Posts tagged bullying prevention

How to Deal with Mean Kids on the Playground


Every parent I know has experienced the anguish of seeing their child on the receiving end of hurtful comments or social rejection. This post by writer Ilana Donna Aranzie captures this universal parenting dilemma of what to do (read: should I do anything?) and how to best support their child.


Aranzie also links to one of my posts from Psychology Today about how parents can build competence in their kids and disempower young people who bully, which was a super nice thing for her to do 🙂


Aranzie’s post:

Practical Strategies to Keep Kids Safer Online



If you’ll be at the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) Conference in Boston this summer, I’ll be presenting on Practical Strategies to Keep Kids Safer Online. I hope you’ll join me–Monday, July 1!



Cultivating Kindness as a Bullying Prevention Strategy


This month, Character Lessons in my first grade classes have been focused on cultivating kindness in our community. We read the book Each Kindness and learned how small, daily acts of kindness can have a large ripple effect–like a pebble tossed in a pond.

This week, we designed and painted our own kindness rocks with encouraging words. We are looking forward to placing them around school grounds next week and knowing that the person who finds it will feel our kindness and hopefully spread it forward to someone else…who will pass it on to someone else…



















The most effective bullying prevention efforts in schools and communities are the ones that are cultivated over time, embedded into daily interactions, and focused on skills such as kindness, compassion, empathy, friendship-building, problem-solving, and assertive communication.  Learn more here:




Kidding vs. Teasing at Pohatcong Township School


Today, I had the pleasure of spending my day with the 4th-7th graders at Pohatcong Township School in New Jersey.  This is my fourth visit to the school in recent years and it’s so awesome to be invited back again and again by a team that is truly dedicated to social-emotional learning in addition to traditional academics.

Last year, I spoke with kiddos about how the small, daily acts of kindness that they do in school are the most powerful way to bring an end to bullying.  We also talked about the difference between rude, mean, and bullying behavior and how to best respond to each one.

This year, we got into even more of the gray area and nuances of peer interactions, talking about the key differences between kidding around with friends and the kind of teasing that creates hurt and upset feelings.  We were all on the same page with the fact that we like to laugh with our friends and that joking around is fun!  Because they could so easily agree that kidding around is one of the best parts of being friends, the kids did a great job at thinking through and identifying when a joke crosses the line into being offensive or unkind–and how to prevent this from happening whenever possible.  We talked about what to do when we have inadvertently crossed the line and made a list of topics that should never (read: ever) be joked about.

With the younger students, I also shared the story, Just Kidding, by Trudy Ludwig.  The kids loved it!  I got to share this autographed copy of the book (courtesy of the author) with one winner of a random drawing, which was a great keepsake!

I taught eight back to back classes and loved every single one of them.  Great kiddos with fantastic insights and lots of say.


Making Kindness a Part of School Culture


This month, I’m working with my first grade students on the power of kindness and the idea that the “little,” daily things we do to reach out to others can make the biggest difference.

Making kindness a part of school culture is the most effective Bullying Prevention strategy.



10 Rules for Kids on How to Text Respectfully


One of the most popular workshops I offer for upper elementary and middle school students is called 10 Rules for Enjoying Life Online & Deleting Cyberbullying.  In my 45-60 minutes with students, we talk about, watch videos about, and share real life examples about how fun and engaging and USEFUL technology can be…and how to avoid reputation-damaging mishaps that can occur through texting and social media.  The students and I tend to laugh a lot but we also get real!  I think I open their eyes to some of the unanticipated long-term consequences of their online activities…and they always teach me a thing or two about a new app or game.  We all have so much to learn…

Here is a list I posted on Psychology Today of 10 Rules for Texting Respectfully that shares some of what I talk about with students and may be helpful to you as a professional or parent working or living with kids.


Is it Rude, Is It Mean, or Is it Bullying?


Easily the most shared post I have ever written, here’s a link to the original article, Is it Rude, Is It Mean, or Is it Bullying?

I begin every Bullying Prevention presentation that I offer to professional, parents, and students by defining and distinguishing these very important behavioral terms and explaining that words really do matter when it comes to how we talk about the behavior of young people.  By lumping all bad behaviors into the bullying basket, we run the risk of creating a “little boy who cried wolf” phenomena and causing this incredibly important issue to lose its urgency.

Please read on and share this post with anyone you know who is struggling to figure out what is going on for their child and how best to intervene.


Bullying Prevention Grant for Teachers

0 is offering a new funding opportunity to help teachers with bullying prevention.


The Grant offers $1,000 to two teachers each year to spend on resources and materials they need to promote safe, positive relationships among students.  Specifically:

  • $1,000 to spend on training, curriculum materials, or other resources to support bullying prevention, and
  • a 12-month subscription to’s videos, worksheets, lesson plans, and more.

Full details can be found on the Grant for Teachers here.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. The first application deadline is March 1, 2019, and the second deadline is December 1, 2019.

Is it Rude, Is it Mean, or Is It Bullying?


Originally written in 2012, in response to a real-life encounter with a worried parent, my article on Is it Rude, Is it Mean or Is it Bullying? is one of my most-read posts and has resonated with parents, professionals, and kids alike, who share the common experience of struggling for how to properly define unwanted behavior without catastrophizing the event(s).

From this original post, I have had the opportunity to speak with audiences all over the United States through workshops and trainings and to consult with administrators and educators on best practices in managing bullying in schools.  Here are a few of the resources now available to help bring these critical distinctions between rude, mean, and bullying behavior to life:


Assessment Tool for those who receive reports of Bullying

Fun Activity & Answer Sheet for Students

8 Keys to End Bullying Activity Book for Kids & Tweens

Bullying Prevention & Digital Citizenship Workshops

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