Just Be Good To Each Other

I believe that one of the most important things we can do is to simply be kind to each other. Can you imagine a world where kindness is commonplace? How amazing would that be?! I’m proud to partner with CustomInk on this sponsored post to share about their Be Good to Each Other campaign because it unites people of all ages and promotes kindness, acceptance and inclusion.

This month, CustomInk is encouraging people to take a stand against bullying by wearing custom bullying prevention t-shirts that promote kindness, acceptance, and inclusion. Their special lines of shirts, created with the help of a number of celebrity supporters, have positive and motivational messages on them that reinforce self-worth while promoting acceptance in a personal, yet unifying way. T-shirt sayings include: “Be Daringly Different,” “Be Humble,” “Be Dynamic,” “Be Unbreakable.”

Want to get creative and design your own bullying prevention gear? You can also support the cause by designing your own custom bullying prevention t-shirts to wear with family or friends, or for your children’s school, club, or team. Check out the customizable templates for inspiration or to get started. I’ve created personalized shirts through CustomInk before and it was such a simple, fun process that only took me five minutes to do!

Now through October 31st, CustomInk will donate profits from the sales of bullying prevention t-shirts to PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center to help in its effort to engage, educate, and unite communities nationwide. It’s a great cause to support!

These special edition t-shirts are available for purchase, ranging from $12-$27, here.

Let’s Stomp Out Bullying

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all thoughts are my own.

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Did you know that 1 out of every 4 children is bullied? With the prevalence of children and teens online, bullying has only gotten worse because now the perpetrators can bully other while they hide behind a computer screen.

Today, October 3rd, is Blue Shirt Day® World Day Of Bullying Prevention. In honor of this I wanted to share some tips for parents from the Stomp Out Bullying organization. It’s essential that we as parents talk to our children about bullying.

First, encourage your children to report bullying to adults. Whether they are being bullied, or they see someone being bullied, this is a vital step in getting bullying to stop. Children can talk to their parents, teachers or another adult that they trust about the situation.

Another thing children can do is be a friend to someone who is being bullied. I tell my boys that it’s more important to me that they are a kind person and a good friend than if they get good grades. I ask them questions like “did you see anyone sitting alone in the lunchroom today?” and encourage them to invite others, who seem lonely, to play.

Children should also be reminded to stand up to bullies and tell them to stop when they see bullying happen. If other kids laugh when the bully is tormenting someone, the bully will just continue but if they are told that what they are doing is not cool then perhaps they’ll think twice about it.

Will you join us in standing up to make a difference by raising awareness for bullying prevention today? I encourage you to share about bullying prevention on Facebook or Twitter. Here’s a tweet you can easily RT:

If you are looking for more ways to raise awareness around bullying prevention at your school or in your community group please visit  www.stompoutbullying.org.

10 Tips for Parents to Deal With Bullying

As we know all too well these days, bullying can happen any time, any where and to anyone, from the youngest children in day care (or even at home) and beyond. The following tips will help parents find ways to detect, prevent and deal with the bullying of young children.

1. Be your child’s go-to person. Make sure your child always feels safe telling you about incidents at school, at play in the neighborhood, at church/Sunday school, or even at home from the other parent or a sibling. I know a family that goes around the dinner table and everyone (parents and children alike) share the best thing that happened during the day and the worst thing that happened during the day. This helps everyone learn to appreciate and really notice when someone is kind and opens a door for them, or plays with them on the playground. To illustrate that no one is exempt from rudeness or bullying, other family members should share with their child/children bad situations at work or when they were young. Exploring how to handle the “bad” situations can be a teaching/learning moment for all members of the family.

2. Parents, don’t be an inadvertent bully. If the parent is constantly saying things that make a child feel bad about themselves, this is form of bullying. You may hear yourself saying, “I know you can get better grades.” But the child may be hearing only, “I’m stupid and won’t ever be able to please anyone.” Listen to what you say often to your child and make sure you aren’t behaving in a manner that would not be acceptable behavior from others.

3. Discuss what actions can be considered bullying. Help your child see that bullying can be words, actions, ignoring someone, giggling and pointing. Discuss ways to positively respond to each instance.

4. Welcome your child’s friends into your home. Perhaps even invite their whole family to a cookout or other event so that you can get to know the parents. If any of the friends seem to have an unusual amount of power over your child, you may need to help your child see that this person is not a true friend if everything always has to be their way.

5. Stop sibling bullying. Sometimes the bullying is being done by a sibling. If one child seems to have dominance over another child, sit down immediately and let them know that this behavior will NOT be tolerated. Make sure to follow through and discipline the bully when you see this happening either in the way she/he treats their sibling. Also make sure the child being bullied feels safe in coming to you.

6. Discipline your children appropriately if you see them doing or saying (or texting) something that you don’t consider kind. That way others–teachers, other parents or day care workers, etc.–don’t have to become the disciplinarian.

7. Help your child think of ways to react to bullying. For instance, if they are being teased about wearing glasses, perhaps there is a phrase they use to make the other person think twice about making comments like that again. If the child is being teased for being overweight, perhaps the whole family can review their eating habits and activities and work together to lose weight and feel better. Taking steps to change things, or practicing ways to react to mean comments, will make a child feel ready to stand up for themselves or others when they see bullying happening.

When your child gets a little older, you also have to keep in mind these next tips.

8. Understand cyber-bullying. One of the newest arenas where a child can feel helpless against what is being said or shown in pictures about them is online. Make sure to carefully monitor screen time in a way that feels protective to your child and not intrusive. The more conversations you have with your kids about what occurs online, the more likely they will be able to talk to you about what’s going on. Take every opportunity to teach them how to manage themselves in confusing situations.

9. Learn the latest lingo. This includes verbal, texting and online slang. Do you know that CD9 means parents are around and that 99 means parents have left? Your child may be hiding something that can lead to poor self-esteem, depression, even suicide.

10. Remember the Golden Rule. “Do onto others as you would have them do onto you” is still great advice. A friend’s child was having trouble on the school bus with one particular boy. The mother suggested that this child might not know the right way to be a friend. So the child being bullied went out of his way to be extra nice to the bully. Once the bully realized there was a different way to act, the two children became real friends.

While nothing will totally stop bullying, at least by putting into practice some of these tips, I hope you can make the consequences for your child less damaging.

About the Author: Thomas Weck is a creative and captivating national award-winning author of children’s books, including the popular Lima Bear Stories Series: The Megasaurus, How Back-Back Got His Name, The Cave Monster, The Labyrinth and Bully Bean. Learn more at LimaBearPress.com.

Bullying: Words Can Kill

I normally don’t publish press releases but the preview for this 48 hours special brought tears to my eyes. Please share this with all the parents of tweens and teens that you know and please tune in on September 16th to learn more and potentially save your child’s life.

As a new school year begins across the country, more than 160,000 children will stay home every day because they are afraid of being bullied. That is just one of the startling facts in the CBS News/ 48 HOURS presentation “Bullying: Words Can Kill.” Reported by correspondent Tracy Smith, the program airing Friday, Sept. 16 (8:00 PM, ET/PT) reveals how the explosion in technology is only making bullying worse, as victims cannot find relief from their tormentors in a 24/7 digital world. The report will have important new information for parents, educators and legislators about how bullying affects children and how to address it.
For six months, producers and camera crews were allowed in-depth access to the classrooms, cafeteria and gym at a Rhode Island middle school that is one of the few in theUnited States that has openly acknowledged it has a bullying problem and has taken action to address it. The 48 HOURS special documents the real lives of students at that particular school, and has the powerful stories of other young people and their families from around the country who have felt the impact of bullying firsthand.One constantly harassed 13-year-old told Smith, “They got inside my head. They did it because they knew it would hurt.” His mother said dropping him off at school was like “sending him off to war.” Tragically, more than 150 children have taken their own lives in recent years because they were victims of harassment in school and online. Among those featured in the broadcast:
Dara Genovese, 13, bullying victim: “If you have ever been bullied, harassed, tortured, which I hope you haven’t, let me tell you, it is the worst. I mean, worst feeling ever. You’re laying in bed and you’re just thinking, like… what would it be like if you’re not here? Like… would it be better? Or, like, would people be happier – or just – just you wonder, you think a lot of questions.”
Johnny Cagno, victim of bullying who attempted suicide at age 14: “When you’re tortured every single day, it gets to you. I was very, very scared to go to school every day.”
Lisa Cagno, Johnny’s mother: “He was hurting himself. He was cutting himself, and he would just (say), ‘I hate myself, I don’t want to live anymore. I hate my life. Nobody likes me, no one cares about me.’ And I just – I would just have to constantly just reassure him. I couldn’t get those feelings out of his head.”
Cynthia Logan, a parent who lost her daughter because of bullying: “We have principals in our schools and superintendents who don’t want to acknowledge the problem. They don’t want it to be their problem. I did as much as I could do as a parent, knowing as little as I did.”
This broadcast is produced by Deborah Grau and Judy Rybak. The senior producers are Kathleen O’Connell and Paul Ryan, and Al Briganti is the executive editor. Susan Zirinsky is the executive producer.