Saturday, October 25, 2014

Bullying in schools still prevalent, american national report finds

In a recent research article by Clemson University they found that despite a dramatic increase in public awareness and anti-bullying legislation nationwide, the prevalence of bullying is still one of the most pressing issues facing our nation's youth, according to a report. Read More

The middle school years are particularly important. From our personal experience there are a couple of things that parents, teachers, and administrators can do to help our kids navigate this challenging time.

The most important thing for our kids is an easy to understand student handbook with clearly defined expectations and consequences for any infraction. When schools provide clear rules (without fluff or happy talk) AND the consequences for breaking these rules AND THEN they follow through with these rules then the kids in the middle school have a greater respect for the teachers and administrators and they are more likely to comply.  In this Clemson study it clearly shows that by the time the kids get to high school they are less likely to report cases of cyberbullying because they have lost confidence that it will make any difference.

I talked with one middle school student who had gone to their principal to report a case of bullying. The principal started to giggle a little bit while this student was talking about his concerns. The student saw that the principal was not taking this very serious and said that in the student handbook it said that the consequence for this type of bullying would be that the students would be called into the principals office. This principal started to laugh some more and said "Oh my goodness you take things so serious".  This was seriously confusing for the student. In the end this student ended up slugging the kid in the nose and getting a one day suspension from school for hitting another kid. But the bullying stopped. So in the end the kid felt the one day suspension was worth it because he hated going to school in the first place.

This is the wrong message and the wrong solution.

We need to give our kids the benefit of a safe place to learn and the simplest way to do this is to give them clear information about expectations and consequences and let them know we care and are watching out for them.  We cannot just stand by.


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bullying: Negative impact on a child's health may remain for years

The longer the period of time a child is bullied, the more severe and lasting the impact is on a child's health, according to a new study. The study is the first to examine the compounding effects of bullying from elementary school to high school. The team collected data for the study by following a group of 4,297 children and adolescents from fifth to tenth grade. Results showed that bullying at any age was associated with worse mental and physical health, increased depressive symptoms and lower self-worth. Participants who experienced chronic bullying also reported increased difficulties in physical activities like walking, running or participating in sports.

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COMMENT: Parents watch for signs from you kids and talk to them.  Signs of bullying may be as obvious as your kid asking to stay home from school but may be as subtle as a change in appetite. When you talk with your kid ask them questions that give them leeway to talk about bullying.  When you ask them directly "Are you being bullied?" they may tell you no.  But if you ask them different questions about their day leading up to bigger questions about bullying at school then they may be more likely to open up about what is really going on.  When a kid is being bullied at school they often feel like no one cares.  Let them know you care.  Spend the time it takes to let them know they have you on their side.

One great way to do this is to talk about it while playing a video game or doing some other activity with your child that they love to do.   When we were talking with a group of 5th graders they talked about some of their favorite times they spend with their Mom and one 5th grader said he loved folding laundry with his Mom because it was just the two of them and they talked with each other while they folded the warm clothes.  It was a surprising afternoon because I expected to hear more things like days at the amusement park or that day they went out to buy that new pair of tennis shoes.  But instead they all talked about those little things that they do with their Mom over and over that give them that time with her and that she gives them.

'Beautiful but sad' music can help people feel better

Music that is felt to be 'beautiful but sad' can help people feel better when they're feeling blue, new research concludes. The research investigated the effects of what the researchers described as Self-Identified Sad Music (SISM) on people's moods, paying particular attention to their reasons for choosing a particular piece of music when they were experiencing sadness -- and the effect it had on them. The results showed that if an individual has intended to achieve mood enhancement through listening to 'sad' music, this was in fact often achieved by first thinking about their situation or being distracted, rather than directly through listening to the music chosen. Read More

Saturday, March 8, 2014

How do 10th graders perceive bullying?

An ethnographic study of participant roles in school bullying.
An ethnographic study of participant roles in school bullying.

Aggress Behav. 2014 Jan 22;
Authors: Gumpel TP, Zioni-Koren V, Bekerman Z

An ethnographic study in a 10th grade remedial class was undertaken in order to discern patterns of school bullying. Twenty 10th graders were observed over the course of one academic year as they interacted with their peers and teachers. The observations helped us identify dispositional and situational factors which influenced participant roles. In-depth interviews of students involved in school bullying showed how participants interpreted and explained their classroom behaviors. The analysis of the data gathered allowed the identification of four main actor roles recognized in the existing literature on bullying-the pure victim, the pure bully, the provocative-victim, and the bystander-as well as the differentiation between aggressive bullies and the bully managers. Most roles fluctuated according to specific circumstances and often appeared to be moderated by the teacher's management style and contextual variables. Some pupils assumed different roles in different contexts, sometimes changing roles within or between episodes. Teacher personality and style also had an impact on the frequencies and types of aggression and victimization. The use of an ethnographic research paradigm is discussed as an important supplement to positivistic studies of school bullying.

Aggr. Behav. 9999:XX-XX, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Association between school bullying levels/types and mental health problems among Taiwanese adolescents.

Association between school bullying levels/types and mental health problems among Taiwanese adolescents.
Compr Psychiatry. 2014 Feb 11;
Authors: Yen CF, Yang P, Wang PW, Lin HC, Liu TL, Wu YY, Tang TC

BACKGROUND: Few studies have compared the risks of mental health problems among the adolescents with different levels and different types of bullying involvement experiences.

METHOD: Bullying involvement in 6,406 adolescents was determined through use of the Chinese version of the School Bullying Experience Questionnaire. Data were collected regarding the mental health problems, including depression, suicidality, insomnia, general anxiety, social phobia, alcohol abuse, inattention, and hyperactivity/impulsivity. The association between experiences of bullying involvement and mental health problems was examined. The risk of mental health problems was compared among those with different levels/types of bullying involvement.

RESULTS: The results found that being a victim of any type of bullying and being a perpetrator of passive bullying were significantly associated with all kinds of mental health problems, and being a perpetrator of active bullying was significantly associated with all kinds of mental health problems except for general anxiety. Victims or perpetrators of both passive and active bullying had a greater risk of some dimensions of mental health problems than those involved in only passive or active bullying. Differences in the risk of mental health problems were also found among adolescents involved in different types of bullying.

CONCLUSIONS: This difference in comorbid mental health problems should be taken into consideration when assessing adolescents involved in different levels/types of bullying.

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COMMENT: Sometimes if we just focus on the "Bullying" we overlook the underlying reasons that this happens.  And it is important to remember that the perpetrator of bullying may need just as much help as the target of his/her bullying. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Exploring workplace bullying in nursing.


Exploring workplace bullying in nursing.
Workplace Health Saf. 2014 Jan;62(1):6-11
Authors: Etienne E

Bullying in the nursing workplace has been identified as a factor that affects patient outcomes and increases occupational stress and staff turnover. The purpose of this project was to assess registered nurses' perceived exposure to workplace bullying. A convenience sample of a Pacific Northwest state professional nurses' association membership was solicited for this descriptive study using the Negative Acts Questionnaire-Revised (NAQ-R). Forty-eight percent of respondents admitted to being bullied in the workplace during the previous 6 months, with respondents choosing "being ignored or excluded" as the most common negative experience in the workplace. The results of this study suggest that workplace bullying remains a problem for which reduction strategies must be devised as a means of retaining nurses and preventing adverse outcomes. One strategy shown to be effective in curbing bullying is assertiveness and aggression training for nurses.

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COMMENT: if bullying behavior isn't stopped during childhood, it will persist in adults and affect the work place.