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Home page: http://www.signewhitson.com
Posts by signewhitson
Bullying among school-aged children is a pervasive problem in the United States. If there was a magic wand, one-size-fits-all solution to the problem, it would have been suggested and implemented long ago. You wouldn’t be thinking about it and I wouldn’t be writing about it. Bringing an end to bullying involves comprehensive school culture shifts as well as convincing young people (and the adults in their lives!) to use social power fairly and justly, at all times. Changing human dynamics, as we all know, is neither easy nor swift.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is that time-consuming, complicated solutions are trumped each and every day by the small, powerful acts that trustworthy adults can use to signal to individual kids that their dignity is paramount and that their safety will be prioritized.
At the risk of oversimplifying a very complex issue among young people, but at the hope of creating a go-to roadmap for educators, counselors, youth workers, and parents, this article I just posted on PsychologyToday offers 6 simple strategies for upgrading our approach to bullying in schools. Please check it out and share with professionals and parents who are looking for guidance in this area.
All week long, I have been reading and re-reading a poem on a card on my desk. You may have heard it:
A wise old owl sat in an oak.
The more he saw, the less he spoke.
The less her spoke, the more he heard.
Why aren’t we like that wise old bird?
Then, I found this on Facebook. It. Is. Brilliant.
My very favorite lines: “And then I listen. And then I change.”
Please check out the full cartoon at http://theoatmeal.com/comics/believe
Ok, friends, so, go easy on me! This is my first YouTube video. I can comfortably stand in front of a group of 1,000 people and talk about how to help young people understand and manage bullying…but recording myself on video is a WHOLE. DIFFERENT. STORY. Like, terrifying!
Here’s the thing; last Spring, I made myself a goal of posting some videos of my 8 Keys to End Bullying training excerpts. I wrote that goal down and now, true to my Type-A-personality form, I have to follow through. Here’s my first attempt! Let me know what you think (but only the good things of course because cyberbullying a Bullying Prevention speaker would be totally not cool.)
And if you want to hear more of what I have to say or have me say it LIVE and in person (so much preferred!), check out my Workshops & Speaking page or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here it is: How to Listen so that Kids Will Talk About Bullying, featuring 5 steps for helping your young person feel safe enough and supported to come to you when he/she is facing peer conflict and/or bullying.
Thanks for watching!
There is nothing that thrills an author more than knowing that their ideas and words are helpful to others. When you find out that those “others” include amazing 10-12 year olds from halfway around the globe, it’s even more of an honor!
What fun to hear from Karla Sanders, Co-Founder and Director of New Zealand’s Anti-Bullying charity organization, Sticks ‘n Stones that a group of her student ambassadors were inspired by the “Are you a Duck or a Sponge” activity from my 8 Keys to End Bullying Activity Book and expanded on the lesson in order to create these AMAZING posters.
Thank you, ambassadors, for all of the great thought, creativity, and artistry that went into this project! Please keep sharing your work and keep up your efforts to promote respect, acceptance and diversity.
Do you know someone who is overtly cooperative but covertly defiant? Do you live or work with a person who chronically procrastinates, carries out tasks with intentional inefficiency, or acts as if he or she is the victim of your impossibly high standards? If you know this feeling of being on an emotional roller coaster, chances are good that you are dealing with a passive-aggressive person.
Passive aggression is a deliberate and masked way of expressing covert feelings of anger (Long, Long & Whitson, 2016). It involves a variety of behaviors designed to get back at another person without the other recognizing the underlying anger. In the long run, passive-aggressive behavior can be even more destructive to relationships than aggression. Over time, relationships with a person who is passive-aggressive will become confusing, discouraging, and dysfunctional.
Below, I share a real-life passive-aggressive encounter between a husband and wife, and explain how they could confront and change this destructive pattern of interaction using the process of “benign confrontation.”
For many, confrontation is a scary prospect: Whether out of fear of receiving a person’s anger or out of discomfort with exposing someone’s emotions, some people spend a lifetime hiding from face-to-face, direct communication about others’ behavior. Passive-aggressive individuals know this. They bank on it. In fact, they often select their adversaries based on who will be least likely to attempt to unmask the anger that they so desperately want to keep hidden.
The bad news for those who shy away from confrontation is that without directly addressing passive-aggressive behavior, the pattern will play out against them again and again. The good news is that benign confrontation is nothing to be afraid of. It is not an in-your-face, anger-inspiring, make-them-admit-what-they-did kind of authoritarian tactic. Rather, it is a quiet and reﬂective verbal intervention skill in which an adult gently but openly shares his or her thoughts about a person’s behavior and unexpressed anger. It is based on the decision not to silently accept a person’s manipulative and controlling behavior any longer.
See how the six-step process of benign confrontation plays out in this husband-wife dynamic:
Richard liked to relax at night when he got home from work. He loved his family, but when it came to the evening hours, he wanted time to himself. And for the month of January, he had had it this way. In helping their 2-year-old daughter, Hayley, adjust to a “big-girl bed,” his wife, Kelly, had taken full responsibility for the bedtime routine. By February, Hayley was able to settle down within 15 minutes and stay in her bed to fall asleep. One night, Kelly asked Richard if he could put Hayley to bed. Richard agreed with the request and went upstairs with Hayley.
From downstairs, Kelly could hear squeals of laughter. She thought to herself, “How nice that they are getting some playtime together.” After 20 minutes passed by, she heard the loud slam of a closet door, and wondered if Hayley needed a new diaper or change of pajamas. When 30 minutes had gone by and loud music started to play from Hayley’s room, Kelly could feel her anger rising. Forty-ﬁve minutes after she asked Richard and Hayley to go upstairs for bedtime, Kelly went up to the room and opened the door. Hayley was out of her ﬂeece pajamas and in a bathing suit, sun hat, Barbie sunglasses, and a pair of brand new, too-big, hot pink water shoes.
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Hayley ran to her mother with a huge, wide-awake smile: “Bedtime so fun!”
Kelly glared at Richard and exited the room quickly. When he returned downstairs another 35 minutes later and faced Kelly’s angry barrage of questions about what he was thinking and why he would defy the soothing bedtime routine she had worked so hard to create, Richard feigned innocence: “What? We were just having some fun!”
The situation was clear; Richard didn’t want to bother with bedtime routines. Rather than tell Kelly this, and risk an argument over sharing childcare responsibilities, he chose a passive-aggressive response to the situation. The cunning of his personal choice was unmistakable: If Kelly had argued with his stated intention of having fun with his daughter, she would surely have appeared an uptight, no-fun mother—and an overly controlling wife. Richard’s strategy netted a significant short-term win for both his daughter and him: Hayley thoroughly enjoyed bedtime that night and thought her Daddy was the coolest in the world—and Richard would not be called upon to help with this evening responsibility for months to come. Winning a battle, however, sometimes results in losing the war. The long-term impact of chronic passive-aggressive behavior on Richard’s marriage was already beginning to take its toll.
Not wanting to continue harboring feelings of chronic irritation toward her husband, but also unwilling to carry all of the childcare responsibilities on her own, Kelly can use benign confrontation to communicate with Richard about the incident.
1. Know it when you see it.
Once Kelly is aware of typical patterns of passive-aggressive behavior, she can recognize that her husband is expressing unspoken reluctance to give up his evening free time through the intentional undoing of an established bedtime routine. Rather than responding with anger or having a bedtime tantrum worthy of their two-year old, recognizing Richard’s behavior for what it is will help Kelly keep her cool.
2. Decline the Invitation to argue.
While Kelly waits downstairs for Richard to put Hayley to bed, she should manage her rising anger through self-talk strategies: “Richard didn’t want to put Hayley to bed tonight. Rather than telling me in words, he is showing me through this passive-aggressive behavior. I will not allow myself to get caught up in a no-win argument.”
Read the rest of the article on PsychologyToday, or use the link below:
As an author and educator on Bullying Prevention, one of the strategies I talk about most to professionals, parents, and kids is the powerful impact of cultivating cultures of kindness in classrooms and schools. At my school, here’s one of the everyday ways we get students involved in lifting each other up.
One of my third grade students just handed me this stone. He told me that he saw it at an Arts Festival and thought of me. Can’t think of a gift I’d treasure more!
I’ve had a number of parents seek me out in the last week, with similar accounts of incidents at different schools of their reports about bullying being downplayed, minimized, and swept under the rug. This post offers insight and understanding for what you can do if your reports of bullying are downplayed by others.
Are you at the Psychotherapy Networker Symposium this weekend? If so, stop by booth #602! I’ll be there signing books on Saturday afternoon after my workshop. You’ll also have the chance to meet Lynn Lyons, Psychotherapist, Anxiety and Children, Courtney Armstrong Counseling, Leslie Korn, and Halko Weiss. #PNSYMP2017
More than 80% of classroom problems are caused by 10% of students who challenge and undermine teacher authority. These students are skilled in frustrating adults and pushing the emotional buttons of even the most competent teachers.
Most teachers are irritated by the behavior of select, challenging students. This is to be expected. Few teachers are trained to understand and acknowledge these normal counter-aggressive feelings. Problems develop when competent teachers stay angry at a student. When a conflict develops, teachers are less likely to perceive accurately, think clearly, and reason coherently. Though competent teachers rarely initiate conflicts with students, they often keep them alive though their unintended, counter-productive reactions.
Turning Down the Heat documents four of the most common reasons that teachers become counter-aggressive with select students. This unique training programs also offers specific skills to manage conflict in the classroom.
Turning Down the Heat is a unique opportunity and the missing piece of most professional training programs. This course is about you and not your students. It leads to powerful insights which will change the way you think and behave when you are angry.
For more details or to find a training in your area, click here or email email@example.com