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.