Posts tagged bullying

How to Stand Up to Gossip and Cruelty

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Here’s a great 2-part story, shared with permission by a friend, about her young daughter learning to use her voice to stand up to gossip and cruelty:

So, this is a story that I hope brings a chuckle to you. My youngest daughter, L, deals with and comes home with a lot of girl drama in her class and yesterday began relaying the latest. As she started, I said I didn’t want to hear anything about these girls because it’s a waste of our energy to keep spending time on their issues. While she’s never their target, they triangulate and manipulate for their own purposes and put kids like her in uncomfortable situations. She quickly stopped me, “No, mom, you need to hear how I stood up for myself. Today, _____ started saying something nasty about ____ and I said, ‘stop right there—I am NOT a part of this situation’ and _____ shrugged her shoulders and walked away”.

With that one sentence she stopped hurtful, negative energy in its tracks and sent a very clear message to a master drama queen. And she felt empowered. We applauded her and she ran out of the room with my phone. She returned with the Wonder Woman theme song blaring and dancing, showcasing her strengths as a young girl facing down mean girls and their manipulations. It’s a big thing when a child learns the power of her words, that they alone are weapons against unkindness. Proud mama moment. May we all raise wonder women.

Part 2, 4-days later:
So the girl L stopped in her tracks last week used her friendship as a weapon the next day and made L cry. I’ve been giving her scripts to say all year because of the manipulative and triangulative behavior of this girl and another. So, today, the girl said something to L, hoping to get a reaction out of her.  Eventually, L said to her, “I like friends who are respectful and show [school] pride” and the girl reacted negatively, saying “what, I’m not being respectful to you?” L responded, “well, you aren’t being very kind” to which the girl said, “well, I guess you’re not my friend anymore.”   L shrugged her shoulders and said, “OK, I’m cool with that” ………
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This is huge because L likes to be liked by everyone and it’s taken her months to be able to stand up and diffuse this girl’s intentions. I’m so very proud of her for handling it with words and am trying to show her just how effective they can be. I wanted to share in case you can use it somewhere. Each time she stands up for herself, she gets a little stronger. 
My two cents:
I happen to love every ounce of this story, but my favorite part comes at the end when my friend noted: Each time she stands up for herself, she gets a little stronger.   It is so true that each time we practice a skill, we become a little stronger and a little better at using it.  Please remind your kiddos of this–especially if they try out a new skill or strategy and it doesn’t pan out perfectly the first time.  Don’t allow them to become discouraged!  Remind them that standing up for themselves and others in respectful, effective ways is like building muscle–they may not become strong overnight, but every bit of practice in speaking up makes kids braver, stronger, and more powerful.

School-Based Bullying Prevention Programs

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What a wonderful day I spent at Immaculate Conception Cathedral School in Lake Charles, LA. yesterday! Here’s a few shots from our 5th/6th grade workshop, where the kids and I looked at key differences between rude, mean, and bullying behavior, then brainstormed helpful ways to respond to each.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks also to the dedicated faculty and wonderful parents with whom I also got to share practical strategies for bringing an end to bullying.

To book your school-based event, click here.  Now booking for Spring and Summer 2018.

5 Key Skills for an Effective School-Based Bullying Prevention Program

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Most schools have policies that guide their practices around bullying.  While these policies are vital to have in place, a truth that most professionals, parents, and kids can verify is that policies don’t change people; people change people. 

Young people who struggle with social interactions don’t develop new skills because a policy told them to and kids who like to dominate and control others don’t give up these behaviors because they read a rule on a poster.

Check out my recent post on Psychology Today to learn what I consider the five essential social emotional skills that must be part of any school’s comprehensive bullying prevention program.

For more information and workshop inquiries, please email me at signe@signewhitson.com

8 Things Kids Can Say & Do to Stop Bullying

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My students tell me that one of the most frequently applied skills I teach them is the use of Bully Bans. Bully bans are short, to-the-point statements meant to interrupt an incident of bullying in its tracks without escalating the conflict.  These practiced responses take into account that during stressful moments, kids’ brains rarely come up with “helpful” things to say. Rather, the heat-of-the-moment usually sparks emotionally-charged, conflict-fueling words and actions. Bully bans help turn this around. Find out more from my recent Psychology Today post, here:

 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/passive-aggressive-diaries/201801/8-things-kids-can-say-and-do-stop-bullying

 

Specific lesson plans for teaching Bully Bans to kids are featured in Friendship & Other Weapons: Group Activities to Teach Young Girls to Cope with Bullying.

 

What is Your ‘1 Thing’ to Stop Bullying?

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I just finished a fantastic run of Conference presentations and school visits, complete with 16 presentations to over 1,000 professionals, students, and parents. In each presentation, I talked about the power of 1 genuine compliment, 1 warm smile, 1 reassuring hug, 1 kind text, 1 choice to eat lunch with a person who would otherwise eat alone…and so many other simple “1 Things” that kids can do to reach out, show kindness, and make an important different to someone who is on the receiving end of cruelty or bullying. This Psychology Today post by Pamela Paresky highlights the power of the peer group and the positive ways that social capital can be spent on helping others:

#beknownforbeingkind

 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/happiness-and-the-pursuit-leadership/201711/meet-the-teen-who-discovered-the-secret-social

 

8 Keys to End Bullying Now Available in Spanish!

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8 Keys to End Bullying: Strategies for Parents & Schools is now available in Spanish! I have a small number of review copies available if you live or work in a community or school that would benefit from this resource. Leave me a comment below, if interested in receiving a translated copy!

 

Back to School Prep for Coping with Bullying

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Looking for ideas to help prepare your child, tween, or teen to successfully navigate challenging peer dynamics, conflict, and bullying? Check out what readers–including this School Psychologist and Mom of 3–are saying about the 8 Keys to End Bullying Activity Book:

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Resource
By: Amazon Customeron August 18, 2017
Format: Paperback
I LOVE this book! As a school psychologist and mother of 3, ages 11-16, this is an incredible resource. The book is divided into 8 “Keys” in order to learn what bullying behavior looks like, how to deal with it, and how to be an advocate to end it. There are realistic examples with opportunities for kids to process how they would handle each situation, in addition to answer keys and clear cut phrases/actions that kids could use if put into similar situations. I particularly loved that the author included a chapter on how our brains work in stress situations, using simple enough language for young ones to understand the difference between the limbic system (which controls our emotional response) and pre-frontal cortex (our thinking brain). I highly recommend this book to educators and parents of kids and tweens in order to help their children learn healthy ways to navigate their social worlds.

 

Order your copy here: https://www.amazon.com/Keys-Bullying-Activity-Book-Tweens/dp/0393711803/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1503153527&sr=8-2&keywords=8+keys+to+end+bullying

 

6 Simple Strategies to Stop Bullying

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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.

Click here to read and share the full article.

 

How to Listen so that Kids Will Talk About Bullying

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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 signe@signewhitson.com

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!

 

New Zealand Youth Create Anti-Bullying Campaigns Using 8 Keys to End Bullying!

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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.

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