Dealing with Bullying!

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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!

No Place For Bullying in School Sports!

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“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?

Dear Senia – A Note to a Brave Girl

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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

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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

Jail Time for Victims of Bullying

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Yes, you read the title correctly. No error on my part. A recent study has presented evidence for adults who have been bullied during their childhood and teen years. There seems to be a strong correlation between this dual experience and being convicted of crimes. This study followed 7300 people for 14 years, and long story short. There are a significant higher percentage of people spending time in jail that have been victims during childhood and teen years versus those who have not or have had single bullying experiences.
This study definitely had me scratching my head. It is not a far stretch to image the bully doing time, even if it may be stereotypical. But, how do the victims end up incarcerated? One possible explanation would be the type of coping techniques victims are choosing to use to handle the abuse. The study found women were much more likely to use alcohol and drugs, and to be arrested and convicted for illegal use.
This study presents even more evidence that childhood bullying has a direct link to quality of life not just at the moment of abuse but long term damage. It is yet, another reason to continue to advocate for programs that empower children. Programs like Turning STONEchoice equip children with the tools to build self-esteem, confidence, and cultivate a positive path for a child’s life.
Please follow link below for specific study details.
http://web.mail.comcast.net/zimbra/mail?app=mail#2
For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice

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Excellent Resource- Bystander Behavior

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Pete is the new kid learning, “The kids in his new school are way different than at his other school.” Everyone is talking about the “Promise” but will Pete join the group or continue to be odd man out. The Juice Box Bully is a realistic journey of a bully and the real power students have when standing up for each other. Bob Sornson and Maria Dismondy present this book for primary grades, encouraging empowering choices under stressful interactions and giving children concepts related to bystander behavior.
Recent studies are confirming, students are the real solution to abusive and bullying behavior in schools. They have the power to set the tone of what is acceptable in their social settings. Yet, they often lack the skill set to make empowering choices. The Juice Box Bully is an excellent resource for students and teachers to discuss real life situations and how to make appropriate choices.
For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice

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