Thursday, April 5, 2012

Squash Bullying Early

Thanks to The Bully Project for sponsoring my writing. Visit their website to join the movement and learn more.


Today's post addresses a serious topic and I wanted to share with you the ways I have addressed this issue with children as young as 8 years old. I have a belief. I believe serious subjects are never discussed once, then left on a shelf. I believe serious topics have stages of entrance into our minds, and that those ideas should start to be discussed when our children are young. Whether it's talking about the birds and the bees, drugs, smoking, or even bullying, with our kids, it's an ongoing discussion that elevates in detail at each turn. If we talk with our kids about the effects of bullying, what bullying is, and ways to react when confronted with situations, perhaps we can stop bullying in its path. And the sooner our kids are armed with defenses, the more likely we are to nip this issue in the bud.

Bullying doesn't belong to the middle schoolers. It doesn't matter the age, young or adult. As long as there is jealousy, envy, desire for power, and people feeling bad about themselves, there will, forever, be bullying. It's an equal opportunity demon that affects each of us at least once in our lifetime. Learning about the why's and what's of bullying is a spark to igniting prevention and, at the very least, provides our kids tools to put out the flames when a flare-up occurs.

Books open doors to children and give them a voice to express their own feelings through literary characters. This is especially important for boys, when discussing feelings is probably not at the top of their skill level. To help feed this idea, I began an after-school book club at my son's old school when he was in 2nd grade. It was such a success, I continued it through his 3rd grade year. I stumbled on a book that I thought we should read and the outcomes of those book club discussions helped build a supplemental workshop I called Free to Be Me regarding the topic of bullying. The book, Shredderman Secret Identity by Wendelin Van Draanen, is such a great book to have elementary school-aged children read. And through discussion, much is revealed when these young minds open up to their own bullying experiences.

Synopsis: When the class nerd becomes a SuperHero against the class bully, things get complicated. This book conveys the slippery path of morality and goodness when fighting for the rights of nerds while taking away the rights of bullies. Interesting question when faced against the context of brain over brawn. If the bullied turns around and bullies the bully through cyberspace, is it right? Both sides need to be examined.

When the kids and I met to discuss this book, the conversations took a most disturbing turn. Their shared experiences with bullying were surprising to say the least (did I mention these were 3rd graders?) and it prompted my initiative to create an anti-bullying workshop for the kids.

Source
Education is the best prevention against any threat. Reading the book is a great opener to discussing bullying themes. The workshop then takes it further by talking about safe places, people we can trust, and the important role and responsibility a bystander has to a bully's victim. It's also important to discuss the definition of bullying, bullying myths, and the differences between telling and tattling. Role playing was also conducted and ending being an important factor. Finally, combat against bullying is one's own self-confidence. The workshop takes the kids through a thought-provoking journey of discovering what they like about themselves, why they are unique, special, and necessary to this world. Teach our children to be the mountain that cannot be torn down with words.


I'd be more than happy to share my book discussion questions, workshop agenda and activities with anyone interested in conducting a similar discussion with children. Just e-mail me and I'll send you all I have created. Find my e-mail info to the left under Profile.

Here's a trailer to the recent, controversial movie regarding bullying today. I hope you support its message and purpose. I implore you to take a stand and protect our future for it rests in the hearts of our children.




I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. Find showings in your area for The Bully Project and buy tickets here.

25 comments:

Michele said...

"I believe serious subjects are never discussed once, then left on a shelf." This post is so important, Lilly. I'll be going over to join the site and look for the book. I'll be looking for the movie as well. Thank you for posting.

xoxo michele

Emily Joyce said...

Wonderful post!!

Suzan Wood-Young said...

Great post Lilly, such an important topic. It's a shame this movie won't be able to be seen by kids in the U.S. due to the R rating, but I'm sure it will give parents a new perspective. Let's hope they talk to their kids. I'm hoping it might have an effect on adult bullies as well. I found myself being bullied by a group of women I worked with. I never had a problem in middle school or high school, and it was quite bizarre to see these women act like 13 year old mean girls. It eventually affected my health and I left the job.

I am LOVD said...

Michele, thanks for commenting. If you want any of my book discussion questions to help promote in-depth conversations with young kids, please let me know and I'd be happy to send you what I have developed.

I am LOVD said...

Thank you, Emily!

I am LOVD said...

Suzan, yest the R rating stinks!!! I can't believe it! I'm so sorry for your situation at your previous job. It's unbelievable that people of any age, especially those that should know better, can be so cruel. I hope you've left the worst behind you and have found a good place to be. Health first, my friend!

Suzan Wood-Young said...

Thanks Lilly, also congrats on your selection for sponsorship and your anti-bullying workshop.

Amy said...

Very important topic...kudos to you for addressing it on your blog.

Kelly @ Live Laugh Rowe said...

Great post on a sad, but realistic, battle that too many face :) Thanks for sharing Lilly! Have a blessed and happy Easter.

Rose :: Fine Craft Guild .com said...

it is so clear that you both speak from the heart and from experience. your concern to pass on the message and fight for your cause is heart warming, to say the least.

Anonymous said...

I believe that kindness and respect for others, whoever they may be, is one of the most important things we must teach our children. It seems to me that kids who july others may be bullied at home by older sibs or even parents. Some how some way these kids are troubled and if we want to get to the core of the problem perhaps we should start with bullies themselves. I don't think anyone is born mean spirited and it breaks my heart to wonder how any child (or uneducated adult for that matter) could say or do something that would cause harm to another individual. I discuss this with my son and explain to him that bullies need help because they do not know how to deal with their feelings in an acceptable way. this empowers kids who may be bullied to think they know something the bully doesn't. Of course this is not a remedy for the bullying itself but it seems to be a different approach to discussing the subject with young kids.

Lily thanks so much for including me on the post. i'm excited to keep reading and if there is anything I can do to join you in this initiative please let me know I'd be thrilled to help.

Best to all

Rachel Lerner

momto8 said...

My friends were just talking about this at prayer group on Monday...they showed it to the youth group kids..also my husband saw this in a drs waiting room! very upsetting..I have heard..but whoever saw it definitely thought this should be talked about.

I am LOVD said...

Rachel,
Thanks so much for your comment! Yes, I agree wholeheartedly. In the book, Shredderman Secret Identity, it addresses this very issue, as well. The main character observes from afar how the bully is treated by his father and a lot is told by this treatment. Although it doesn’t excuse the bully’s behavior, it certainly gives an origin for it. This book has so many great discussion points from which to jump from with any child. I personally think it should be required reading for elementary school-aged children, with in-depth discussion!

Take care and thanks for your passion towards the subject matter,
Lilly

I am LOVD said...

Thank you, Amy! Spread the word!

I am LOVD said...

Kelly, thank you and have a wonderful Easter, as well. Thanks for commenting and showing your support and care!

I am LOVD said...

Rose,
Thank you so much and yes, I think we can all speak from our own experiences. As a blogger, if you haven't received nasty comments, then you are the luckiest blogger on the internet. Blog enough, and those nasty comments get through sometimes. I call that cyber-bullying. So whether your 13 or 33 years old, attacks come and knowing who you are helps to understand, and gives sympathy towards, where it came from.

I am LOVD said...

Thanks for your comment, momto8. The buzz is circling. I hope discussions continue long after this post goes to archive!

CaseyWiegand said...

wow friend!!!! crazy bc i wrote a post months ago ab bullying and never posted- now i feel like i should. that video made me cry...terrible

I am LOVD said...

Casey, I encourage you to post what you wrote months ago about bullying. Let's keep this momentum going and speak out - with this movie out, there's no better time!!!

LOVD tidings and thanks so much for taking the time to comment.

Melissa Blake said...

Thank you for this post!! Stopping bullying is soooo important...can't wait to see this film!

I am LOVD said...

Melissa, thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Yes, it is a must-see! I only pray it comes to my area on April 13.

Barry R. Silver said...

Thanks for bringing up this important topic. You are so right, education is the key and never discuss an important topic only once.

I am LOVD said...

Barry, thanks so much for commenting. I'm so pleased you weighed in!

Amy Sullivan said...

This is such a hot topic. Thanks for lending your voice to spread the word. Off to tweet it!

I am LOVD said...

Amy thanks so much for spreading the word!

 

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