Posted in Parenting, raising kids, Reading, Teen

It Takes a Village…

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about the book and the Netflix series “Thirteen Reasons Why.” This week our school sent us a letter regarding the content of this show. They were concerned about how teens might be reacting to the strong issues the show addresses.

 

Thirteen Reasons Why by [Asher, Jay]

Now, I haven’t read the book or watched the series. I’ve got to find a time when my boys aren’t around to watch it, and right now they’re around a lot. I like that. 🙂 So I’m willing to make the sacrifice.

I agree with the concerns of the school district. The book and the show deal with a lot of teen issues like rape, slut-shaming, and suicide. The letter I received voiced the concern that the issues the show addressed might be possible triggers for some teens who are struggling with these problems themselves.

The school did a great service to bring these concerns to the attention of the parents. I was impressed the district was so in tune with what is happening among the student body. I work in the library and I know that book has been very popular.

Photo via Visualhunt.com

So the question arises, who is responsible for the message our kids receive, is it the author of the book? The producers of the show? The school district? Or the Parents? How about when the kids take this behavior to social media, who’s responsible then? My take on the whole situation is that we all are. Remember that old saying it takes a village to raise a child? This particular example is what the quote is talking about.

Our responsibility as authors is to make sure our stories are authentic and our message is a positive one. I feel, even though I haven’t read the book yet, that when Jay Asher wrote the story, he was attempting to show what could happen to a teen who was experiencing these problems. So teens who were slut-shaming or bullying would know the consequences of their actions before it was too late. It was a cautionary tale. Kudos to the author for sending such a powerful message.

There are differences between the show and the book, mainly for dramatic effect. The show is much longer than the book and the reason is because the producers wanted to make thirteen episodes to make the mini-series a two week event. Because of this, they had to make changes to the story itself. The administrators at the school were concerned the show presented suicide as a viable option to solving the issues in the story, and again, the possibility of this show as a trigger for teens experiencing some of the issues.

Suicide is never an option. We need to communicate with our kids and tell them help is available. There are professionals who can help them deal with their strong emotions and there are authority figures who can step in if they’re being shamed in any way. This is where the school took responsibility and warned the parents. Now the responsibility falls on the parents to get involved and either watch or read the book with their child and have an open dialogue with them. Could the producers of the series have done a better job of showing how Hannah could’ve gotten help? Probably. And I feel they should have. I’ve heard the show presented suicide as a viable option and like I said before, suicide is never an option.

But what happens when the teens take this behavior to social media? Who’s the authority there? Is it the school’s responsibility to make sure students behave? In my opinion, social media is out of the school’s control. The school can’t police all their students’ social media accounts.

Photo credit: Mark Kens via Visual Hunt / CC BY

How about the parents. Yeah. I agree in a perfect world, the parents are responsible for their child’s behavior, but we all know our world is far from perfect, and most kids don’t tell their parents when they’re going through something like slut-shaming. So how do we nip this behavior in the bud before it reaches that critical point?

We need the creators of these social media sites to be vigilant and look for this type of behavior among their users. They’re the only ones who can do this. And they need to take a strong stance against this behavior. Accounts should be suspended or deleted as soon as bullying appears. I know they can’t catch everyone, but they may be able to save a life.

I know some students will be up in arms about privacy issues and freedom of speech. But social media has never been private and freedom of speech doesn’t apply to bullying. We as parents need to teach our kids this behavior is never okay. We have to make sure we don’t inadvertently model this behavior in our own lives as well. So ultimately, every single one of us is responsible and it really does take a village to raise a child.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. What are your thoughts? I’d love to read them, so leave a comment! I love hearing from you!

 

 

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Posted in Slice of LIfe

Tweeters Behaving Badly

 

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Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you! I’m back with another Slice of Life post and today I want to talk about Cyber-bullying.

 

Photo credit: Jason A. Howie via Visualhunt / CC BY

This week i learned that two of my Twitter pals were being bullied on Twitter. (They don’t follow each other or know each other). It upset me. Why would anyone take the time to harass someone on social media? It doesn’t make sense.

Photo via Visual Hunt.com

One of my friends received personal attacks, taunting her. Telling her she was fat and she should kill herself. This blows my mind and makes me angry. This is all because she doesn’t support Trump. Is this what our political process has become?

If someone voices an opinion that you don’t agree with, then ignore them. Why do people feel the need to engage in such a hateful manner? What are they trying to accomplish?

The awesome thing about social media is that you can engage with people from around the world. It’s a great tool. It’s not to be used as a way to bully people. My friend happens to be strong and was able to handle this negative crap. But what if she were emotionally fragile at the time these tweets started coming her way? What if she really did try to kill herself?

My other friend has someone who’s spreading lies about her. Who has time for this? And what is their motive? This girl is an up and coming author, she isn’t a threat in any way. The only thing she can do is ignore these tweets and report this behavior to Twitter.

In our public school system we’re trying to teach anti-bullying tactics. How are our kids supposed to learn these behaviors if they see adults behaving this way?

Now more than ever we need to be kind to each other. This type of behavior is getting way out of hand. Let’s start a ripple effect in the direction of kindness. Let’s see if we can be the change we want to see in the world.

 Photo credit: Steve.r via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC

 

Thanks for reading my post. If you’d like to read other Slice of Life Posts click here.

If you’ve ever been bullied by someone on social media, how did you handle it? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment!

 

Posted in Family, Parenting, raising kids

Teaching Children They Deserve Respect

 

Write. Share. Give.

 

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you. I’m back with another Slice of Life Post and today I want to touch on something that all kids need to learn. They need to learn they deserve respect.

 

Photo via Visualhunt.com

This is one of the things I worry about while I’m in the process of raising two boys. We’re very good at telling them they need to respect adults, their friends, and family members, but I think as parents we forget our kids are also entitled to receive respect.

 

This is one of the reasons I believe bullying is such a problem.

Photo credit: Nellie0224 via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC

 Teaching our children they have value even if they don’t have a lot of life experience,  is one of the keys to building self-esteem. How do we do this? That is a very good question and I’m so glad you asked.

Photo credit: cameraburps via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

We do this by asking their opinions. By asking them to help make family decisions. Recently, my husband and I were car shopping, and we brought the boys along. When we test drove a car, we asked them how they felt about it. We really listened to their input. This is one of the key ways to teach them how to not only articulate their opinions, but also how to negotiate for what they want. Important life skills, don’t you agree?

Photo via Visualhunt.com

Another way we can teach our kids they deserve respect is for us, parents, to respect them when they reach out to us. Don’t brush off their concerns or worries because we’ve got bigger problems to contend with. We have to be patient and realize whatever our child is dealing with, it’s probably a brand new experience and he needs help on how to handle it.

All kids grow at their own pace, we as parents need to respect that pace. Whether it’s fast enough for us or not. Because at this point, it is all about them, isn’t it?

We need to teach our kids to recognize disrespect for what it is and not react to it, to not let it damage their self-esteem. A fast recovery from these slights is important for our kids to have a more fulfilling life, wouldn’t you agree?

So how do you teach your child to handle disrespect? I struggled with this one because I have a hard time with this myself. I always think of a great come back five hours later. I shouldn’t even be thinking about the incident five hours later! But I digress.

It depends on the situation, but I’ve found that the best way to deal with this is to use “I” messages.

“I feel disrespected when you talk to me in that tone of voice.”

No one disrepects a lion, right?

Photo via Visual Hunt

The reason I think “I” messages are important is because it doesn’t put the bully on the defensive. Your child isn’t saying anything about him. He’s communicating his feelings. Whereas if his response were:

“You’re being mean to me.”

Then the bully will argue. You’re child and the antagonizer will get into a debate on whether or not he is being mean, and then there won’t be a satisfactory conclusion to the confrontation.

In the first scenario, it opens up an opportunity for your child and the bully to come to an understanding and maybe even become closer. That’s what we’re trying to do, isn’t it? Become closer? To have a better understanding of our peers and have mutual respect for each other?

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. If you have any ideas, I’d love to read them. Leave a comment! I love hearing from you!

 

Thanks to the Two Writing Teachers for creating The Slice of Life! If you’d like to read other Slice of Life Posts click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Parenting, Teen

Dealing with the Pain of Ostracization

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about Ostracization. Did you know rejecting, ostracizing, or dissing one of your peers can have major effects on their immune system? If sustained, these changes can increase risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, mental illness, and some cancers.

This worries me as a parent. How do we combat the effects of this behavior? I’m sure everyone has faced this type of rejection before. It is very painful and can create depression and anxiety in our child.

Did you know that chronic ostracization can lead to violent behavior? According to a study performed of fifteen school shootings, eight seven percent of them were a direct result of ongoing exclusion.  This is alarming.  (For more information click this link: http://www.alternet.org/culture/social-death-penalty-why-being-ostracized-hurts-even-more-bullying)

 

Photo credit: danielfoster437 via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Since school shootings are on the rise, we need to combat or deal with this problem. Not only to help end violence, but to maintain the mental and physical well-being of our children.

Why are certain people ostracized?

That is a good question. Ostracization expresses a group fear. It can be either physical or spiritual.  The person being ostracized is considered a threat in some way.

The problem is the communication between the group and the individual ceases. The individual may not even know how he’s threatening the group, so there is no possibility of recourse.

What can you do if your teen is ostracized?

 

Photo credit: Ed Yourdon via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Well, the first thing we need to do as parents is realize there is a cycle your child will go through.  Click the link below for more information:

http://ostracism-awareness.com/recovery/

  1. There is a period of grieving. The individual will mourn the loss of the group.
  2. After that the individual happily removes anything that reminds them of the person or group ostracizing them.
  3. The next stage is Lifting. The person is distracted by life and let’s go of the group that ostracized him. The distraction of life lifts the person out of the grief cycle and they move forward.

Ways to help your teen deal with Ostracization:

  1. Keep the lines of communication open with your teen. If he’s willing to talk to you about what’s happening, you’ll be able to help him deal with this problem.
  2. Be sure your child can identify the difference between unkind behavior and bullying.
  3. Discuss what is controllable and what isn’t. We have no control over other people’s behavior, but we do have control over how we react to it. Discuss ways your child can cope with this and deal with the feelings this type of behavior brings out.
  4. Give advice but don’t fix things. It’s natural for parents to want to step in and fix the situation for their children, but it’s not recommended. Instead, let your child decide how he wants to cope with it and support his decision. This will go a long way to building self-esteem.
  5. Encourage participation in outside activities. Help your child develop new friendships and rebuild his support system. This can be extra-curricular activities at school, sports, or church groups.
  6. Consider outside help. If your teen seems depressed or isn’t coping well call a professional to help.

 

For more information click the link below:

http://bullying.about.com/od/Victims/a/How-To-Help-Your-Child-Deal-With-Being-Ostracized.htm

 

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. I hope I’ve given you some good information on ways to help your teen deal with rejection. It’s painful, but they can recover. If you’d like to share your ideas leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Related Articles:

Can We Prevent Mass Shootings?

 

Volunteering: Another Solution to Teen Angst

 

What is the Underlying cause of Violence in our Schools?

Posted in Parenting, Teen

Check out One Teacher’s Solution to Violence in our Schools

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! I saw this on my Facebook page and had to share it with everyone. I think this is an awesome idea! I found this awesome story on Glennon Doyle Melton’s Blog. To see the original article click the link below.

http://momastery.com/blog/2014/01/30/share-schools/

ATTENTION ALL TEACHERS AND PARENTS

This is an article that needs to be repeated:

Photo Compliments of Flicker

A few weeks ago, I went into Chase’s class for tutoring.

I’d emailed Chase’s teacher one evening and said, “Chase keeps telling me that this stuff you’re sending home is math – but I’m not sure I believe him. Help, please.” She emailed right back and said, “No problem! I can tutor Chase after school anytime.” And I said, “No, not him. Me. He gets it. Help me.” And that’s how I ended up standing at a chalkboard in an empty fifth grade classroom staring at rows of shapes that Chase’s teacher kept referring to as “numbers.”

I stood a little shakily at the chalkboard while Chase’s teacher sat behind me, perched on her desk, using a soothing voice to try to help me understand the “new way we teach long division.”  Luckily for me, I didn’t have to unlearn much because I never really understood the “old way we taught long division.” It took me a solid hour to complete one problem, but l could tell that Chase’s teacher liked me anyway. She used to work with NASA, so obviously we have a whole lot in common.

Afterwards, we sat for a few minutes and talked about teaching children and what a sacred trust and responsibility it is. We agreed that subjects like math and reading are the least important things that are learned in a classroom. We talked about shaping little hearts to become contributors to a larger  community – and we discussed our mutual dream that those communities might be made up of individuals who are Kind and Brave above all.

And then she told me this.

Every Friday afternoon Chase’s teacher asks her students to take out a piece of paper and write down the names of four children with whom they’d like to sit the following week. The children know that these requests may or may not be honored. She also asks the students to nominate one student whom they believe has been an exceptional classroom citizen that week. All ballots are privately submitted to her.

And every single Friday afternoon, after the students go home, Chase’s teacher takes out those slips of paper, places them in front of her and studies them. She looks for patterns.

Who is not getting requested by anyone else?

Who doesn’t even know who to request?

Who never gets noticed enough to be nominated?

Who had a million friends last week and none this week?

You see, Chase’s teacher is not looking for a new seating chart or “exceptional citizens.” Chase’s teacher is looking for lonely children. She’s looking for children who are struggling to connect with other children. She’s identifying the little ones who are falling through the cracks of the class’s social life. She is discovering whose gifts are going unnoticed by their peers. And she’s pinning down- right away- who’s being bullied and who is doing the bullying.

As a teacher, parent, and lover of all children – I think that this is the most brilliant Love Ninja strategy I have ever encountered. It’s like taking an X-ray of a classroom to see beneath the surface of things and into the hearts of students. It is like mining for gold – the gold being those little ones who need a little help – who need adults to step in and TEACH them how to make friends, how to ask others to play, how to join a group, or how to share their gifts with others. And it’s a bully deterrent because every teacher knows that bullying usually happens outside of her eyeshot – and that often kids being bullied are too intimidated to share. But as she said – the truth comes out on those safe, private, little sheets of paper.

As Chase’s teacher explained this simple, ingenious idea – I stared at her with my mouth hanging open. “How long have you been using this system?” I said.

Ever since Columbine, she said. Every single Friday afternoon since Columbine.

Good Lord.

This brilliant woman watched Columbine knowing that ALL VIOLENCE BEGINS WITH DISCONNECTION. All outward violence begins as inner loneliness. She watched that tragedy KNOWING that children who aren’t being noticed will eventually resort to being noticed by any means necessary.

And so she decided to start fighting violence early and often, and with the world within her reach. What Chase’s teacher is doing when she sits in her empty classroom studying those lists written with shaky 11 year old hands – is SAVING LIVES. I am convinced of it. She is saving lives.

And what this mathematician has learned while using this system is something she really already knew: that everything – even love, even belonging – has a pattern to it. And she finds those patterns through those lists – she breaks the codes of disconnection. And then she gets lonely kids the help they need. It’s math to her. It’s MATH.

All is love- even math. Amazing.

Chase’s teacher retires this year – after decades of saving lives. What a way to spend a life: looking for patterns of love and loneliness. Stepping in, every single day- and altering the trajectory of our world.

TEACH ON, WARRIORS. You are the first responders, the front line, the disconnection detectives, and the best and ONLY hope we’ve got for a better world. What you do in those classrooms when no one is watching- it’s our best hope.

What can we do about Office Bullies?

Photo courtesy of Lachay Orpen
Photo courtesy of Lachay Orpen

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about a hot topic that is on everyone’s mind. That topic is bullying. Bullying is everywhere these days; however, it has been around forever.

I just finished reading “The Book Thief.” A very emotional story and my review is posted here:   https://lisaorchard.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/a-review-of-the-book-thief/

Anyway, as I read the story, I felt the fear of the Germans and the Jews and it made me realize that Hitler was a very powerful bully. This is an extreme example of what can happen when a bully gains power. This is why we must do something about this horrible epidemic.

I know what you’re thinking, this is an extreme example and it has only happened once in our lifetime, but in my opinion once is one too many times. We encounter bullying in all forms. Our kids experience it in our schools. We experience it in the workplace. I’ve written about it many times on my blog and I’ve read many other articles about it.

I have a friend who has just gone through some office bullying. Office bullies are the worst. She was dependent on the bully for training for her position. The bully didn’t like her from day one. She would scream at my friend and treat her disrespectfully in front of customers. My friend went to the boss, but the boss did nothing. You see the boss was dependent on the bully as well. She wasn’t going to upset her either.

The bully was horrible to my friend, she got others in the office to side with her, and they worked against my friend. They sabotaged her and misled her during training. When you’re trained incorrectly, on purpose, you’re bound to make mistakes and incur the wrath of not only the bully but the boss as well.

My friend had no choice but to leave the position. She’s well rid of the job, but it’s unfortunate because she could have excelled at it if the environment had been different. This is why people become bullies, because they get the results they want. It works for them.

It’s unfortunate, but true. So what can we do? We can make sure the bullies don’t win, but we’re going to need the help of corporations. It’s going to require Human Resources to crack down on complaints of bullying and support the victims who report it. I’m sure many events go unreported because the bully is in a position of power. We need to break the code of silence.

We need anti-bullying campaigns not only in our schools, but in our corporations as well. The question is, how do we do that? My guess is that we need to get our representatives involved. We need to make it part of a political campaign.

Wouldn’t you agree?

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. If you’d like to share your experiences with office bullying, please leave a comment. I’d love to read them! And if you have any solutions to the problem, I’d love to read those too!

Posted in Teen

How can you stop a Bully?

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! A fellow blogger asked me to discuss a topic that’s near and dear to everyone’s heart, and since October is National Bullying Prevention month, I thought why not? So, you guessed it the topic for this post is Bullying.

Did you know one of the underlying causes of violence in our schools and teen suicide is bullying? In fact, suicide is the third leading cause of death for teenagers between the ages of fifteen to twenty four. To me, this is heartbreaking news, especially since bullying is easily preventable.

What is bullying?

According to Wikipedia, bullying is a form of aggressive behavior manifested by the use of force or coercion to affect others, particularly when the behavior is habitual and involves an imbalance of power.

Bullying consists of three basic types of abuse emotional, verbal, and physical. It usually starts out as verbal abuse, and if it has not stopped in time, it escalates to physical abuse.

Who are the bullies?

Again, according to Wikipedia, research indicates that people with a strong need to control or dominate tend to be bullies. Further studies indicate that envy and resentment may be motives for bullying.

While some bullies are arrogant and narcissistic, others use bullying as a tool to conceal shame or anxiety. By demeaning others, they feel empowered by their dominance.

Who are the victims?

People who react to stressful situations by perceiving themselves as victims tend to be the best targets for bullying. These people give the response the bully is looking for, submission. However, if the target responds with a clear attitude of self-confidence that somehow demonstrates that the bully’s attempt at control is futile, then the bullying will quickly diminish or end all together.

There is another factor to bullying that is intriguing. Despite the large number of individuals who do not agree with the bully’s tactics, very few will intervene on behalf of the victim.

In 85% of bullying incidents, bystanders are involved in teasing the victim or egging on the bully. This gives the bully permission to continue behaving badly and may actually increase the behavior.

The reason the bystanders behave this way is that they want to avoid becoming a victim themselves.

Sadly, all it would take is one or two people standing up for the victim to stop the bullying behavior.

What can a victim do?

I found some excellent advice from the link below.

http://library.thinkquest.org/07aug/00117/victimscando.html

They stress the HA HA SO method:

H  Ask for help from friends, teachers, parents, or other adults.

A  Assert yourself. The best way to do this is by using I statements.  For example:  “I feel _____ when you _______.”

H  Humor. The bully wants to upset you, so instead of getting mad use humor to diffuse the situation. Be ready with a joke.

A  Avoid. Stay away from the bully as much as possible

Self talk.  If you are being bullied, think of good things about yourself even if the bully is picking on you.

O  Own it. Sometimes what the bully says might be true, so you can own the comment.  For example, if a bully is making fun of you because you wear glasses you can say “All the better to see you with.”  You can’t deny you wear glasses, but you don’t have to be ashamed of it either.

Of course, these techniques might not work all the time, nothing is foolproof, but to learn more go to:

http://library.thinkquest.org/07aug/00117/victimscando.html

I hope this information was helpful to you! If you have any suggestions or tips to share, please post them in a comment. I’d love to hear from you!