A Bullying Experiment you CAN Try at Home

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.

More info: youtu.be

What would happen if you bullied a plant for 30 days straight?

IKEA decided to test it out to help raise awareness around Anti-Bullying Day on 4th May in the Middle East

They placed two of their plants in a school

Where one plant was fed compliments and words of encouragement

While the other was verbally bullied with hateful words

Both plants were treated strictly the same

They both received the same amount of water, sunlight and fertilizer

The end result speaks for itself

Watch this video to see the experiment in detail:

Here’s what people had to say about the project

Source: IKEA Asks People To Bully This Plant For 30 Days To See What Happens, And Results Are Eyeopening


Recovering After Trauma

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.

Read the whole article at: Five Things to Help our Children (and Ourselves) after a Traumatic Event. — Emotional Geographic

Now Booking Workshops for Fall!

fall promoRolling out our fall workshops! The free books offer is only for Oakland organizations…but the discount is for everyone!

How to turn bullying dynamics around? It starts with the family. Get the conversation started in your school, church, or community group.

Discount for bookings scheduled before August 30th.

Please write to info@upliftprograms.com for more information.

www.upliftprograms.com | www.zorgosproject.org | www.parentstogether.org

“How to Build a Bully from Scratch”

“Bullying prevention and intervention can only occur in the slow stages of relationship building.”

Here’s an interesting video from Conscious Discipline.

How To Make A Bully (From Scratch)

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.

All About the Zorgos Project

Please share with your networks!

3,000 Free Books for Oakland Parents

Last fall, Oakland Parents Together (OPT) was the recipient of a generous donation of over 3,000 copies of The Bullying Antidote (Hazelden/Betty Ford Foundation) by Oakland authors Dr. Louise Hart and Kristen Caven.

Bully Prevention through Positive Parenting
Unlike other books on bullying, The Bullying Antidote identifies bullying as a cultural power dynamic that has deep roots, perpetrated by common and wide-spread parenting methods. The book is a guide for positive parenting principles which have been proven by neurological, psychological, and sociological research to be the best practices for success and happiness.

Start a Discussion Group Now or in Fall

We have just over 100 cases (24 books each) left to distribute to parent groups in schools, churches, work, family, and other community settings in Oakland. The authors have created a self-paced discussion guide to promote authentic parent-to-parent conversations about bullying, love, violence, nurturing, trauma, and creating positivity in family relationships.

Request Books Here!

The authors also provide support in the form of presentations for parents. Furthermore, OPT staff is available to help facilitate conversations through their signature program, the Parent Café.

If you would like to receive a case of books for your school, church, or other community group, please visit www.zorgosproject.org.

Please share this announcement!

(Here’s the Press Release.)

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P.S. Want to keep in touch? You can sign up for our mailing list and/or get blog posts from The Zorgos Reader.

Discussion Questions: Wrap-Up

Got Zorgos?

We hope you gained great insight by reading and discussing The Bullying Antidote with other parents, and we hope you made some friends as well.

“Making and keeping friends is the number one predictor of adult success in every measure, in every realm. Bullying interrupts that process.”

—Nicholas Carlisle, founder of the No Bully intervention system

Q: Would you recommend this book, or this project to other parents? If so, we would so appreciate your review  of The Bullying Antidote on Amazon, Goodreads, or anywhere else parents will find it.

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Let us know how your discussion group went and we will send you some free stickers for your participants, while supplies last.

Here’s a Certificate of Completion to print out for your group.

<< Chapter 19 | Introduction >>

Discussion Questions: Chapter Thirteen

“Good Communication = Good Relationships”

This chapter is packed! Covering the words we choose, non-violent communication, better listening, criticism and feedback, problem solving, peace making, and communication rituals, there is a lot to think about—and talk about! Please note on page 222.

“How children turn out depends on family communication skills. What people say to them at home shapes how they think and feel about themselves, and consequently, their behaviors.” (p. 214)

Q: What is the tone of communication in your family? Are swear words common, and if so, what are the rules around them? Is it okay for people to say anything to each other, or are some things off-limits? Is it more ‘normal’ to say positive things to each other or negative things?

click to download this poster!

click to download this poster!

“All parents say things they regret. And sadly, careless words can have unexpected, lasting consequences.” (p. 225)

Q: Have you said words to your child that you regret? Did you ‘undo’ them once you realized it? How so?

“Positive feedback is validating. It encourages, acknowledges, appreciates, compliments, and supports.” (p. 226)

Q: Using the chart on page 228, ‘reframe’ a common statement that you have used or heard recently in your family.

“Most people think they are good listeners, but few really are.” (p. 218)

Communication Exercise: find a partner and ask them to tell them about their day. Using the Active Listening Techniques on page 218, let them talk for 5 minutes. Then take turns. Q: How did it feel to fully listen? How did it feel to be fully listened to? 




Try that exercise with your child. Try it with your partner.

Also, choose one or more of the following:

  • When a conflict arises, use the steps of Non-Violent Communication on p. 217
  • Use the Twelve Steps to Peacemaking on p. 230
  • Choose a new parent interaction from p. 233
  • See bottom of p. 231. How many family dinners do you have per week? If less than three, can you try for one more? (If you can, shoot for 5!)


Do you know someone whose child has been bullied? Have them read “Listening to Trouble” on pages 221 and 222.

Reply in the Comments, below!

Looking for resource links? Click here.

<< Chapter 12 | Chapter 14 >>

Discussion Questions: Chapter Ten

“Your Most Important Relationship”

You can’t take care of your kids if you’re not taking care of yourself. This chapter gives insights about self-understanding.

“…Any woman who did something to take care of herself was put down in her family’s hardworking immigrant culture for being ‘selfish.'” (p. 164)

Q: Does this sound familiar to you? Do you think it is true? How do you take care of yourself? How do you justify taking care of yourself?

“Nothing has a stronger influence on children than the un-lived lives of their parents.'” (p. 164)

Q: Do you have an “unlived life?” What are your unexpressed dreams and desires? Speaking these thoughts aloud helps you connect with your authentic self, model this to your children, and best of all, begin to transform these dreams into reality.

“If you were disrespected and rejected, blamed and shamed, put down and humiliated as a child, you may be recycling those cruel messages in your self-talk.'” (p. 166)

Q: Do you have an “inner bully?” How are you learning to stand up to or weaken that voice?

“Being authentic is paramount for good mental health and healthy relationships. Unfortunately, our culture tends to heartlessly thrust people in the opposite direction, demanding that they be artificial and untrue to themselves, even put themselves at risk to fit in or ‘succeed.'” (p. 169)

Q: How have you been personally ‘thrust in the opposite direction’? Have you seen this happen to your children?

“What is ‘Locus of Control’ and why does it matter?” (p. 170)

Q: This is an illustration Kristen made for Louise’s workshops, also published in The Winning Family. Who is pulling YOUR strings?

© 1993 Kristen Baumgardner Caven

© 1993 Kristen Baumgardner Caven

“Many forces keep us from understanding and becoming who we really are, or from grasping what is most important in life.'” (p. 173)

Q: Look over the sub-headings on pages 173-177. What traps do you fall into? What traps do you see family members falling into?

“Creating an authentic relationship with yourself is an act of healing.'” (p. 177)

Q: Look over the Avenues to Healing starting on page 177. Which ones have you used? Which ones might you be interested in checking out? What other avenues can you share with other parents?

And now for our favorite question:

Q: What sentence, paragraph, or idea popped out at you, or stuck with you after reading?

HOMEWORK: There are three activities on page 167 that you can do to lift your self-esteem. Choose one or more, and try them this week!

Reply in the Comments, below!

Looking for resource links? Click here.

<< Chapter 9 | Chapter 11 >>

Discussion Questions: Chapter Nine

“A Warm Family Climate”

When children feel warmth from their caregivers, they can relax and learn. This chapter discusses how warmth is blocked and how to open avenues.

“It has been proven over and over again that a warm, caring, and positive emotional climate builds resilience and other strengths that help children avoid bullying dynamics.” (p. 151)

Q: Did you grow up in a warm family or one that had a lot of emotional distance? Describe the dynamics. How did your family climate help you or hinder you?

“Society teaches us to be fearful.” (p. 152)

Q: Was your family tone more joyful or fearful? How did that affect your subconscious programming?

“…turn off the autopilot that repeats the past and learn to listen to intuition…” (p. 155)

Q: Have you ever caught yourself “parenting on automatic?” What happens when you become aware of what you are doing, what messages you are giving?

“It has been proven over and over again that a warm, caring, and positive emotional climate builds resilience and other strengths that help children avoid bullying dynamics.” (p. 151)

Q: Did you grow up in a warm family or one that had a lot of emotional distance? Describe the dynamics. How did your family climate help you or hinder you?

HALT stands for hungry, angry, lonely, or tired… check for all of these things when emotions are getting out of hand.

Q: When a child is hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, they need to get their needs met before making any progress. Is this also true for adults?

Ways to engage include: connection rituals, telling stories, using sweet words, touch, freewheeling play…

Q: What are some positive ways you engage with your kids?

And our favorite question….

Q: What sentence, paragraph, or idea popped out at you, or stuck with you after reading?

Reply in the Comments, below!

Looking for resource links? Click here.

<< Chapter 8 | Chapter 10 >>

Discussion Questions: Chapter Eight

“Parenting for a Positive Present…and Future”

This chapter focuses on the most powerful antidote to bullying–and the best approach to preventing it. Simply stated, positive parents do not neglect or abuse their children. Instead, they fill their basic needs with kindness and compassion.

Q: This chapter makes many statements about what Positive Parenting is. Can you find them all? How do these statements resonate with you?

“Positive parenting has nothing to do with being ‘perfect.'” (p. 137)

Q: Were your parents perfectionists? If so, how did it affect you, and how you relate to your own kids?

“Building a family is like building a house. You start with a vision and plans…. An optimistic vision can give meaning and purpose to the ongoing and often draining tasks of parenting. How you envision your life is extremely important because it plays into everything else.” (p. 137)

Q: What is your optimistic vision for your children and your family? Does it include feeling happy and having good relationships?

“If you had a difficult childhood but have come to make sense of those experiences, you are not bound to re-create the same negative interactions with your own children.” (p. 146)

Q: In what ways are you a better parent than your folks? What experiences, insights, and/or skills have helped you loosen the grip of old negative attitudes, behaviors, or habits?

“When you have a parenting challenge, remember: ‘Misbehavior’ is not a challenge to your authority, but an unmet need, a reaction to unrealistic expectations, or an expression of pain. Do not take uncooperative behavior personally!” (p. 141)

Q: Have you ever noticed “red flag” phrases like the ones listed, coming out of your mouth? Give an example.

“Remind yourself that your child’s brain will not be fully developed until his or her mid-twenties.” (p. 141)

Q: How did you/could you/would you reframe those “red flag” thoughts into “green flag” thoughts?


And remember, this question is always a good one:

Q: What sentence, paragraph, or idea popped out at you, or stuck with you after reading?


Homework: Is there one thing you would like to do differently, as a parent? Share with a friend in the group, and report back to them.

Reply in the Comments, below!

Looking for resource links? Click here.

<< Chapter 7 | Chapter 9 >>