In both my scheduled workshops and my casual conversations on the topic of bullying, professionals and parents often ask me, “Is bullying really worse today than it was when we were kids?”
My answer to that question is an emphatic, “Yes.”
The 24/7 availability of cell phones, instant messaging, e-mails and social networking sites have intensified the impact of bullying, giving young people private ways to humiliate each other under-the-radar of adults and public ways to spread rumors and gossip to large-scale audiences.
To read the rest of this story, please visit the HuffingtonPost or click the link below.
Amber had been giving her mother the silent treatment all week. She was angry about not being allowed to sleep over at a friend’s house. Late Thursday night, she left a note on her mother’s pillow, asking her mom to wash her uniform before Friday’s soccer game. When Amber returned home from school on Friday in a rush to pack her gear, she looked all over for her uniform. She finally found it in the washer-perfectly clean, as per her request — but still soaking wet! Amber was late for her game and forced to ride the bench.
When all was un-said and done, Amber’s mother felt defeated. Having one-upped her daughter in the conflict, it was clear to her that she had lost by winning. As parents, most of us have been in situations where traveling the low road is irresistible and we become temporarily reckless in our driving. But anytime we mirror a child’s poor behavior instead of modeling a healthier way to behave, our victories add up to long-term relationship damage and lasting hostilities.
So, what could Amber’s mother have done differently in this hostile un-confrontation? What can any parent do to avoid the agony of victory and the defeat of healthy communication? The following guidelines offer parents strategies for maintaining their calm in a passive-aggressive storm and responding in ways that lay the groundwork for less conflictual relationships with their children and adolescents.
To read more, please click the link below or visit the original post, on the Huffington Post Parents section.
Through the wonders of Facebook, a friend of a friend of a 4th grader shared this pearl of wisdom about conflict resolution. Only wish I had the pleasure of knowing this elementary school student personally!
In conflict with another person, if you come in fierce like a tiger, you’ll have to win. So only you will be happy.
If you come in like a bunny, scared, the other person will win, so only that person will be happy.
If you come in like a bird, with your wings and your heart open, both people in the conflict will win, and both will be free.
Will be sure to use this during How to Be Angry workshops with kids!
A youth worker from Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch in Texas recently wrote this about LSCI training:
“LSCI is a great tool to use to be able to gain insight into why a child acts the way he does. It allows me to get to the root of a problem and help him make a change instead of just putting a band-aid on the problem. It’s a great everyday tool for building relationships with kids.”
Thanks for the feedback and thanks to our great trainers at Cal Farley’s who help adults turn crises into learning opportunities for kids with self-defeating behaviors.
For LSCI training opportunities in your area or to check out our online training course, please visit the LSCI Training page on this site or visit www.lsci.org
When I co-wrote The Angry Smile, I did not intend it to be a How-To book. In fact, I know lots of ways to be assertive, direct, and emotionally honest with others. But let’s face it, sometimes a situation calls for a little passive aggressive behavior…
My 8-year old daughter has a frenemy. She has known this un-friend–and experienced the girl’s on-again, off-again spitefulness–since they were in pre-school together. The girl, in fact, is the subject of a previous article that I posted on Psychology Today back in 2010, entitled Sticks and Stones: A Little Girl’s First Experience with Bullying.
Things haven’t changed much with this girl over the last four years. At times she is delightful and I must credit her with having an uncanny knack for charming her peers and making them want to please her. Even in her mean girl moments, she is so subtle and innocent-seeming (her extra-small stature seems to play into this) that I understand fully how she gets her covertly cruel jabs in before her targets even realize that they have been mistreated.
Unlucky for her, I study girl bullying, so I’m on to it.
My daughter is too–sort of. On at least a dozen occasions this year, my third grader has come home from school with stories about how the frenemy mocked what she was wearing or teased her about something she had made in art. As a spirited young upstander, my daughter is even more impassioned when she describes how the frenemy relentlessly bullies a classmate with special needs–and covers it up with a sugarcoated “Just kidding!” if an adult should overhear.
Being the therapist that I am, I always try to turn these conversations into opportunities for empathy and teachable moments about coping with mean behavior, reaching out to the bullied, and seeking out kind friendships. So, yes, I am very conscientiously teaching my daughter all of the right things to do. And above-the-radar, I do my best to be a great role model of kindness and assertive behavior.
Anyone who never acts undignified should stop reading at this point. Seriously–if you are compelled to lecture for a bit of misbehavior, it’s time to click away. Believe me, I don’t need you to tell me that my actions in the following situation were wrong. I know it. I chose it. That’s right–like most passive aggressive people, I was aware of what I was doing and yes, I took a little pleasure in it. That’s why I am bothering to tell you; it’s part soul-cleansing confession, part funny-what-a-Mama-bear (or Papa bear)-will-do-to-avenge-her-young.
So, simply put, I took my daughter and her frenemy to see a movie yesterday. Before the film, I bought them each a box of candy–Skittles for my daughter and Sour Patch Kids for the un-friend. Both thanked me graciously. At the end of the movie, the frenemy approached me and said the roof of her mouth was “all scratched up” from the Sour Patch Kids.
Perhaps it’ll be harder for her to use her mouth to say mean things now.
What? At least I didn’t send her home with a box of super-sour Sweetarts to wash it all down.
Signe Whitson is the author of Friendship & Other Weapons: Group Activities to Help Young Girls Aged 5-11 to Cope with Bullying, in which she provides engaging activity and discussion ideas to help kids assertively (not passive aggressively!) respond to girl bullying. For more information, please visit www.signewhitson.com, Follow her on Twitter @SigneWhitson, or Like her on Facebook.
Check out this newly released video from Relate, the UK’s largest provider of relationship support for couples, families, and kids. The Relate Talk to Us Campaign is designed to encourage parents to listen well to their kids and to understand the sources of the anger that are driving childrens’ needs for professional help.
Relate recently commissioned two surveys–one of counselors and one of young people–to find out what is really bothering our kids. Click here to read what professionals and kids are saying about the stressors in their lives.
In Life Space Crisis Intervention (LSCI) training, professionals who work with challenging students learn specific skills for understanding the dynamics of conflict and de-escalating student crises. What sets LSCI training apart from other in-service programs is its focus on the adult’s role in conflict and the opportunity professionals have to turn a crisis situation into a learning opportunity.
This video, featuring real-life footage from a high school in Boston, is a great example of how adults can sometimes escalate conflicts with students. LSCI teaches specific skills that help professionals understand the dynamics of escalating power struggles with students and control their responses to students so that all-too-common situations like this can be prevented.
For more information on LSCI training, please visit the LSCI link on this site or the LSCI Institute’s home page at www.lsci.org.
Check out the January edition of the International Bully Prevention E-Zine. GREAT read for adults and kids alike. And I’m not just saying that because an article of mine is included.
I love, love, love these rules! If I had a “theme rule” for How to Be Angry, it would be Rule 9:
Teach your daughter that she has the right to get loud. Make sure she knows girls can get angry, they can have opinions and they can throw “lady like” behavior out the window if necessary.