Tag: safety of children

Bullying Breaks Spirits

bullyingAre you one of the adults who say that you know all about bullying because you remember what it was like when you were a kid? I don’t think that’s true and I’ll tell you why. What you experienced as a kid is kind of like the bullying that I experienced on the farm when Miracle the cat scratched my nose. I was sad and it hurt me and after that, I tried to stay away from her because I didn’t want the bullying to happen to me again. I was afraid of her but I learned how to keep out of her way. It didn’t make me feel good but it didn’t break my spirit either.

Bullying

When you were a kid, maybe somebody tripped you or took your lunch money or pulled your hair. Maybe somebody called you a name and you felt really sad. Guess what? Bullying is different now. It is different because now it’s not one or two kids being mean. It’s a whole network of kids being mean.

Think about it this way. Have you ever been in a big crowd of people… maybe going to a sports arena or on a busy street in a city? Think about how you would feel if each one of the people in that crowd said something mean to you. Maybe they said you were ugly or fat or thin or gay or stupid.  If you kept hearing the same unkind words to you over and over again, you might start to believe them. Then when you got home, they followed you and kept saying the same mean things and you couldn’t escape them. That is kind of like the kind of bullying kids experience now.

Well, that’s kind of what kids go through because of technology when they are bullied.  There are never ending times when kids are put down and told that they are worthless and that nobody cares about them. They aren’t adults and they don’t understand that difficult times will pass and that they will feel better about themselves again.

When they hit rock bottom, so many kids want to escape their pain anyway possible. We all need to make a difference for those kids by letting them know how much we care and we need to do that right away. We need to stand up for them and help to stop the bullying. We need to do that before it’s too late for them and for the people who love them.

Photo: tct10e

How to Prepare Kids for the Start of School

school kids 2Buying school supplies can be the fun part but other preparations are far more important. These preparations are important because they can add to the confidence your children have when they start the new school year.

1. Nurture independence in your child. Remember that you will not be present when he or she deals with school events and classes. Have conversations with your children and discuss responsibilities and what is expected.

  • Organization of materials
  • Writing down assignments
  • Bringing home homework

You can prepare younger children making sure that they can write their names and tie their own shoes so that they won’t need assistance. It will be less likely that bullies will start targeting your child. Yes. Bullies are out there in elementary schools too.

2. Re-Establish School Routines. A great time to get kids used to the new school schedule is a week or two before school starts. Schedule morning activities and set the alarm at the same time that you will when school starts. For younger children, you can even start having them eat breakfast, lunch and snacks at about the same time as will be the case when they are at school.

3. When the time comes, talk to the teachers and attend school open houses. This is a great time to meet your child’s teachers, school counselors, the principle, and front desk staff. Often you will get a good idea of each teacher’s expectations. Teachers are all different and some may focus on accuracy and others may focus on learning new skills. It is always a good idea to have the schedule of tests so that you can be aware of the specific preparations for a test.

4. Designate a particular place where children place their knapsacks, etc. That way, there will be no last minute panics when they can’t find something. Post it notes on a book bag for reminders helps too.

5. Set up a specific place and time when children do homework. Whether parents are working outside of the home or in the home, the kitchen table can be a great place for younger children. Parents should be available to help if needed and parents who are in the process of preparing a meal are right there.

6. Plan for sick days. Line up a trusted person or arrange a group of parents that can pick up your child from school in the case that you can’t get away from work. Don’t forget to sign the appropriate paperwork for the school to release your child to them.

7. If at all possible, working parents should try to be home when children arrive home from school for the first few weeks.

As you prepare your children, please keep in mind the possibility that they could be bullying or could be bullied. Teach them that they could be the ones to help stop bullying  by their example. Watch them and listen to them. You won’t be sorry!

Lost: One More Bullied Kid

smiley faceSeventeen year old Carlos Vigil of Valencia County, New Mexico has now become a statistic. He tried to make a difference for bullied kids but attempted suicide himself. The image below is the last Twitter message that Carlos sent. He was taken off of life support yesterday. Even though people were aware that he was being victimized, they didn’t suspect the depth of his pain.

The young man would have been a senior in the fall. He had changed schools the previous year to escape bullies. His parents said that he had been teased for being gay, his weight, his acne and having a lazy eye. Vigil had just returned from a trip to North Carolina where he was helping to lobby for an anti-bullying bill there.

Vigil’s mother is quoted,  “He had this lunch box, a smiley face lunch box, and people thought it was the funniest lunchbox ever, and they made fun of him for it. They grabbed it on the school bus and just threw it on the floor and broke it. It’s just little things like that.”

Please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 for help.

Suggestion Boxes

SUGGESTION BOXKids don’t want to tell adults about important things because they can’t trust that the adults will not let everyone know the kid who “told.”

All it takes to have kids turn on a kid who tries to do the right thing by reporting an important event is to have the adult tell others that he or she was a “tattletale.”

Teachers and other adults need to be more approachable and be great at keeping confidences.They need to understand that most kids do not want to “rat” on anyone.

In a perfect world, parents would be able to communicate their worries to teachers without their kids having to deal with any consequences.

Maybe this is a good idea….

An anonymous way that kids could “tell” something important to adults without worrying about repercussions.

Abuse and Uniforms: Don’t Assume

In the news today is a story about a man who has been accused of child pornography. Sadly, he has been involved with the Boy Scouts of America.

Parents, I can’t emphasize enough the fact that you must be prudent in making sure that your children are not vulnerable to predators.

Think about it this way: Anyone might be a potential predator.

That means that your children must be taught…

  • A person in a uniform
  • A person with a badge
  • A neighbor
  • A relative
  • A friend
  • A teacher
  • A babysitter
  • Anyone

…could be a danger to them and they must tell you if anything happens has happened to cause them concern. Keep the lines of communication open. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

Photo: shonna 1968

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