Feb 01, 2024

Being bullied is an extremely significant stress on a child. And if the child has to face this stress on a daily basis and several times during the day while at school, one can imagine the impact it can have on the child. It must be prevented.

The point is that the kind of bullying that a child typically faces is not a one-time thing. It doesn’t just happen once and then it’s all done. What really happens is that a child goes to school every day knowing that he or she will likely have to face the bullies again and again. And when this happens to a child almost on a daily basis for several years, it should be easy to see why the long-term impact can be extensive.

Adults at the schools across the country need to understand the severity of this situation and take full responsibility for protecting these children. School staff must understand that their responsibility is not only to educate the children but also to provide a positive and peaceful environment for all children. These two objectives go hand in hand. If a child is not happy and is always concerned about someone bullying him or her, the child simply cannot concentrate on school work. Teaching at schools is not the same as lecturing at a university to adult students. Teaching at schools need to include making sure that all kids are feeling safe and protected so they can concentrate on learning.

Jan 25, 2024

I strongly believe that anyone experiencing bullying or harassment in the workplace must do something about it, instead of allowing it to have a serious impact on themselves. Reporting it to someone, following through, and maintaining documentation can often have some positive impact.

The point is that everyone has a right to work in a positive and safe environment without being harassed or intimated by someone else. If a manager or a supervisor has an issue with the work being done by an employee, he or she can address it through the performance management process. And those discussions should take place in a private setting. There is no need to publicly humiliate an employee. The manager can give a warning to an employee if performance is not satisfactory, and if things don’t improve, the employee can be terminated. But none of this needs to be done in a harassing manner.

I have written the book “How to stand up to workplace bullying and take on an unjust employer” in order to encourage people to stand up for their rights. And I also wanted everyone to know that there are things one can do to fight back against bullying and harassment in the workplace. Reporting to authorities within the organization is the first step, and if nothing comes out of that, then reporting to authorities outside the organization is the next step. And all throughout the process, maintaining good documentation is extremely important.

Jan 18, 2024

Many school officials around the country still seem to believe that bullying during school years does not have any lasting impact on the victims. They need to understand that it is possible that some victims may be lucky and not have any long term impacts, but many others do and that is why it is critical to prevent bullying.

I think it’s all a matter of whether you want to do something about it or not. School officials who do not want to do something about it will always point to the fact that there are many children who face bullying during school years but are able to move on without any significant impact. But this is a situation when you can’t just look at the children who were able to withstand bullying without having any long-term impact and not look at the ones who have had to deal with significant long-term impact because of bullying.

I believe all school officials must focus on the fact that even one child ending up having to deal with long-term issues is one too many. Every child counts and it is important that every child deserves a bully-free safe school environment. This needs to be a top priority for all school officials. They need to form a close partnership with parents to make sure that every child finds it safe to come to school every day without having to worry about which bully they might be facing. There are children around the country who do not want to go to school to avoid being bullied – this simply cannot be allowed to go on.

Jan 11, 2024

Bullying and harassment happens in a workplace when the upper management does not want to accept the fact that maintaining a positive work environment is one of their responsibilities. Because I believe that if managers/supervisors understand clearly that bullying will not be tolerated, then the environment will be safe for everyone.

It is very important that the owner and/or the CEO sends a very clear message to the rest of the company that bullying and harassment will not be tolerated. Along with that it is also necessary to put together a set of processes and procedures so that any reported incidents of bullying and harassment can be investigated properly. It is also necessary to put together appropriate training programs for all supervisors and managers as well as for all employees to make sure everyone is aware of what is expected in terms of maintaining a positive professional environment.

In larger companies the task of maintaining a positive professional environment is often the responsibility of the Human Resources Department. Most HR personnel these days are well aware of these issues and are typically well qualified to set up processes and procedures and training for handling these matters. However, many small companies do not have HR departments. In those cases the owner may have to get involved with this matter and set up some minimal processes and procedures to handle any reported incidents. The bottom line is that it needs to come down from the top as one of the key priorities for the organization.

Jan 04, 2024

All children must learn that bullying is nothing but emotional and/or physical abuse of another individual. And no such abuse can be allowed in a civilized society. All adults must support this view and educate their children accordingly. Children will learn if the adults are serious about it.

Most children do not understand that bullying can cause significant long-term impact for the victims. The bullies go on continuing their mistreatment of other children thinking only of the fun they derive from these undesirable acts. But if they truly understood that their actions can cause long-term negative impact for the victims, it is highly likely that they will stop the bullying.

Following several of my presentations around the country I have received emails from students who have stated that bullying had practically stopped after my presentation at their schools. The following are some of the things children take away from my presentations:

  • If you treat someone poorly, the impact on that person can be very serious
  • If someone is bullied in school, that person can suffer for many years even after school years are over
  • Students are able to connect with me easily because I have gone through this myself – I speak from my heart about the impact it had on my life
  • 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

The bottom line is that if adults can have serious discussions with children about the significant long term impact of bullying, most children will understand and act accordingly.

Dec 28, 2023

Some people believe that once you are an adult you should be able to handle just about anything in the workplace. Well, I do not agree with that. Everyone has the right to expect a bully-free work environment. Workplace bullying affects many employees negatively and it must be stopped.

There is simply no place for bullying and harassment in a workplace. Shouting, yelling or using scare tactics is not the way for a supervisor or a manager to communicate with the employees. Supervisors/managers must make it very clear to employees about what their job duties are, and provide appropriate training for them to be able to perform those tasks. In addition, they should also make the employees aware that there are consequences for inadequate performance. But none of this need to be done via any kind of verbally abusive and/or harassing manner.

Every employee has a right to be treated fairly and respectfully. Some employees are able to take abusive managerial behavior in their stride and ignore it and move on. But for many employees, that is just not possible. It is very difficult for them to deal with this kind of negative behavior on a regular basis and it becomes a source of pain and frustration, which can then turn into depression, anxiety or other mental health disorders. This can and must be avoided by making sure that a bully-free environment is maintained.

Dec 21. 2023

When I speak to school principals and assistant principals, I typically speak on the topic of “Impact of School Culture on Students’ Mental Health” which is based on my first book.

I get excited about these presentations because these give me a chance to speak to a group of school administrators such as principals and assistant principals who are typically responsible for establishing and maintaining the culture in a school. In my book titled “A Life Interrupted – the story of my battle with bullying and obsessive compulsive disorder” I describe how a negative school culture contributed to a devastating mental illness that I had to deal with for many years.

When I was going through elementary and middle schools, most principals and vice principals did not do a lot to prevent bullying that I had to put up with. Many of them believed that children should be allowed to deal with this by themselves. In my view it is wrong to expect children to take care of this by themselves. School officials need to accept this responsibility to maintain a positive environment for all children.

There were also some principals and vice principals who believed that “boys will be boys” and things like bullying are ok. Then there were others who promised to do something about this, but did not do anything to back up their promises. I make a sincere effort to deliver the message that none of these approaches are appropriate. All school administrators must take the responsibility seriously and work hard to maintain a positive bully-free environment.

Dec 14, 2023

A couple of years back I had made a presentation in Palo Alto, CA, about long-term psychological impact of bullying. I had spoken to a group of summer camp staff at the City of Palo Alto. It was encouraging to note that the city was focusing on this issue.

A lot of bullying is still going on around the country and a lot of victims are still suffering. And there are many individuals around who still believe that this is not a big issue. That is why it was good to see some organizers were taking this matter seriously.

I do believe that there is a significant amount of effort being put in these days by many adults around the country to try to prevent bullying. This training organized by the city of Palo Alto was another excellent example. I believe that I was able to deliver the message that bullying can have significant long-term psychological impact.

I also liked the fact that the city of Palo Alto was putting this training together because they believed that bullying could be an issue with kids coming in for the summer camps. They were recognizing that bullying does not happen just in schools, it can also happen in other situations like summer camps. They wanted to make sure that every child attending the camps should be allowed to enjoy the summer camp experience instead of wanting to leave the camp because of being bullied. I was impressed with this effort by the city of Palo Alto and hope that others will follow.

Dec 07, 2023

Bullying and harassment in the workplace can be quite harmful to the companies as well. That is why many Human Resources Departments across the country are making sure to establish appropriate processes and procedures to minimize incidents of maltreatment of employees.

These companies recognize the importance of developing and maintaining a professional environment that does not tolerate bullying and/or harassment. They also realize that appropriate training needs to be provided to supervisors and managers so they are able to perform their duties without relying on bullying or harassment of employees. If the company places a priority on this, then the HR Department can implement appropriate processes and procedures to make sure a professional bully-free environment is maintained.

There is also another reason why many companies direct their HR Departments to focus on this. That has to do with avoiding unnecessary lawsuits. If some employees are being bullied and harassed, and if some of them decide to maintain records as to how they had requested the company to do something about this and nothing had been done, then some of these employees might decide to bring a lawsuit. This can be financially damaging for the company.

But looking at this positively, why would a company not want the employees to be happy at their workplace and enjoy a high level of job satisfaction. Happy employees typically perform better which in turn helps the companies achieve or exceed their goals.

Nov 30, 2023

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can be a devastating disease – based on my personal experience, it can take many years to recover. But it is important to remember that one can recover from this terrible disease and can take his or her life back, irrespective of whether it was triggered by bullying or by some other stressful events.

In my case, it was the sustained bullying during the school years that triggered OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) for me. For the first five years of my mental illness, my single greatest struggle and obstacle became simply telling someone what was going on. Before long, merely managing to function through an average day became the greatest challenge of all.  At last, I was able to change my pessimistic perspective, willingly engage in cognitive behavioral therapy and begin to make significant progress with my illness. Eventually, I was able to derive a lasting positive impact after spending only 16 days in Rogers inpatient treatment facility – a positive impact that has lasted throughout the past several years of my life.

Today, I am thrilled to report that I have finally regained control over my once ever so incapacitating mental illness! Though my ordeal has now reached this much better point, there are millions of other people out there who continue to struggle hard with similar issues on a daily basis. I am here to tell those fellow sufferers that this does not have to be their long-term fate. Just as I took back control of my life, they too are capable of freeing themselves from the powerful clutches of this or similar mental health issues.

© 2017 - Sumi Mukherjee
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