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

The First “Zorgos Award” Goes to….

A teacher shared this wonderful essay by a third grader who was getting into some bullying behaviors and needed to think things through. It’s wonderful to see how a young child makes connections between empathy and goodness. But honestly, it’s also the funniest thing we’ve read in a long time. Read it aloud to your kids! Jose bullying 1 Jose bullying 2Thank you, Mr. Caven. Good luck to all the third graders!

Honk If You Hate Bullies

Lately there have been stories and photos in the news and on Facebook streams, of parents hanging signs on children to shame them for bad behavior. We would like to say that it’s cute with dogs, but it hurts children. Some parents, unfortunately, are wildly approving of this idea. I think of it as  combat parenting.

In one of our workshops, one parent thought the dad who made his son hold a poster about bullying was setting a limit. We agreed that he made a good effort to teach his son a lesson, but his method was too harsh. If the child had stood with a sign that simply said “Honk if you hate bullies,” he would have had a sufficiently eye-opening experience. But by starting the sign with “I am a bully,” this child invited honkers to hate him personally. And every viewer of the sign was put in the horrible position of having to judge this child without knowing the whole story, and to participate in the bullying dynamic themselves.

We encourage parents to set limits and hold kids accountable, but we learned in writing The Bullying Antidote that shame and humiliation are at the roots of violent behavior (Chapter 4). Modeling and teaching respect, empathy, communication and compassion are the keys to shaping positive behavior — and self-compassion is part of it. Kids who don’t let bad feelings fester don’t take them out on other kids.

Our society has come a long way since public stoning and scarlet letters were the norm. Publicly shaming your children for bullying, or stealing, or in at least one case, pooping. is like putting a curse on them that will erode family love and trust down the road.

Louise recently shared a wonderful blog post on our Facebook page that explains in a very clear way the emotional impact of shaming on a child’s heart. Imagine parents, this writer suggests, having to hold signs that say,

“Forgot to pay phone bill and got cut off.”

“Yelled at a co-worker and lost my job. Now we are losing our house.”

“Went out and got drunk and now I have a DUI.”

In this article, blogger Heidi Stone points to another blog that suggests a much better approach: Praise in public, correct in private. Respect and compassion maximize cooperation, improve a relationship, and increase the likelihood of learning the lesson.