Don’t be a Grinch this Holiday Season! Bully Blogs Part 3 of 3.

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How-the-Grinch-Stole-Christmas-christmas-movies-17366574-1067-800OH NO! My child bullied

It’s not too late to make sure your little elf makes it on Santa’s Nice List YEAR ROUND! As a parent, finding out YOUR child bullied someone isn’t something you like to hear.  Kids who bully come from all different backgrounds, races, gender, family situations and income levels.  Would you know if your child was bullying someone?  Most parents don’t think THEIR child would do something like that, and if so, they didn’t mean anything by it. What would you do if you found out your child was indeed, bullying?  Here are a few tips to help you talk to your child about not being a Grinch and spreading joy this holiday season & all year long.

Most bullies were victims first!  Find out what provoked your child’s actions.

Talk to your child and ask why they feel the need to bully. Ask your child how he or she feels about themselves. Children don’t always know how to address their insecurities, and may pick on someone else to feel better. Consider letting your child sort through his or her personal feelings with a counselor. Find out if someone else is bullying your child.  Ask if your child’s friends are also bullying, and ask reasons why they thought it was ok to bully too.  Your child’s perception of bullies may be distorted. Make sure he or she understands that bullying someone does NOT make him or her cool or more popular.

Teach Empathy.

Children, often lack an understanding of how their actions make people feel.  Make an effort to understand your child’s feelings.  Ask how they would feel if the shoe was on the other foot.  Explain that everyone has feelings, and we shouldn’t do things that make other people feel bad. Basically, treat others the way you want to be treated!

Make Clear Expectations.

Make sure your child understands that you will not tolerate bullying.  If he or she is involved in a bullying incident, take immediate action.  If your actions don’t resolve the problem, seek outside help from a professional experienced in bullying.  Do not ignore the problem!  Bullying has very serious effects on all parties involved (refer to bully blog I). If you are not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem! Act quickly!

Bullying has serious consequences.

Children should understand that in some cases bullies are reported to law enforcement.  Also encourage your child to report bullying if they see it.  Explain that a bullying incident could possibly cause someone to lose their life.  Suicide and violent acts against others are concerns and are on the rise.

We Like Learning Games!

Have your child visit www.pacerkidsagainstbullying.org to play interactive games and learn how to prevent bullying.  Have teens? Send them to www.pacerteensagainstbullying.org to connect with teens who may have been bullied, and join others in the fight against bullying.  Kid’s can also visit http://citizenship.disney.com/friends-for-change to become a “friend for change” against bullying!

Last but not least, we should always lead by example.  Model nonviolent behavior, and encourage cooperation at home.  Teach your child appropriate ways to deal with feelings such as anger and insecurity.  Learning respect starts at home and should follow your child where ever they go.

Here at Lexlee’s Kids we take bullying very seriously.  We hope you will join us in our effort to raise awareness and put up a fight against bullying. Questions or comments about bullying? Post here or contact Lexlee’s Kids at 225.372.3991.

Check Out:

Bully Blog I: http://www.lexleeskids.org/bullying-2/dont-be-a-grinch-this-holiday-season-bullying-blogs-part-1-of-3

Bully Blog II: http://www.lexleeskids.org/bullying-2/dont-be-a-grinch-this-holiday-season-bullying-part-2-of-3

Co-written by: Erica Casanova, 2013 Fall SLU Intern

Don’t be a Grinch this Holiday Season! Bully Blogs Part 2 of 3.

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untitledMy Child Was Bullied

If last week’s blog post has you worried that your little elf may be being bullied, here are 3 important steps to take to ensure any problems with bullying are solved quickly and effectively.

Follow these steps to be sure all areas are covered:

1.       Work With Your Child

Make sure you thank your child for telling you he or she was bullied.  This is often a difficult first step for kids to make.  Assure your child that the bullying is not his or her fault.  Get details about the situation.

Who is doing the bullying? Did anyone else see the bullying?

What type of bullying is occurring?

  • Physical
  • Verbal
  • Cyber (bullying online, that doesn’t end when school does!)

When did the bullying take place? Note exact days and times.

Where did the bullying happen?

Did your child respond to the bullying (physically, report the incident)? Did any adults witness the incident? What actions did the adult take? Keep a written record of this information. You will need it later!

Consider seeking counseling for your child, and NEVER tell a youngster to ignore the bullying.  Because it may make things worse, parents should resist the urge to directly contact the other parents involved. School or other officials can act as mediators between parents.

2.       Work With The School

After you have asked your child for all of the details of the situation, meet with the teacher or principal.  Discuss with him or her, what is happening with your child.  Let the school know how the situation is impacting your child.  Is the bullying affecting their grades, is your child afraid to come to school, do they have any new behaviors that may be a result of bullying? Let these concerns be known.  Ask if the school has a written bully and harassment policy, if so obtain a copy.  Work with the principal and teachers to see what they can do to assure your child’s safety at school.

3.       Work With District Administration

If after following steps 1 and 2, bullying still persists, write a letter or send an email to the superintendent. Request to meet with and discuss the situation with him or her, include the details of the bullying as well as name, age, grade, and school of your child.  CC the school principal on this email, and keep a copy for yourself.  Remember to ask what can be done to keep your child safe, keep a written record of this meeting and make a note of who was present and what decisions were made to resolve the bullying issue.

If after following all of the steps above, your child continues to be bullied, you may choose to contact a parent center or advocacy organization for help. Be persistent, the bullying most likely will not end over night, and has the potential to be repeated.  Parents and school staff have an important role to play when it comes to stopping bullying. You are the biggest advocate for your child! DO NOT REST until the problem is solved.

Refer to part I of the bullying blogs to learn how to spot bullying, and stay tuned for next week when we discuss what to do if you suspect your child is mimicking the Grinch by bullying!  http://www.lexleeskids.org/bullying-2/dont-be-a-grinch-this-holiday-season-bullying-blogs-part-1-of-3

Helpful Resources:

http://www.stopbullying.gov/respond/support-kids-involved/index.html

http://www.parentcenternetwork.org/

http://www.pacer.org/bullying/resources/info-facts.asp

At what point do you feel law enforcement needs to be involved? Join hands with Lexlee’s Kids in caring for our kid’s safety. For more information about bullying, post here or call us at 225.372.3991.

Co-written by: Erica Casanova, 2013 Fall SLU Intern

Don’t be a Grinch this Holiday Season! Bully Blogs Part 1 of 3.

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968full-how-the-grinch-stole-christmas-screenshotWe’ve got bullying on the brain this holiday season! Who’s the biggest, maddest bully of the holidays???  The Grinch!  Bully prevention is not something we take lightly here at Lexlee’s Kids. We want to make sure everyone makes it on the NICE list this year!  We are running a series of three blog posts in the coming weeks dedicated to none-other than keeping your holiday bully free! Bring joy during this merry time and join us in the stand against bullying.

Tough call: kids being kids or bullying?  Why is bully prevention so important?

There are common myths that bullying is “just a part of growing up”, we are being “too soft” on today’s generation, kids need to “toughen-up”.  Thankfully these days we have research that debunks those myths. We now know that bullying has countless negative effects on children.  Kids who are bullied are at risk for developing depression, anxiety, and dropping out of school.  Those who have bullied another person are also more likely to have criminal convictions as adults, or may be abusive toward their future romantic partners, spouses, or children.  For these reasons it is very important to know how to identify bullying, and also how it should be addressed before the problem gets out of hand!

“It’s because I’m green isn’t it? “ – Grinch

Kids who bully often feel insecure, and act out to make themselves look or feel better.  Kids may not understand the consequences of bullying; they sometimes consider bullying as joking around and assume it is ok.  It is important to explain to children that being a bully is NOT acceptable and there are serious consequences.

Know the Signs

One of the scariest things about bullying is that kids often don’t ask for help or report when others are being bullied.  They may feel hopeless, helpless, or embarrassed.  There are a few signs that may help us identify if a child has experienced being bullied, these signs include:

  • Unexplained injuries
  • Destroyed possessions
  • Frequent headaches, stomach aches, or faking illness to stay home from school
  • Changes in eating habits like binge eating or skipping meals
  • Difficulty sleeping, nightmares
  • Declining grades
  • Avoidance of social situations, not wanting to go to school
  • Decreased self esteem
  • Self-destructive behaviors like running away, or harming themselves or others

It is important to note, not all children who are being bullied will demonstrate these signs.  Parents are encouraged to be open with their children and ask questions.  Also, know that Louisiana Law protects anyone who reports bullying, and that information will be kept confidential.

More to come!

You knew we weren’t going to stop there! Lexlee’s Kids is determined to give you the information you need to empower your family and children to stand against bullying; not only during the holiday, but year round!

Please stay tuned for Part II and Part III of the bullying blogs where we will blog about what to do if your child is bullied, or if your child is the bully. Remember, if you are not a part of the solution, then you are a part of the problem. Never hesitate to get involved; by working together we can put an end to bullying. Safe and happy holidays to all!

Check out our past bullying blogs at: http://www.lexleeskids.org/category/bullying-2

Join hands with Lexlee’s Kids in caring for our kid’s safety. For more information about bullying, post here or call us at 225.372.3991.

Co-written by: Erica Casanova, 2013 Fall SLU Intern

Bully Prevention: Denham Springs & West Feliciana High Students

Happy-teens

Don’t bull

it ain’t cool

at school or anywhere else 

you fool!

 

We hosted a bully prevention seminar at the 2012 Louisiana SADD conference. One of our activities was for the students to create an activity, chant, rap, etc. that promotes bully prevention. The saying above was created by a few students from Denham Spring and West Feliciana High School. Short, sweet, simple and to the point! Our high school students are coming up with  ideas to prevent bullying in our community! They are in the perfect position to mentor younger students in the stand against bullying using fun and exciting educational methods. Stay tuned for more from our outstanding Louisiana youth! Their efforts will not go unrecognized!

For more info about the Lexlee’s Kids Boooo to Bullying program please post here or contact us at 225-372-3991!

The New Bully in Town

Cyber-bullying

In today’s world, technology brings more ways to communicate and to reach out to others.  Our children are learning at a young age to communicate using computers and cell phones.  Unfortunately, due to technology, the latest generation has to deal with the new bully in town, which extends the harm of old-fashioned “school-yard bullying”.  Effective, August 15, 2010; cyber bullying became a crime in the state of Louisiana.

This virus called cyber bullying is defined as “willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones and other electronic devices.”  Children and teens can now bully by using technology to harass, threaten, humiliate or otherwise hassle their peers.  This virus spreads via text messaging, web pages and social network profiles.  The consequences of cyber bullying are proving to be devastating including: depression, feelings of worthlessness, low self esteem, delinquent behavior and suicidal thoughts or actions.  As parents, we cannot assume our children are out of reach from cyber bullies.  We need to be proactive and be aware.

Warning Signs:

Be aware of your child’s behavior. Oftentimes, victims of bullying withdraw from those around them due to feelings of helplessness. Parents should watch for some of these signs that may indicate children are involved in bullying interactions: children stopping use of their computers or cell phones unexpectedly; appearing nervous or jumpy when receiving text messages, instant messages or emails; being uneasy about going to school; appearing to be depressed or frustrated after using cell phones or computers; avoiding discussions about what they are doing on computers or cell phones; or becomes abnormally withdrawn from family and friends.

What can you do?

1.  Establish rules for children and teens when interacting online and through cell phones.

2.  Make sure your school has an Internet safety educational program in place. Learn what your children are learning. These programs should cover not only the threats of sexual predators, but also how to prevent and respond to online peer harassment and how to safely interact on social networking sites.

3. Talk with your children about what to do if they feel threatened, uncomfortable or upset about communications with others online or by cell phones. Make sure your children know that you are open to helping.

4.  Educate your children about the consequences of misusing technology such as getting into trouble at school or with police.

5.  Set an example by modeling appropriate technology usage.  Don’t harass or joke about others while online.

6.  Monitor your child’s activities while they are online and their cell phone usage. Let your child know (even teenagers) that you will be monitoring their activities to help protect them against inappropriate behavior.

7.  Keep an open line of communication with your children so they will come to you if they are targets of cyber bullying.  Victims of bullying need assurance that if they report abuse it will be dealt with rationally and logically.

8.  Talk with other parents in your community and raise awareness about being alert to cyber bulling.

9.  If you suspect cyber bullying or your child has reported bullying behavior to you, try to discover complete information and document any interactions that appear to be cyber bullying.

10. When necessary, you may have to contact the appropriate authorities including: school administration; police when physical threats are involved or a crime has been committed and Internet service provider or cell phone service provider to investigate the issue or remove offending material.

Most importantly, use your parental instinct and be aware of your child’s world and environment.  Do not be afraid to ask questions.  As parents, we are sometimes the only safety net our children have and we need to be able to stand up and ensure their safety.

Has your child been a victim of cyber bullying? How are you making sure your children are safe when using cell phones and computers?

Join hands with Lexlee’s Kids in caring for our kid’s safety. For more information about cyber bullying, please visit www.lexleeskids.com or call 225.761.7272. [Read more…]

Did you know that October is National Bullying Prevention Month?

Bullying

Are you afraid of the BIG, bad bully?  Is it the girl who is too cool to hang out with you, the boy who tries to take your things, the group who always tries to gang up on you or the nasty posts on social networking sites? Bullying has many faces, and no matter the look, someone gets hurt.  Lexlee’s Kids would like to remind you not to let bullying get the best of our youth. If you have school-aged children, take a moment to learn more.

Teasing, taunting, tormenting, harassment, name calling, spreading rumors or physical abuse – these concepts should not be labeled as, “Kids being kids.”  What do all these acts have in common?  They are examples of how one person can make another person feel hurt, afraid or uncomfortable. Bullying has been going on for a long time, but new forms of bullying, such as cyber bullying has sent this problem to another level.

You’ve Got Mail. Cyber bullying is when someone is tormented, threatened, harassed, or embarrassed using the internet, technologies or mobile devices.  Although this form of bullying is not face to face, the effects are still hurtful.

Delete.  Setting a no tolerance policy is essential in stopping this problem.  Removing web and technology privileges as a result of negative and inappropriate behaviors may help remove this virus called, cyber bullying. 

How Common is Common? Bullying usually begins in elementary grades, peaks in  sixth through eighth grade and can persist into high school.  Recent  statistics show:

  • 1 out of 4 kids are bullied
  • 8% of students miss 1 day of class per month due to fear of bullies
  • 43% of students fear harassment in the bathroom at school
  • 282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools each month

Playground statistics show that every 7 minutes a child is bullied, and  85% of the time there is no intervention from adults or peers

  • 39% of middle schoolers and 35% of high schoolers say they don’t feel safe at school 
  • 15% of  teens are cyber bullied online
  •  10% are cyber bullied by cell phone
  •  7% of teens cyber bullied another person online
  •  5% of teens cyber bullied another person by cell phone

You have the Power!  Bullies bully to gain power over others.  Having power often makes a bully feel like they are better than others and that they stand out from the crowd.  It’s also a way to get attention from other kids and adults.  There are many positive ways to get attention, and bullying is not one of them.  Use your power to make a difference and stand against bullying.

I Spy a Bully.  Bullies come in all shapes and sizes.  Some are tall, some get in trouble, some are popular and seem to have it all, some have lots of friends and some have good grades.  But they all have one thing in common; something or someone is making them feel insecure, so they bully to make themselves feel better.

Here Bully, Bully.  Are you a bully in disguise?  Ask yourself the questions below.   

  • Do you upset others with the things you say or do?
  • Do you enjoy arguing with people?
  •  Have you ever physically hurt someone?
  • Do you feel bad when you hurt someone’s feelings?

Toxic Friend.  What about that person who is nice to you when they are alone, but is mean to you when others are around?  Peer pressure is very powerful and can cause people act differently than they normally would.  This is not the type of friend one needs to keep around.

Game Face.  There are lots of things that can be done to stop bullies in their tracks.  Remember to be brave and that you have the power to be the better person.

  • Ignore the bully
  • Hang out with friends
  • Tell the bully to stop
  •  Tell an adult
  •  Be a friend to others who are being bullied

Friends Forever.  A friend is someone who cares about you and does not judge and makes you smile.  This person is someone who affects your life in a positive way and will help you to be a better person.  Bullying takes a lot of energy. Why not put your energy towards something positive? Be the first one to introduce yourself to the new kid, eat lunch at a new table, meet at least one new person a day.

Parental Control. Talk to your children and get involved.  It is essential for children to know they can come to their parents when there is a problem.  Be aware of possible warning signs such as, unexplained injuries, sadness, mood change, “illogical” routes to school or other activities, change in appetite or frequent complaints of illness.  Bullying can easily get out of control and can lead to severe physical, mental and social consequences for youth.

No Bully Zone.  Your common school yard bully should not be so common.  Schools are responsible for monitoring and controlling bullying among students.  Many schools have anti-bullying programs in place to raise awareness.  Keeping open lines of communication between parents and school staff is essential when working to keep children safe.

 Bullying continues to be a serious problem in our community, but you can take a stand against bullying.  Join hands with Lexlee’s Kids in caring for our kid’s safety.  For more information about bullying, please visit www.lexleeskids.com or call 225.761.7272.