‘Change Starts With Us’ Supporting Anti Bullying Week 2019 11 -15 November

Bully Respect Me

It’s likely everyone has had at least one experience of bullying in some shape or form. It could be you’ve been in the unbearable position of being on the receiving end or maybe there has been a time when you have stood by and watched someone being victimised. Perhaps you’ve even been the bully. Whatever your experience, it’s important to recognise the devastating effects bullying can have on our children, young people and on adults and the many different forms it can take. In today’s technological age, bullying has transcended beyond name calling, exclusion and in more extreme cases physical assault to a wider raft of unpleasant experiences. Adoption of electronic devices has given voice to bullying through social apps, gaming and messaging platforms. It has expanded its reach beyond the face to face and aided by mobile devices has found its way into homes and bedrooms robbing us of places of solace. But bullying isn’t as simple as being outwardly unkind or picking on someone. The reverse can be just as hurtful and damaging. Ignoring a person, leaving them out or ostracising someone can have a serious detrimental impact on their wellbeing.

At Fleming Homes, there is no place for bullying. Our ‘FLAGSHIP’ values include family; we do more than simply work together. And loyalty; we go over and above when it comes to each other. In support of anti-bullying week, some of the team share their thoughts and experiences on bullying here.

Celebrate your differences
David Hutchison (Hutch), Construction Design Support

Every single person comes into this world brilliant and unique. Nobody can help where they are born or the colour of their skin. I have been lucky enough to spend some time living abroad and have made some amazing friends from all over the world who are from very different backgrounds to me, some with different religious beliefs and skin colours. It is scary to be the odd one out and I have felt that on my travels. But thanks to the kindness of some amazing people I felt accepted and safe very quickly. Even when I couldn’t speak the same language as the people I was with, they found ways to make me part of their group and welcomed me in. Just because someone is different to you, that’s no reason to bully them. Sometimes the people who seem “different” are the most interesting. It is never ok to exclude someone or make people feel bad about themselves. Everyone deserves a chance to be themselves free from judgement and without the fear of being bullied.

You’re not alone
Stephen Scott, Business Development Manager

If you have experienced bullying it’s important to remember that it’s never your fault! Bullies usually pick on people because they are insecure about themselves, projecting their own insecurities onto others as a way of coping with feelings of self-doubt or even self-hatred. So, if you feel it must be your fault, stop! There are a multitude of other ways bullies can make you feel; ashamed, depressed, confused, as well as isolated. The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. There are other people who are or who have gone through the same thing and there is something you can do about it. Step number one is to talk to someone. A problem shared is a problem halved! Confide in a friend, or a parent, a teacher, or a work colleague. Whether you are in a school setting or in the workplace there will be strategies and policies in place to help you.

Bestow nicknames with care
Sarah Mathieson, Managing Director

We humans are social creatures with an innate desire to belong. So, when you’re bestowed with a nickname, it can give you a warm feeling of acceptance within a group. You become an insider. There are plenty of nicknames here at Fleming Homes. We’ve got a Chegg, Pogo, JP, Burny, and a Hutch. I could go on. But just as you can experience belonging, nicknames can also leave you feeling on the outside. It’s here where they traverse the fine line that veers into bullying territory. If a nickname draws attention to a physical attribute, there’s a chance the recipient will feel uncomfortable. Being referred to in terms that are disagreeable to you day in and day out, can be demoralising, undermine confidence and generally affect self-esteem. That is bullying. So, if you’re in an environment where nicknames are conferred as a genuine sign of affection, just be sure the recipient welcomes the new name they are being christened with. And if you or anyone else laughs when it is said, the nickname is probably not OK.

Educating the bully
Hayden Martin, Operations Director

Much of the literature we read online focuses on the victims of bullying. I believe one of the ways to tackle this issue is to refocus attention to educating the bully. There are two elements to this; it starts with a basic awareness that specific actions can be harmful to others and then helping the bully to understand what motivates their behaviour. Self-awareness is critical. Bullying can take many forms from outright intimidation to behaviour which is more discreet and where the bully may not realise their actions are viewed as bullying. Bullying is a learned behaviour and it often manifests as a coping mechanism. As such, there is a piece of work to do around helping the bully to understand why they behave in the way they do. Have they been bullied themselves? Been a victim of abuse? Are they under chronic stress? None of these are excuses for bullying but recognising the underlying cause will help the bully to start to unpick their behaviour and help them work towards making the necessary changes.

Useful links

Respect Me
Childline
National Bullying Helpline