The Truth Behind Bullying

Currently, there is an epidemic of hostile, violent, out of control behavior plaguing our schools, requiring our immediate action. Although attention and assistance must surely be given to victims, it is equally crucial to focus on the offenders, themselves. Simply put, no bully behavior, no victims.
Complicated and individualized histories exist behind bullies and the gamut of reasons for their behavior even more tumultuous. Long gone are stereotypical theories that promote a one-stop-bullying identification process. For instance, not all bullies were bullied by their parents.
There are some children who are more likely to bully others. According to a government study, “Some are well-connected to their peers, have social power, are overly concerned about their popularity, and like to dominate or be in charge of others. Others are more isolated from their peers and may be depressed or anxious, have low self esteem, be less involved in school, be easily pressured by peers, or not identify with the emotions or feelings of others.”1 With an identification that includes almost anyone and everyone at some point in time, a program that reaches students where they are emotionally at any given moment is essential.
Some school programs emphasis the typical rundown of what bullying is or is not, which on a surface level is important considering a few offending students might not otherwise become aware that their behavior actually falls within the realm of bullying. Yet, we need a solution holistic in its approach that includes an examination of interpersonal relationships and tackles the core issue- cognitive choice making. The truth is bullying is just a by- product of an immature and limited choice model; as are blame, self-pity, anger and other multiple obstacles that interfere with an individual’s effective self-empowering choices.
Turning Stonechoice is that holistic approach, a flexible program for developing students’ choice-making and critical-thinking skill sets. The program targets K-12 students and can be used as a stand-alone unit, a character-development lesson, or as enrichment material in content areas like reading, social studies or writing.
The program is comprised of four fundamental components: training, parent involvement, materials, and support. The combination of these components supports the TSC Process, which is core of our program, providing a vehicle for positive choice making in a non-competitive manner.

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

Art Imitates Life

Art often imitates life and often reveals more than subject matter to social issues like bullying and permits purveyors of any medium to “feel” the people, places, and experiences of which we would otherwise lack real understanding.
Art in its many forms can reach and teach, unlike typical lectures or well- intentioned speeches, with incredible power. Watching the movie, Bully, will bring you to tears and have you hurting for the children and their families. Lady Gaga’s lyrics for “Born this Way” encourage her Twitter followers–over 19 million young people around the globe–to accept the unique individuals they are becoming. Multi-media showcases like You Will Rise Project can make one cringe over the brutal truth of a picture. From White Plains, an Off-Broadway production, gives insight into the life-long consequences a bully experiences while attempting to redeem himself, and the simple clear messages of stick-figure drawings by first and second graders during a Turning Stone Moment beacon the reality that children are capable of understanding the power in their actions and the effect those actions can have on another human being.
Art is a language that communes with the inner person and brings forth the emotion and drive to make change happen. It is the therapy we grasp when simple lines of communication cannot render the message or when the pain is so deep our voices become mute.
Unlock the voices of our students, our children, our future by equipping them with the tools that allow them to make self-empowering choices and positive decisions, to gain greater control over their lives, and to give them the freedom to express and explore their thoughts. Please visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com for more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process.
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice

An Adult’s Role in Bullying Situations

The following was an excerpt in an email newsletter issued by a local pediatrician:

  • Bullying is when one child picks on another child repeatedly. Bullying can be physical, verbal, or social. It can happen at school, on the playground, on the school bus, in the neighborhood, or over the internet.
  • If your child is bullied, help your child learn how to respond by teaching your child how to look the bully in the eye, stand tall and stay calm in a difficult situation, and walk away. Teach your child how to say, in a firm voice, “I don’t like what you are doing”, “Please do not talk to me like that”, or “Why would you say that?” Finally, teach your child when and how to ask for help.
  • Encourage your child to make friends with other children.
  • Alert school officials to the problems and work with them on solutions.
  • Make sure an adult who knows about the bullying can watch out for your child’s safety and well-being when you cannot be there.
 

 

Image

 

Since when did bullying become synonymous with children? The media does an excellent job at shedding light on the bullying epidemic in this country, but it always has to do with an issue in school or on the playground.  Why is this?

There’s no doubt that children are sponges; they observe what is going on around them and internalize it as education. Children are constantly surveying what is happening in society and taking note of how others (especially adults) react to circumstances.

 Adults only come into the picture when they are called upon to fix a situation (or so they think, but this is a subject for another blog entry). As the excerpt above indicates, the parent is instructing the child that they should ignore a bullying situation. But what other choice does the child have?

We should be careful on how we instruct our children to face situations. We need to be cautious about dictating solutions without educating about options. More importantly, we need to consider the root of bullying in the first place.

The TURNING STONEchoice program helps adults become aware of why certain behavior issues come to be. As we help guide parents and educators on this philosophy, let’s keep in mind how we treat each other. Let’s keep a close tabs on news and world events (especially issues in the Middle East). And let us contemplate how this ever-present society is shaping our youth.

 

 

Public ridicule: a painful situation for any child or adolescent… if they choose!

What would you do if your daughter came home from school in tears because she was publicly humiliated about her pimples? What if she was mocked about wearing maxi pads because she did not like the feeling of tampons?

Ten families in Missouri had to go through the torment of watching their grief-stricken teenage daughters deal with the reality of a vulgar “Senior List” that was distributed to the class and described the sexuality and hygiene of 10 female classmates.

It is obvious that most children and teenagers, male or female, will react negatively towards an embarrassing situation. But instead of reacting, the TURNING STONEchoice program teaches interaction with family and peers to expose root causes of negative situations.

In the TURNING STONEchoice program, the Keep Close Chat is a practice that encourages families to talk about troubling situations to reveal the innermost feelings of a child in emotional distress.  What would a Keep Close Chat sound like in this case in Missouri?

The victim would most likely reveal that they were embarrassed about the list, angry with the authors and horrified about showing her face to her peers.

Parents or friends would encourage her to look at the reasons for why her peers authored the list. The motive of this type of harassment and bullying is nothing more than an effort for the authors to maintain control in their own lives but controlling the thoughts and feelings of others.

The teenager would then realize she has choices:

1. Come to terms with reality by accepting the motives of the authors and dismissing the actions

2. Fight back by publicly contradicting the statements in the Senior List

3. Speak with the authors of the list and interact with them in order to maintain control of her own thoughts and feelings

4. Talk with a teacher, counselor or principal

It is important to have the teenager understand that there is no right or wrong answer to this situation. There is only what she will do, and won’t do.  Success is achieved when the teenager feels self-empowered and able to make her own choice on how to resolve the situation.

Communication is vital for the well being of children and adolescents. With harassment and bullying being issues nationwide, it is important to avoid children bottling up emotions while triggering harmful thoughts. The Keep Close Chat will improve relationships and boost the self-esteem of individuals.

For more information about the TURNING STONEchoice program and the Keep Close Chat, email us at info@turningstonechoice.com.