ESSENTIALS: How To Support Kids Affected By Bullying (with Bradley Davis)

ESSENTIALS: How To Support Kids Affected By Bullying (with Bradley Davis)

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In this week's Essentials episode, we explore the important issue of bullying in schools and how we can support students affected by it.

Bradley Davis, mental health advocate and entrepreneur, shares his insights on how we can identify students who are being bullied, how to approach them, and how to provide them with the necessary support.

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Bradley's website: The BKyndCo

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Show notes / transcription

Bradley Davis  0:00  

We always look for answers and explanations for everything going on in our lives to the best of our ability. And when we don't have a concrete reason why it's usually the easiest thing to do is point limit yourself because you're part of it. And you know you are so I think that's exactly what I did in that situation.

Simon Currigan  0:18  

Welcome to the school behaviour secrets podcast. I'm your host, Simon Currigan. My co host is Emma Shackleton. And we're obsessed with helping teachers, school leaders, parents, and of course, students. When classroom behaviour gets in the way of success, we're going to share the tried and tested secrets to classroom management behaviour or special needs whole school strategy and more all with the aim of helping your students reach their true potential. Plus, we'll be letting you eavesdrop on our conversations with thought leaders from around the world. So you'll get to hear their latest evidence based strategies before anyone else. This is the school behaviour secrets podcast. 

Hi there, Simon Currigan here and welcome to this essentials episode of school behaviour secrets where I share with you one important strategy or insight from an earlier interview episode that can have an impact for the students that you work with in your school or classroom. In this essentials episode, I'm going to share part of my interview with Bradley Davis from Episode 40, which focused on the impact of bullying. Bradley was one of the most open and honest guests I think I've ever had on the show. And he began his interview by talking about his personal experiences, being the victim of bullying, and how when that was happening, he found it difficult to ask for help from the adults. And he touched on the importance of trusting relationships between children and staff in school, I want to pick up the interview from where I asked him about how the experience of being bullied affected the way that he formed relationships with his peers.

Bradley Davis  2:05  

You know, I would say that it made me closer with certain people, because it made me realise that you can't get through life alone. So it definitely made me closer to certain friends that I knew I could trust. However, on the other hand, it also made me wary of trusting other people that I didn't already have a relationship with like this bully, he kind of came out of nowhere. And in all honesty, it's still to this day. And trust me, I've put a lot of thought into this, trying to figure it out of how this all started in the first place, and how it got to being so extreme as it ended up being. And I really can't. And because of that I had to kind of put some walls around me and really tried to protect myself. And in terms of the types of relationships that I was building and who I would kind of let in

Simon Currigan  2:51  

It sounds a bit like because this other person was doing something to you, you felt that there was some level of blame that you're ended, like you maybe have done something or did something a certain way that made you think had attracted this attention, when in reality, it was more probably without having met them more about issues that the bully was going through themselves.

Bradley Davis  3:11  

Yeah, absolutely. You know, that speaks to the fact that I don't know how this all started in the first place. Regardless of how much time and attention I put on to this situation of trying to figure it all out. Because I really just wanted to know, I would love to know, but it might be trapped somewhere in my memory. But in all honesty, yeah, it definitely had an impact with the feeling that it came out of nowhere. I couldn't help but blame myself partially being like, Okay, well, I clearly must have done something because people don't just act out this way to strangers and beat them up every day. And you know, torment them and humiliate them, and so on, so forth. So I absolutely blame myself and I don't anymore, but at the time I definitely did. And I wish I knew why. But I think it's just because I don't have answers. We always look for answers and explanations for everything going on in our lives to the best of our ability. And when we don't have a concrete reason why it's usually the easiest thing to do is point limit yourself, because you're part of it. And you know you are so I think that's exactly what I did in that situation. Looking back,

Simon Currigan  4:16  

What would have made the biggest difference to you both in terms of managing the immediate situation and your longer term emotional well being in terms of what the adults could have done more proactively to support you.

Bradley Davis  4:27  

Again, you know, I took a very long time to actually tell adults so you know, there's certainly no blame to go around with any of the teachers. I've been very fortunate throughout my academic career to be surrounded by very loving, caring, supportive teachers. With that said, I think you know, from a teacher's perspective, or an adult's perspective, I think what's super important when speaking to a child that has come to them in confidence and says, Hey, I'm being bullied this is going on at being tormented is, first off letting the child know that they're not to blame regardless of what might be going on. It's not their fault. Now, obviously, there are exceptions to everything in the sense of, you know, maybe it's a two way street and so forth. But generally speaking, letting the kid know like, it's not your fault, and then going into letting them know that usually when bullies act out and actually start bullying people, it's because they are going through something themselves, and they're just projecting and taking their insecurities or their troubles at home, or whatever it might be out on you. And a lot of times, it's for no real particular reason, you know, maybe they don't get along with their cousin, and you remind them of their cousin. So that's why you are selected. You know, it can be something as simple and rudimentary as that. I think what's super important when working with kids, or speaking with kids that are going through anything like this is just to remind them that you know, it's not your fault. And there's much bigger things at play, that are causing this to actually happen than anything that you could have done.

Simon Currigan  5:51  

It sounds like if someone had given you that message when you were younger, it would have saved you a lot of self blaming and soul searching, moving on into your teens.

Bradley Davis  5:59  

Yeah, absolutely. And it would have taught me earlier on in life, a valuable lesson to apply down the road to both my personal professional and romantic relationships and multiple capacities. Because every relationship within one way or another is a two way street. But knowing that there are a lot of things out of your control, and people are who they are, and they're going to act out at certain times, maybe at you, but having nothing to do with you is an important lesson for all of us to know and to learn at some point or another. So the earlier you can learn something like that, the better. I'd say

Simon Currigan  6:32  

you can't control everything in life, and sometimes you just get unlucky. That's true. Absolutely. And it's how you deal with that. And now you have those protective behaviours that you've built up over time, isn't it that help you deal with that and cope with those situations? What do you think the best schools do well, to support children affected by bullying,

Bradley Davis  6:48  

I think the most important thing to do is just really let them be heard, I think what's super important with the education system, and the direction it needs to go, is the importance of emphasising emotional intelligence, mental health and support as well as physical well being. So that's nutrition, as well as physical fitness and exercise. You know, all those aspects of every individual are critical tools that every student can use to build their own self worth, and self love and self confidence, which only then snowballs into being happier, healthier, kinder individuals, that would really just create a ripple effect throughout the individual school.

Simon Currigan  7:29  

And I think you make an interesting point there, because earlier, you said that your behaviour suddenly changed when you were being affected by the bullying and the bullying came and found you and started this physical violence against you. And often when there's a sudden change in children's behaviour, that indicates there's something external happened, there's a problem at home, or maybe bullying has started. And that could be a trigger point for schools to start using these I know, it's important for them to be used more generally. But actually, that could be a trigger point for a teacher to say, there's something different going on here. This child needs some help. And we need to start probing more deeply.

Bradley Davis  8:02  

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think that really speaks to the importance of all adults that interact with children on a consistent and regular basis. So whether it be a coach, a school administrator, a parent or a teacher, to really be aware and mindful of how their kids you know, act on a good day, and kind of what their baseline is, from a personality standpoint, and therefore will be able to judge if a individual starts deviating from that baseline if they are usually a very happy, energetic, outgoing, young man, and then suddenly, they're removed from the class, they don't want to talk to people, they have a shorter fuse, and they're more prone to outbursts, I think, would be a very critical measuring tool for every adult that works with kids.

Simon Currigan  8:53  

If you're a teacher or a parent, and a child comes to them and says they're being bullied. What do you feel is the best way we should react as an adult? What sort of things should we be saying and doing to support the child in that moment of disclosure,

Bradley Davis  9:06  

I would really emphasise the importance of letting the kid know that they are not to blame. And just be open to hearing them out. Let them kind of tell you their side of the story, what they think the root of the problem may or may not be, and just always be there to lend a supportive ear and you know, a few words of encouragement, let them know that, you know, again, this isn't your fault. And at the end of the day, the kid that's bullying them, the bully in the sense is really hurting in their own way. And so again, instilling emotional intelligence and empathy in the kid that actually comes to you saying, Hey, I'm being bullied can really actually helped defuse the situation because if they then go to that bully and be like, Look, I feel like you're hurting. I feel like something's going on with you. That right then and there could defuse the situation potentially because again, you know, The bully is likely crying out for help in their own way. And so if they're met with love and comfort and concern, whether it be from a peer or from another adult, I think it really makes a huge difference.

Simon Currigan  10:13  

If you could go back through time and talk to your earliest self, what message would you give that earlier year, he was going through all that strife and all those difficulties,

Bradley Davis  10:22  

I would have to say two things, I think one, the importance of, I would have to tell myself, it's not my fault. And so don't spend too much time trying to figure out the why behind it. As well, as you know, understanding that all of this stuff going on right now is just a blip on the radar. And I know it feels as though it's never going to end and it's going to last forever. That's not at all the case, and life will get better. And it always does get better. And just to kind of keep your head up and keep going and do everything you can to help people and not potentially even pass off the book of bullying to somebody else, you know, don't walk around angry and confused and upset because of something that's happened to you, but rather end the cycle by just being nice to everybody that you encounter.

Simon Currigan  11:13  

And that was Bradley Davis openly and honestly talking about bullying, and how we can support kids in school affected by this issue. And to me in this day and age. It's still shocking to me how common bullying is in our schools, and how important it is as adults that we do our bit to continually manage bullying on the front foot. If you want to hear the full interview, which was very powerful head back to Episode 40. I'll put a direct link in the episode description. And I'll also share links to Bradley's BKind organisation along with it if you want to find out more about him. And that's all we've got time for on this essentials episode. If you've enjoyed listening today, please take 30 seconds to rate and review us reviews and in particular new reviews tell the algorithm to recommend school behaviour secrets to other listeners. And that helps us grow the podcast and reach other teachers, school leaders and parents just like you. And while you've got your podcast app open, please remember to hit subscribe so you never miss another episode. Thanks for listening, and I look forward to seeing you next time on school behaviour secrets

(This automated transcript may not be 100% accurate.)