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Archive for May 2015

Suffering in Silence

7d2cc768be5c631f3af696e35d40c0b3Suffering in Silence

 

Being a child isn’t always easy. Youngsters face constant peer pressure as well as the stress of exams. In 2013, it was estimated that between 1 in 12 and 1 in 15 young people deliberately self-harmed (link to: http://www.youngminds.org.uk/training_services/policy/mental_health_statistics), yet the issue still appears to be unresolved; young people continue to self-harm, and more needs to be done to help them.

 

Let’s take exams for example. We’ve all see the hints and tips to cope with stress, which is all well and good, but what happens when the pressure gets too much? It can be hard for anyone to admit they are struggling, let alone a child or a teenager. Quite often, self-harming is the last resort for youngsters to cope with whatever struggles they are going through. This should never be the case.

 

Social media can play a pivotal role here. Today’s children live in a world where technology rules; millions of young people have a Facebook and/or Twitter account and are constantly engaging with each other online. Yes, social media can be a great way for young people to communicate with one another, but it does have a darker side. Cyber bullying is a common problem, and can leave youngsters feeling trapped and frightened. Like with the exam stress above, self-harm becomes the only way they can cope.

 

But on the flipside, social media can be a vital tool in getting the help young people need. In fact, Mind has set up its very own social network called Elefriends (link to: https://www.elefriends.org.uk/), a place where people struggling with mental health issues can speak openly without the fear of being judged or persecuted. Elefriends also features an ‘I need urgent help’ button and is constantly monitored to ensure people’s safety. Other mental health charities have also set up Facebook pages and use these to actively promote coping techniques and blogs containing advice from other people who are struggling.

 

There is no question that more needs to be done to help these children. The problem is what? Yes, using social media is a great first step but there is only so much it can do.Getting support to children in schools is vital in ensuring the problem does not become a long term issue. An estimated 80 000 young people suffered from severe depression in 2013 and around 8000 children aged under 10 deliberately self-harmed. This issue cannot continue.

 

What many young people don’t realise is that there is help out there. We as a community, as a nation, need to help the distressed children who are suffering in silence. We need to let those suffering know that are not alone and that there are people who can help. By continuing to talk to young people and inviting them to tell us how they are feeling, we can break down those barriers.

 

Together we can help young people overcome their issues and ultimately become the people that they want themselves to be.

The Internet Never Forgets – keep your images and bodies safe

While a picture is worth a thousand words, a digital picture is like words spoken — once it’s ‘out there’, you can’t take it back.

Far too many tweens and teens learn this lesson the hard way. Sexting or sharing compromising (including naked) photos with boyfriends or girlfriends is a frequent practice, one that can backfire in a dangerous way.

Here’s a common scenario…

Before girl knows it, her topless picture is spread all around her school, passed to other schools and lands on a mysterious site on the Internet.

Girl likes boy. Girl and boy flirt via texts. Boy asks girl for picture in her bra. Girl is embarrassed, but really likes boy, so snaps a quick selfie and hits “send”. Boy compliments girl and flirts some more. Boy asks girl to remove her bra and send another shot, while “promising” to keep it to himself. Girl is convinced boy really likes her, trusts him, and obliges. Boy is so excited about the photo, he shares it with his closest friend. The good friend thinks it’s cool and passes the photo on to another couple of guys. And so the telephone game begins. Before girl knows it, her topless picture is spread all around her school, passed to other schools and lands on a mysterious site on the Internet.
The Internet is relentless… it never forgets.

Think this doesn’t happen? Think again. In my own community here in Indiana, a similar story sadly played itself out. According to the Indy Star, the photos of between 20 and 30 former high school girls were anonymously posted to an online image board allowing the girls to be identified by entering a state and area code.

“Not even all the security safeguards on a social networking profile can prevent another person from viewing and stealing photos and videos the user has posted to their profile.” ~ ISP Detective Sergeant Chris Cecil

The story goes on to report, “… the photos in question were ‘selfies’ taken by the victims and shared with someone they trusted.” The story also reports that the website on which the photos are posted is hosted outside the U.S., so taking it down could prove challenging, if possible at all.
“The key point many people fail to remember is, ‘Once it’s posted to the Internet, the Internet owns it forever,’” shared Indiana State Police Detective Sergeant Chris Cecil. A cyber crimes expert, he has seen more than his fair share of these cases as an integral member of the Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce, a leading model for other states around the country. “Not even all the security safeguards on a social networking profile can prevent another person from viewing and stealing photos and videos the user has posted to their profile.”

Detective Sergeant Cecil cautions parents and kids, “Friends of friends may see whatever you post and nothing prevents a friend from sharing your posts.”

How do you know if a photo of your child is online?

Mary Kay Hoal, founder and president of YourSphere Media, Inc. (… a TERRIFIC website about online safety for kids – check it out!), wrote an article outlining a simple and easy way to search for an image on Google. So I followed her steps, gave it a whirl, and here’s what I found using one of my own photos (below). BTW, to my knowledge, this can’t be done on your phone, so you’ll need to do it from your computer.

 

By Ginger Kadlec

Fantastic gig with James Arthur and Symmetry

 James was amazing and he shared his honest story of how he was not prepared for all the attention her got when he won X factor. As he result he spiralled into depression and went off the rails. I am not excusing the silly things he said(as he isn’t) but it explains a little why he said them; as depression hits people in very different ways. Everyone deserves a 2nd chance and I am pleased to hear he is back on his feet again, and doing what he loves.

Symmetry his support band we great too. What captured my attention was the the guy next to me in the photo. He is actually blind – what an inspirational guitar player; showing anyone out there, that no one and nothing can stop you fulfilling your dreams. 

A great night had by all. Sore throat this morning from all the shouting and singing but well worth it.

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Tappy Twins goes to Derbyshire

If you are a student or teacher in Derbyshire then Tappy Twins is coming to a school near you. Please welcome the amazing Kirsten to the Tappy Twins family. I am so thrilled that she has agreed to work with us. She is a real asset and brings a wealth of experience to help even more children across Derbyshire. 

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Kirsten Ivatts

Is a mother of four children and one step child and lives in the beautiful Peak District in Derbyshire. She is an accredited member of The Association of Meridian Energy Therapies, practising Energy EFT and EmoTrance. She also uses visualisation techniques, colour therapy and Energy Art Therapy in her methods to guide children and adults through emotional trauma and towards living from a place of confidence and empowerment.

Kirsten believes that stress, whether emotional, physical or mental, is behind most of the problems people have relating to their life and to other people, to animals or to their environment.

She has a passion for working to help children break through any restrictions or limitations, whatever the cause, that blocks them from being their TRUE SELF. She is also passionate about helping teachers to find a method to work with children in a way that is beneficial to all, and negates the stress that the Education System places on them.

‘My aim is to create a classroom environment that is pleasing, exciting and indeed magical for both teachers and children alike. For many kids school is the only place where they have interaction with an adult that is of a positive and supportive nature. When teachers are feeling the stress of teaching, and have no way to help themselves, children then suffer that lack of genuine heartfelt support that they need, because the teacher just can’t offer it! My aim is to give pupils and teachers the tools to work together to help each other and offer the support and friendship that is so often missing in the classroom environment. With this in place children work to a higher standard, achieve better results, want to go to school…….Everyone is HAPPY!’

The Twins are on TV check it out!

Here is my 1st appearance on TV. Apart from me having to use my fan because it was so hot, I think it went OK. Thanks Monica for making me feel so at ease and welcome. Let me know what you think!!

http://www.bigcentre.tv/watch-again/entertainment/3441-cuppa-tv

 

3 Reasons Children Keep Abuse “A Secret”

Silence is a child abuser’s best friend.

You name it. Any kind of abuse… physical, sexual, emotional and even neglect… flourishes under the cloud of silence. Child abusers know this… and use this to their advantage.

To ensure silence, abusers will often implore children to keep the abuse “our little secret” and encourage them NOT to tell anyone what’s happening to them.

Sadly, this tactic often works. So, why in the world would a child honor that request and keep such a secret? Primarily, there are 3 reasons children keep abuse a secret…

1) Children want to please. Over 90% of sexual abuse is perpetrated by someone a child knows, loves or trusts. Children are taught to ‘behave’, so they may abide by an abuser’s wishes to keep the abuse “just between them.” In many cases, children love their abusers… parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, close family friends… and don’t want to disappoint them. In some cases of child sexual abuse, the child victim may actually be “in love” with the abuser and want to protect that person; case in point — a teenager in love with an adult.

2) An abuser (or accomplice) may coach a child to stay silent. This is a heartbreaker… I can’t even tell you how many child forensic interviews in which I’ve personally participated that involved a parent telling a child to deny that he/she was being victimized. The rationale for this is: 1) That one (or both) parents/guardians are perpetrating the abuse, or; 2) A parent relies on the financial or emotional support of the abuser. For example, mom knows her boyfriend is sexually molesting her daughter, but tells the daughter to keep it a secret, as the boyfriend is paying the bills and providing food and housing for them. Sadly, this scenario is far too common.

3) Children may be scared. It’s also common practice for abusers to make threats against a child, a member of the child’s family or even a beloved pet. Threats come in all shapes and sizes, and abusers have a way of knowing what motivates their victims and will use those motivators as weapons of submission and secrecy. Abusers often place the “blame” for the abuse squarely on a child’s shoulders, telling them they’ll “get in trouble” if anyone finds out… yet another compelling reason for a child to remain silent.

by Ginger Kadlec

“I’m Too Upset to Learn” — Handling Difficult Emotions at School

“I’m Too Upset to Learn” — Handling Difficult Emotions at School

Sometimes, our children will be faced with difficult emotions at school — and be unsure of how to handle them. Teaching them these techniques can help them feel in control.

bu Susan Kruger

One evening, several months ago, my 10-year-old son, Mark, was getting upset over simple things. After the second meltdown, I knew something was up. We went for a short walk and had a talk.

“Tell me what’s really going on.”

“I spilled my drink!”

“I know that’s upsetting. But you’re having a ‘10-mile reaction’ to a ‘two-inch problem.’ There’s more here. Are you upset about something with your friends?”

“No.”

“Something with your sister?”

“No.”

“Did something happen at school?”

“I dunno,” Mark murmured, shrugging his shoulders. Then, out of nowhere, he started crying. Clearly, I had found the problem. “I didn’t think about that until you just said it.”

Mark had been working hard on a project at school and was excited over his progress, when his teacher told him to redo several things. Apparently, he missed — or misunderstood — the directions. He was frustrated and discouraged, but too embarrassed to let it show in school. So he didn’t talk about it. Later, a couple of other things added to his agitation. By the time he came home, his emotions had overtaken him.

After our talk, he settled down and wandered off to play. The rest of the evening was peaceful. No more meltdowns. The trigger for his behavior wasn’t apparent on the surface, but once Mark understood the source of his pain, he was able to process his emotions and release them.

Students with ADHD (like my son) are more sensitive and prone to anxiety than others. When a child is in the throes of difficult emotions at school, he is unable to learn. Negative thinking can shut down the brain. Teaching our kids to manage their emotions is as important as teaching them math.

With Mark, I followed a simple, four-step process that you can use with your child. Better yet, work on teaching him the four steps, so he can eventually deal with emotions on his own.

1. GET CALM. The first thing I did with Mark when he was upset was to go for a walk. Why? The best way to shed anxiety, frustration, sadness, or anger is to move. Your body cannot move and be upset at the same time. If you walk down the street while talking to a friend, and the friend says something that makes you mad, what’s the first thing you do? Stop, right? Your body instinctively comes to a complete stop because it cannot “be angry” and “move feet” at the same time.

Make sure your child gets aerobic movement — even slow walking produces brain chemicals that calm negative emotions — before and after school. In school, when your child gets stressed, angry, or upset, find ways to build movement into her day. When she’s upset, have her ask the teacher if she can go and get a drink of water. Or ask your child’s teacher to let her run an errand to the nurse’s or principal’s office, or do some jumping jacks in the hall. Anything to move! If she can’t leave the classroom, she can use visualization to trick her brain into thinking that she is moving. Have her close her eyes for at least 30 seconds (a few minutes is better) and imagine that she is walking beside a gentle stream. Her brain will respond as if she were doing that. Of course, slow, deep breathing is helpful, too, but physical movement (or simulated movement) is best.

2. NAME THE FEELINGS. Once your child is calm, it’s time for her to process her feelings. Unprocessed feelings never go away, they get buried. It’s important to help her understand how she’s feeling and let her know that it’s OK to feel that way. The more specific you can get, the better. For example, she may feel embarrassed about not knowing the answer to a question from her teacher. But helping her dig deeper to recognize that she’s frustrated over the fact that she doesn’t know the answer, and also hurt that no one understands her frustration, sheds light on her upset.

3. FIND THE ROOT CAUSE. This step often requires the help of a trusted friend, adult, or a professional counselor. This process may take a while. It is helpful for students to understand that there can be (and usually is) much more to their emotions, and the situation causing them, than is on the surface. When I was a third-grade teacher, I had a student throw temper tantrums two or three times a week. After months of “cool down conversations,” he revealed that he was angry because his father didn’t spend time with him. Once we both understood the root cause of his tantrums, he never had one again, and we had a productive relationship in class.

4. RELEASE THE EMOTIONS. This can happen at home or at school, wherever the student has space to vent with a trusted friend or adult. It often involves tears, but journaling, praying, or deciding that it’s OK to let go of the emotion is also helpful and effective. Another option that is gaining popularity is called the emotional freedom technique (EFT). This technique helps in releasing negative emotions by tapping specific meridian points on the body. Several how-to videos are available online. For starters, go to emofree.com/eft-tutorial/tapping-basics/how-to-do-eft.html. More serious situations and challenges may require the assistance of a trained counselor or therapist.

I never thought to teach this process to Mark until that evening. Later, we talked about how it helped him feel better. The next time he faces tough emotions at school, he may not remember all of the steps, but he will know that there is a way to feel better. Knowing how to handle challenging emotions prevents the most negative and dangerous feeling of all…hopelessness.