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Coping Skills Articles

Archive: How to Spot a Bully, a Tool for Educators and Mental Health Care Professionals

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

“Beating the Bully” will be taking a holiday break until January. I’ll be reposting some of the most popular articles from the past year until then. Happy holidays! 

If I had to identify the biggest challenge for those of us who work with young people is helping students identify bullying behavior and coming up with solutionsElsbeth Martindale, PsyD, has created a wonderful tool, How to Spot a Bully card deck. Dr. Martindale reached out to me (and was generous enough to send me a deck for my review). I was so impressed with How to Spot a Bully I wanted to share my thoughts with all of you. 


Archive: Say, “Ohm…” Yoga as a Means to Prevent Bullying

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

“Beating the Bully” will be taking a holiday break until January. I’ll be reposting some of the most popular articles from the past year until then. Happy holidays! 

As a yoga practitioner for 10 years I was delighted to read this post about yoga as a prevention tool against student violence. yoga and bullyingRob Schware interviewed Dee Marie, who founded, Calming Kids (CK): Creating a Non-Violent World. CK has run pilot groups to prove that yoga indeed can help young people!

A tenant of yoga that I learned early on in my practice was compassion - compassion for myself, for my fellow yogis in class and for my fellow man. Compassion – at least for me in yoga – comes in the form of understanding that if I cannot get into a certain position (asana) that’s ok, this is where I am today. A lack of compassion can look like forcing yourself into a pretzel-like position to only hurt yourself, or looking at another yogi critically in class wondering, “Why can she do it but I can’t!” I’ve found that without compassion in life or in yoga, the ability to accept where you are and who you are in this moment is difficult.


Archive: When Bullies are Home for the Holidays Too

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

“Beating the Bully” will be taking a holiday break until January. I’ll be reposting some of the most popular articles from the past year until then. Happy holidays! 

holiday bulliesI hope everyone reading in the United States had a happy and healthy Thanksgiving Holiday last week! When I thought about what to write after taking the holiday week off, I contemplated the numerous discussions I had both in and out of the consulting room regarding people’s varied feelings about being with family during the holidays.

Families bring up powerful feelings and interpersonal dynamics. It’s inevitable that old family dynamics are stirred up around the dinner table and that’s what makes the holidays so difficult, our past is present…AGAIN. Sometimes the bullies of our childhood were not kids on the playground but our siblings, parents, and extended family members.


Bullying in the Workplace, Where are the Bystanders?

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

workplace bullyA new Finnish study was released this Thursday indicating that adults who are victims of workplace bullying are more likely to be prescribed antidepressants. The study was released by BMJ. What was particularly striking was that the witnesses of workplace bullying were also adversely affected, ABC news highlighted that the study indicated that

Even witnessing bullying can have health effects, according to the study. Men and women who observed workplace bullying were one and a half to two times as likely to need similar medications, reflecting true, medically confirmed mental problems.

When discussing bullying among young people I stress the role of the bystanders to become upstanders, intervening on the behalf of the victim in a myriad of ways: expressing sympathy towards the victim, standing up to the bully, or seeking adult help. Yet, as we shift our focus to bullying beyond childhood and adolescents, I wonder where are the bystanders?


Bullying or Discipline?

Friday, December 7th, 2012

discipline or bullying?Two boys at Westwood High School in Mesa, AZ were caught fighting and sent to the Principal’s office. Nothing out of the ordinary so far, right? But how Principal Tim Richards disciplined them is out of the ordinary. The boys were given the option: be suspended or hold hands in the middle of the school campus at lunch time.

The boys choose to hold hands.

What ensued for the boys was about an hour of public humiliation. If you watch the linked news video, you can hear students laughing at them.


When the Bullies are Home for the Holidays Too

Friday, November 30th, 2012

holiday bulliesI hope everyone reading in the United States had a happy and healthy Thanksgiving Holiday last week! When I thought about what to write after taking the holiday week off, I contemplated the numerous discussions I had both in and out of the consulting room regarding people’s varied feelings about being with family during the holidays.

Families bring up powerful feelings and interpersonal dynamics. It’s inevitable that old family dynamics are stirred up around the dinner table and that’s what makes the holidays so difficult, our past is present…AGAIN. Sometimes the bullies of our childhood were not kids on the playground but our siblings, parents, and extended family members.


Share Your Story at the Ophelia Project Blog

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Ophelia projectI am a huge admirer of the  Ophelia Project and the work that they do. I  received an email from them announcing the launch of their new blog! I was excited to hear about the blog because the content is of stories of student’s experiences of relational aggression. The tag line to their blog is, “Because everyone deserves to feel safe and accepted.”

I conceptualize relational aggression as a different type of bullying. The Ophelia Project defines relational aggression as:

… behaviors that harm others by damaging, threatening to damage or manipulating one’s relationships with his/her peers, or by injuring one’s feelings of social acceptance.

For example:

  • Purposefully ignoring someone when angry (giving the “silent treatment”)
  • Spreading rumors about a disliked classmate
  • Telling others not to play with a certain classmate as a means of retaliation.

Bullying and Beer: The Relationship Between Bullying and Early Substance Use

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

bullying and substance abuseThrough the school-based substance abuse prevention work we offer at Freedom Institute  I constantly connect the dots between bullying and early substance use. How are two seemingly separate topics woven in together? Bullying behavior, like early substance use, can be viewed as a means for young people to gain social status, manage feelings, and indicate that a young person may need more parental attention. 

When I meet with students we discuss why young people may resort to either behavior (depending on the topic of the day) to get their emotional needs met. The we delineate together  what other, healthier, ways young people can get these needs met to prevent resorting to behavior that can harm themselves or others. As is the case with early substance use, bullying prevention efforts focus on increasing the already current protective factors in a young person’s life. 


Say, “Ohm….” Yoga as a Means to Prevent Bullying

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

yoga and bullyingAs a yoga practitioner for 10 years I was delighted to read this post about yoga as a prevention tool against student violence. Rob Schware interviewed Dee Marie, who founded, Calming Kids (CK): Creating a Non-Violent World. CK has run pilot groups to prove that yoga indeed can help young people!

A tenant of yoga that I learned early on in my practice was compassion – compassion for myself, for my fellow yogis in class and for my fellow man. Compassion – at least for me in yoga – comes in the form of understanding that if I cannot get into a certain position (asana) that’s ok, this is where I am today. A lack of compassion can look like forcing yourself into a pretzel-like position to only hurt yourself, or looking at another yogi critically in class wondering, “Why can she do it but I can’t!” I’ve found that without compassion in life or in yoga, the ability to accept where you are and who you are in this moment is difficult.

So how does this help our kids and bullying?


Back to School and Back to Bullies? Not This Year!

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

bullying at schoolThe weeks following Labor Day bring the start of a new school year. For some students, there is a palpable excitement to return back to school, to see friends and swap summer vacation stories and meeting new teachers. For others though, the there is a fearful hope that maybe this year is the year things will be different.  Since bullying is in the forefront of public consciousness, let’s work to make our schools safe for all students, teachers and staff; as we’ve seen over the summer adults can be bullied too.

What can we do to help everyone in our school communities start off on the right foot? Here are some tips for students, parents, teachers and staff:

For Students:

  • There is a saying plastered all over the New York City subway system, if you see something, say something. The same is true about bullying in schools! If you see a fellow student being targeted, ask if he/she is ok afterward, encourage the target to talk to an adult, or step in stand up for the target (I know much easier said than done!) If you can let the targeted student they are not alone, it’ll help them feel less scared and perhaps will be able to feel empowered to advocate for himself/herself.

 

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