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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.


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 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. 


National Anti-Bullying Awareness Month

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

anti bullying monthDid you know October is National Anti-Bullying Awareness Month? To kick off the month of education, advocacy, prevention and intervention please keep checking in on the blog. I’ll try to keep up with the numerous events and news worthy stories out there – there are a lot!


“Bully: An Action Plan for Teachers, Parents, and Communities…” On Sale Now

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

bully action planThe film ”Bully“ propelled this topic into the forefront of our nation’s mind. Bullying can no longer be minimized, disregarded and ignored. The dialogue continues on how to best address this issue in school communities. More and more resources are available to help educators, students and families address this topic. My belief is that regardless of what programs a school community puts in place, intervention and prevention efforts must happen concurrently in order to minimize the proliferation of bullying. 


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.

Even Gold Medalists Get Bullied

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Gabby Douglas bulliedGabby Douglas won my heart — and I’m sure others — during the Olympic Games this summer. Her ever positive attitude and clear dedication to the sport is evident with her team gold medal and All-Around gold medal. She quite admirable. Yet, she was bullied by other gymnasts.

In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Gabby and her mother shared how she wanted to quit the sport if she couldn’t change coaches or gyms. The sentiments expressed suggest that Gabby felt bullied because she was different.

“I felt being bullied…isolated from the group and…just…they treated me…not how they would treat their other teammates.”

Racial and ethnic diversity is lacking in many US Olympic sports teams and it is quite unfortunate that it is so. I would go further to suggest that the combination of her racial differences and her exceptional talent made her an unfortunate target.


Are We Overreacting To Bullying?

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

coping with bullyingI was doing my daily internet research and came across this blog post by Cat Koehler, a mother who deconstructs the newfound attention towards bullying. Ms. Koehler astutely notes that never before have we put so much attention towards bullying. She goes on to suggest that due to this attention, we have become hyper-vigilant, labeling normative interpersonal conflict between children as bullying.

Ms. Koehler shares an incident involving her 9-year-old daughter and a boy picking on her. Candidly, she says, “At first I wanted to hug her and tell her it would all be okay, but then I got a little angry. Why was she sitting here acting like a victim? Had we not taught her how to stand up for herself?”


 

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