person can be very serious
  • It’s okay to be different
  • If someone is bullied in school, that person can suffer for many years even after school years are over

I have also noticed that:

  • Students are able to connect with me easily because I have gone through this myself – I am not a parent or an anti-bullying expert – I speak from my heart about this issue
  • Students who are being bullied see a strong example of how one can survive in spite of having to go through this difficult phase
  • Everyone loves my discussion of the encounter I had in my adult years with a past bully because it provides a perspective on why bullies do what they do
  • Students who do the bullying connect with me since they see that I can understand what they might be going through, because of the discussion on my encounter with a past bully. Many of these bullies do not realize how badly their actions can impact the victims. Once they understand the possible impact, most of them are able to stop their negative behavior.
© 2017 - Sumi Mukherjee
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