Dealing with Bullying!

Bullying Stops Here Image

Any of us can recount stories about bullies from our own experiences in school.  While we may not have been a victim, we may have been a bystander or even a perpetrator.  We can vividly tell stories about the elementary school student that was targeted because they were not popular or the child that was constantly harassed at recess.  There are numerous reasons why students may bully others.  This works under the premise that experiencing bullying is not just a “rite of passage” and there are skills you can equip your children with to help them thrive.  Parents must remember anyone can be a bully.  Bullying in schools is a source of public outrage in media outlets.  While your child’s school or school district may have various programs to address bullying and institute peer mediation, positive choice making and social skills to curb bullying, as a parent there are numerous things you can do to equip your child.  Here is an inspiring story on athletes stepping up to take a stand 

While no one has the right to be bullied, help with the understanding that some children are more susceptible to being a victim then others.  Those who are isolated or seek excessive attention by pestering or overcompensating for insecurity may be more likely to be bullied.  There is no rationale for bullying being tolerated in schools. However, understanding your children’s tendencies will help you help them navigate through school and provide them with the tools to be successful in their adult life, where bullying doesn’t necessarily end.

To learn more or visit TURNING STONEchoice we would love to here from you!

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No Place For Bullying in School Sports!

Character Picture Sports

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” – Coach John Wooden

What are your thoughts on how your school district is handling intimidation, harassment and bullying in regards to school sports and sporting events?

There has been highly negative public reaction to several recent news stories. From Ray Rice to Adrian Peterson to Greg Hardy to Jonathan Dwyer we hear about a culture where aggressive behavior isn’t just contained on the field. It also takes place at home in the form of domestic violence and child abuse, and at school with taunting and hazing.

Now it has occurred here in New Jersey at Sayreville War Memorial High School.  Sayreville has cancelled the remainder of its football season because of allegations of abuse, intimidation and bullying.  All of us want our children to have positive school experiences, and we encourage them to get involved in clubs and sports. We recognize that these involvements can provide our children with a well-rounded education. Sports are supposed to be a way to build character and a sense of teamwork. Harassment and bullying should not be accepted or tolerated at any level.  It’s important that coaches send this clear message, and a message of acceptability and tolerance of each other, to the players before the season begins, as well as during and after the season.

To read more about this topic follow the New York Times and NJ.com articles on Sayreville for acting swiftly to curb bullying.

What do you think of Sayreville’s response?

What can be done about the backlash towards the freshman students that were assaulted?

The Recess Queen

recess_queenThis book is a favorite! Powerful insights into playground bullying, school violence, and poor self-esteem.  This book offers wonderful life lessons while weaving through character development traits like responsibility, integrity, courage and leadership.  The Recess Queen is a great teaching tool for guidance counselors, teachers or parents.  This book is a sure hit!

~ TURNING STONEchoice

Getting Personal with Author, Chris Avery

chris_averyAuthor, Chris Avery shares some insight on the creative process behind his latest young adult novel, Angst.  ANGST chronicles the complicated lives of three best friends attempting to navigate the perils of freshman year in high school while dealing with the realities of teen life.

Describe your book in one sentence!
Angst is an inspiring youth novel, detailing the exploits of three teens navigating and overcoming the travails of high school.

Angst

What inspired you to write about teenagers?
When TURNING STONEchoice (TSC) approached me to write a book for young adults, I  immediately recognized  the need for an honest attempt to write something that would help young people become self- empowered. Few of today’s novels have positive role models or a message of hope for readers. As a father of three teens, I am constantly amazed by the stories shared and challenges they and their friends encounter. Today’s youth are bombarded with divorce, drugs, pressures to grow up too quickly, and many more issues that seem to be more vigilant now than previous generations. I hope Angst provides a roadmap for a possible path to navigate their landscape. And, although not perfect, Angst is a possible solution for students facing similar problems.

Parental loss in many forms seemed to be a weaving theme throughout the book.   Can you talk about those variations and significance?
Throughout the book, I attempt to paint a picture that would be relatable to today’s teens. The definition of ‘family’ continues to evolve. Consequently, I wanted to have numerous types of families in the book and help students recognize the normalcy of difference . All families are different. However, core values and respect are key to keep families close to each other. When loss of a parent occurs, whether through death or divorce, children often have trouble truly coping. While more resilient than most adults recognize, children need guidance from adults and peers to serve as support networks. Angst delivers that message by demonstrating numerous children dealing with this issue of loss and family disruption, and details how they cope. While it is never easy, it is important to see how they survive and work to thrive through it all.

What did you enjoy most about writing Angst?
I enjoyed talking to young people. The TSC approach to engage young people through conversation and allowing them to voice their view of the world and how they fit in it was at the core of my approach. I interviewed a lot of teens and parents before and while writing the book. I asked about what makes their families special and what do they wish they could tell their parents or children, respectively. These conversations really shaped the layout of the book and helped inform me about the sincerity of families to love and respect each other, but how life too often gets in the way. The book allowed me to get closer to my own children and my wife, as we spoke openly about our parenting philosophy and how we communicate with our children .

Any future book projects on your literary plate?
Angst inspired me to begin writing a parenting handbook. From interviews preparing me for the Angst project, I recognized reoccurring themes that would help parents better show their love and dreams for their children. The project has allowed me to collaborate with other parent authors and talk about relationships with our children and how to impart our knowledge without dominating our children’s lives. TSC’s emphasis on helping families has been an inspiring opportunity for me to be a part and I have been thrilled to write on these projects.

“. . . remember that the only thing standing between you and your greatness is yourself.  Take control of your life, and enjoy every second.”  Angst

To enjoy your personal copy of Angst follow click here or at Amazon.

For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and our programs please visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com.

NFL Investigation – Reviewing the fumble w/ Martin & Incognito

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I’m glued to Sports Center to figure out what makes a 300+ pound NFL lineman (Martin) cry, “Bully!” I believe it goes beyond the actions of another 300+ pound professional football player (Incognito) and that the NFL is on the cusp of addressing the culture of intimidation in the workplace. I’m sure, on the books, the NFL has established its code-of-conduct for workplace behavior, but when we talk “culture,” we address more of what is acceptable among the players, themselves. What is the “understanding” between rookies and veterans? If an extended history of long-suffering macho-ism is the tone from high school all the way to the pros then it will take more than written policy to break down the cultural norms. Norms that dictate that hazing is to be accepted, intimidation is to be tolerated, financial coercion is allowed, and players with less-than- combat- soldier attitudes need to conform. The facts are just beginning to slowly surface, and speculation is just that. The “fumble” in this review would point to an epic failure in communication with everyone accountable for his part. Failure from management to communicate effectively what a positive environment looks like, sounds like, feels like, a failure from veteran players to communicate and create a legacy of trust without the rookie trials of fire. If you made it to the pros then you have already proved yourself and have to continue to prove yourself on the field. And, sadly, if Martin had communicated immediately and consistently to others on how he would like to be treated, spoken to and encouraged, perhaps the dynamic between he and the team would look very different. The NFL investigation will undoubtedly churn some additional controversies to deliberate when it comes to not just individuals but the overall history of the NFL workplace environment. Having recently improved the safety of the players on the field, the League will now have to turn its attention to equal protection off the field.

~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice
For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com

Relevant Book for student-athletes to consider reading is Angst by Christopher Avery. Follow link for review at http://www.amazon.com/Angst-Christopher-Avery/dp/0984002200/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1385140013&sr=8-1&keywords=angst+christopher+avery

Dear Senia – A Note to a Brave Girl

self-esteem

Schools and communities across the nation are participating in Anti-Bullying programs this month providing a plethora of tips and techniques on how to handle situations. With respect to all those efforts, I wanted to move beyond providing information and take action. I want to share Senia’s story and reach out to her because she and kids just like her are worth it. Her story will never be on 20/20 or headlined in today or tomorrow’s paper. We are usually hand fed only the worst cases, like the recent and tragic suicide of a 12 year old girl. But, Senia’s story is extremely relevant.  Her story represents the millions of children who listen to daily cruel comments chipping away at their precious beings, and struggle to be comfortable and confident in their own skin. This month consider one child you know who could use an encouraging word to be brave, bold and already beautiful.  You can follow the link below to Senia’s post.

 

Dear Senia,

We do not know each other, but I just wanted to let you know how brave I believe you are to share your bullying and peer pressure story. It takes courage to let people know how you feel and what you believe.  You never know how your story may impact someone else who thinks they are going through the same thing, but alone. It takes self-respect to make the empowering decision to be who you are and move through the pressure to act a certain way.  I hope you continue to think of ways to help others work through peer pressure and prevent bullying. Your ideas were very solid and perhaps you may even want to pursue those ideas for your school or community.  Continue to embrace the unique and fabulous person that you are!
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice

http://simplysenia.com/2013/10/15/senias-school-paper-on-bullying/
For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com

Book Review – The Skin I’m In

The Skin I'm In2
According to Maleeka’s peers, she is too poor, too skinny, too black and too smart. All of which seems to make her a moving target for abuse by Charlese, a frienemy who extorts homework from Maleeka in exchange for nice clothes and a deferral from a beat down. As if life was not cruel enough after the loss of her father, she endures relentless insults from John-John. Every turn in the hallway, in class, and on the bus, he hurls negative remarks about her dark complexion. “What is his problem anyway?” She wonders and questions her self-image. Although the reader can assume Maleeka struggles with loving and accepting the skin she is in, the writer, Sharon G. Flake clearly examines the turbulent life journey of a young person trying to understand the right choices to make under tough circumstances, which is the more significant issue for Maleeka.
The Skin I’m In is a quick pick for reluctant readers and a Coretta Scott King award winning book. Appreciated for exploring how a young person with incredible potential can feel so low, and how one teacher can make a difference in a student’s life, The Skin I’m In is highly recommended and perfectly relevant for middle school and high school students.

For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice