Carmen answers questions for the PacerKidsAgainstBullying.org
Why do bullies pick on certain people?
– Davina, 5th grade
This is such an interesting question and one that unfortunately doesn’t have a perfect answer. We don’t always know why people bully or why they pick certain people to bully because bullying can happen to anyone. The best answer I can give you is to tell you the most common reasons why a person might be chosen as a bullying target. (While you’re reading this please know that even if someone has these risk factors, it doesn’t mean they will be bullied.)
A person might be more of a bullying target if they:
Are seen as physically different from others (overweight/underweight, wearing glasses or hearing aids, wearing the wrong” clothes, having a disability that makes them talk or walk differently)
Are seen as weak or not able to fight back
Are less popular and don’t have many friends
Are depressed, anxious, or have low self-esteem
Don’t get along well with others or are seen as annoying
Remember: no one deserves to be bullied, no matter what they look or act like. I hope that you will spread that message at your school and help make it a welcoming place for everybody!
If you’ve ever been the victim of a bully, you know too well how it feels to humiliated and overpowered. While there is no way to 100% bully-proof anyone, there are important skills we can teach our children to minimize the impact a bully has, to turn them away, and to help our children get out of sticky situations.
Help Your Child Build a Positive Social Network
Connection with caring friends and supportive adults act as a shield of sorts, giving your child strength to overcome the challenge a bully presents. In fact, being socially connected is an important factor in overall happiness. How can you help your child build this network?
Give Your Child the Gift of Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence plays an important role in our relationships, social status, success, and happiness. A child who is comfortable with her emotions and knows how to confidently handle them is less likely to be shaken by the words or actions of a bully. She is better able to move through emotions like anger, sadness, fear, and disappointment. Try these tips to increase your child’s EI.
Teach Your Child to Be Assertive
Bullies prey on victims who are isolated or who they can intimidate. Being assertive means your child can voice how she is feeling and stand up for her rights without being aggressive or passive. Assertive people can calmly state their feelings and needs in a respectful way. Here are some tips:
by Rebecca Eanes on May 2nd, 2017
Rebecca Eanes, is the founder of positive-parents.org and creator of Positive Parenting: Toddlers and Beyond. She is the bestselling author of 3 books. Her newest book,Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, is more than a parenting book, it's a guide to human connection. She has also written The Newbie's Guide to Positive Parenting, and co-authored the book, Positive Parenting in Action: The How-To Guide to Putting Positive Parenting Principles in Action in Early Childhood. She is the grateful mother to 2 boys
My toddler struggled to buckle the straps on her high chair. “Almost,” she muttered as she tried again and again. “Almost,” I agreed, trying not to hover. When she got it, I exclaimed, “You did it! It was hard, but you kept trying, and you did it. I’m so proud of you.”
The way I praised her effort took a little effort on my part. If I hadn’t known better, I might have just said, “Clever girl!” (Or even “Here, let me help you with that.”) What’s so bad about that?
Stanford researcher Carol Dweck has been studying motivation and perseverance since the 1960s. And she found that children fall into one of two categories:
Those with a fixed mindset, who believe their successes are a result of their innate talent or smarts
Those with a growth mindset, who believe their successes are a result of their hard work
Fixed mindset: ‘If you have to work hard, you don’t have ability.’
Kids with a fixed mindset believe that you are stuck with however much intelligence you’re born with. They would agree with this statement: “If you have to work hard, you don’t have ability. If you have ability, things come naturally to you.” When they fail, these kids feel trapped. They start thinking they must not be as talented or smart as everyone’s been telling them. They avoid challenges, fearful that they won’t look smart.
Growth mindset: ‘The more you challenge yourself, the smarter you become.’
Kids with a growth mindset believe that intelligence can be cultivated: the more learning you do, the smarter you become. These kids understand that even geniuses must work hard. When they suffer a setback, they believe they can improve by putting in more time and effort. They value learning over looking smart. They persevere through difficult tasks.
What creates these beliefs in our kids? The type of praise we give them — even starting at age 1.
In one study, Dweck gathered up fifth graders, randomly divided them in two groups, and had them work on problems from an IQ test. She then praised the first group for their intelligence:
“Wow, that’s a really good score. You must be smart at this.”
She praised the second group for their effort: (The way we do it in martial arts)
“Wow, that’s a really good score. You must have tried really hard.”
She continued to test the kids, including presenting them with a choice between a harder or easier task.
Kids praised for their effort tended to take the challenging task, knowing they could learn more. They were more likely to continue feeling motivated to learn and to retain their confidence as problems got harder.
Kids praised for their intelligence requested the easier task, knowing there was a higher chance of success. They lost their confidence as problems got harder, and they were much more likely to inflate their test scores when recounting them.
Later, Dweck and her colleagues took the study out of the lab and into the home. Every four months for two years, Stanford and University of Chicago researchers visited fifty-three families and recorded them for ninety minutes as they went about their usual routines. The children were 14 months old at the start of the study.
Researchers then calculated how often parents used each type of praise: praising effort; praising character traits; and “other praise” that has a neutral effect, like “Good!” and “Wow!”
They waited five years.
Then the researchers surveyed the children, now 7 to 8 years old, on their attitudes toward challenges and learning. Children with a growth mindset tended to be more interested in challenges. Which kids had a growth mindset? Those who had heard more process praise as toddlers.
I give more examples of ways to praise effort in my book, Zero to Five: Parenting Tips Based on Science.
Can you unfix a fixed mindset?
I got an email from an inner-city high school teacher. “Is it too late to learn algebra, or third-person singular conjugation, or rocket science if you didn’t [develop a growth mindset] when you were 4 years old?” she asked.
Dweck had the same question. So she took middle-schoolers and college students who had fixed mindsets. She found that the students were able to improve their grades when they were taught that the brain is like a muscle: intelligence is not fixed.
It’s not too late — not for your kids, and not for you. Salman Khan of Khan Academy is on a mission to let you know it. He created an inspiring video, based on Dweck’s work, titled “You Can Learn Anything”:
The message: The brain is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. The way you exercise your brain is by embracing challenges, practicing skills, learning new things. As Khan puts it, “the brain grows most by getting questions wrong, not right.”
Which is why, when my toddler was trying to snap her own buckle, I needed to encourage her to take on the challenge by saying, “Almost!” and “Try again” instead of “Here, let me do that for you.”
Sharing is caring, as they say. “If society as a whole begins to embrace the struggle of learning, there is no end to what that could mean for global human potential,” Khan writes. So pass it on!
By Tracy Cutchlow
I read this article and have my own opinion on kids being quitters. As a martial arts teacher and author I have had the opportunity to teach thousands of kids. Unfortunately some quit. However retention for young teens is really good. Martial Arts kids have an advantage because they are built inside and out. On the outside they gain skills, self defense, speed, strength, flexibility and great coordination. Inside is the big advantage. Learning to set and achieve goals, build confidence, self-esteem, ability to block out distractions, perseverance, courage, sportsmanship and commitment.
Many schools also offer Jr. Instructor Training for young teens giving them the opportunity for a great job at 16.
Greg Silva - President of Black Belt Schools International and author of The Silva Solution - Building Black Belts from the Inside Out
At 13, kids generally find themselves with more (and more challenging) school work. Most are also encouraged to start choosing what interests them the most and what they’re best at. There’s no longer time for them to do as much they did in elementary school.
Some of the major social and emotional changes that 13-year-olds experience also predispose them to making decisions such as quitting sports, especially as that environment becomes more competitive. The CDC describes it on its developmental milestones page as a “focus on themselves… going back and forth between high expectations and lack of confidence.” Kids become more focused on — and influenced by — their friends, many of whom are also walking away from organized youth sports.
Any discussion about being 13 also needs to include social media, smartphones and the Internet. According to the Pew Center’s Internet Research Study, most U.S. kids receive their first cellphone or wireless device by the age of 12. Between the ages of 13 and 17, 92 percent of teens report being online every day, and 24 percent are online “almost constantly.” As kids become teenagers, their priorities change. How they socialize, study and spend their time changes with them.
These things collectively represent a perfect storm. There are no easy answers here. The system of youth sports is set up to cater to more elite players as they approach high school, leaving average kids with fewer opportunities. Our culture encourages specialization and achievement, which actively discourages kids from trying new things or just playing for fun. And all of this converges at a time when they’re going through major physical, emotional and social changes as well as facing pressure to pare down their interests and focus on school.
So why do 70 percent of kids quit organized sports at 13 and what can we do about it?
I would argue that most kids leave because we haven’t given them a way to stay. And perhaps more importantly, until we dismantle the parenting culture that emphasizes achievement and success over healthy, happy kids, we don’t stand a chance of solving this problem.
-Julianna W. Miner
Organizing schoolwork would be a breeze for many students if only they followed a few simple tasks on a routine basis. Very often it’s the small details of daily life that slow you down.
The following are some suggestions to maintain good school grades and to be a successful student:
Have a safe, successful and KICK’N school year!
As kids navigate friendships and cliques, there's plenty parents can do to offer support. If your child seems upset, or suddenly spends time alone when usually very social, ask about it.
Here are some tips:
Talk about your own experiences. Share your own experiences of school — cliques have been around for a long time!
Help put rejection in perspective. Remind your child of times he or she has been angry with parents, friends, or siblings — and how quickly things can change.
Shed some light on social dynamics. Acknowledge that people are often judged by the way a person looks, acts, or dresses, but that often people act mean and put others down because they lack self-confidence and try to cover it up by maintaining control.
Find stories they can relate to. Many books, TV shows, and movies portray outsiders triumphing in the face of rejection and send strong messages about the importance of being true to your own nature and the value of being a good friend, even in the face of difficult social situations. For school-age kids, books like "Blubber" by Judy Blume illustrate how quickly cliques can change. Older kids and teens might relate to movies such as "Mean Girls," "Angus," "The Breakfast Club," and "Clueless."
Foster out-of-school friendships. Get kids involved in extracurricular activities (if they aren't already) — Martial Arts is a great choice. Martial Arts schools are Bully Proof Zones, kids treat each other with respect and kids are part of a positive team of role models.
You are invited to try a Beginner's Martial Arts Workshop, for self defense, fitness and fun. Call us to register for this week's FREE community workshop for kids!
So there's a lot to gain from regular physical activity, but how do you encourage kids to do it?
The three keys are:
When kids enjoy an activity, they want to do more of it. Practicing a skill — whether it's swimming or riding a tricycle or martial arts — improves their abilities and helps them feel accomplished, especially when the effort is noticed and praised. These good feelings often make kids want to continue the activity and even try others.
I have been involved with teaching martial arts to children for more than 40 years. Over those years I had the opportunity to teach thousands for kids and help other martial artists develop programs to inspire kids to train, develop positive beliefs, gain confidence and self esteem. I don't know of another sport or art that does these things as effective as martial arts. Classes are fun, kids get positive encouragement, learn to over come challenges, learn sportsmanship and goal setting. If you are looking for an activity with a purpose contact a martial arts school that specializes in kids classes. You and your child will be glad you did.
Author of The Silva Solution: Building Black Belts from the Inside Out
President of Black Belt Schools International
The Effects Of Bullying
Kids and teens are hesitant to talk about being bullied. Parents should watch for sudden changes in your child’s behavior.
Signs of Being Bullied
Signs can include:
Reluctance to go to school
Sudden drop in grades
Staying away from friends
Frequent complaints of headaches and/or stomach aches
Long-Term Effects of Bullying
Bullies create a constant fear in their victims. Some kids may:
Lose all self-esteem
Suffer from severe depression
Could turn to drug and alcohol use
Could start self harming
Some kids are so tormented that they use suicide as an alternative.
Kids and teens look to their parents for protection and advice. Many think bullying will toughen kids up or that it’s a right of passage. It used to be like that. Not anymore! Our kids are subjected to more than we ever were. It’s a different world today!
We cannot allow our children to hurt from these senseless acts of empowerment from other kids who have learned this behavior.
And remember – what is learned can be unlearned.
Martial Arts training is great for building confidence with competence. Check out our trial offer! Contact us for more information on how we can help your child!
Make sure your children get plenty of liquids to stay healthy and active this summer, and help them develop good hydration habits for a lifetime.
By Debra Wittrup
Children are much more prone to dehydration than adults because their bodies don't cool down as efficiently, and they are never more at risk than during the heat of summer. The danger arises when fluids are leaving the body through sweating faster than they are being replaced, and severe dehydration can be life-threatening. Taking a few simple precautions will protect your child and allow him to enjoy the summer fun safely.
Perhaps the best way to keep your child hydrated is to get her used to drinking liquids regularly. Offer healthy beverages at every meal and with snacks. And if you know a particularly busy or strenuous day is coming up in your child's schedule, add some extra hydration in her first meal of the day or even the night before. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends drinking the equivalent of a standard bottle of water (16.9 oz.) about 2 hours before vigorous exercise.
Wet Their Whistles
Don't wait until your child is thirsty to offer refreshment; by that time he is already dehydrated. Three studies by the University of Connecticut found that more than half of the children at sports camps were significantly dehydrated despite the availability of water and sports drinks and the encouragement to drink liquids. Get your child in the habit early on by scheduling frequent beverage breaks during activity, about every 20 minutes or so in hot weather. If possible, take all hydration breaks in a shady spot.
Banned from the Sport
When choosing drinks for kids, avoid those that have caffeine, such as iced tea or many sodas. As a diuretic, caffeine can contribute to the dehydration process by increasing fluid loss. In addition, as a stimulant, it can depress the symptoms of dehydration. Beverages such as soda or juice-flavored drinks might taste refreshing, but the high sugar content is unhealthy for many reasons and should be avoided for hydration except as a last resort.
Many fruits are excellent sources of water as well as being a nutritious snack. Offer fruits often during playtime and throw them in the cooler for after-game snacks. Fruit juice has a higher concentration of sugar than whole fruit and because of that, it's not the best beverage choice for hydration during strenuous exercise. But the AAP (American Academy of Pediatric) does see a place for it among your options: for activity periods longer than three hours, the AAP suggests a drink of half water and half 100-percent juice.
Eat Your Veggies
Always include high-water-content foods in your daily meal planning to help your family stay well-hydrated at all times so strenuous activities don't find them in a deficit. In addition to water, fruit, fruit juice, and many vegetables are excellent sources of hydration. Clear soup, especially when made with vegetables, offers an ideal way to get liquid into the diet along with good nutrition.
As they get older, you won't be able to follow your kids everywhere to ensure they're getting the liquids they need. But you can help them to understand the importance of hydrating frequently for good health. Instill in them early on the habits of frequent beverage breaks and choosing liquids wisely. Help those good habits along by always packing good sources of hydration into their lunchboxes or backpacks as not-so-subtle reminders to keep up the good work!