Episode #92 Interview with Candice Dugger (Founder of Bullied, Broken, Redeemed)

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Candice is the founder of Bullied, Broken, Redeemed. She is a nationally recognized anti-bullying expert, author, speaker and trainer, specializing in equipping leaders, parents, and youth on all aspects of Gen Z Bullying. Under the leadership of Candice, the team at Bullied, Broken, Redeemed has built life-changing programs that use interactive activities and projects to motivate and empower effective anti-bullying warriors.

Candice has been featured on several networks nationally and internationally, including NBC, Christian Broadcast Network, Family Research Council, and is a recognized trainer for Fortune 100 companies. She is regularly featured as the keynote speaker for US and international conferences. Bullied, Broken, Redeemed is on a mission to impact one-million families in the area of bullying in 2021. Candice is also passionate about helping families transition from public school to homeschool. Her “Coming Home” series of talks and workshops are an essential guide for those trying to navigate this transition.

As a mother of two neurodiverse children, Candice has successfully made this transition while helping her children heal from trauma and both are now thriving at homeschooling. Her teen boys own their own businesses and are embracing all homeschooling has to offer. Candice’s philosophy of Mental Health before Math and Character before curriculum has helped thousands of families make this transition successfully.

Learn more at:  http://www.bulliedbrokenredeemed.com/

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bullying, parents, bullied, children, kids, people, dealing, abuse, important, happening, safe, conflict, conversation, gaming, son, school, online, candace, issue, apps

Hey everybody. Welcome back to another episode of the autism and action podcast today we have another very special guest for you guys. We've got Miss Candace Ducker. She is a nationally recognized anti bullying expert, Candace and her team organized full day and half day equipping events for parents and leaders. These life changing programs use interactive activities and projects to motivate your group to be effective anti bullying warriors. Candace is available for keynote addresses as well as individual consultations. And you can check her out online at bullied broken redeemed.com Welcome to the show pianists. Thank you so much for taking the time to be here today. Thank you

so much for having me my heart I mean, as a mama of a little one with autism this your you are really speaking my love language on your podcast. So thank you for touching the hearts of parents.

You are very welcome. Thank you for taking time to be here. I'm so excited to learn more about what it is that you are working on. You are all over the place doing all kinds of great things.

We're trying we're trying, you know to give your your listeners a little bit of background on me. I am a mom of two my youngest is on the spectrum. My oldest is graduating this year, we actually started this journey of dealing with bullying when my son was 12 actually used to be in the corporate world I run ran really large sales team multimillion $2 billion sales teams, and love what I did that I had a very serious health illness that put me on bedrest for quite a while. It was during that time that my life slowed down, it kind of reminds me about everybody's COVID experience, right is right now. Everybody things slowed down and stopped. And during that time of silence, I noticed how much my son was really hurting. He was had gone from happy and joyful to angry and withdrawn and in a horrible place. And he was dealing with some serious bullying. And when I went to the school to get him help, the a lot of retaliation, bullying happened, and he had attempted suicide actually almost lost him to suicide at that three attempts. And we ended up pulling him out to homeschool. And it was during that time of this transition that I saw how little help there really is for parents it was go to school, go to the administration go to the counselor, which we did, and it put our child in a more harm. There was no help for parents win in today's world, so much of the bullying is even happening in your home, right gaming and all these things. And I'm like, how do we? How do we have so little help? For parents like real help? Because you and I, you know, we thought was bullying? Maybe they had an assembly and put a poster on the wall that says zero tolerance. We weren't even equipped and trained how to identify a bully or handle it. It was go tell somebody there's a problem. So how do we as adults, connect and help our children? When we weren't really prepared ourselves? Most adults cannot most leaders cannot tell me the difference between bullying and conflict. Yet they think they can. But when they're put on the spot and said, Hey, tell me the difference between what is bullying and what is conflict? You can't do it. And so how do you know how to handle a problem, when you really don't know what the issue is because you should never use conflict resolution skills when you're dealing with a bully, because bullying is not about conflict. And so it becomes just a very starting there at a basic one on one. And then you add on gaming, bullying and cyber bullying and all of the issues that our young kids are dealing with, we have this man arrived suicide and our young kids, we have quite a storm that's been brewing in this area. So So my mission and was really to just come to the heart of families and say, Hey, how can we serve you? What do you need? How do we come alongside you before your family is in deep crisis like mine was? How do we create better leaders for the future? In a digital world? How do we create how do we help children not sit by and watch somebody being abused and define their voice? Right? Because when we watch somebody being abused over and over again and don't say anything that does something to our soul? How do we train things like or even help kids lesson being a target, head up, shoulders up, back up, walk with confidence, right, our nonverbal communication skills, and then when you add the element of our special needs children and our children with autism onto it, it's quite a complex issue because they are going to deal with it their entire everybody's going to deal with in their entire life in today's world. Bullying, it's not a school issue. It's a cultural issue. It's everywhere, right? We even get attacked online in our businesses or different places. And many people don't even know how to deal with that. So. So that's how I started this work because I was like, holy cow. There's really no help for

Yes, yes. What would your I guess Top Words of wisdom before parents, where should they start?

Well, first, I would back up where I started before and I'm going to explain to your audience, what is bullying? I think you need to know what it is I get a lot of calls of my kids being bullied. He's bullying, cheese bullying, that words thrown around, a lot of most people don't even know what it is. So I could read you the whole definition and bore you guys. It's a big old paragraph, and I'm a lady with a couple of degrees. And at the end of it, when I read it, I went. It didn't mean anything to me, which I think is part of the problem. So we train it like this. If you're dealing with bullying, it needs to have three components. We call it a RP. Is the behavior aggressive? Behavior repeated or a strong probability of a threat? And is there a power imbalance or a perceived power imbalance? You have those three things, you're dealing with bullying? Is that aggressive? Is it repeated? Is there a power imbalance? If it's not we may be dealing with conflict. So what do you have? Do you know if your kids dealing with bullying, if they're going to school each day and these issues are happening? It's important to talk about, I will tell you a third of the calls that I get are from teachers and coaches and other adults bullying children. It is not just child to child bullying. It is everywhere. And I don't mean just in the classrooms or on sports teams. It is in Vacation Bible studies, it is in our youth group camps. It is everywhere. Okay, so this is not limited to schools. But when parents can see that adults are bullying their children, and when your children speak up, you've got to listen. And so parents number one, as I just said, you know, make sure you know what is bullying? Is it aggressiveness or abuse or power imbalance. And then, knowing when your child comes to you to tell you something, I always tell parents this, I made the biggest mistakes. Oh my gosh, my heart still breaks. When my son came to tell me he was dealing with bullying. I want you guys to know 70% of kids never tell anyone. They never even speak up. Because there's so much shame. Fear. They don't know. There's so many reasons, right? When he came to me to tell me about his bullying, my response was not great. My first thing was wondering, what did he do to maybe start it right? I was looking at it as if it's conflict when he was being horribly bullied. And then when I went to the school to ask for help, he was really seriously harmed and retaliated and jumped to the point that he wouldn't speak up again, because they threatened to kill him. Right. So I want you to think about my son was actually stabbed to and we never knew until two years after he had been home, because he was scared to tell anybody of the abuse that he suffered. And guys, when we talk about bullying in today's world, only 20% is physical. We're not necessarily talking about the schoolyard playgrounds where I told you my son was assaulted. But we're talking about the schoolyard playground bullying, right 20% of it is that the rest of it is not. And we have sexual bullying. happening in our schools happen in our home happening in lots of places. We have kids who get bullied, who end up being very easily groomed into sex trafficking, because they're emotionally looking for somebody to connect to them. And it makes them vulnerable. For those relationships. We have relational bullying, there are all kinds of ways that that toxic, bullying can slip in. And so for parents, when your children come to tell you, if they even tell you number one, they are giving you a gift that may save their life. Because I can tell me, you probably are not going to get all that information up front, when they come to tell you something that's going on whether they've made a mistake online, or they're having issues with cyber bullying, or they're dealing with bullying in person or even a family member, right family members bullying, whatever they're dealing with. If, as a parent, if you can take a deep breath, and it's okay to be this tsunami inside. But take that deep breath and pause. Realize your children. They're reading all your body language, right? They're checking out your facial expressions, they're reading your nonverbal communications, they are soaking all that in to see how you're responding to them. And are you safe to continue to tell. But taking that deep pause and leaning in and asking, Wow, that must be really hard. Would you tell me more and then big Quiet. Put both ears on, it is not the time you need to solve it. You don't need to solve it

right there, you need to listen. And I think we have also become a society that really struggles to sit with people in pain, we want to slap this but bumper sticker on it or fix it or toxic positivity or, you know, everything happens for a reason, or everyone goes through it or everything will be fine with that person, when they're in pain, they need you to sit with them, so they can process his emotions. So we don't stuff them and move on. Right. And you can lead to that a lot in your in your work as to what that is that so many mistakes that I made a lot. And so now I honestly tell parents, if I could do it over again, I will apologize to the end of the earth for a not supporting my son in a way that he asked for. I didn't know better, when you know better, you do better.

Beautifully said when you know better you do better. I think that we all have to have a feeling surface so that healing can start to take place. And that initial point of contact when that voice is asking for help. You know, that is such an important pivotal moment.

And so parents, I want to make sure that I'm leaving, you're trying to prepare you with tools like real action tools, because I want you to be able to walk away and know sort of what to do. So we talked a little bit about what is bullying? Yes, and I want so many times leaders and even in schools. And I'm not It's not that I'm against restorative justice or different things. But it has to be done appropriately, in the right times, because bringing two people together, when one is a victim, not a good idea to talk it out. Just like in therapy, we would not bring, if there's a domestic violence issue, we wouldn't bring the woman and the husband to the kitchen table with a therapist in the kitchen where the abuse was happening. Yet we do that in schools. That's where the abuse is happening. Bullying is one of the largest forms of child abuse we don't talk about. There's so much behind it, but it's abuse. And so you're not going to be able to get the brain to relax enough to even process it, that person's in trauma that it happened in that space. So So for your kids, if you can give them the space to talk about it don't necessarily bring them together. Because the difference between conflict and bullying in conflict, you have two people who want to restore the relationship. conflict happens occasionally happen all the time. In conflict, people want a resolution. Now that you and I may disagree, right, we could have conflict, but we could talk it out and work on it. I wouldn't be continually calling you every day or badgering You are bullying you or going on your Facebook profile or I mean, right, that's, that's inappropriate. That would be me bullying you, we can have a conversation and work it out. So teaching your children appropriate conflict resolution is important. But when you're dealing with a bully, they don't want it to stop. They want to use their power over the person, they want to emotionally hurt them in conflict. Well, you may be emotionally hurt earlier, but it's really not going across severe PTSD for many people, which happens in bullying. I talked to so many adults, you can today remember distinctly the people who bullied them as a child, the smells, the characteristics, what they were wearing, all of those senses come flooding back. And that happens to our kids too. So if you have a child who's dealing with bullying, I highly, highly, highly recommend one of the very first things you do is put in a code word with your kid. And here's why that is right. And I'm sure you probably use them to the importance of a code word. Back when you and I were in school, we the code word was somebody has to tell you to them for you get in their car. In today's world, I think it's so important that we have code phrases with our kids, because they could be around the person abusing them and not be able to tell you that quickly. So my kids now even if we're here on a podcast, and I got either of my children's code words text to me, I'd be like, gotta go. They know that sort of their 911 that they're dealing with a serious issue online. They're having a mental health crisis, or they're not in a safe place. And they need somebody to step in without being able to use all those words. And so for some parents for some kids I've worked with, they say their code words might be as simple as can you bring me a new change of clothes? If they're at school, right? Yes. Or I forgot my sneakers for gym. Something that really communicates to you I have to get out of here. I'm not in a safe situation. Or if they're at a friend's house or a sleepover, right or online, and they need to get to you because a lot of us pay I think our kids are safe at home, they're in our house, they might be doing virtual school, your home can be a very dangerous place to predators or after your kids. Bullies are up. I mean, there's a lot of different things that happened even in our homes, we think our kids are safe. So that's why my kids as parents are working many times in their office in their home all day, if my children need access to me in a way that's extremely urgent, they know how to get to me. Right? It's like their 911, without having to use that. And I think the earlier you can implement that with a kid, they can set that foundation for also trust both ways when they abused that trust when they didn't really need you. And also when they desperately do you respond without judgment. I have an 18 year old now. And I have even had his friends have codewords for us that we have had to get in the middle of the night when there's a serious crisis. And I'm very grateful they have had access, because they don't have parents in their lives who are able to do that for them. Right. And so it has helped out tremendously in situations where kids have been in pretty great danger.

So creating a cohort is step one.

Conversation is step one, I should say that

I should say conversations, number one

talking to your kids, right about bullying, what is bullying? Are you experiencing it creating space that your children can come talk to you. And guys, this is a conversation that needs to happen really young. This is not a middle school issue. I am talking to mops groups now with two to three year olds, because that's where we're seeing bullying started. This is younger and younger. Right? Fourth grade is the new middle school is seriously no joke. I mean, it's moving younger and younger, we have nine year olds sending nudes. That's just the reality of where we are in today's culture. And so the younger you start these conversations, I think that's important. So number one, talking to your kids often about bullying, about online safety, about what your expectations are all of these things. One of the tools you can use to help your child is creating a code word. So if they ever feel they're in that place, as part of that conversation, they have a tool to reach out to you. I think that's

something I kind of add in there. I think it's important when you're having those conversations, to really, you know, ask your children, well, has there ever been an experience where you didn't feel safe? You know, the safety, emotion is an important emotion. It's not one to be overlooked.

So important, such a great feel safe?

Or, you know, when do you feel the safest? And have there been times that you haven't felt safe? You know, just to really initiate engage in that conversation and get their perspective?

Yes, because when our kids, a lot of families that I work with have actually had to leave the system they're in or transition and the very, very first steps we have three S's for, for our success. So creating safety structure and support to equal success, we have to put that safety piece in. Because if somebody doesn't feel safe and secure, that's our very first thing we need. Right? Right. And just because your child's home, they may not feel safe. There could be online, things you're not familiar with, right? And it's easy to just say well get off, but that's their whole world. Right? And so also when you rip that away from them, if they made a mistake, or they did something and you rip that away from them, are they going to come tell you again? Because Have you created a safe space for them? Or are you going to punish, so we have to really think about them.

And I think to a lot of parents are familiar but unfamiliar with how the gaming online world works, even though they get off of the game, they can still be connected to the chat. Right. And so that badgering or that bleed can still continue despite the fact they're off for the game. So correct

cranberry juice. So when we talk about gaming, bullying, number one, I want people to know the average age it starts is by nine. Right? Our largest number of gamers growing are two to five year olds. So freak everybody out. Right, so we want to talk about why I think bullying is moving. We're really seeing some shifts here. Yeah. So when we talk about gaming, bullying, that back chat room, those conversations, and even it doesn't have to be on an Xbox or things like an app, one of the apps that last summer was really big as among us for those of you big app. I started to see very quickly my kids who the kids are famous or worked with who've been bullied, were quickly being moved by predators into those quiet private rooms and conversations happening that you would not believe in apps that we think are very safe and I'm Not an anti gaming person, guys, I am of somebody who thinks we need to prepare our children, because they're going to deal with us at some point, we have to work with it right?

But know that,

that it is access in ways you may not think about. Just like many parents, I did a show last night on sex trafficking. I don't know how many parents realize or even know, I'll see if I can show you guys here real quick. Turn this sucker off. How many of you know that there are apps that look just like this, on your phone, on your kid's phone, that they put in a three digit code, and it takes them into a backdoor hole, that is completely untraceable. Alright. And if the parents come in the room, they just swipe down. And it looks like a computer, do you think they're on a calculator, yet they put in a code and it takes them through a backport hole that they can, that's how a lot of predators now are getting kids and also communications behind the scenes that people don't want parents to know. It's untraceable. It's like the old Snapchat of disappear. But in a vote type. way that looks innocent.

And I think with parents, you know, like us with special needs children, you know, it's important to acknowledge there are some social deficits that might prevent them from having that initial danger sense when someone's coming on. They're very vulnerable at times, or can be, you know, to interaction with strangers or other people, you know, making a new friend, we all want to encourage, you know, making new friends and doing something that's good. But at the same time, there may be some dangers if they're not educated on what to look for, what things that are appropriate versus inappropriate to do and making sure they have that open platform of communication with parents, so that if something comes up, they feel comfortable approaching and having that conversation.

Yeah. So when we were talking about that, you can actually look at volts bol TS that'll give you what those are. In apps, they can this one looks like a calculator with a little symbol next to it, you would never know is there anything different? Any other tips or tools that you want to share before we heard today? Yeah, so for our little guys and guys, I have on our website, we do a lot of classes, but I actually have just written a class that has parent and leader training in it. For our little guys, I just want to show you really quickly, especially our kids with special needs. It is very easy. Our bullies do not want a fight. They really don't. They want to find somebody weak, or they can pick on which is why our children with special needs or food allergies or anything that sets them apart, right learning differences are easier targets. The importance of teaching your children nonverbal communication in new situations is important because we use but we use our little loop the lion art, he's our lion, if his head is down, his shoulders are down and we teach children how that feels in the body, put our head down, put our shoulders down, walk into the classroom, right without that confidence. And then we also teach them head up and shoulders up and back up that confidence. Yeah, teaching your children nonverbal communication is incredibly important. Because the bullies, I can actually go in a room really quickly now and see who my kids are, who are going to be an easier target and probably who the bullies are, it's really a lot of dynamics to watch their, when they have that. And they can learn the power of No. And they can have a friend who may be able to self advocate or speak up for them. Quickly, if there's a bullying situation, and somebody is willing to step in, like our little buddy is being bullied, right? And somebody quickly steps in and says, Hey, we don't do that here or knock it off. 50% of the time, bullying will stop in six seconds. Because the PERT bully doesn't necessarily want to get challenged. Right? So I'm so having these conversations with our kids teaching and letting them see how that feels in the body. How do those things feel. And so we have, we have younger children's books to help with that and parent workbooks and older and older series. But just that one piece can really help your children too, which is a skill they need anyway. But it's something that this generation is losing quickly. And especially during the pandemic, kids going back into the class, like we're seeing a lot of more behavioral issues right now than I've ever seen before. Major behavioral issues, and this ability to communicate and have contact and have relationships. And so all of that starts with character development with our children. And I know you cover that all the time because I've listened to you.

I am so grateful for you being here today and sharing all of this with our listeners. Parents you go guys go check out the website, bullied broken redeem.com And thank you again for being here today. Candace. Thank

you so much.

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