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Monday, 17 September 2018

What to do when your child is being bullied.


Bullying, verbal- and physical harassment. What is it? Why does it happen? How to deal with it?




Bullying has been taking place from generation to generation. Bullying isn’t something new and in the digital age bullying has evolved even further, making it easier for bullies to manipulate their victims. As parents we always want our children to be happy and safe, especially in educational environments like school. However, sometimes bullying happens, therefore parents need to know what to do. Walt Disney once said, “Our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children.” We believe parents should take action to protect their children against all harm to ensure healthy, growing minds.

In this article we discuss the following aspects revolving bullying:

What is bullyingThe result of bullyingWhy bullying happensWhat to do when your child is being bullied



What is bullying

Bullying is defined as the use of superior strength or influence to intimidate a person. Usually this results in forcing the victim to do something that they don’t want to do, causing the victim pain, injury and/or distress. Bullying in school is harmful to students’ well-being and their development, because the victims of bullies in school are fearful, lose concentration and might even have physical injury if not treated.

According to www.stopbullying.gov there are three types of bullying, namely, verbal bullying, social bullying and physical bullying. Verbal bullying includes malicious acts such as teasing, name-calling threatening and inappropriate comments. Social bullying includes nasty attempts to destroy someone’s reputation or credibility. This includes spreading rumours, embarrassing the victim, or intimidating someone not to be friends with the victim. Physical bullying is the act of hurting the victim’s body or possessions, through pushing, breaking, kicking, spitting or making rude hand gestures.

All types of bullying is equally damaging to the victim and shouldn’t be taken lightly. 



The result of bullying

The result of being bullied as a child can be very severe. The following are examples, based on past studies, of what can happen when a child is bullied:
  • A decline in the victim’s performance in activities that he/she loved to do.
  • The victim has increased anxiety and stress-levels.
  • The victim becomes isolated as a result of distrust in people.
  • Loss in confidence and self-esteem.
  • Psychological damage growing up and becoming a dysfunctional adult.
  • Worst case scenario, bullying can lead to suicide. This is every parent’s nightmare and we want to prevent this at all costs.


Bullying is never acceptable. In order to prevent bullying, we need to understand why it is happening.




Why bullying happens

Bullying happens as a result of many factors and no one child is like another, each grow up in different environments, different households and backgrounds. However, bullying as a result of circumstance is never acceptable. Therefore, we want to break down a few common factors why children start bullying others.

Having low self-esteem

Children; and people in general; with low self-esteem usually attempt to bring others down. This is as a result of jealousy and insecurity. To understand more about jealousy, read our blog, ‘Understanding and overcoming jealousy from peers.’ To understand more about developing a healthy self-esteem, read our blog ‘How to develop a healthy sense of self-esteem.’ When children have a lack of self-esteem they try to impress their friends by bringing others down. They feel the need to impress their peers, but the only way they know how is to make their victims feel worse than what they are feeling.


Feeling powerless

When children feel powerless, because of factors bigger than themselves, like financial pressure at home, conflict between parents, underperformance in school activities, they themselves might be bullied, etc. they tend to act out. This means they project their frustration and fear onto others in an aggressive way without thinking about the consequences. These powerless children have no understanding of coping with frustration, anxiety, stress and conflict, because they have never been taught how to deal with it. We suggest consulting with a school psychologist to help manage stress, fear and anxiety.

Pressure to bully

When children observe their friends bullying a victim, they might join in, because they are either afraid of being bullied themselves, or they are afraid of being left out of the friend group. This is peer pressure to bully. These bullies feel it is necessary to bully to stay part of the friend group, even if they know it is wrong.

Lack of accountability

Often children who bullies have never faced true consequences for their actions. They might have done something similar but to a minor degree, or they didn’t get caught, therefore they didn’t get into trouble. Now they keep pushing the limits to see with what else they can get away with, without getting caught.

So, what happens when you find out your child is being bullied? What can you, as a parent, do?




What to do when your child is being bullied

The best way to protect your child from bullying is to teach them about bullying from an early age. When a child knows how to identify bullying early on they can speak up, get an authority figure involved and solve the problem at the beginning stages.

However, what if your child is currently being bullied? Here are our recommendations*:

Take immediate action.

Many parents might want to stay out of it or let the kids sort themselves out, but this is the wrong approach. Your children need to know you are there for them and that you will protect them. When you first pick up signs of distress or a change in your children’s character, speak with your children and find out if there is bullying involved. If they tell you that there is someone at school bullying them, approach the situation calmly and assure them that you will help them handle it. Find out how severe the bullying is and understand why it happened. Ask your child if they did anything to provoke the other child or even if your child hurt the other kid first. We want to emphasise the fact that your child needs to tell the truth and not just seek attention to accuse another child falsely, because if start countering bullying and your child falsely accused a child, your credibility will be on the line.

However, if you established that this is pure bullying and that your child is truly the victim of another child’s aggression, then proceed to take further steps.

Speak to the school.

The first step is to inform the school. Most schools have anti-bullying strategies; however, it might not always be effective. Very often bullying can happen on school grounds without teachers knowing. Therefore, you need to inform the principal and your child’s teachers about the situation. Write a formal letter explaining who the bully is, how your child is being bullied and why the teachers need to be concerned. You can also make an appointment with a teacher, but make sure you give them an explanation in writing (either electronically or by hand). This serves as proof that they are now informed. Tell the teacher and principal that they need to investigate the bullying and to stop any further bullying that takes place on their grounds. This way the people who is supposed to ensure the safety of your child cannot ignore the problem anymore.

If the bullying was very severe and you need to raise the urgency, get a lawyer to send this letter so that the school knows how urgent the situation is. Also document any physical abuse by photograph, if there were any, and if your child has undergone emotional trauma, seek the help of psychologist or therapist.

Send the message loud and clear.

The second step is to inform the bully’s parents of the situation and let them know how important it is for them to hold their child accountable. This can be done by informing them that you will take legal action if the bullying doesn’t stop immediately. Emphasise the fact that if the bullying doesn’t stop you will get law enforcement involved. Let them know the school is aware of the situation and there will be severe consequences if their child doesn’t stop. There’s and anonymous quote that says “It’s about showing you how to hold bullies and in some cases their parents, responsible and accountable.”

By now, the school and the parents of the bully are aware of the situation. Along with the threat of involving legal officials, the bully should feel a lot of pressure to stop the bullying. Normally, when a bully feels that the weight of their consequences (like being expelled from school or even a criminal record if there were severe physical bullying) is much greater than the pleasure they get out of bullying, they will stop.

What if the bullying doesn’t stop?

This is one of a parent’s biggest fears, “What if I tried speaking to the teachers and the bully’s parents and the bullying still continues?” Well, then you have to hire a lawyer and file a lawsuit. This is a painful process, but the safety of your child will depend on it. Rather be the parent to upset a few people than having to deal later with bigger consequences – for example your child might develop psychological damage or depression or in extreme cases the loss of your child as a result of suicide. Your lawyer will help you take the further required actions.


Your actions can change the whole school.

The second that one bully is successfully stopped, there is a fantastic transformation in the way that schools are run. Teachers will be more vigilant, bullies will think twice before they target or hurt other children and children who were also bullied might finally have the guts to stand up to their own bullies. Don’t be afraid to be the parent that took a stand against bullies, it is in the best interest of all children in the school.


We want to encourage all parents who are dealing with issues where their children are being bullied. Stay strong and protect your children. There’s is an anonymous quote that says: “Bullying is not a reflection of the victim’s character, but rather a sign of the bully’s lack of character.” Remind your children that a bully’s action isn’t their fault, it is always the bully’s fault. Help your children overcome these situations and rise above the circumstances.


*ASP School Projects’ advice is not to be seen as legal counsel, but mere suggestions to parents. If bullying is severe we recommend contacting authorities or the Child Helpline via telephone on 08000 55 555.

Monday, 10 September 2018

Surround yourself with friends that also strive for success.


Why to avoid friendships that put you under peer pressure.



Finding the right friends when you are in school can be difficult and a little frightening. In school you are assigned to a specific classroom and this can have a huge impact on your social circle. Sometimes you become friends with people and sooner or later you might realize you feel down or your self-esteem gets a knock. This means you aren’t surrounded with uplifting and positive people and you might need to make a change to your friend group. To understand more about self-esteem and build your self-confidence, check out our following blogs:



In this blog article we will discuss the following relating to the kind of friendships you need for a happy and successful school career:


1. Why you need to surround yourself with friends that also strive for success.
2. Why you need to avoid friendships that only bring you down.
3. How to surround yourself with uplifting friends.



1. Why you need to surround yourself with friends that also strive for success.

Famous motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, “You become like the five people you spend the most time with. Choose carefully.” This means that if you become like the five people you spend most of your time with and four of those five people are always negative, judgemental and pessimistic, you will likely also become negative, judgemental and pessimistic. However, if you spend your time with friends that are positive, enthusiastic and optimistic, you will also become positive, enthusiastic and optimistic.

This statement powerfully relates to the concept called ‘The Law of Averages’. The Law of Averages states that the likelihood of certain events increases if the frequency is increased. Therefore if you increase the amount of time (frequency) you spend with people that has characteristics that you desire, you will eventually pick up that characteristics and become like those people. 

A study published in Psychological Science by psychological scientists Catherine Shea, GrĂ¡inne Fitzsimons, and Erin Davisson of Duke University, supports the claim that the kind of friends you have, has a very big impact on your long-term goals. They state that people with low self-control could relieve a lot of their self-control struggles by being with individuals who are known to have high self-control. This is due to the fact that the person with low self-control will be inspired by a friend with high self-control and pick up on their self-control cues to adapt their own behaviour.

It is therefore very important to surround yourself with the kind of people you admire and who inspires you. This doesn’t mean you must stop being friends with someone if they aren’t perfect. It simply means that you need to be mindful about who you spend most of your time with, and in what way they contribute to your life. If you are strong enough you can become the person to inspire and help others.


2. Why you need to avoid friendships that only bring you down.

It is clear that our friends form a great part of who we are, but this is also true for our siblings, parents and family. We will become more like the people we spend most of our time with, therefore we might need to spend less time with people that has bad influence on our self-esteem, academic performance, motivation and self-control.

We want to remind you that everyone has off-days or circumstances that makes them sad and negative. Before you simply cut people out of your life because they seem negative, evaluate the relationship carefully and have compassion with other person’s circumstances. For example, if you have a friend that has been very negative lately, evaluate the situation by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Is this friend always negative, or is there something specific that is upsetting him/her? E.g. maybe there’s a crisis at home, or an upcoming test that might cause stress.
  • Is this negativity something that will pass eventually? E.g. maybe a pet has passed away and your friend is still mourning this loss, but eventually the pain and sadness will heal and pass.
  • Do you suspect there is something that is bothering your friend that he/she doesn’t want to share with you right now? E.g. your friend might indicate symptoms of depression or you might pick up on something that is wrong. This could mean that he/she is ashamed of the situation they are currently in and don’t want to be a burden.
  • Is there something you can do to help? E.g. maybe your friend has failed a test and has become very negative about it, you could help by sharing your notes or explain certain homework.
When you have evaluated your friend’s negativity and you come to the conclusion that the negativity is due to a specific event or circumstance that has caused him/her stress and sadness, that it would eventually pass and that you can help out, then you can conclude that this person is usually positive and uplifting. There is no reason to end this friendship and you should rather invest more time into this friendship to provide support and help your friend. However, if you conclude that this friend’s negativity isn’t connected to circumstances or events, that he/she is negative most of the time for no reason and that he/she doesn’t want help, then it might simply be a bad habit of being pessimistic and you should consider spending less time with him/her. This doesn’t mean you should end a friendship in a nasty way, it simply means in order to protect yourself from becoming negative, you should consider spending less time with him/her.

The following traits should be red flags that you might need to end a friendships:

  • Friendships that go against your core values, for example honesty. If you have friends that lies and cheats then you shouldn’t feel bad to end such a friendship.
  • Friends that get you in trouble countless times. It is very difficult to concentrate on schoolwork and perform your bet when you waste time being in trouble with teachers all the time. It could also damage the relationship with a teacher and could also put strain on the relationship with your parents if the principle needs to contact them to inform them about your bad behaviour.
  • Friends that are self-centred or narcissistic. This means these friends won’t put in the same effort into the friendship that you would. They will also not support you in your personal goals as they only care about themselves.
  • Friends that blame you for their own shortcomings or unfortunate circumstances. Friends that put the blame on you if they don’t succeed or get you into trouble isn’t true and worthy friends.
  • Pretentious friendships, where they talk badly about you behind your back is another red flag that you might need to end the friendship.
  • Jealous friends are toxic to your mental health. You should try to stay clear of friends that are jealous of you. To understand jealousy and how to deal with jealous friends, read our blog ‘Understanding and overcoming jealousy from peers’.
  • Friends that bring you down the whole time. Friends that insult you, pick on your flaws or bring up your weaknesses aren’t friends worth keeping.
Identify the friendships in your life that makes you feel bad about yourself, that isn’t good for your mental health and friends who doesn’t support your goals. When you have done so, determine how you will deal with these friends in the future. Decide whether you need to spend less time with them or even to end the friendship completely. Decide if you really want to keep these bad friends as acquaintances or not. You can simply spend less time with certain friends, since people grow out of friendships eventually. Either if toxic friendships are damaging your self-esteem you might need to end it by talking to them directly and explaining yourself to them. 


3. How to surround yourself with uplifting friends.

Jack Canfield said, “Make a conscious effort to surround yourself with positive, nourishing, and uplifting people – people who believe in you, encourage you to go after your dreams, and applaud your victories.” Canfield describes the kind of friends we all want. The kind of friends that help you grow, believes in your dreams and lifts you up. The question is however, how do we find friends like these? Not all of the qualities you look for in a friendship will be available in a single person. You might need to find a few different friends, in different groups and with different interests. Surround yourself with the following kind of people and make friends with them:

Surround yourself with people that inspires you.

People that inspire you possess qualities or attributes you wish you had. When you look at their lives you become inspired to be like them too. This is a person who is either older or more successful than you, someone you can learn from.

If you want to become more intelligent and be do better in your academics, make friends with the smart kids, ask them questions, study with them and compliment their intellect. Most smart people don’t mind sharing their knowledge and you might just start enjoying difficult subjects. This way of choosing your friends can be applied to any activity that you wish you were better in – sports, music, art, business, etc.

Surround yourself with the people that challenge you.

Friends that challenge you are big motivators to become more successful and to reach your goals. This is why most bodybuilders like having a gym partner. A good gym partner will tell you to do one more rep, run faster, jump higher. A good gym partner will encourage you to do your best and challenge your limits. Find friends that are like a good gym partners, friends that push you to do better in tests, challenge you to do better in sport, place the right amount of pressure on you so that you give your best in every aspect of your life. Find friends who love to see you win.

Surround yourself with the people that lift you up.

People that lift you up makes you feel good most of the time. This could either be by making you laugh, comforting you when you feel sad, or helping you solve your problems. Find people that make you feel good about yourself and make you feel secure in the friendship. These friends might not always be the smartest or the most successful, but the kind of friends where you feel happy and optimistic about life.

Be the kind of friend that inspires, challenge and lifts others up.

We want to encourage you to find friends that inspires, challenge and lifts you up. However, you must in return also be the kind of friend that will inspire, challenge and lift your friends up. Make the effort to help your friends out, inspire them to reach their goals and challenge them to be better. If you want good friends, you also need to be a good friend. If you want your friends to inspire you, you also need to inspire them. If you want friends that lift you up, you also need to lift them up. This is how you build meaningful friendships, by becoming the kind of friend that you want. After all, similar kinds attract each other.


We hope you are inspired by this blog to be a good friend and to also find friends that are good for you. Remember to share this article with your friends and help them to become better friends too.


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Monday, 3 September 2018

6 Reasons why you shouldn’t give up on your education now.


Sometimes we have to be nerdy to get good results… It is important to work hard and want to succeed. Nothing is more uncool than repeating a year or dropping out.





During the third term in a school year, there is a tendency to become a little more relaxed and forgetful of academic goals. You might become more side-tracked with the warmer weather and fun activities that lie ahead in Spring. There are pool parties and school dances and even a short school holiday to look forward to. The truth remains, tests and homework are piling up and now is the time to prepare efficiency for the end of the year examinations. Now is the time to dedicate yourself to the goals you set in the beginning of the year. Now is not the time to give up on your education.

Giving up at such a crucial time in the school year will only bring you disappointment. Giving up means you cease to make an effort and even to admit defeat. To give up physically on your education means to stop completing your homework, not handing in assignments or you become too lazy to summarise each day’s work. Giving up mentally is far worse, because this means you have already decided that you will fail at achieving your academic goals. Giving up mentally means you stop trying because you have lost all hope to succeed.

Jesse Jackson once said: “If you fall behind, run faster. Never give up, never surrender, and rise up against the odds.” We want to inspire you today not to give up on your education and to continue to give your best.

That’s why we want to share with you the top reasons why you shouldn’t give up. These reasons are best described by asking the following 6 questions: 

1. Why did you have this goal in the first place?2. Will you regret not succeeding?3. What would you miss out on if you don’t achieve your goals?4. Will failing really make you happy?5. Why don’t you prove your critics wrong?6. What kind of person will I become if I don’t study?



1. Why did you have this goal in the first place?

The first question to ask yourself when you feel like giving up on your academic journey is: “Why did you have this goal in the first place?” The answer will vary for each individual because we are all unique and have our own motives. It could range from impressing your peers or pleasing your parents, fear from failing or enjoying the recognition of success. It always comes down to the fact that we as humans want to keep developing. Even when it is difficult or uncomfortable, people in general want to improve themselves.

Therefore, we can conclude that you set an academic goal so that you can improve yourself. This goal might be very new to you or something you want to achieve again. Whatever the case, you want to expand your life experience, make your mind grow and become a better version of yourself when you achieve this goal. When you know the reason why you want to achieve your goal, it feels less like work and more like a mission. Make the reason why you pursue your academic ambitions passionate and exciting, this will help you stay focused on the end results.


2. Will you regret not succeeding?

There’s a powerful quote by Jim Rohn that says: “There are two types of pain you will go through in life, the pain of discipline and the pain of regret. Discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tonnes.”


Jim Rohn’s words are very true when it comes to education. When you discipline yourself to study when you have to, you might feel temporary discomfort. However, the discomfort of discipline is far less than the discomfort of the regret you feel when you fail a test or have to repeat the year. The reward of being disciplined also outweighs the short term comfort of laziness and procrastination. Therefore you must study when you have set out the time to study and ask yourself the tough question “Will I regret not succeeding?”


If you need help on how to set up a schedule, read our blog ‘Four tips to help you setup a schedule for a successful school year’ and to learn how to balance schoolwork and extra mural activities through time management, read our blog ‘Finding balance between schoolwork and extra mural activities’.



3. What would you miss out on if you don’t achieve your goals?

Depending on your academic goals, there could be various wonderful experiences that you could miss out on if you don’t achieve them. Consider the following examples:

  • You might have an agreement with your parents that you can only participate in your favourite sport if you pass all you subjects.
  • If you want to study a very difficult degree that requires many distinctions, like medicine or engineering, your goals might include improving your mathematics marks.
  • Maybe you have been slacking a bit and didn’t do as well in the previous tests as you wanted to. Even though you didn’t perform as well in the past, you still want to finish the academic year strong and you might set a new goal to improve your final marks.
  • Your goal could also be a lot more personal. For example, simply proving to yourself that you can go from 40% to 50% in a subject. Your dedication will give you hope.


There are plenty of other examples why you would want to achieve your goals. Though you might be overwhelmed with fear that it is too late to improve your chances of achieving your goals, rest assured, it is never too late. Don’t miss out on your educational goals because of fear, laziness or procrastination. If you want to play in a sport team but need to improve your marks on your report card, then let that inspire you to sit down and study. If you want to be a doctor, then study as hard as you can so that you don’t miss out on the opportunity to save lives. If you want to be in the Top 10 academic performers in your grade, then discipline yourself to make summaries every day and work through practice exam papers. If you want to change your life and become the first person in your family to go to university, then you need to work harder than you have ever worked before. Ask yourself: “What would I miss out on if I don’t achieve my goals?” and then decide which changes you need make to your daily routine so that your goals will be met.


4. Will failing really make you happy?

This is obviously a very easy question to answer, because failing will never make you happy. However, for a very short period procrastinating might make you happy, or rather, playing games than studying might feel good, but by not studying and procrastinating you could walk down the road of failure.

So instead of watching another episode of your favourite show, or scrolling through your social media for the 10th time, or even just wasting time when you need to study, ask yourself: “Will I be happy if I fail? Will I really be the happiest version of myself if I don’t achieve my goal? Or would passing and succeeding make me happier in the long run?”


5. Why don’t you prove your critics wrong?

You should never live your life to please others, or conform to standards that your peers or society place on you. However, there is nothing as satisfying as reaching your goals when other people didn’t think you could. People who have doubted you, or said to other’s behind your back that you can’t achieve your dreams, will be shocked and even disappointed when you actually achieve what they believed you can’t do.

The truth is, people who doubt your abilities or say that you dream too big, will either be right or wrong. They will either be able to say “I told you it couldn’t be done” or they’ll have to admit that you succeeded when they didn’t believe in you. What would you rather want to do? We say – go prove the people who doubted you wrong – very wrong! The choice is yours.


6. What kind of person will I become if I don’t study?

This last question will require that you delve deep into your heart’s desires and envision yourself 5 or 10 or even 20 years from now. What kind of person will you be if you don’t study and work hard towards your academic goals? Picture yourself as the ideal version of you, with a university degree and a blossoming career. See yourself in your mind’s eye as the person you want to become. Understand that it is possible to be that person, but that it requires that you work towards that bright future. If you are willing to give your best effort for your education, you will be so proud of your future self.


We want to encourage you to ask yourself these difficult questions and to work hard on your academics. Have faith that you are capable of achieving greatness and success if you don’t give up now. The key is to start today.

Let us know how you motivate yourself when you need inspiration for your education.

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Monday, 27 August 2018

Understanding and overcoming jealousy from peers.


Sometimes when you excel in academics, sports and culture you get unfounded criticism from extremely competitive peers or those who don’t do any of these. How do you handle it?





We talked about the importance of extracurricular activities for children and teenagers in our previous blog articles. It is good to do other activities in addition to focussing on school work, in order to live healthy and balanced lifestyles. More than just being fun pastime activities, it helps children to develop important and vital skills. Extracurricular activities are also tremendously beneficial for children’s brain development – which is proven by various scientific studies. Scientists also discovered that it enhances children’s academic performance. We talked about the necessity of finding balance between extracurricular activities and schoolwork as well.

You’ll enjoy reading these incredibly insightful articles if you haven’t already:

·       4 Benefits of music on the brain.

If you take pleasure in learning and doing sport-, art- and cultural activities, the chances are that you spend quite a bit of time doing it. Since you spend so much time on these activities, you’ll naturally want to make progress in your skills. You’ll be driven to work hard, because it makes you feel good and if you do it long enough and work hard enough you will see results and succeed.

To excel in one activity also makes you driven to perform well in another activities and so on. You’ll feel boosted with energy and have a positive mind-set to try out more things. You will likely also perform fairly well the first time you try it and progress more quickly, because of many other skills (such as fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, cognitive abilities, superior memory and concentration, etc.) you already obtained from doing other activities. The more skills you have, the more it will complement each other. It will help you become a better version of yourself. Isn’t it amazing how the human body functions?

However, sometimes there may be a drawback to performing well on so many levels. Some of your peers may perceive you as being an “overachiever”. A derogatory term to refer to you as such in a negative way, because they themselves don’t have the discipline or motivation to do any activities, or because they don’t perform as well as you due to a lack of skills, talent and other reasons. A number of factors can be at play here. Some children may not have the financial security in their households to enable them to take part in some of these activates. Others may possibly have other personal issues to deal with, such as being bullied or abused or their parents are separating etc. Never the less, they might start saying some pretty nasty things about you when you perform well and they don’t. What it more or less comes down to is jealousy.


In this article we discuss the following ways to understand and overcome jealousy from peers:


1. What is jealousy?2. Warning signs when a particular person or group is jealous of you.3. The different types of jealousy and why it happens.4. The effect and dangers that jealous people have on you.5. Do some introspection.6. Reflect on what activities your jealous peers do (or don’t do).7. Talk with the particularly jealous individual(s) to resolve conflict.8. Get others involved or seek professional help when things get out of hand.9. Focus on yourself and your skills. You can’t please everyone.10. Inspire others to reach for their goals in life.



 1. What is jealousy?

Life can sometimes, more often than not, feel like one big competition! Having a perfect life to display for others seems like the end-all and be-all for many people. Especially in a world where everyone is constantly obsessed with flaunting themselves, their achievements, possessions, and relationships in photos on social media. Children are often pushed to perform exceedingly well in school and extracurricular activities – especially to maintain this status of “perfection” for their parents who love putting them on a social media pedestal. There is nothing wrong with parents wanting their children to perform the best they possibly can, and showing off how proud they are of them. Let’s face it though, sometimes it all can become a bit excessive. When children see people which are older than them behave in a way that can be interpreted as “showing off”, they view it as acceptable and will naturally copy them. No wonder they are confused when their parents don’t approve of it when they take things too far and start uploading photos to show off every minute of their “fabulous” lives…

Adults experience pressure, competition and jealousy from partners, co-workers, neighbours etc. from time to time. However, most have learned to control such emotions from either end of the spectrum, not allowing it to affect them exceedingly negative in their lives. Children on the other hand are very frail since they haven’t learned the coping mechanisms yet to deal with someone that is jealous of them. Also they are unsure what to do when they become jealous of other people. For this reason, the life of a child in school can in some cases be even more complex than that of the adults. Being smart, attractive, funny, wealthy, popular, athletic or artistic may very well become a list of tick boxes for children of all ages. When they fall short in any of these it may lead to a number of thoughts, feelings and emotions. When jealousy is the main factor at hand, it can lead to some serious issues for them and their victims when not addressed properly.

Before you can address feelings of jealousy or knowing what to do when someone else is jealous of you, you have to understand what jealousy is.

Jealousy is a complex emotion that encompasses various thoughts and feelings in a person. These can range from feeling insecure, fearful, concerned, resentful, threatened and envious. Particularly towards someone whom you compare yourself to – over their qualities, personal worth, advantages and possessions. These feelings arise in the sense that you are concerned over your own position. You are fearful of losing what you have as a result of the other person. In other words, fearing that person will take it away from you. Jealousy is often considered as synonymous with envy. However, the difference is that envy is more closely associated with your desire to have someone else’s qualities, possessions and success, in other words coveting what they have, while wishing that they lacked it due the absence of these in your own life. For the sake of simplicity we will use these two concepts interchangeably in this article.


2. Warning signs when a particular person or group is jealous of you:

When you excel in certain activities in school, it its very likely that you will run into a few people who will criticise you for it. Not everyone will actually mean to cause you extreme harm. For instance, some people might just be jealous of your good school marks because they wish they worked harder to achieve similar results. Others may genuinely feel threatened by your good marks, since they believe by doing so you make them look bad. As a result they believe you stole their position to be top in the class – even if that sounds kind of absurd. Instead of being inspired by your own academic achievement they will try to bring you down to their lower level by making you feel bad for working hard. They may even go to extreme lengths to sabotage your future chances for success.

Here are some ways in which you can tell that they are jealous and possibly cause you harm:

·       Being blamed for being unfairly privileged or benefitted.

People that are jealous of you will try to diminish your efforts and achievements by attributing it to mere talent or luck which you were born with and didn’t actually deserve to have in the first place – since they lack talent and the dedication to work on their skills. If they aren’t from a wealthy background, they will almost certainly use the excuse that your parents are rich and can pay coaches and the like to magically transform you to outperform them. They will blame their failures on your parents for being involved in your life and giving you necessary attention and support to work on your skills. They will also try to blame the teachers, tutors, coaches and trainers for favouring you and giving you special attention and secrets to help you beat them.

·       Being threatened by competitors or slackers.

Jealous people might go as far to tell you that you shouldn’t outperform them again or go to the classes or lessons, otherwise there will be consequences… Implying that if you do, they will take dramatic steps to prevent you from doing it again in the future.

·       Being bullied through verbal or physical abuse.

A few name-calling incidents in class, such as calling a bright young boy a “nerd”, may turn into continued threats in the hallway and eventually end with a violent act after school. This could possibly entail a bloody nose and broken ribs as the result of a group beating. People often underestimate the fact that if bullies don’t receive the immediate reaction or no longer find pleasure in a particular action, they will increase the intensity of their.



3. The different types of jealousy and why it happens.

Before we can find ways to deal with jealous people, we have to understand what we are actually dealing with.

·       Material jealousy.


Material jealousy arises when children discover that not everyone has the same living standard or quality of life as theirs and therefore desire what others have. Some children are blessed with being born into really wealthy families. Some are upper-middle class or lower middle class. Then at the other end of the spectrum, some are really poor. Jealousy can arise in all of these classes. Living in a society that is very materialistic and consumerist driven doesn’t help young children’s worldviews. The children that are extremely rich compare themselves with other wealthy children. Just when you think you have it all something new is released on the market and if you don’t have it first you are the lesser for it. The middle classes look up to the higher class’s standard of living. They can be extremely competitive among themselves.
For instance when their parents got a salary raise and bought them expensive new toys and clothes, they are eager to show it off. Isn’t it logical for a poor child, that has very little or almost nothing, to desire that which other people have?

It is easy to become desirous of other people’s possessions if that is your main focus in life. There is nothing wrong with wanting to improve your standard of living by working hard though. Unfortunately when greed and jealousy is involved, it can become a very dangerous game to play. When chasing riches, you can end up being so poor – with money being the only thing you actually have. Never resolve to cheating and stealing from others to get what you want.

·       Academic jealousy.

Academic achievements, general knowledge and overall intelligence can be prominent factors for jealousy in school children. After all, learning and writing exams about the work are predominantly what school is about. It is natural that not all children will develop equally fast or be equally smart. Children’s marks will vary according to each subject. Though, there are some children that constantly find themselves at the top 5 of their class for each subject.

If you are someone that performs well in schoolwork it is wonderful! Unfortunately not all of your peers may be enthusiastic about you doing better than them. A number of things can go wrong. They may start calling you hurtful names. They may steal your books and homework assignments. They may try to sabotage your marks by accusing you falsely of cheating.

·       Talent or skills-related jealousy.

Along with growing up comes the wonderful opportunity for children to discover their abilities and natural talents. They develop these skills by working hard at it and pushing themselves to see how far their limits go. Naturally, when you are exceptionally gifted with a particular skill, some children may get jealous if they cannot do it as well as you, or if they fail completely at it. This often happens if they see you get recognition from others for your talent and don’t get credit for their own traits and abilities.

·       Social jealousy.

Everyone has an inherent need to be liked and loved. It is part of what makes us human. From a biological perspective, infants crave attention from their parents because it is paramount to their survival – for feeding and protection. As they grow a little older they learn skills such as talking and playing, which means that they’ll begin to value relationships other than with their mom and dad. When they expand their social circles, they’ll also discover that not all children are exactly like them. They will like or dislike other children based on their experience with them. They’ll also realise that not everyone likes them equally. Since all of these social constructs are fairly new to children, it may lead to some social drama when they are rejected by other friends. It doesn’t necessarily get any better as they grow older. Teenagers feel just as upset when they aren’t invited to a friend’s party. Also when another person comes in the way of an existing friendship. Not to mention social jealousy due to popularity!

When you are liked by many and have a number of true fiends, other people that are less fortunate to have a social status like you may get jealous of you. Your relationship with others can cause them distress, because they feel less loved and cast out. They believe that you are taking away their possible friends. It is a very difficult situation to be in, because we all know that school children can be very unpredictable. Who know to what extent jealous children will go? One day they’ll adore you, the next day a gossip story about you can spread like wildfire. The fabrications will just become more sensational after every period. You can lose all of your friends like this.

·       Sibling jealousy.

Jealousy between siblings are quite common. The elder can easily feel like the younger has more privileges than they had at the same age, while the younger can feel like the elder are favoured because the get to experience things first. Perhaps they are very similar and thus very competitive. The one will always try to perform better than the other. It gets really complex when one is arguably smarter, more handsome or more popular than the other. When parents, teachers, friends and other peers compare siblings, it doesn’t help. It only furthers the distance between the two.

Your sibling can become very antagonistic and resentful towards you if they feel like others always view you as the more important. If the problem is not addressed, resentment may last for years – long after childhood.



4. The effect and dangers that jealous people have on you.

You can probably withstand one or two unfounded remarks about your appearance, character and achievements. For instance being called a “stupid jock” when you are the school’s star athlete, will likely not upset you that much at first, especially coming from other non-sporty people. However, it will begin to bother you if such name-calling continues and gets more intense. When false rumours are being spread, such as you use steroids to perform better, it can negatively influence your performance in that activity. It is especially worse coming from other athletes that train with you every day. It can even cause you to back away completely. Depending on whether their jealousy for you grows into hatred, they might even “force” you to back away by attacking you verbally and physically. In such cases it can be a very traumatic experience and cause many psychological problems.

Here are some of the effects and dangers of being targeted by people who are jealous of you:


·       Having a lowered self-esteem.

Your self-esteem can take a knock when you are constantly criticised and attacked by jealous people. They will do anything to bring you down. Even if you are genuinely excellent at what you do and the accusations against you aren’t true, you may begin to doubt yourself, your abilities and self-worth. Read our blog articles ‘How to develop a healthy sense of self-esteem’ and ‘5 Tips to build your confidence in and out of the classroom’ for a boost in your self-esteem and confidence.

·       Feeling helpless and inadequate.

You can start to think that it doesn’t matter how well you perform, you will never be good enough or never impressive enough for other people to recognise and acknowledge your achievements. You may feel that there is nothing you can do and no one to turn to for help, as no one will understand.

·       Becoming aggressive towards peers that bully you.

It isn’t easy when people are jealous of you. They won’t easily admit to it, but it shows in their actions. Constantly teasing you, calling you names and even bullying you. When you feel that everyone judges you and are against you, your overall demeanour can change from being usually calm to constantly being agitated and angry. When you walk long enough with such negative emotions, it can change you into becoming very hot-tempered and aggressive. You’ll easily snap at the smallest negative remark or form of criticism – from everyone, even those who loves you and mean well.

·       Bullying and verbally or physically attacking peers in return.

When you are in a situation in which you feel threatened and/or being attacked, there are mainly two ways to deal with it – fight or flight. The former, fight, is a particularly common reaction if things get physical. And by all means, you have the right to protect yourself if you are in danger. Unfortunately, retaliation leads to more violence and the issue never gets resolved if there isn’t an intervention. It may also happen that you begin to attack first, before the other person gets an opportunity to attack you! Later you start attacking everyone that just looks in your direction, despite not ever attacking you before. If this cycle continues, your role changes from victim to being the bully yourself.

·       Becoming isolated.

In hopes of avoiding negative criticism from peers you literally avoid them. You don’t just avoid those who are jealous and mean, but you won’t talk to your friends, siblings, parents or teachers. No one. You believe if you isolate yourself, you don’t give anyone the chance to say anything negative about you, hence you cannot get hurt.

·       Having a warped view of your friends and peers.

You’ll begin to doubt the relationships you have in your life. Are the people really there because they like you for who you are, or are they just your friend for their own personal gains? You wonder whether they are also jealous of you. Do they say negative things behind your back? How long before they betray you?

·       Becoming jealous of others who perform well and don’t get ostracised.

Bullies target certain isolated individuals when they are alone. They don’t bully members of other groups simultaneously. Bullies may be loners, but they are very often part of a group or multiple groups. Due to the influence of one or two particular individuals within that group, they persuade the rest of the group members to act the same way towards their targets.

If you are the target, you will become aware of the fact that you are singled out. It doesn’t happen to everyone. You feel very alone in this situation. You stand the chance of resenting other people who aren’t targeted – especially if they have certain traits, interests and status as you. What makes them so special to be exempted from going through the same hardships as you? You can even become jealous of them. How do they do it while making it seem like it doesn’t require effort at all?

·       Experiencing mental breakdowns and feeling depressed.

When you are singled out by people that are jealous of you and they continuously make an effort to make your life miserable, in order to break you down, you can only withstand it for so long. When you are alone, don’t have many true friends (or none at all) and can’t get help from other peers, parents or teachers, you are placed in a very dangerous position concerning your mental health. You can get a mental breakdown and become depressed. This is no small matter. Read our article ‘Spot signs of distress in teens and how to ensure their psychological well being’ on how and where to find help if you suffer from stress, anxiety and depression.

·       Giving up on your academics and pastime activities – and ultimately on living your life.

If you experienced a mental breakdown and are feeling depressed about your circumstances, you’ll be exhausted and mentally drained. You won’t have the same drive you once had to achieve your goals and dreams. Participation in sports and cultural activities will be something of the past. Your mind won’t be clear to focus on academics either. Read our article titled ‘What should a healthy and balanced lifestyle entail?’ to remind yourself to not give up on your academics and other activities that you love just because of what other people say about it. It is important for you to live a diverse, healthy life.



5. Do some introspection.

Introspection means “to look inside”. Introspection involves thinking about your own actions, reflecting on it and analysing your emotions about it. Think about yourself and how you came to be in this situation. When did it start and what could have possibly contributed to it? Did your attitude at some point give them the impression that you think you are better than them and you look down upon them? Be honest, if you did or continue to behave this way you are wrong and have work on it.

Even if you outperform your peers, never think you are “invincible”. Therefore, you can’t just do and say what you want. If you do, you will only give them a reason to dislike you and thus say negative things about you. Remember, there will always be someone better at a particular activity than you. Think about it. If you come second to them, which may feel like losing, how would you want to be treated by them? Your peers have their own talents and interests in which they are more likely to succeed. Just because you don’t like doing it doesn’t make it any less important. Praise them for it.

Be grounded and thankful for the opportunities you were given in life. Yes, you worked incredibly hard, but you aren’t guaranteed success in the future. Sometimes life just doesn’t work out the way you want it to. Should you accidentally break a leg you won’t run the race. Should you get a cold before a singing recital, you won’t even get a note out. If you didn’t sleep the night before your final exam you won’t be able to think straight when you have to answer the questions. Even if you have worked so hard before, the circumstances just worked out this way and unfortunately you failed. You will be at your lowest, because you know you can do better, though not everyone knows that... Therefore you’ll want to have friends and a support group. You will be grateful that you were respectful and supportive towards them. When they go through a rough time don’t abandon them or make them feel worse than they already do. You never know when you will need their support when you go through something similar.

Your introspective answer also doesn’t always have to conclude with it being your fault. Sometimes these things happen and it is beyond your control. None the less, it is good to think about it from multiple angles.

6. Reflect on what activities your jealous peers do (or don’t do).
Ask yourself what activities your jealous peers take part in. Compare it to your own and weigh it up. If they don’t do any extracurricular activities that are similar to yours (or don’t do anything) their jealousy cannot be directed towards you for being better at it than them, because they didn’t allow themselves the opportunity to compete against you. Their reason for jealousy towards you may be related to something other than your talents and skills, perhaps it is your financial position or perhaps their negative reactions are due to something else.

If they actually do take part in extracurricular activities or take their school work seriously, determine whether they only do one other activity or multiple. If they do many, they won’t be equally good in all of them. Perhaps you focus only on one and spend more time practicing those skills. This way you could beat them or took their place in the team. Ask yourself how much time and effort do they actually put into it. If they only focus on one activity and you beat them at it or cost them their position in the team, they are likely to be more upset, because that activity is their whole world. But, maybe you are just a little bit better at it and they haven’t learned how to deal with disappointment and control their emotions. It is not your fault for competing and doing your best.

Is your activity something that can be considered as desirous in itself, such as equestrian or fencing, because it requires a bit more money to do it and/or aren’t easily accessible? If jealous individuals actually perform excellent, but are boastful, proud and incredibly threatened by anyone that can possibly take their title away, they are the ones with a big psychological problem.

 7. Talk with the particularly jealous individual(s) to resolve conflict.

One of the ways to address the issues related to a jealous person is to confront them directly. You will have to handle the situation very delicately as they will likely not expect it and the situation can easily go very wrong.

Invite them to speak with you at a particular time and place. Decide on a good location during the day time. Don’t address them in a group situation where their friends will become part of the conversation. Ask them to step away to have a private conversation, even though your friends and theirs can be close by. Don’t choose a place that is isolated and out of reach of other people, should you require immediate help should they start attacking you verbally or physically.

Prepare beforehand for the conversation. Make a few mental notes of what you would like to address. Be firm but polite about the situation and never resolve to calling them names or attacking them. You want to resolve the issue, not fuel the fire.

When you mention the fact that they are jealous they may initially deny it. They will be upset that you picked up on the fact that they are jealous and have the guts to talk to them about it. However, address specific events and occurrences to back up your claims. Tell them how it makes you feel.

You can lighten the mood by explaining to them that everyone has their own unique talents. Even if you are in competition with each other about something, there are things they can do that you cannot. You should mention that it would be better to be friends, because you have similar interests. Name the qualities they have that you admire. It isn’t necessary to compare each other or start a rivalry when competing against each other. Let them know it wasn’t a personal attack on them for example when you took their place in the team or won the competition. You just worked hard and did your best. You would be happy for them if they won, because ultimately you want the best person to win. If you are willing to build a friendship with them suggest that you start training together or offer to help them out with a training plan and a few tips.

Ask them to take your feelings into consideration in the future. Even if you walk away and don’t speak to each other ever again, you can still treat each other with mutual respect.


8. Get others involved or seek professional help when things get out of hand.

After you have spoken to the individuals that cause you distress and they haven’t showed improvement in their behaviour, you should see guidance from your parents, teachers and the school psychologist. Your parents and/or school can contact their parents to make them aware of the situation. Their parents can speak with them and discipline them. Remember that in some cases, “outing them” can cause them to act even more antagonistically towards you.

If the situation gets to a stage where the harassment and bullying has become abusive and violent, you should seek guidance from professionals, such as lawyers, that can help you to resolve to problem legally.


9. Focus on yourself and your skills. You can’t please everyone.

Some people have a jealous nature. They are dissatisfied with themselves and have deeper underlying personal issues to deal with. You cannot help them with that and if they aren’t willing to accept their flaws and work on it, they most likely won’t change. You should focus on yourself, despite the negativity around you. You don’t have to be afraid to break away from certain friendships. You also don’t have to fit in with the rest. Remember: “The one who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. Those who walk alone are likely to find themselves in places no one has ever been before.” ~ Anonymous.

·       Focus on the positive.

Keep your focus on the friends and family that uplift you and support your goals and dreams. Don’t quit the activities that you love doing just because other people are jealous of your accomplishments. That is all they want – to bring you down. Perfect your skills and prove all of your critics wrong.

·       Refrain from negativity.

When focusing on the negative, you will become negative and it may impact your performance and happiness.

·       Express gratitude.

Be thankful for all of the opportunities that you were given. Compete and give your best in everything you do. Never hold back and apologise for who you are.
  

 10. Inspire others to reach for their goals in life.

The painter, artist and spiritual teacher, Satsuki Shibuya, said: “By doing what you love you inspire and awaken the hearts of others.” You should always give your best no matter what. When you give your best you will encourage and inspire others to also follow their dreams. The amount of people that you will inspire will be far greater than the amount of people that are bitter, resentful and jealous of your achievements.