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Third Annual National Bullying Prevention Awareness

 

 

 Week, Oct. 5 – 11, Calls on Communities to Unite

It takes a community to prevent bullying of children. The Third Annual National Bullying Prevention Awareness Week, Oct 5-11, 2008 encourages communities nationwide to work together to increase awareness of the prevalence and impact of bullying on all children.

Families, students, schools, organizations and other groups can unite with PACER to prevent bullying in several ways. Activities and materials such as contests, toolkits, and online bullying prevention training are available on to help reduce bullying in schools, recreational programs, and community organizations. 

Your elementary school students can take an oath against bullying, and you can print a certificate for them! Click www.pacerkidsagainstbullying.org for the oath, and for lots of great information.

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Last night we did a parent program for Holy Trinity Catholic School in Lenexa, Kansas. The school asked us ahead of time to specifically focus on bullying. Throughout the evening we felt the heartfelt concern of the gathered parents, teachers, and community. From a personal standpoint, our children are grown, but as grandparents of seven, how can we help them stop bullying? 

The most important thing we can do, is to always speak from our hearts and say take care. Take care of each other.  Take care of how you speak to yourself and to others. We are all in this together, and we are all related.

Steps for Taking Care of Bullying

1. Take care of your child’s behavior and reaction.  Ask your child directly if he or she is being bullied – or if he or she is bullying another child. Be careful how you speak to them. Don’t accuse them or use a confrontational tone. Be open and come from your heart.

school program

2. Take care of communication.  Be in constant communication with your child’s school.  Tell them your concern, and your child’s perception of what is happening.  Don’t blame anybody for what is happening, but be very clear that your child being bullied, or bullying another child, will not be tolerated.

3. Take care of your child’s self-esteem.  Hold them, nurture them, and tell them you love them every day. Tell your child that he or she is a gift to the world.  Help your child feel special.  Help your child make friends.

4. Take care of your own behavior.  In what ways in your own life are you a bully  – to yourself, to others, or to your child?  In what ways are you being bullied – by yourself, by others, by your child? How can you transform that situation in your own life?  One of the world’s greatest peacekeepers, Ghandi, once said, “Be the change in the world you wish to see.”

Gakina-awiiya (We Are All Related),

Chief Robert and Terri Lynn TallTree
www.thetalltrees.com

“Teach us love, compassion and honor…that we may heal the Earth, and heal each other.”   – Ojibwe prayer

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We have found when acting as bystanders and witnesses to bullying, many elementary school children would like to help stop it, but don’t know how, because they’re caught off guard and don’t know what to do.  Here are some simple things to teach your children:

 

  • You can say “That’s not funny,” in response to a child or group of children teasing another child.
  •  You can say “That’s not true,” if a child or group of children is saying something false or unfairly exaggerated about another child.
  •  If another child is being teased, the best thing for them to do is to remove themselves from the situation, but they might be too scared.  You can say “Come on, we’re going,” and lead the other child to a safer place.
  • You can say “Stop it,” or “cut it out,” or “that’s enough” anytime you hear a child or group of children teasing another child.
  • You can ask the bully or bullies “How would you feel if somebody said that to you or about you?”
  • You can do any of these things, and you do not have to do any of these things if you don’t feel safe.  The choice is yours.  Wouldn’t you want somebody to help you, if they could, if you were the one being bullied?

Chief Robert and Terri Lynn TallTree
www.thetalltrees.com

“Teach us love, compassion and honor…that we may heal the Earth, and heal each other.”   – Ojibwe prayer

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When in doubt, go back to the basics when teaching your children about bullying.  Remember this poem from a book that was popular about 20 years ago? We think it will put a smile on your child’s face – even if your child is an adult.

All I Really Need To Know
I Learned In Kindergarten

by Robert Fulghum www.robertfulghum.com

– an excerpt from the book, All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten

All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten.
ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW about how to live and what to do
and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not
at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the
sandpile at Sunday School. These are the things I learned:

Share everything.

Play fair.

Don’t hit people.

Put things back where you found them.

Clean up your own mess.

Don’t take things that aren’t yours.

Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.

Wash your hands before you eat.

Flush.

Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

Live a balanced life – learn some and think some
and draw and paint and sing and dance and play
and work every day some.

Take a nap every afternoon.

When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic,
hold hands, and stick together.

Be aware of wonder.
Remember the little seed in the styrofoam cup:
The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody
really knows how or why, but we are all like that.

Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even
the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die.
So do we.

And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books
and the first word you learned – the biggest
word of all – LOOK.

Everything you need to know is in there somewhere.
The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation.
Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.

Take any of those items and extrapolate it into
sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your
family life or your work or your government or
your world and it holds true and clear and firm.
Think what a better world it would be if
all – the whole world – had cookies and milk about
three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with
our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments
had a basic policy to always put things back where
they found them and to clean up their own mess.

And it is still true, no matter how old you
are – when you go out into the world, it is best
to hold hands and stick together.

Gakina-awiiya (We Are All Related),

Chief Robert and Terri Lynn TallTree
www.thetalltrees.com

“Teach us love, compassion and honor…that we may heal the Earth, and heal each other.”   – Ojibwe prayer

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Listen to your child.

Offer your help.

Validate your child by acknowledging their feelings.

Embrace your child with your help, and with your arms.

Gakina-awiiya (We Are All Related),

Chief Robert and Terri Lynn TallTree
www.thetalltrees.com

“Teach us love, compassion and honor…that we may heal the Earth, and heal each other.”   – Ojibwe prayer

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 In the 25 years we have been working with schools across the country, we have noticed some key gender differences in bullying behavior.  Mean Girls - Movie Poster Print - Style B - 27" x 40"A couple of weeks ago we watched the movie “Mean Girls”, about a group of high school girls bullying another girl who doesn’t fit in, so they verbally torment her, and generally make her life miserable. Of course the misfit prevails, the mean girls face suitable consequences for their behavior, everybody learns lessons and live somewhat happily ever after. We wish it could be more like that in real life.

Gender Differences in Bullying Behavior

  • Girls generally display bullying behavior by lashing out verbally, by creating alliances, by leaving other girls out, by gossiping and spreading rumors, and by engaging in covert behavior.
  • Girl bullying is often based on body image, which can often be attributed to poor body images, low self-esteem, and may lead to eating disorders. 
  • Boys have more of a “line ‘em up and knock ‘em down” tendency, and display their bullying behavior through physical intimidation.
  • When boys engage in bullying behavior, they tend to bully girls as much as boys, while girls tend to bully mostly girls.
  • Bullying behavior by boys can easily extend into sexual harassment or abuse, especially at the middle and high school levels.
  • Both boy and girl bullying can manifest in racist remarks, especially if the students are poorly schooled on cultural diversity issues.
  • In the last ten years, we have noticed a rise in both boy and girl bullying based on homophobic fears and misconceptions.

Both gender varieties of bullying are harmful and insidious in there own ways. As adults, it is so important to tell our children, and especially our girls, that just because they’re not hitting somebody physically, doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt.

Gakina-awiiya (We Are All Related),

Chief Robert and Terri Lynn TallTree
www.thetalltrees.com

“Teach us love, compassion and honor…that we may heal the Earth, and heal each other.”   – Ojibwe prayer

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school program

school program

We’re gearing up to start our yearly tour of schools around the country. One common issue that schools regularly ask us to address is bullying, and we routinely give teachers, parents, and children powerful tips to stop bullying.

According to the National Violence Prevention Resource Center (www.safeyouth.org) over 30% of all students are affected by bullying, either as the bully – the one who is inflicting emotional or physical harm on another; or the person being bullied – the victim of harm.  This statistic does not begin to address the 70% of students who consider themselves bystanders – the students who watch it, and do nothing about it.

From a Native perspective, this saddens us deeply.  Traditionally, our culture is based on a foundation of cooperation and respect. When confronted by bullies, or when acting like bullies, we always encouraged our children to find their power within and use it to make the world a better place, not to act from a place of fear or aggression.

5 Powerful Tips to Share with your Children to Stop Bullying

Teach your children:

1. Bullying is not OK.  Bullying is not genetic, in other words you are not born with it in your DNA.  Bullying is not relative to race, culture, or gender, and is a behavior usually taught by someone you love or trust. Bullying is not a right of passage, and is not tolerable under any circumstances.

2. Stop.  Walk away.  Do not participate if a friend or group of friends are bullying another student.  When you’re feeling angry and mean, think about what you’re doing and stop.  Take a deep breath, and count to three.

3.  Be a friend.  Offer yourself as a friend to a student who is being bullied with a smile or kind word. Everybody is special and unique. Find out what makes the student being bullied special.

4.  Be brave.  If you are very brave, and feel safe, you can tell the bully to stop.  You have that right.

5.  Ask for help. Go to a trusted adult if you see another student being bullied.

Teach your children that they are powerful beings, and to use their power to respond to bullying in a positive way.

Gakina-awiiya (We Are All Related),

Chief Robert and Terri Lynn TallTree
www.thetalltrees.com

“Teach us love, compassion and honor…that we may heal the Earth, and heal each other.”   – Ojibwe prayer

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