A Masai greeting, a cleft palate, the education of girls, and global warming … What’s the bullying connection? Two stories of empowerment.
A Masai Woman and Child
In Karl Schonborn’s touching novel, Cleft Heart—chasing normal, a young man born with a cleft palate tries to figure out his place in the world, confronting prejudice, bullying, and violence. Bullied for unintelligible speech, he grows up to become a star debater at Yale.
Sadly, Masai children are not all well, either. Girls are circumcised between 11 and 13, and forced into marriage with men of any age and become mothers when they are still children. Fortunately, their situation is improving as more girls become educated. (And did you know education of girls and women is one of the top three things we can do worldwide to reverse Climate Change?).
Have you seen Ikea’s “Bully a Plant” experiment? Try it yourself with your children or students with this great lesson plan and see what you learn.
“Bully a plant”, a live experiment with two IKEA plants and with thousands of children, was held to help to raise awareness around Anti-Bullying Day on May4th in the Middle East.
The live experiment involved IKEA taking two of its very own plants and installing them at the school, where one plant was fed compliments and words of encouragement, while the other was verbally bullied with hateful words. The students were encouraged to record their own voices to share their love with the first plant and give words of criticism to the second, either first hand or via social media interaction. After 30 days, the results spoke for themselves – while the complimented plant continued to thrive, the bullied plant was visibly struggling, and looking dull with droopy brown leaves.
Both plants were treated strictly the same: with the same amount water. Exposed with of sunlight, water and fertiliser. The only difference being, we said words of criticism to one plant, and words of encouragement to the other, for a span of 30 days. By the end of the experiment, the impressive results spoke for themselves.
Dr. Louise Hart stood on a chair at the end of the 2017 Zorgos Awards and shared something from her career as a parent educator: a wonderful exercise that teaches healthy touch. She learned about it in the International Journal for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse & Neglect, way back in the 1980s. Here’s an excerpt from The Winning Family, which inspired The Bullying Antidote.
Nurses would bring mothers who had been raised with abusive touch together with their children, for a cup of tea and a chance to change their natural instincts. This was such a hit they called it the “New Zealand Treat,” in which givers put their hands on the backs of receivers, and act out a “Weather Report.”
It’s important to establish that the body receiving the attention is in charge, and should be giving feedback. (More! Harder! Stop that!) The purpose is to inflict pleasure, not pain. One mother found that she was able to stifle the urge to hit her child by massaging his back instead—with far superior results!
But in a world where the climate is changing and we feel out of control, this give-and-take exercise allows children and adults alike to feel calmer, connected, and more able to cope. It also provides a way to talk about and plan for ways to hande climate disasters as our world changes every day.
Calm the climate in your home with this easy massage practice.
First Lady Melania Trump recently addressed the United Nations about the problems of cyberbullying. After eight months of intolerant and aggressive actions by her husband, not to mention a constant stream of inflammatory bully-victim rhetoric on Twitter, the irony of her focus is as flabbergasting as her speech is inspiring.
In her speech, she discusses ethics, moral imperatives, and civic engagement, plus teaching children empathy.“Our choices on how we raise and educate our children will in fact provide the blue print for the next generation.” Her cry to connect parents was moving.
“When we join together as parents caring for children, whether they live in our own families, across the street, across the nation, or across the globe, we claim our responsibility to the next generation to ensure they are prepared to accept the torch of leadership for the world of tomorrow,” Trump said. “No child should ever feel hungry, stalked, frightened, terrorized, bullied, isolated or afraid, with nowhere to turn.”
Mrs. Trump, we applaud your words and good intentions. They are true no matter what your husband does.
We may have Melania to thank for the fact Trump has not removed https://www.stopbullying.gov/, the website created by the Obama administration—which, for readers of this blog, has cyberbullying resources on the front page.
For all her interest in #stopchildhoodbullying, Mrs. Trump is married to someone who was a childhood bully, an aggressive boy raised by an autocrat. Hopefully he will listen to her speech about the Golden Rule. It might be new to him.
“The adolescent brain is like a car with no brakes.” At 14, Trisha Prabhu found a way to put the brakes on mean comments that tweens and teens write to their peers. Parents, insist your kids install this app! You are paying for the phone and this free app, which stops 93% of mean comments, can save lives by slowing down natural impulses to be mean online. Please share Trisha’s interviews on SharkTank & TED plus the link to the ReThink website with other parents.
ReThink is an award winning, non-intrusive, innovative, patent-pending
software product that effectively stops cyberbullying before the damage is done.
The world is currently in the midst of a technology revolution. There are 1.8 billion teens around the globe, and technology is in the hands of every adolescent. With more adolescents online, more are getting cyberbullied. Cyberbullied victims suffer from depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and more likely to drop out of school. Several solutions that are in place today address bullying after the damage is done. ReThink is the first ever solution to proactively prevent cyberbullying before the damage is done. ReThink is conquering this silent pandemic one message at a time.
This excerpt from The Bullying Antidote was recently published on ACEsConnection:
As we learned from the CDC-Kaiser Permanente ACE Study, negative childhood experiences are often kept secret, downplayed, or repressed because of our powerful desire to put such things behind us. Unfortunately, our minds and our brains don’t work that way. Patterns can play out automatically, no matter how hard we try to be original and create our own realities.Just as it is important to know family medical history (e.g., diabetes or tuberculosis) it is equally important to know about our social inheritance.What is your ancestry? What destructive patterns did your parents and grandparents overcome? Think back to your childhood, to how you were disciplined. What were the consequences in the short term? In the long term? There is a chilling quote from Time magazine essayist Lance Morrow, from his ACES-informed book, Heart: “Generations are boxes within boxes; inside my mother’s violence you find another box, which contains my grandfather’s violence, and inside that box (I suspect but do not know) you would find another box with some such black secret energy—stories within stories, receding in time.”
Punishment and Fear-Based Leadership
Authoritarian or autocratic leadership, the very strict style predominant in early 20th century European countries, was also the predominant style in the U.S. before the 1960s. Many families and subcultures in America still abide by this style. The primary goal of authoritarian parents is obedience; their tools are blame, shame, guilt, threats, force, and abuse. Their goal is to control, and their greatest tool is punishment.
After 18 months of brutal campaigning, Americans are waking up to the distressing reality that the country is divided and many of its citizens are facing real danger with more on the way—the self-fulfilling prophecy of fear.
Bullying and trauma are deeply intertwined, and in urban environments and in the media our kids are seeing so much more trauma on a daily basis than ever before. So this seemed like a good time to share this great resource for parents. Because it can help us all, as well.
Five Things to Help our Children (and Ourselves) after a Traumatic Event (from Emotional Geographic)
First: Turn off your television. Do not reinforce the traumatic experience at the emotional or neurological level.
Second: Trauma shatters our experience of safety so we all seek some reassurance that our loved ones are okay, and we want to believe that this will never happen to us.
Third: Trauma shatters our sense of trust and stability. The antidote to this is to attend to your routines.
Fourth: One of the greatest antidotes to trauma and the experience of helplessness is to help. Be active. Reach out.
Fifth: Resolve each day to bring a little more light and a little more love.
Acclaimed novelist Julianna Baggott wrote a simple Facebook post, dedicating her “No Trump Vote” to women who feel threatened. Within days, it had been shared over 1100 times. Read it here. The act of writing the dedication felt hopeful, and it seemed to have struck a chord. So Julianna and her husband David Scott decided to invite others to join her.
Add your story to the Dedicate Your No-Trump Vote. And read powerful essays by other acclaimed writers such as Pam Houston, Jodi Picoult, and more.
Donald Trump is doing a lot of speaking these days. It has influenced children, and his hate speech is creating back-to-school woes. What if he told the truth instead? He could quote The Bullying Antidote and share wisdom instead. We posted these memes on our Facebook Page in August.
Bullying is one of the most misunderstood crises of our time. Bullies are created by a specific life-path we can reroute at any stage when we know the road signs to look for along the way. Are you ready to help transform both bullies and victims into contributing, connected members of society? Then take a walk down the life-path of both with Dr. Becky Bailey, a renowned developmental psychology and early childhood expert, and the founder of Conscious Discipline.
It is interesting to us that this example child is given time-outs and other forms of less-violent parenting… but notice how the warmth is still absent.