Tiffany believed in being natural. Unfortunately, the girls in her class didn't like her natural smell. They made snide comments behind her back and she often felt embarrassed. Eventually a kindly teacher took her aside and suggested that she wear a natural deodorant. The gossip stopped.
Science teaches us that for every action there is a reaction. Feedback is the response you receive to something you say or do. Some experts believe that there is no such thing as failure, only feedback. In other words, feedback is a learning experience.
There are different types of feedback:
• Positive, such as a compliment or praise. It makes you feel good, if you absorb it.
• Negative or critical, which can hurt, whether true or false. You may feel attacked and threatened, but it's actually more like a life-saving injection. It falls into three categories:
° feedback which is totally untrue, e.g. 'You're ugly' (when you're attractive)
° feedback which is true but said unkindly, e.g. 'You're dumb at maths' (nobody's perfect), and
° feedback which is true but constructive, e.g. 'If you shut up in class, you'd hear the teacher telling us what to do' or 'When you stop interrupting, we'll listen to you' or 'Nobody likes a show-off (the speakers are being sensible).
Feedback can be constructive and empowering or negative and disempowering. Everyone needs feedback to improve - can you imagine a top sportsperson surviving without a coach? Feedback helps us become the best at whatever we want to do, including dealing with bullies. Constructive feedback actually helps you improve what you do: your peers will become friendlier and you will block bullies. You will change and move on. When you receive feedback, enjoy the positive, learn from the constructive comments and trash the useless, untrue, unhelpful stuff.
Jack had no friends. This made him more frustrated than he already was, so he'd fool around and make
Kids activity stupid comments in class. Everyone was sick of his attention-seeking behaviour: they retaliated by teasing him. His teacher gave him and his parents some constructive feedback. He then understood that if he wanted to make friends, he should be friendly, not stupid. The teasing stopped and his social life improved.
When someone smiles at or greets you, gives you a compliment, invites you to sit with them or join their game, contacts you at home or invites you to theirs, or does something which shows they value or respect you, then regard this gift as a positive self-esteem builder. You improve your self-esteem by requesting, observing and listening to feedback from lots of different people you respect-family and friends, teachers and peers; not just from your grandparents, who love you anyway - so that you get an accurate picture. Don't be shy about fishing for compliments! Then thank the person and save the feedback in your self-esteem bank. Write down gifts that you have received from your family, friends and others.
BULLIES CAN BE RIGHT!
Kids called Anna a 'baby', so she asked them what she could do to be more mature. They didn't know. When she went home, she asked her older sister, who also called her a 'baby'. Her sister gave her some great ideas that worked!
When a bully teases you, don't get upset. Check if the tease is true but unkind or just untrue (see Chapter 5). If the bully is correct, it's free feedback. Then consider your options to deal with it: do you change the problem or accept it? Then move on. If the bully is wrong, gain his respect by giving a neutral retort. When kids call Lizzie an 'idiot', she says, 'I know, but I'm good at eating chocolate'.
Don't be a belly-button watcher
Lots of people give you gifts, but often you don't hear, see or feel the gift. Maybe you are so busy being a belly-button watcher (see Chapter 5) that you have less energy to absorb positive feedback from others. Then you ignore gifts which could rebuild your self-esteem. Write down some gifts you received but forgot to save!
Who did you forget to thank for giving you a gift or a compliment in the past few days?
TEACHER FEEDBACK If teachers keep writing the same comments about you year after year, for example, 'Jenny does not participate enough in class' or 'Mark is very quiet' or 'Gina is not coping socially', this is constructive feedback. Or, they can give you or your parents feedback about your behaviours at school. This is valuable information because they won't say it unless it is something which needs to be improved.
Go shopping for constructive fudUck
Claire had very long hair and a low fringe. No-one could see her face. All the other girls wore headbands and called her 'shaggy dog'. The moment she wore a headband and had her fringe cut, the teasing stopped.
Find children who can give you useful feedback and ask them:
'Could I have behaved differently?'
'Why aren't you playing with me any more?'
Write down some negative, hurtful feedback that you trashed. Was it mean or constructive?
Write down negative feedback that you have learnt from:
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