Archive for the ‘Bullying’ Category

Where do babies come from?

Sunday, September 7th, 2014

If you think you know, there are actually several right answers including adoption, surrogate, IVF and others.

There are usually several right answers to questions which is why I am so thrilled about the success of a collaborative work that launched on September 1st and hit #15 on Amazon in the parenting category on September 2nd.

Parents Ask, Experts Answer: Nurturing Happy, Healthy Children provides multiple answers to questions for parents of children age’s two to six.  A panel of thirty-five experts offers advice on some of the most challenging issues faced by parents:

discipline bullying behavior
sleep caregivers play
family relationships siblings separation
special needs education friendship
technology peer pressure money

The best part about this work is that you get to see all expert answers in one place (all questions have at least three expert responses) so that you, the real expert in knowing your child best, gets to choose which response fits best for your unique child and situation.

This concept is so unique it is protected by US Patents 6193518 and 6482012.

Thank you for supporting this work!

  • Please write a review if you’ve purchased and read the book
  • Share the book information with your family and friends via Facebook, Twitter, or email.

After all, it’s much easier on your relationship to suggest they read the book rather than giving advice!

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Have we really evolved – Part 2

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

-Spanish philosopher George Santayana (1863-1952)

History has a pattern of repeating itself.

14-year-old Rebecca Sedwick jumped to her death from a third-story cement plant structure in central Florida on Sept. 10th after being verbally, physically and cyber bullied throughout 2012 and 2013.

In November of 2007, I wrote a blog on bullying entitled Have we really evolved?

Apparently, we haven’t come that far despite the fact that in 2006 what started as a week long anti-bullying event eventually turned into a month long anti-bullying movement.

I read through my past blog posts and found others on this topic:

  1. Beating the Bullies
  2. Before you gossip; ask these three questions
  3. You’ve got to be carefully taught
  4.  You’re not the boss of me
  5. Three simple ways to stop bullying
  6. Creatively connecting the dots

Despite the efforts of organizations and educators, the bullying continues.  With always available technology, it has gotten worse.

So how does it ever get better?

Not with events or movements, not with the adults stepping in, but rather individual children believing they are good enough and other children are too.  This happens when children feel unconditional love.

Bullying will end when bullies have no followers.  When acting alone, bullies are ineffective.

Perhaps that is the message of hope.

Tell your children don’t be a victim, and don’t let the bully be a victor.  The way to end bullying might be as simple as supply and demand.

We don’t need another family burying a child.   You may also might want to see Barbara Gilmour’s site http://www.coolkindkid.com/

Have a good week!
Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

Have you talked to your teens about the Steubenville Rape?

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

Steubenville Defense attorney Walter Madison plans to appeal the verdict in this case because he feels his client should not have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, based on scientific evidence that would support the brain isn’t fully developed at age 16.

No kidding…Socrates and Plato could have told you that

The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they alone knew everything and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with them.’ So Socrates said, according to his student Plato.

Plato added, ‘What is happening to our young people? They disrespect their elders, they disobey their parents. They ignore the law. They riot in the streets inflamed with wild notions. Their morals are decaying. What is to become of them?

Neuroscientist Sarah Jayne Blakemore illustrates this finding in this TED talk.  She explains that research done in the past 15 years, possible as a result of advances in brain imaging technology, proves the adolescent brain development, specifically the prefrontal cortex, controls decision making, planning, inhibiting inappropriate behavior, and social interaction which helps to understand other people.  It isn’t developed until adolescents reach their twenties or even thirties.

Furthermore, synapses pruning takes place during adolescence where environment can have a profound impact on tissues that stay and connect and others that are pruned away.   The good news is that the brain is most adaptable during this period. The great philosophers tell us that it’s always been this way, so what is different today?   

Your child is on a world stage where mistakes and bad choices can be replayed, forever.

This is where we [parents] come in, and the bottom line is that due to social media and smart phones, raising teens has become exponentially more difficult.   Even with younger children with access to such ubiquitous technology, it’s as if you left your front door open, and strangers are pouring in talking to your children without your knowledge or supervision. 

Treat this situation as if your child had an illness; you would not be passive.   The information from Sarah Jayne Blakemore tells us you do have control over the outcome because you are the most important part of your adolescent’s environment.  Engage your children in a constant discussion on your rules and values; best done when given full attention and no one is checking messages.

What can you do right now?

  1. Have frequent discussions with your children about choices, consequences and values
  2. Know the passwords to all your children’s accounts, and read posts and text messages to make sure they are not a bully or being bullied
  3. Be familiar with their ‘friends’ and make sure they are 16 as they say, and not 54

In a prior blog post, Sometimes you need to have an awkward conversation, I suggested that especially with teenagers, we trust but verify. 

Just to be clear; parenting was never meant to be a democracy. 

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

Three Simple Ways to Stop Bullying

Monday, October 31st, 2011

“Promise me you’ll always remember…you’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.” Christopher Robin to Pooh

Was it so much easier a generation ago to be a kid?

You probably didn’t think so at the time if you suffered much the same taunts and teases as kids do today.  The difference between then and now is that we could go home, close the door, and find people who loved you, even with your own fair share of sibling battles.

Today, there is no where to hide.  Bullies find you everywhere, at all times, and if online; forever.  But imagine if bullying were approached like a drug problem, where both supply and demand is simultaneously approached.

Here are three simple ideas that you can put into effect right now:

  1. Let your child know he/she is loved unconditionally by everyone in your household and more in terms of extended family.  See the wonderful quote above by Christopher Robin that says it all!
  2. Arm your children with a powerful weapon to neutralize the bully.  Bill Cosby’s The Meanest Thing to Say has empowered many four- to eight-year-olds to resist the schoolyard bully. Cosby encourages young readers to respond to taunts simply by saying, “So?” instead of giving away their true feelings or responding aggressively. While “So?” will not always disarm a bully, it is one terrific tool for children to put into their social-skills toolbox.
  3. Here is a very effective exercise.  Draw a line in the room and have everyone stand on one side.  Now ask anyone who has ever been bullied to step over the line.  You will find that (just about) everyone steps over which in itself is a powerful emotion.  What this does is recognize the bully has also been bullied.  With schools facing budget cuts and at the same time required to present anti-bullying programs, there is a wonderful, free program offered by the folks at Operation Respect.

Effects of cyber bullying

Cyber bullying affects people from any age or walk of life, including children, teens and adults who all feel very distressed and alone when being bullied online.  Cyber bullying can make you feel totally overwhelmed which can result in many feeling embarrassed that they are going through such a devastating time, and not knowing what support is available to them.  Many children feel unable to confide in an adult because they feel ashamed and wonder whether they will be judged, told to ignore it or close their account which they might not want to do, only 1 in 10 victims will inform a parent or trusted adult of their abuse

For many cyber bullying affects their everyday lives and is a constant source of distress and worry.  With mobile technology being so freely available it is an ongoing issue and one that is relentless.  Not only does it go on after school, college or work has finished, but it then carries through into the next day and the cycle continues.  It has been well documented that cyber bullying has resulted in tragic events including suicide, and self-harm and clearly, more needs to be done in order to protect vulnerable children and adults from online bullying.

If you are worried that your child or a loved one might be the victim of cyber bullying here are some signs to look out for:-

  • Low self-esteem
  • Withdrawal from family and spending a lot of time alone
  • Reluctance to let parents or other family members anywhere near their mobiles, laptops etc
  • Finding excuses to stay away from school or work including school refusal
  • Friends disappearing or being excluded from social events
  • Losing weight or changing appearance to try and fit in
  • Fresh marks on the skin that could indicate self-harm and dressing differently such as wearing long sleeved clothes in the summer to hide any marks
  • A change in personality i.e. anger, depression, crying, withdrawn

What can you do to support someone who is being bullied online?

  • Reinforce that no one deserves to be treated in this way and that they have done nothing wrong
  • Ensure that they know that there is help available to them
  • Encourage them to talk to a teacher that they trust so they feel they have somewhere safe at school to go to
  • Encourage them to talk to their parents/carers and if this isn’t possible to write a letter or speak to another family member
  • Take screen shots of the cyber bullying so that they have proof this is happening
  • Report all abuse to the relevant social media networks by clicking on the “report abuse” button,
  • Keep a diary so they have somewhere safe and private to write down their innermost thoughts and feelings which will help to avoid feelings bottling up
  • Give praise for being so brave and talking things through which will hopefully empower them to take responsibility and get help
  • Sending abuse by email or posting it into a web board can be harassment and if this has happened make a complaint to the police who can trace IP addresses etc
  • Ask the school if they have a School Liaison Police Officer that can help in this situation and talk to the school about the dangers and effects

Recent statistics show that

  • 20% of children and young people indicate fear of cyber bullies made them reluctant to go to school
  • 5% reported self-harm
  • 3% reported an attempt of suicide as a direct result of cyber bullying
  • Young people are found to be twice as likely to be bullied on FB as any other social networking site.
  • 28% of young people have reported incidents of cyber bullying on Twitter
  • 26% of young people have reported incidents of cyber bullying on Ask.fm

 

What support and help is available

We know that cyber bullying can have devastating impacts on some children and young adults, especially when they feel there is no let up from the abuse.  So what help is available if you feel your child might be in danger of self harming or having suicidal thoughts?

Keep the school involved and put things in writing so you have a formal record of what has been going on.  Ask the school if there is any pastoral support your child can access.

If your child has started to self-harm talk to your GP and a professional organisation who will be able to give you some much needed support such as Harmless or The National Self Harm Network Forum.

Remember that you are important too so it’s crucial that you are taking good care of yourself.  The more relaxed you are feeling the better able you will be to support your child.

If you are worried that your child is having suicidal thoughts seek some medical advice from your GP. Young Minds is a national charity committed to improving the emotional and mental wellbeing of all children and young adults under the age of 25. They have a parents’ helpline where you can talk your situation through with a trained adviser.

But it’s not just children, Family Lives understands that cyber bullying affects adults too. We know that cyber bullying can also have a devastating impact on adults and can make you feel extremely isolated.  It is very easy to post malicious and hurtful posts on social media sites as there is very little moderation and posts can go “live” before they can be reported.  This can leave people feeling very vulnerable and at a loss as to what they can do.

So what can adults do if they are the victims of cyber bullying

  • Report the abuse to the relevant social media site
  • Take screen shots of the abuse so you have a record even if the posts are removed
  • Involve the police if you feel nothing is being done to stop this bullying
  • If the cyber bullying is done by work colleagues, involve your HR Department so they are aware of what is going on, and give them copies of the screenshots.  Ask them to put this on your personnel file.
  • Get some legal advice if you feel this is appropriate as cyber bullying might be deemed as harassment.  Some solicitors offer a free initial consultation so make use of this.
  • You have the option of blocking the people that are cyber bullying you but this obviously doesn’t stop it from continuing.  However, if it saves you from having to see the abuse and improves your emotional wellbeing it is definitely worth considering.
  • Find out more about how to deal with cyber bullying

We know it can take time for reported posts to be removed from social media sites and this only adds to the distress that users feel.  Knowing that a post is “live” and nothing has been done to remove it can leave people feeling extremely stressed so it is important that people know what they can do.  Having someone to talk to is crucial and can be a real lifesaver.

There is no hurt as difficult as when our children hurt.  Hopefully, this little band-aid can help make it go away.

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera

Founder, Parental Wisdom®

 

You’re Not the Boss of Me

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

Schools are gearing up for anti-bullying programs this summer.  Coincidentally a new movie, Horrible Bosses opened this weekend.  

Here’s where it ties together – if you find yourself at the family dinner table complaining about your own boss, who might be a bully, know that your children will get the connection. 

  • The boss who continually makes jokes about your height, weight, baldness, etc. is a bully.
  • The boss who calls you in to discuss a project, but reads email instead of giving you full attention is a bully.
  • The boss who says no one talks up during meetings, but never gives anyone else a chance to talk is a bully.
  • The boss who says, “How are you doing?” but never waits for an answer is a bully.
  • The boss who complains about the status quo, but doesn’t listen to solutions offered by employees because they might mean more work, is a bully.
  • The boss who takes the credit but never the blame is a bully.

Your children are always watching.  Life isn’t perfect, but you have to demonstrate what you will do to make it better, and not simply do the job because you belong to the IHAM (I have a mortgage) club.

At least when a kid is stuffed in a locker, he/she can get out.  Show your kids that you will do whatever you can, including leave, to make things better.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.  – Eleanor Roosevelt

Any experiences you care to share?  Leave a comment.

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

You’ve got to be carefully taught

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

You’ve got to be carefully taught

-from the1949 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific

There is a connection about two stories coming from New Jersey recently; both interestingly, relate to Facebook.

On technology’s positive side, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg donates $100 million dollars to Newark schools.  Weeks later, the Facebook status of Rutgers Freshman Tyler Clementi’s is “jumping off the bridge sorry.”

Adolescent brains cannot possibly evolve as quickly as the technology at their fingertips.  They don’t understand the power though they marvel at the audience reach.

Both stories tie back to parents and what is taught at home.

The Newark school system presently spends $24,000 a year per student, yet only one in two graduate high school.   By adding $100 million are we throwing money at the wrong problem?  The best teachers and state of the art technology in the classrooms cannot offset what happens at home if a child’s education is not made a priority and reinforced.

In the case of Rutgers’s cyber cruelty, Dharun Ravi or Molly Wei could not have imagined a tragedy like this, but what was their intention, to be funny or to entertain?  Compared to the failing Newark school system, these students both had terrific grades and SAT scores indicating that education was indeed important at home.  But how do they measure up in other qualities, such as tolerance, understanding and empathy?

The unwritten rule of parenting is that you don’t talk about someone’s child because you are really talking about someone’s parenting.  I get that, and the fact that parents can’t be everywhere, and anybody’s child is potentially going to make mistakes.

But there are answers if you take the time to understand the real problem.

One place to help understand the real problem is Parental Wisdom® which offers something you can’t get anywhere else.  Multiple expert responses to parenting questions so you can choose the best solution for your unique child and situation.  When you are present as a parent and notice something wrong, the time to correct it is before it unravels out of control.

Our advisors donate their time and talent to respond to parents’ questions.  We are writing a collaborative book to help parents focus on the kind of person they want to raise.  Parental Wisdom® members will receive a free copy of this e-book that offers a proactive approach to raising a person you would love to meet.

For the present problem, here are a few solutions that can help you and your child deal with cyber-bullying, whether they are the victim or the bully, and to help you as a parent understand this frightening new world.

Jill Brown – It’s My Locker

Barbara Gilmour – Cool Kind Kid

Naomi Drew – Learning Peace author of No Kidding About Bullying

We are evaluating all these works for the Good ParentingCM Seal.  Please complete the contact us form if you would like to participate in the evaluation (you must be a member), and be sure to enter your phone number and time zone.

Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless. -Mother Teresa

Have a great week, and be sure to talk with your children about this important topic

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Before you gossip, ask these three questions

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

I recently read a story by the Associated Press, “There’s been a sharp drop in the percentage of America’s children being bullied or beaten up by their peers, according to a new national survey by experts who believe anti-bullying programs are having an impact.”

Did the study take cyber bullying into account?

Not if you ask the family of Alexis Pilkington, the Suffolk County 17-year old girl that recently took her life.  Cyber bullies left cruel and hurtful messages on her Facebook Memorial Page.

As the courts try to sort through first amendment rights and what constitutes defamation, there might be a better solution; one that has stood the test of time.

“Before you speak, ask yourself, is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve on the silence?”

This simple yet elegant quote is from the nineteenth century guru Sai Baba. It helps us to understand the importance of mindful speech.  We’re uncomfortable with silence, so we fill the void with words.  But those words can be hurtful and painful whether in person or cyberspace.

If you would like to learn more about dealing with cyber bullying watch this video from Free Spirit Publishing.

Teaching our children to use the triple filter questioning method ‘is it kind, is it necessary, is it true’ might not stop them from being a victim, but it will stop them from being the bully.

If we all did that it could result in something really remarkable.

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera
Founder, Parental Wisdom®

The Promise of a New School Year

Sunday, September 14th, 2008

Each new school brings brand new sneakers, book bags and promise. Children start the school year with an A+; they have to keep it. Parents can help in a number of ways.

1. Plan ahead to reduce family stress
Whether it is the weekly meal menu, healthy lunch boxes, or having the school wardrobe ready, it’s always better to plan ahead. Include your children in the planning whenever possible. Rushing through the start of a day can easily spiral out of control.

2. Everything in it’s place
Keys, school papers, book bags, sports equipment, and musical instruments should all have a specific place in the house. Though parents can create the organization, kids need to maintain it. To help kids learn organization, consider purchasing Get Organized Without Losing It written for late elementary through middle grade. It has lots of kid-friendly humor and is written by Parental Wisdom advisor Janet Fox.

3. Set your children up for success
Studies continually show that children that each a good breakfast with lots of protein can concentrate better in school. Get them up a little earlier to start the day right.

4. Provide a study spot
a. Have school supplies in a place that is quiet and free from distractions.
b. Teach them about budgeting their time so projects are ready, not rushed.
c. Review (not do) their homework so you know what is going on at school.
d. Make sure you dig deep into book bags so you can read all school notes.

5. Don’t wait for a red flag or a bad report card before recognizing a struggling student. Contact the teacher before your child gets too far behind.

6. Encourage safety
a. If your child walks to school, make sure he knows how to obey traffic rules.
b. If she rides a bike, be sure she wears a helmet.
c. If he rides the bus, make sure the school district has installed seat belts.
d. Children can only learn if they feel safe. If your child is being bullied, discuss the situation with school officials and insist school programs that teach tolerance and inclusion such as Operation Respect. They offer free programs to schools.

7. Don’t let over-scheduling take away your precious family time. Limit the number of activities you allow your child to participate in.

8. Have dinner together every night. Use this a way for your family to stay connected and to let your children know they belong. Read more about Family Day, which is September 22nd. Pay attention to which subjects and teachers your child talks about. Often those are the teachers that have the most profound impact on your child. Write the teacher a note to let them know their influence.

9. Create an environment for lifelong learning, and teach your children that lessons can easily extend beyond the classroom. Extracurricular and family activities are good ways to help your child learn new things and gain confidence in his or her abilities.

10. Stay involved in your child’s school and participate especially when opportunities arise to meet your child’s classmates such as book fairs or school trips.

11. Keep in touch with your children’s teachers and let them know of any situation that may affect your child in school such as a family illness, recent move, job loss or divorce.

12. When your children challenge your family rules, as compared to their friends’ houses, such as no TV during the week, explain clearly but firmly that things are done differently in your house.

13. Routines are important to children as it helps them feel secure. Consistency is key when it come to bath time, reading and bedtime.

14. Remember you are preparing our next workforce generation. Be sure to instill the importance of showing up and not let your children stay home from school unless it’s absolutely necessary. In the same respect, make sure they understand that being on time is equally important.

15. Make learning real. Show how school skills are needed for such day-to-day activities as cooking from a recipe, balancing a checkbook and writing thank-you notes.

Beating the Bullies

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

It is estimated that each school day, over 160,000 children stay home because of bullying.
Since many of us have experienced some form of bullying we know that the power of the bully is diminished when there are no followers.

Each day, when your child leaves for school remember to give them a hug to let them know they are loved. In a more subtle way, encourage their own personal power, and as you discuss the kind of a day they had over dinner, listen carefully to what they say and know when to step in when they need you.

Here is a high school student’s college admissions essay that I had to share:

“If I held the thermometer tightly in my hands, I could raise the temperature just enough so that I could stay home from school without my parents being concerned enough to take me to the doctor. This worked in the past, whenever I felt the need to fake an illness to get a break from being teased at school.

I had resigned myself to the fact that the teasing had to be my fault. Perhaps I should have raised my hand less when I had the right answer. Perhaps I should have laughed at the joke, even if I didn’t think it was funny. It was about fitting in. Although it was fairly constant, the teasing was subtle, too subtle to report without making me sound like a wimp.

One day everything changed. It happened as the 5th grade lined up for library. John was short by 3rd grade standards. He wore very thick glasses, and was not able to stand up straight due to some sort of spine curvature. This made him a prime target for the bullies. The teasing inflicted on John was much worse than anything I had experienced. But on that particular day, some of our classmates started knocking on his front and back to laugh at the sound that resulted from the plastic plates he wore under his shirt. It was more than I could take.

I don’t know where it came from, but I became almost ‘Hulk-like’ with anger. To this day, I honestly can’t say if I stood up for John because of the cruel punishment he was getting, or if I was finally dealing with the fact that neither of us, or anyone else for that matter, deserved to be treated that way. I stood in the middle of the cool kids, only a bit taller than John, and let them have it. My voice was loud and cracking, and my cheeks were flushed, but I somehow found the words that had been buried inside me for the entire year. ‘Do you like being mean? How would you feel if you were in his place?’ I was so afraid it would slip that I was really referring to the way they treated me, but fortunately I didn’t. When I finished, one kid made a joke, but the rest were quiet and looked down. The crowd dispersed as the teacher came around, but she never did understand the minor commotion.

We are now in our senior year in high school, yet John and I have never spoken of that day. Sometimes he will give me a little smile as we pass each other in the hall. Perhaps it’s my imagination but I have to believe he stood just a bit taller from that day on. I know I did.”

Tina Nocera
Parental Wisdom

Follow the leader

Thursday, April 10th, 2008

At what age are we guilty?

Police questioned a group of Georgia third-graders about a plot to kill their teacher, apparently because she had scolded one of them for standing on a chair. The nine students at Center Elementary School are too young to be charged with a crime under Georgia law, a prosecutor said. They include girls and boys, ages 8 and 9. Authorities withheld the students’ names.

Waycross Police Chief Tony Tanner said school officials alerted police Friday after a pupil tipped off a teacher that a girl had brought a weapon to school,

Police seized a broken steak knife, handcuffs, duct tape, electrical and transparent tape, ribbons and a crystal paperweight from the students, who apparently intended to use them against the teacher, Tanner said.

He called the plot a serious threat; Center Principal Angie Coleman said, “This is an isolated incident, an aberration. … We have good kids”

I’m sure (at least I hope) the situation will be closely scrutinized. Did the children watch violent programs or play violent video games? Were their parents lack about rules and limits? Was personal responsibility not taught?

Of all the issues raised here, I have a few thoughts:

Why did the other children follow the leader?
What is stopping our children from having the courage to stand up and stop such behavior?
Use this topic as a conversation starter with your children. Discuss with them what they should do if they heard about a potentially violent act.

If you want to avoid this, you may want to read 12 Steps to Raise A Juvenille Delinquent, written by the Houston Police Department. You can find it on Parental Wisdom’s Free Reports.

By the way, after you talk to your children, give them a big hug.