MUCH RESEARCH ON FAMILY CONDITIONS AND THE UPBRINGING OF CHILDREN HAS LED TO THIS IMPORTANT CONCLUSION:
A lot of love and involvement from the people bringing up children, clear limits for what behavior is allowed and not allowed, as well as the use of nonviolent methods of upbringing, creates non-aggressive, harmonious, and independent children.
Here are some common sense rules for parents/caregivers who want to help children have a positive childhood.
Let your child feel he or she is important. Children have a great need to feel they are important to their parents. Children grow on love and challenges.
Laugh with and not at your child. Children are proud and can be deeply hurt when they feel you are making fun of them. Laugh with your child; humor is positive.
Do not give in to your child to avoid conflict. Children feel more secure when they have limits set for them in their everyday life, but they often cannot refrain from testing their limits.
Keep the agreements you make with your children. Children feel helpless if you break agreements without good reason. If your child isn't sure whether he or she can rely on you, whom can he or she rely on? Remember that what you do today contributes to forming the future.
Praise your child frequently. Encouragement and kind words motivate a child to cooperate. Positive support strengthens the child's self-image and creates an enthusiastic spirit. When new challenges arise, your child will be able to meet them confidently.
Do not frighten your child unnecessarily. Sometimes you may need to scare your child to keep him or her away from dangerous situations, but children should not be scared into obedience. Spare your child upsetting knowledge about things he or she cannot do anything about.
Remember that you are a role model for your child. Your child is bonded with you in the deepest love and admiration. That is why he or she wants to be like you, at least when he or she is young. Whatever you do, your child will do. Whatever you say or believe, your child will repeat.
MAKE TIME to LISTEN TAKE TIMEtoTALK
Bullying is NOT a fact of life
This material was prepared by Professor Dan Olweus at the University of Bergen, Norway, and adapted by the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Department of Health and Human Services.
Access to Publication
This publication may be obtained at the SAMHSA Web site at www.mentalhealth.samhsa.gov. (CMHS-SVP-0052)
Do not reproduce, reprint, or distribute this publication for a fee without specific, written authorization from the Center for Mental Health Services.
How To Use This Booklet
If you are concerned that your child might be being bullied or bullying other children, the information in this booklet can help.
If, after taking initial steps at home, you feel that you must enlist the help of school personnel, bring this booklet to the school meeting conference to help you advocate for your child.
If bullying may be a problem in your school, find out for sure. If the issue is a real one for your students, then a change in the school climate may be necessary.
This booklet describes the steps that parents and schools can take, together, to help prevent bullying.
Did you know that research has found that remarkable things can happen if parents and caregivers spent at least 15 minutes of undivided time a day listening and talking with their children? Research also tells us that children really do look to their parents and caregivers for advice and help about difficult choices and decisions.
The document in your hands right now and other companion materials about bullying are part of 15+ Make Time to Listen — Take Time to Talk, an initiative developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services, to promote healthy child development and to prevent youth and school-based violence. The initiative builds on both the value children place on the advice they get from important adults in their lives and the benefits of those special 15 minutes each day. The listening and talking theme, however, also can be adapted by teachers, counselors, and other adults who are involved in the lives and futures of children.
Whether focused on bullying — as is this module of the initiative — or on general principles of healthy development and behavior, the messages exchanged between children and their parents and caregivers in just these 15 minutes or more a day, can be instrumental in building a healthier and safer future for children as individuals, as family members, and as active and engaged participants in the life of their communities.
NOTE: Terminology in this booklet is inter-changeable. "Your child" is for parents. "Children" is for schools, communities, parents, and caregivers.
Every day in our schools (and communities) children are teased, threatened, and tormented by bullies. Bullying has been identified as a problem that creates a climate of fear, affecting the whole school. Those who fail to recognize and stop bullying behavior as it occurs actually promote violence. If we fail to stop the behavior, we send a message to the bully that "You have the right to hurt people," and a message to the victim that, "You are not worth protecting." This message needs to be changed and changed now.
Bullying is a form of ABUSE, HARASSMENT AND VIOLENCE. Harassment and abuse are more accurate names for it. Parents and school personnel should no longer consider bullying "just a part of growing up." It is harmful to both the perpetrators and the victims and is responsible for behavioral and emotional difficulties, long-term negative outcomes, and violence.
The National Institutes of Health (2000) recently reported that in the United States alone, bullying affects more than 5 million students in grades 6 through 11. One out of 7 students reported being victimized. The violence that erupted at several schools in highly publicized shooting incidents in the late 1990s spurred several State legislatures to propose laws requiring schools to adopt anti-bullying policies. By 2001, New Hampshire, West Virginia, and Colorado had passed laws, while others are pending in Illinois, New York, and Washington.
The severity of the problem has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), and other agencies. In response to this critical issue, SAMHSA/CMHS is launching a Bullying Prevention Initiative with the help of prime-time television, public service messages, and bullying prevention educational materials. This on-going multi-media communication Initiative — titled 5+ Make Time To Listen, Take Time To Talk... About Bullying - will bring this critical message directly to the children, parents and schools affected by these issues.
This booklet, for parents and schools, is a part of that Initiative. We hope that they and all adults who supervise children will learn what can be done, together, to take seriously their responsibility to prevent bullying among our youth.
MOST PEOPLE KNOW WHAT BULLIES ARE.
They even know what problems victims of bullies sometimes face: years of constant anxiety, insecurity, and low self-esteem.
Large numbers of students have been bullied over long periods of time while nobody paid any attention! Today, however, more people are recognizing that it is a basic democratic right for a student to feel secure at school and not to be troubled by offensive and humiliating treatment. Because of highly publicized school incidents, we now know that ignoring bullying can lead to violence or make a victim feel so overwhelmed that he or she sees suicide as the only way out.
THE 15+ MAKE TIME TO LISTEN - TAKE TIME TO TALK INITIATIVE HAS TAKEN THE STAND
No student should be afraid to go to school because of bullying, and no parent should be worried that their child may be bullied.
^A MAKE TIME to LISTEN TAKE TIME to TALK ---about Bullying
GENERALLY, WE CALL IT BULLYING
when one or more persons repeatedly say or do hurtful things to another person who has problems defending himself or herself. Direct bullying usually involves hitting, kicking, or making insults, offensive and sneering comments, or threats.
Repeatedly teasing someone who clearly shows signs of distress is also recognized as bullying. However, indirect bullying—the experience of being excluded from a group of friends, being spoken ill of and being prevented from making friends—can be just as painful.
Most bullying takes place at the same grade level. However, many times older students bully younger students. Although direct bullying is a greater problem among boys, a good deal of bullying takes place among girls. Bullying between girls, however, involves less physical violence and can be more difficult to discover. Girls tend to use indirect and subtle methods of bullying, such as exclusion from a group of friends, backbiting, and manipulation of friendships. Far more boys than girls bully, and many girls are mostly bullied by boys, but both can be victims of bullying.
DIRECT BULLYING USUALLY INVOLVES HITTING, KICKING,
OR MAKING INSULTS, OFFENSIVE AND SNEERING COMMENTS, OR THREATS.
These three conditions create a bullying situation:
Behavior repeated over a period of time.
A relationship in which there is an imbalance in strength or power between the parties involved.
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