Friday, March 09, 2012

Bullying and empathy

I just picked up a book from our boys' school, No Kidding About Bullying. The school itself is trying to encourage parents to be parents and read and think and get involved in their kids lives. Its sad that its come to this, the big government institution has to look after us, the small mom and pop outfit...and I applaud them for what they are doing.

The book itself is great. It offers 125 lessons to help with handling and preventing bullying. This post isn't about any of those ideas however. It is about the premise behind the book.

Dr Susan Limber says "Children and youth who are bullied are more likely than other children to be depressed, lonely, anxious; have low self-esteem; feel unwell; and think about suicide"

"Emotions have a collective existence" that is, how you feel is also dependent on "not just your choices and actions, but also on the choices and actions of people...who are one, two and three degrees removed from you." (Pam Bellack, New York Times, Dec 4, 2008) That is, we tend to imitate what others are doing even at a cellular level (mirror neurons). If we are around negative people, we tend to become negative. If we are around people setting a good example, we tend to follow it. This leads to the point of "No Kidding About Bullying" by Naomi Drew, that children can be taught empathy, compassion, and the social skills needed to combat a bullying atmosphere.

The book mentions five top skills that help kids succeed at school as researched by Dr Stephen Elliott of Vanderbilt University. They are:
     1. Listening to others
     2. Taking turns when talking
     3. Getting along with others
     4. Staying calm with others
     5. Taking responsibility for your own actions

I leave you a link from Thursday, that I stumbled across reading another blog I read nearly every day. Its nearly funny. But its all serious. What are we doing to combat bullying? Are we taking the cries of our children seriously? You could do far worse than looking into No Kidding About Bullying.

Check here for some helpful books I am giving away.


Sabrina said...

great link.
I think it is so far beyond the classroom. We are groomed as a society to judge others, think idol, dance shows and "reality TV". Even if we aren't all bullies out loud, in our own cars we pass judgements on the people we pass, or the people we share the road with. As parents we pass judgements on our kids without listening or empathizing. As friends or church memebers we realy empathize first.
How many of us stop to help kids on a playground when kids are calling names or when we see a situation where someone is being pushed around on the sidewalk, do we stop that bulling or do we drop our heads and walk away?
No I think the bulling issue is a much bigger issue. We are all part of the problem. And I think we all need to take ownership.

Crack You Whip said...

Bullying is such an epidemic of great proportions and involves everyone. Way too many people and parents turn their heads.

It is time it is taken seriously and hopefully more people unite in tackling this problem.

Great post...thank you for sharing!

Arlee Bird said...

Excellent topical post. Bullying has been in the news a lot of late. I can remember bullies when I was a kid. I didn't deal with it much, but I know it did happen.

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