Mar 29, 2019

A school should be a fun place to go to for all children. As a minimum the children should have the right to expect the school environment to be a safe one. Sometimes a child does not want to go to school because he or she had not done the home work that needed to get done. But they should never feel like not going to school because of the fear of bullies.

There are still many schools around the country where bullying continues to be active and the school environment is not safe for all children. To me this is absolutely unacceptable. Kids sometimes do not want to go to school because of some learning related issues such as home work and/or other work while at school – this is something the parents would have to deal with anyway. This is a normal situation for many children and is not a bad thing. The process of educational learning is an important activity for all children.

But on top of that some children are also having to deal with the fear of being bullied. Kids should not have to deal with that. It is the responsibility of the adults around the children to provide a safe learning environment for all kids. It is not necessary for children to learn how to deal with mistreatment from bullies. Some adults will say that life is tough and children must learn to deal with it. But I don’t agree – if they have to deal with this at such an early age, it can often create extremely difficult emotional and psychological issues for them. We simply cannot continue to allow such mistreatment.

 

Mar 22, 2019

In most workplace bullying situations, it’s typically an employee being harassed by a supervisor or a manager. In most of these situations the manager or the supervisor never had any training in managing employees. A person who has been a good employee can often get promoted to become a manager. But a good employee, without appropriate training, doesn’t always make a good manager.

All employees expect that when they work hard and do well, they will someday be considered for promotions. However, in many cases, there aren’t that many positions available that one can get promoted to. Most often, the only promotion track available to employees is the supervisory track – they can get promoted to become a Team Leader or a Supervisor or a Manager. This is where the problem lies. Many good employees do not have the right training or aptitude to become a good supervisor.

This is why many companies are working hard to create a non-management promotion track for employees. That means that good employees who might not have the aptitude to become managers or supervisors, can still be promoted to non-managerial positions with greater responsibilities. These companies are trying to make sure that getting promoted to managerial positions is not the only way an employee can get ahead in his or her career. I think it is important for companies to try to focus on this to make sure good employees who are not suitable for managerial roles can feel satisfied with greater and greater non-managerial responsibilities.

 

Mar 18, 2019

It is important to understand that in order to be able to prevent something one would first need to have a “preventive mindset”. That is absolutely true when it comes to preventing child sexual abuse. If we are continuously focused on looking for things to do “before” something bad happens, there is always a chance that it might be prevented.

This is one of the main points in my book titled “Father Figure – my mission to prevent child sexual abuse”. Whether it was dealing with family members or with organizations like child protective services or law enforcement, it seemed to me that there was no priority given to ‘preventive measures’.

It took a lot of effort on my part to convince the family members to take some essential precautionary steps that only family members can take. Even after agreeing to do something about the situation, it took a long time for the family members to start the process of taking some action.

For child protective services, it became clear to me after a few conversations that their priority was to attend to situations where something had already happened. I got the feeling that they did not have the luxury of attending to a situation where nothing bad hadn’t happened yet. I got the same feeling from law enforcement. It became clear to me that they too were more focused on attending to situations where things have already happened rather than to situations where bad things have not happened yet. Once we are able to put more focus on taking preventive measures, we should be able to reduce incidents of child sexual abuse significantly.

 

Mar 08, 2019

Bullying often triggers OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) for victims because there is a lot of similarity between a bully and OCD. They both try to control the victim and make him/her do things against their wills. That is why OCD is sometimes known as the Enemy Within.

Question often comes up as to why do the bullies do the bullying? I have firsthand knowledge from at least one bully. In my first book “A Life Interrupted – the story of my battle with bullying and obsessive compulsive disorder” I describe an interesting face-to-face encounter I had in adult years with the worst bully from my school days. From my discussions with him I understood that one of the main reasons why he became a bully was because of the treatment he received at home. His home life was not pleasant at all and he felt controlled a lot of the times. Therefore, he felt the need to control others so he could feel important, something that he did not feel at home.

Later through my speeches around the country, I have come to meet a lot of bullies and victims of bullying – they all confirmed that “control” is one of the key factors. This feeling of being controlled can then easily get transformed into OCD. It tortures the victims in a very similar fashion. It makes the victims do things that they don’t really want to do. The only way the victims can get control of their OCD is to learn how to ignore this internal bully. That is what can be achieved through medication and therapy.

 

Feb 28, 2019

All employers have a responsibility towards their employees. Just because the employees get paid, it does not mean that they have to work in a hostile environment. There are many people out there who feel extremely stressed at work because of workplace bullying and harassment, and that in turn affects their personal lives. This has to stop.

That is why I wrote my book titled “How to stand up to workplace bullying and take on an unjust employer”. I wanted to make the point that the process of fighting back was not easy, but it was worth it. Whenever I put in a comment on my Facebook page or on Linkedin, I get comments from both directions. A lot of people support my views and believe in fighting back. But there are also many who seem to believe that it is not useful to fight back – they believe that either you tolerate the mistreatment and keep working in that same place or just quit and take another job.

I do realize that situations are not the same for everyone. For some people there truly isn’t any other alternative other than just tolerating the mistreatment. But I believe that if at all possible, it is important to fight back. Because that is the only way employers will learn that something needs to be done to keep employees satisfied. In my case, I did win a settlement, but more importantly I believe that the organization has learnt that it needed to do more to make sure this kind mistreatment does not occur in the future.

 

Feb 22, 2019

There is still not a lot of dedicated efforts put in by our society to prevent child sexual abuse. Somehow we still don’t seem to want to deal with this issue as a major priority. For example, I have talked with various school officials across the country, and I find that this is still not a high priority topic for school officials. This needs to change.

Last November, there was a major conference of school counselors in Kentucky. I was invited to present a couple of sessions at the conference as well as conduct a pre-conference workshop. My presentations were going to be on the topics of “long term impact of bullying” and “prevention of child sexual abuse” based on my first two books. The pre-conference workshop was going to be on prevention of child sexual abuse. It turned out that the workshop was cancelled because of lack of interest in the topic.

Also, out of my two presentations, the one on “prevention of child sexual abuse” had very few attendees. It became clear to me that most school counselors do not see this as an important topic. I do believe that schools do need to work hard to establish the fact that everyone, and especially school staff dealing with children on a daily basis, must be aware of all issues associated with prevention of child sexual abuse. Children often look at school counselors as trustworthy adults outside their immediate family. It is important for counselors to be aware of all the issues just in case a child shares something that could pose a risk to the child.

 

Feb 14, 2019

I have been noticing that more and more school officials are starting to understand and accept the fact that bullying can cause very serious long term mental health issues for the victims. However, things are still not changing fast enough in most schools. This is probably because most school staff likely believe that there can be serious impact but not for most victims. They need to focus on the fact that even one life affected is one too many.

It is very easy to step away from doing something about an issue as long as you believe that it really does not impact a lot of people. Therefore, if you believe that most victims of bullying do not end up with serious mental health issues, you would feel justified not to spend a lot of time and effort to find a solution to the problem. You don’t feel bad about ignoring the issue since you have convinced yourself that it does not impact most of the students.

However, the point is that it is an extremely serious problem as long as even one child is affected by it. A couple of years back I had spoken at a conference where the theme was “every child counts”. I think that is an excellent message that all school staff should take to heart. In my view, all school staff should remain focused on the fact that they must be able to create and maintain an environment where each and every child feels safe and protected. No child deserves to suffer from long term mental health issues because of a negative school environment. That is why it is critical that all school staff should be focused on making sure that there is no bullying whatsoever.

 

Feb 07, 2019

Organizations can do a lot of things to make sure there is no bullying or harassment in the workplace. However, it all comes down to the owner or the CEO placing a high priority on developing and maintaining a bully-free organization. If they are truly serious about it, then the next levels of management will do their best to follow through.

In larger companies the CEO establishes the priority by first hiring a professional Human Resources Director who has experience in appropriately managing bullying and harassment issues, and makes sure that the HR Director understands the priority placed on this matter. In the true account story I describe in my book “How to stand up to workplace bullying and take on an unjust employer”, there was an HR Director involved, but I don’t believe she had the appropriate experience to deal with these issues. It appeared to me that she would rather avoid these issues rather than having to deal with them. Eventually she got rid of me probably because she thought that would help the situation. Of course, I decided to fight back and won my case through union-led arbitration. I believe if there was a well experienced HR Director involved, then the situation would have been handled differently.

In smaller companies it is much harder because owners often do not have the funding to hire an HR Manager. However, even in smaller companies, if the owner makes it very clear that bullying and harassment in the workplace will not be tolerated, then that message often gets through to everyone. Nobody in a workplace wants to go against the priorities set by the owner.

 

Jan 31, 2019

One of the points I try to make during all my presentations is that every adult has the responsibility to do something to protect a child from possible sexual abuse, if a red flag is detected. Of course, the family members and close friends have the main responsibility, but even ordinary citizens need to keep their ears and eyes open for possible warning signs.

Many adults seem to have the tendency to ignore red flags – they feel like they can’t worry about every little thing. They also feel that if they are getting concerned about every possible red flag, then they are being too paranoid. Well, the point I am trying to make is that there is nothing like being too paranoid when it comes to protection of children against possible sexual abuse. We always need to keep in mind that even one episode of sexual abuse can cause significant damage for the victim.

My request is for every adult to have a sense of urgency about this matter. If we see a possible red flag and if we follow through and check it out with the assistance of other systems/family members, there is no harm done. If it turns out that there was nothing to worry, then that is fine – it will still be a job well done. As I mentioned in my book “Father Figure – my mission to prevent child sexual abuse”, I went the extra mile to make sure two young girls were protected. It took a lot of patience and perseverance, but I feel it was all worth it. I hope others will do the same if they come across any possible red flags.

 

Jan 25, 2019

Many bullies in the schools do not really know what kind of long term impacts they are causing for the victims. They are often told that “bullying is bad – it is not an acceptable behavior in the school. There will be punishment if the bullying continues”. I think the results will be far better if the school officials made sure that the bullies truly understood the long term impact bullying can have on the victims.

Telling them that it is not an acceptable behavior and even handing out some punishment might be a short term solution, but I believe those things do not bring about long term change. Those steps can act as deterrents for a while, but sooner or later the bully gets back to his or her old tricks. That is why it is important to do something that can create a long term change. And based on the feedback I have received over the years from my presentations, I do believe that it is possible to help them make some permanent changes.

First of all, the bullies really need to understand what kind of long term negative impact bullying can have on victims. Most of the school bullies are not aware of this. They think it’s all for some harmless fun at the expense of others. But they don’t really understand that it is not at all “harmless” like they think it is. If they had a good understanding of the life-long devastating impact it can bring to the victims, most bullies will stop continuing the mistreatment. Also, it is really important to work with the parents of the bullies. If the bullies can have a reasonable home life, their actions while at school will be more positive.

 

© 2017 - Sumi Mukherjee
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