Posts tagged stop bullying

The Most Important Thing About Bullying–in 7 Words or Less

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While I soak in as much Summer as I can before the 2016-17 school year begins, I am thinking about my own mantras484852_673637649349382_102559259_n of School Counseling—the most important things I can offer my students to make them each feel heard, understood, safe, and valued.  What follows are my Bullying Prevention mantras (along with their slightly longer explanations.)

In One Word:  EMPATHIZE

Bullying is a purposeful act of cruelty.  Kids who bully show a lack empathy for the feelings and experiences of their targets.  Parents and professionals play a key role in cultivating empathy in all kids, especially those who are most likely to get caught up in moments of social whack-a-mole, knocking others down just to pull themselves up the school social ladder.

In Two Words:  WORDS MATTER

Okay, I already previewed this one, didn’t I?  At my elementary school, many of the students call me Queen Signe.  Some of them do it because they like to be silly and others do it just for fun but most of the kiddos I work with use this term because our comprehensive, Every Action/Every Day Bullying Prevention strategy means that we are always talking about the fact that words matter.  The way we speak to each other, including the names we use and the words we choose, all have a huge impact on how we feel about ourselves and how we enjoy our time at school.

Important point: The same applies to how we communicate through technology. Teach kids that the words they text, tweet, send, and post should be used with the same amount of care as the words that they say to someone in person.

 

For the rest of my mantras, please check out my article on Psychology Today:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/passive-aggressive-diaries/201607/the-most-important-thing-about-bullying-prevention

Bystander Interventions: The Power of the Peer Group in Stopping Bullying

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Research suggests that peers are present during nine out of every 10 incidents of bullying but intervene on behalf of victims less than 20% of the time (Hawkins, Pepler & Craig, 2001). The same study documents that when peers do step in to stop bullying behaviors, however, the episode stops within 10 seconds, more than half of the time.  This holds true regardless of the specific words the bystander uses. In other words, it’s not how a young person intervenes so much as simply the fact that he does intervene, that brings about the desired change (Goldman, 2012).

Educating kids that their voice can make a difference is an empowering message with implications far beyond bullying prevention! What a gift for a young person to know that their words truly matter.

 

In 8 Keys to End Bullying: Strategies for Parents & Schools, I point out that in school settings, kids with high social status often make the best interveners in bullying situations because of their outsized influence on the peer group and their relative immunity from the backlash of vengeful aggressors.   Their expressed disapproval of an episode of unwanted aggression sends a strong and powerful message that bullying is not cool.  The news clip below is the perfect example of how a SIMPLE, SPONTANEOUS intervention by members of an 8th grade basketball team made a huge difference for a young person who was on the receiving end of cruel, public taunting…and how their spot-on words impacted their entire school community.

 

BE KNOWN FOR BEING KIND!

 

 

New Book Announcement: 8 Keys to End Bullying

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I’m super-excited to share with you the cover of my new book, due out in the Spring of 2014, via Norton Publishers. The best part (aside from hoping to help lots of teachers, counselors, and kids, of course) is no more waking up at 5am to sneak in some quiet writing hours! Cheers to sleeping in for the rest of the Summer!!

 

8 Keys_Whitson v5

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