Thirteen Reasons Why We Need Good Friends | Corona, CA

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have at least heard of the newest Netflix show “13 Reasons Why”. The basic synopsis is this: a high school student commits suicide, but before she does, she makes 13 cassette tapes with the reasons that led her up to committing the act. It is up to those she left behind to figure out that everything could’ve been prevented had they just been a good friend to her. Kind of makes you ask yourself – am I a good friend?

But what exactly makes one a good friend? If you really want to know, ask yourself what it is that you look for in your friends. Do you reciprocate those same actions to them? Here is a quick list of traits people look for when finding themselves a friend…how many do you do?

Honesty is the best policy. Trust is important in any relationship, but especially in friendships. After all, if you can’t trust your friends’ opinions, who do you turn to when you need them? Same goes for you. If your friends ask for an opinion, give them an honest one.

A friend ‘til the end. After trust is earned, loyalty is expected. If you hear someone is talking about your friend, stand up for them. Always remember the golden rule!

A shoulder to lean on. One of the most important aspects of friendship is support. Listen to them and give good advice. Being there for one another is the best defense against any kind of bullying.

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.

Mean Girl Bullying…. What adults can do! | Corona, CA

Do schools and teachers pick up on this happening?

Often parents and teachers dismiss the mean girl behavior as part of being a girl.  They often say, “It’s what girls do,” or “Girls will be girls.” Often with younger elementary school girls, parents are not as tuned in to the situation to watch out for this type of behavior because it just seems that the girls are too young for it to be happening to them. But if you talk to teachers, they will tell you they see it on a daily basis.

Many Anti-bullying programs focus only on managing physical aggression, so the issue of mean girls fall outside the scope of the majority of programs. Boys often tend to be more physical, so when there is a fight on the playground with one child being aggressive towards another, there is cause for concern. The school does not want a child physically injured.

Most Anti-bullying programs don’t look at friendship issues, but for girls, that’s where the aggression usually happens.

What can you do when the bully is the girl’s best friend?

If safety is issue and your child is in danger or endangering someone else, get professional help.

Preparing girls for what they might face with a new classroom full of girls is a great idea. Every year there are different  in the classroom. 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. Try telling her things like, “I understand  how angry you are about what happened. It hurts our feelings when friends are mean.” By allowing your 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 like, “I understand that your friends are telling everyone that you’re poor and you shop at the thrift store. Why do you think she is she doing that?” Help her understand what is going on in the situation.
  • Try role play to work through the problem. Help by practicing with your daughter her responses to bullying but asking questions like, “Why are you worried about my clothes? If you really are my friend, then why would you be so worried about this?” Help your daughter hold her ground with her own strong but not aggressive statements. Or, if your family has had enough of the situation, a better idea is to start developing new friendships and avoid that “friend.”
  • Work with teachers and school staff. At this young age, girls look up to their teachers and other adults at the school. If they see an exclusion situation happening, sometimes these adults can offer your daughter an opportunity to join him or her for lunch or a special activity to increase her “social value.”

Contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness today at 866-459-7225 or visit our website for more information.

Contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness proudly serves Norco, Riverside, Lake Elsinore, San Bernardino, Eastvale and surrounding areas.

The “Mean Girl” bully… No longer just in Middle School | Corona, CA

Kids are starting to heading back to school and one important situation to cover is “mean girlbullying. Typically we think of it as a middle-school issue, but it’s now happening at younger ages. Below we will talk about the problem of young mean girls and how parents can prepare their daughters for more difficult social situations they may face before the school year begins.

What does young mean girl bullying really look like in the first- or second-grade?

Typically it can be cruel words, the spreading of rumors, and systematic teasing. Some parents have said it even started in kindergarten. A study done at SUNY Buffalo in New York concluded that some girls understand these tactics as young as preschool.

Official the term for this is called “relational aggression.” As girls get older and move into third grade, they get more sophisticated and cliques really begin to form. Additionally during this time, you see actions with intent to hurt. Although in kindergarten through second-grade girls, these actions may not be intend to hurt; the girls involved are trying establish their place on the social ladder and often don’t realize that what they are doing is  actually causing pain to others.

One of the most difficult things about this for the younger girls involved is that it can be their best friend who is also their bully. These back and forth friendships can be destructive for the girl who doesn’t know from one day to the next if her friend will play with her, or round up other girls and start a club where she is the only girl that is not allowed to join. Research has shown that the collection of the mean-girl experiences over time can significantly impact a girl’s ability to learn.

See next weeks article on what adults can do to help.

Contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness today at 866-459-7225 or visit our website for more information.

Contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness proudly serves Norco, Riverside, Lake Elsinore, San Bernardino, Eastvale and surrounding areas.