UFI

“Sticks and Stones May break my bones…”

In Child Abuse, Child Development, Choice, Drug Use, Education, Families, Parenting, Values, Violence on May 3, 2016 at 6:07 am

 bullying 2Cinthia Jahnsen

 

A look into bullying, it’s effects and how we can help.

 

We have all heard the phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”. I remember saying that to kids who were teasing me or saying hurtful things as a kid. But the truth is, words do hurt. And believe it or not, words can have a longer lasting effect than the “sticks and stones”. So why is it so hard for kids (and sometimes us adults) to remember to speak kindly and be nice?

 

Bullying has been around forever. I think in the past bullying was not a verb but a noun. She is a bully or he is a bully. But now days, schools, educators and families are taking bullying very seriously. The subject of bullying seems to have been a growing topic in todays world. Perhaps it is the increased news coverage of teen suicides or perhaps TV shows such as glee, or movies like mean girls have really intensified what we perceive as the goings on at our children schools. We no longer can brush aside bullying behavior as, “kids being kids” or brushing things off as unimportant. As a parent, it is important to know how empower your child with the tools needed to be strong, full of self-confidence and ways to protect themselves from the bullies that will come and go inevitable throughout their whole lives. There will always be the bully at work, at school, at the office, at the store and children and parents need to know how to handle sticky situations.

 

Who is bullied?

 

Bullying can happen to anyone no matter race, gender, or popularity.

 

Research shows that over 3.2 million students are victims of bullying and 16,000 teens skip school because of bullying each day. Bullying is not just physical aggression it can be verbal physical or cyber. Bullying does not occur to only one gender but comes in all shapes and sizes, male and female, popular or unpopular. Bullies can one day be a friend and the next day form groups that are dedicated to ridicule and tease this so called “friend”. We all remember the childhood and high school drama (whether we want to or not) we went through as kids. As much as we wish times have changed enough to prevent the same cruel behavior to happen to our own children, this is not the case. At least when we were kids, you could have a safe haven at home where you could escape the negativity, but with cyber-bullying becoming more and more of an issue, there is almost no where to run.

 

What is Bullying?

 

Bullying is more than stealing lunch money. There is psychical, verbal, relational and cyber bullying.

 

Although, most people think of bullying as psychical aggression, a lot of bullying is done behind the scenes in forms of verbal abuse, friendship drama, and cyber bullying. Here are a few forms of bullying you may have not noticed before:

 

Psychical: Psychical bullying includes hitting, pushing, spitting, taking other possessions, or stealing lunch or lunch money. Psychical bullying is more often done by boys than girls.

 

Verbal: Verbal bullying can be anything from name calling to taunting and constant teasing. It can also be in the form of eye rolling or hostile facial expressions.

 

Relational: Relational bullying is intentionally leaving someone out of a group, exclusion, ostracizing, spreading gossip and rumors or defaming a persons reputation. Relational bullying is more often done by girls than boys.

 

Cyber: Cyber-bullying is becoming more and more of a problem in recent years due to the number of children with access to the internet and involvement in social media sights such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Cyber-bulling, unlike other forms of bullying, has no escape and has long lasting hurtful effects. According to the U.S. Department of Education one out of every four students (22%) report being bullied during the school year.

 

Effects of Bullying

 

Don’t just brush it off. Bullying can have long term effects.

 

As a parent, I need to help and coach my child through difficult relationship issues in order for them to find success in dealing with hard situations in the future. Not all cases of mean behavior are considered bullying. We all are aware of times where we have said unkind words, or have spoken in anger and later realized our mistakes and tried to rectify them. Bullying is mean, rude, and hurtful behavior, but it is most likely true bullying when it happens on a regular basis. Studies have suggested some problems children can develop and take with them into adulthood as a bully victim. But not only are victims at risk, those who are the bully are at risk for adult maladjustment as well.

 

The victim:

Social Anxiety

Coping

Self-blame

Depression

Anxiety

Low self-esteem

Poor school adjustment

Sleep difficulties

 

The Bully:

Academic problems

Substance abuse

Violent behavior late in adolescents and adulthood

 

Intervention is key

 

Make a difference, and stand up for what is right.

 

Isn’t it interesting that peers have such a strong influence over their friends at school? Did you know the majority of bullying incidences can be stopped when a peer intervenes on a victims behalf? That is more effective than a teacher, parent or principle intervening. Children and youth have a strong influence on those around them even if they don’t know it. Words like, “Leave him alone”, “Stop it!”, or “Come on, let’s get out of here.” can help stop bullying and reduce the risk of reoccurrence. According to the “The Youth Voice Research Project: Victimization and Strategies” “students who experience bullying report that allying and supportive actions from their peers (such as spending time with the student, talking to him/her, helping him/her get away, or giving advice) were the most helpful actions from bystanders. Students who experience bullying are more likely to find peer actions more helpful than an educator or self-actions.”

 

On the flip side, if parents and teachers really want to help the best way is to be available to listen and follow through. The most unhelpful and potentially harmful thing a teacher or parent can do in bullying situations is tell the student to figure it out on their own, be told the bullying is being caused by the victims own behavior or by telling the student to stop tattling. Help your child, give them verbal resources and help them see the importance of helping others in times of need and stand up for their friends and peers in bullying situations.

 

Parents and teachers roles

 

Be a support and be a friend to your child. They need your help, example and listening ear.

 

If your child is a victim of bullying, help them to know they are loved, and don’t ignore the problem. If your child is the bully, help them to see the consequences of their actions and coach them through that as well. Considering the evidence behind bullying and its effects on children, it is clear that children, parents, families and schools would benefit from looking beyond just tattling, girls being girls and boys being boys, and looking more deeply into the issues and really listening, and talking to your child. You can make a difference and so can your child.

Do You Have on Your Perspectacles?

In Child Development, Choice, Families, Marriage, motherhood, Parenting, Religion, Values on May 2, 2016 at 7:17 am

spectaclesby Erin Weist

I have 5 young children and my life revolves around them.  It is a beautiful, wonderful life that I never even imagined and I am continually struck by these blessings in my life.  But sometimes, it’s hard.  Sometimes, it’s stressful.  Sometimes (ok, most of the time) it’s loud and chaotic.  And those times I need to remember to put on my perspectacles.  I don’t remember where I first heard this term floating around the internet (like this blog post here) but I love it.  Spectacles is a colloquial word we use to refer to eyeglasses.  People need spectacles because their vision is flawed.  They have a fault which, when corrected, allows them to better navigate the world.  Perspectacles refers to “perspective spectacles,” a metaphorical vision correction that changes one’s perspective or outlook on life, allowing for smoother, happier navigation through a tough world.  Sometimes being a mother requires this type of perspective correction.

 

Often, when I look at my children, I only see what needs to be done.  Chores need to be done, kids need to learn certain principles, faults need correcting, character needs sculpting…and so I focus on the faults in order to improve them.  It can be overwhelming, to say the least.  But putting on my perspectacles usually comes in the form of viewing my children from another person’s point of view.  If I look at them without looking at how far we still have to go and instead look at how far they’ve come I am bewildered at their maturity, their learning, their manners, their cuteness and their light.  They shine like fireflies in the dark!

 

How much is life like this?  Do you look at a neighborhood full of faulty people who need to learn lessons?  Do you look at your job with despair or disdain?  Do you look at all of the fixing needed to be done on your house, yard, marriage, family, career, love life, or faith and only see how far there is still to go?  Try putting on your perspectacles!  You have neighbors, a potential support system, maybe you’ll be the one to pull them together.  You have a job, a way to support yourself on a daily basis.  You have a house or apartment with a space to live where you can have a refuge from the world.  

 

And some reading this may not have those things, but you can still look with perspectacles on the beauty of the world God created for you, that He knows your name and loves you more than you can imagine.  You have learned so much in your short time on earth and have come so far!  If you were looking at yourself or your life from someone else’s perspective, or from yourself 5, 10, or 20 years ago, you would probably see more positively.

 

Having an appreciative perspective is a way of expressing gratitude, of acknowledging progress and blessings in your life.  If you are feeling overwhelmed or you can’t quite keep a grasp on what or why you love, grab some perspectacles and you’ll realize how good things really are.

Freedom for the Few

In Choice, Constitution, Courts, Democracy, Families, Free Speech, Freedom, Gay rights, Gender, Gender Identity, Government, Homosexuality, Human Rights, Religious Freedom, Religious rights, Sexual Orientation, Transgender, Values on April 29, 2016 at 6:00 am

liberty for a fewBy Ally Fife

State by state, it seems, a voting to determine which bathroom a transgender should use is the most pressing matter we are dealing with politically in America.  Yet only .3% of the population is actually transgender. That means that 99.7% of the population knows what gender they are and which bathroom to use.  Apparently, however, it is more important to make sure the .3% feel good about themselves and accepted by society, than to keep the 99.7% protected.  

With the way the media talks about it though, people would think those numbers are much higher. In a Gallup poll done in 2011, people were asked what percentage of the population they thought were gay, lesbian, or transgender. Only 8% thought it was less than 5% of the population (all three combined are about 2%). Most answered closer to 30%.

With a messed up sense of reality, and a culture that is all about benefiting the few, how is it possible to put America back on the road to common sense? One Glenn Beck reader, after an article about the bathroom debate, wrote, “I self-identify as a howler monkey. That means I get to urinate on, and throw feces at, anybody I perceive as invading my personal space, right?”  Ridiculous, yes. But isn’t it just as ridiculous that we hyperfocus on minute issues and ignore others, to the detriment of society?

Target, the retail giant, has once again chosen to throw it’s passion and political sway on the side of fighting for the few. It’s history of liberalism should make this no surprise. When the American quarters came out sans “In God We Trust”, Target was the first store to use them. Last I heard, 68% of Americans still believe in God, and therefore didn’t appreciate the removal. Next came all the rainbow t-shirts and gay rights clothing. We should all give Target a round of applause for what is essentially supporting 1.7% of the population. So should we join the boycott against them? Will it help anything in the end? Maybe not, but what does your conscience say? So far, over 800,000 people have signed a pledge to boycott Target.  As one person we do very little, but together we become strong.   

I remember getting change at Target right after the new coins had come out. I looked at each quarter and returned all the ones that didn’t have “In God we Trust” on them. I asked for real money, despite all the eye rolling behind me and the annoyance of the teenage check out person. I honestly just didn’t want any money that didn’t first claim God as more trustworthy than the worth of a coin.

If we never stand up for anything, will we ever gain back rights that have been stripped from us? Unless, of course,  you’re comfortable living in a world with freedom for the few; tough luck for the majority.

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