Can Sibling Rivalry Cross a Line to Bullying? | Corona, CA

Siblings have been documented as fighting since the time of Cain and Abel, but is it possible for it to go beyond sibling rivalry and into more of a bullying issue? New research suggests that even when there are no physical scars, aggression between siblings can cause psychological wounds as damaging as the suffering caused by bullies at school or on the playground. The findings offer an unusual look at an area of family life that has rarely been studied, in part because fighting among brothers and sisters is widely considered a harmless rite of passage. Unfortunately, in this day and age, it is difficult to distinguish what is harmless teasing and what is deeply affecting a child at home.

Ordinary skirmishes over the remote or joystick are one thing, constant physical and verbal abuse is another. Normal rivalries with siblings can encourage healthy competition but when the line between healthy relations and abuse is crossed it is cause for alarm. When one child is consistently the victim of another and the aggression is intended to cause harm and humiliation, it is then to be considered a serious situation.

Nationwide, sibling violence is the most common form of family violence. It occurs four to five times as often as spousal or parental child abuse. According to some studies, nearly half of all children have been punched, kicked or bitten by a sibling, and roughly 15 percent have been repeatedly attacked. But even the most severe incidents are under-reported because families are reluctant to acknowledge them, dismissing slaps and punches as horseplay and bullying as kids just being kids.

If you would like to learn more about sibling rivalry, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

Is There a Difference Between a Bully and a Mean Person? | Corona, CA

It seems like these days, everyone feels the need to express everything they think and feel at any given moment. Not only in a good way, but more often than not, in a mean one. This has caused a wave of bullying between students that is tough to ignore. From TV to movies, it seems like everywhere you look someone is talking about bullying. But after some thinking, you have to ask yourself – is everyone that has something mean to say a bully? Is it possible to just be mean?

We all can probably think of someone who has been mean to us. We can probably even think of someone that we’ve been mean to. It doesn’t necessarily categorize anyone as a bully. There are rude people, and we need to learn how to deal with them accordingly. Bullying relies on unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance which includes actions like making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.

No matter what the reason is, bullying can have long-term side effects and problems for the victim. Bullying is more than just being mean; it’s hurtful and cruel. The brutal words and actions can create an impact on the heart and general behavior. If you notice that your child has begun to change their overall demeanor to a sadder, more closed off version of themselves, talk to them. They may be hesitant to open up but knowing you’re there when they do will help tremendously.

If you would like to learn more about bullying, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

How Hollywood Has Shed a Light on Bullying | Corona, CA

In this climate, bullying seems to be on the forefront of everyone’s minds. From playground cruelty to the online rumor mill, we’re hearing more about bullying than ever, but are we getting better at helping kids and teens cope? Let’s take a look at how Hollywood has shown us various forms of bullying.

Mean Girls

Cady has been home-schooled for her first 16 years, so when she enters a public school for the first time, the movie introduces her (and us) to the complicated interactions of adolescent girls. She initially bonds with two social outcasts, who devise a plan for Cady to infiltrate the Plastics, a trio of popular girls led by the vindictive Regina.

Mean Girls brings shades of gray to the typical bully/victim paradigm. Everyone here is a player in an endless cycle of bullying and being bullied. When Cady succumbs to the pettiness and vanity of the Plastics, the movie shows how intoxicating popularity can be, and how easy it is to switch from victim to bully, and back again.

Dazed and Confused

Bullying is an institutionalized ritual that one Texas town implicitly endorses in Richard Linklater’s 1993 coming-of-age film. It’s the last day of school in 1976, and upperclassmen are hazing the incoming freshmen as they leave junior high.

Dazed and Confused reflects ’70s culture, when this sort of teasing and initiation was seen as a natural part of growing up. To escape hazing, the logic goes, would be to miss a key character-building experience in one’s adolescence. Small acts of rebellion or revenge are permitted, but opting out of this ritual is never seriously considered: After the initial hazing, many kids begin to bond and form friendships with those who have just tormented them.

If you would like to learn more about anti-bullying, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

October is National Anti-Bullying Month | Corona, CA

Rumors, nasty comments, pushing, shoving, hitting – they have no place in our schools. It’s not just “kids being kids”. It’s not just something they will outgrow. Bullying and harassment are serious issues with serious consequences. Students who are bullied are more likely to be depressed, to think about and attempt suicide, and have behavior problems and difficulty learning.

Bullying contributes to poor school attendance, which is a barrier to improving student achievement for all. It affects efforts to close the achievement gap, a longstanding priority for the PTA. Nationally, an estimated 160,000 children miss school every day because of bullying. Prevention of bullying is a priority issue of the PTA because quite simply– children need to attend school in a safe environment.

Governor Jerry Brown signed important legislation sponsored by PTA to protect students from bullying and harassment. AB 1156, by Assembly member Mike Eng, gives students, their families and their teachers effective tools to help better ensure school is a place where everyone is free to learn and teach without the threat of harm. The bill requires training of school site personnel in the prevention of bullying, and it gives victims of bullying priority for transferring out of a school, if requested.

Training sessions on bullying prevention and intervention are now available through the California Department of Education for teachers, administrators, parents, students, certificated staff, risk management and community members. These sessions provide knowledge about the dynamics of bullying, a greater understanding of a systematic approach to bullying, and increase skills in identifying and implementing strategies to address bullying.

If you would like to learn more about National Anti-Bullying Month, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

September Is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month | Corona, CA

Now that we are smack-dab in the middle of back-to-school season, it is important that parents are sensitive to our children as they report the day’s events. Keeping an eye on their daily attitudes will help catch any signs of depression or adverse effects from fights with friends or bullying.

It is a fact: one in 3 children in the United States are overweight or obese. Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems that were once seen only in adults, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Sadly, children are cruel when it comes to physical differences, so unfortunately, a child suffering from obesity is likely to suffer from bullying. It is important to teach your child not to let words affect them, but it is also important as parents to prevent unhealthy lifestyle choices for our tiny humans. Thankfully, childhood obesity can be prevented. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to create opportunities for kids to eat healthier and get more active.

How can National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month make a difference? We can all use this month to raise awareness about the obesity epidemic and show people how they can take steps toward a solution. Celebrate this health awareness month with these tips:

  • Make small changes as a family, like keeping fresh fruit or going on a family walk after dinner.
  • Motivate teachers and administrators to make schools a healthier environment for every child by providing healthy food options, daily physical activities and lessons about bully prevention.

If you would like to learn more about National Childhood Obesity Month, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

Why Having Pride Is So Important | Corona, CA

simple acts of care and kindness

As long as you aren’t living under a rock, you know that we recently wrapped up Pride Week, a celebration of the LGBT community and their culture. There are plenty of events, parades and celebratory events surrounding this time of year, but did you ever wonder why it exists at all? Bullying.

At 1:20 a.m. on June 28, 1969, New York City Vice Squad Public Morals Division raided The Stonewall Inn, a notoriously gay bar. It was then that the Stonewall Riots broke out, in response to the brutal treatment those in the LGBT community who attended that night. These violent demonstrations are what we now believe to be the first acts of the modern day gay rights movement.

Since the Stonewall Riots, there has been many advancements in the gay rights movement. They can participate in the armed forces protecting our country, marry and have children. But there are still plenty of steps left to take. Bullying this community is still very prevalent around the world and it needs to stop. This is why the Pride events that take place worldwide are such a major step towards equality. Pride Parades and events are celebrated in every major city and country across the world.

Bullying should never happen to anyone, regardless of your race, sex, creed or gender. We need to try to live in a place of peace and harmony, free from bullying and bigotry. So, in honor of Pride Month, we should take extra steps to come together. Not just for ourselves, but for those that are hurting.

If you would like to learn more about Pride Month, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

Mean Girls Isn’t Just a Movie | Corona, CA

If you’ve ever seen the classic movie, Mean Girls, you know that girls don’t really take feelings into consideration when they choose to prey on another girl. It’s a dog eat dog world, especially in schools and sadly, girls are often worse than boys in that they use verbal abuse over physical bullying. Most Anti-bullying programs don’t look at friendship issues, but for girls, that’s where the aggression usually happens. Here are some tips that can help:

Start by building strong connections at home. You want to be understanding and a good listener. But that doesn’t mean asking questions that can be leading or suggest that she has been wronged.

Validate the range of emotions she is experiencing are valid. Help your daughter understand that all emotions, both positive and negative, are normal.  Remind her that bad emotions don’t make her a bad girl. By allowing her anger or irritation to play out will help her calm down quicker than if you just play down the situation.

Avoid problem-solving for her. You want your daughter to learn how to handle herself in these situations and in life. Be there for her and don’t just tell her what to do. Helping her work through what is going on by asking her questions.

Try role play to work through the problem. Help your daughter hold her ground with her own strong but not aggressive statements. Sometimes, a better idea is to start developing new friendships and avoid that “friend.”

If you would like to learn more about what you can do to prevent bullying, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

Good or Bad, Words Matter | Corona, CA

One of the biggest problems we have in schools is bullying. Thankfully, we have a week every year focused on the impact of words in our communication. During Words Matter Week, we need to consider the importance of our words in our day-to-day lives. This isn’t about of talking just to talk, this is about carefully crafted language. Words Matter Week is a time to focus on banishing grammatically incorrect and hurtful words from our written and spoken communication.

The quote for Words Matter Week 2015 is simple – “If you wouldn’t write it and sign it, don’t say it”.

Because it seems bullying starts at a young age, it is a good idea to speak to your students about the way various forms of speech affects others, both positively and negatively. Try these questions to spark a discussion in the classroom:

  • Words can change history. What word, speech, or document do you believe to be most important?
  • What writers make your heart sing? Why?
  • What word, said or unsaid, has or could change your life? How?
  • Communication breaks down when words are misused. What is the funniest or worst break-down you’ve ever observed?
  • What person in your life helped you understand the importance of choosing words carefully?
  • If you had to eliminate one word or phrase from the English language, what would it be? Why?

Words Matter Week is celebrated annually, with celebrations held online at www.WordsMatterWeek.com and at libraries, bookstores, and schools nationwide and is sponsored by the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors (NAIWE).

If you would like to learn more about Words Matter Week and what you can do to prevent bullying, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

The History of Seth’s Law | Corona, CA

bullyingIn the current climate, it’s fitting that we take a moment to reflect on a law passed in California that protects public school children from bullying. That law? Seth’s Law. Seth’s Law is a 2012 law that strengthens existing state anti-bullying laws to protect all students. This law requires CA public schools to update their anti-bullying policies and programs, focusing on protecting students who are bullied based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity/gender expression, as well as race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, disability, and religion.

California law says that all public school students should have equal rights and opportunities. Yet many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning students report that they experience significant bullying in California schools. And teachers, administrators, and other staff often fail to address the bullying when they see it.

Seth’s Law is named after a 13-year-old California student who tragically took his own life in 2010 after years of anti-gay bullying that his school failed to address.

Under this law, school districts will adopt a strong anti-bullying policy that prohibits bullying and implement a specific process for receiving and investigating complaints of bullying, including a requirement that school personnel intervene if they witness bullying. Additionally, publicize anti-bullying policy and complaint process, including support materials in all schools, offices and district websites.

Seth’s Law specifically contains the following requirement: “If school personnel witness an act of discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, he or she shall take immediate steps to intervene when safe to do so.” (Education Code Section 234.1(b)(1))]

If you would like to learn more about Seth’s Law and what you can do to prevent bullying, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

Are You a Bully? | Corona, CA

BystanderWhen we think about the typical bully, we think of the big, tough kid on the playground who pushes everyone around. Sure, but those aren’t the only types of bullies. The cheerleader, the class clown, even the quiet kid can be a bully. Bullies can be any size, age, gender or grade.

So, what does it mean to be a bully? When someone uses words or actions to hurt someone who has a hard time defending themselves. Sometimes kids who bully think that it’s cool, but what is cool about hurting someone? Name calling, tripping someone, laughing at them, leaving them out, ignoring them on purpose – how can hurting someone possibly be “no big deal?” If kids think about why they are bullying, they can then deal with those reasons and change their behavior. Not only will they feel better about themselves, but others will think so too.

Do you think you are a bully? Do you think you know someone who is? If you answer yes to any of these questions, you may want to rethink the way you treat others:

  • Do you hurt other kids on purpose?
  • Do you like to tease kids about how they look or act?
  • Are kids afraid of you?
  • Do you hit, threaten, or leave kids out?
  • Do you take or ruin other kids’ stuff?
  • Do you enjoy it when you upset other kids?
  • Do you blame others for your problems?
  • Do you say mean things about others, either in person or on social media?

If you would like to learn more about bullying and what you can do to prevent it, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.