Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Are Bullies and Victims the Same?

posted by Linda Mintle
Alex’s mom is tired of Alex being bullied on the playground. One way to help Alex is to understand the profiles associated with bullies and victims.

In 2010, the *APA published a study where researchers reviewed 153 studies on bullying over the past 30 years. What they found was that bullies and victims share similar traits. Both lack social problem-solving skills and feel awkward and uncomfortable among their peers. When you add poor academic skills to the mix, a bully, rather than a victim, is likely to emerge.

The study additionally profiled bullies with these traits:

1) Negative attitudes and beliefs about others

2) Negative self-image

3) From families with conflict and poor parenting

4) Negative school perceptions

5) Negatively influenced by peers.

The study also noted that victims are usually aggressive, lack social skills, think negative thoughts, are problematic in social skills and solving problems, isolate, are rejected by peers and come from negative family, school and community environments.

So the take away here for parents is to address these issues:

To deal with a bully:

Get behavioral parent training. Years ago, I taught such a program in the Chicago area schools. Problematic children were identified by the schools because of their acting out. I traveled to their homes, observed their interactions with their parents and trained the parents in more effective parenting skills. In addition, children and parents practiced specific ways to handle bullying and problems. Both learned better problem-solving skills, and ways to lessen family conflict.

To help the victim:

Involve other children in standing up to the bully. The technique is called The Swarm. Basically, a group of bystanders swarm the bully and tell him or her to back off. There is power in numbers and bullies will often back down when confronted with a group that pushes back on them.

 

 

*Reference: “Predictors of Bullying and Victimization in Childhood and Adolescence: A Meta-analytic Investigation,” Clayton R. Cook, PhD, Louisiana State University; Kirk R. William, PhD, Nancy G. Guerra, EdD, Tia E. Kim, PhD, and Shelly Sadek, MA, University of California, Riverside; School Psychology Quarterly, Vol. 25, No.2

What’s Missing From Lady Gaga’s Born This Way?

posted by Linda Mintle

Since I finally had a chance to watch the panel meeting with Lady Gaga at Harvard University where she launched her foundation, Born This Way. Lady Gaga was very engaging, passionate about helping create better communities that embrace kindness, love and acceptance. She has a great message and appears very genuine in her love for people. And she is looking for people to partner with her to bring that message to multiple communities. She admits, she has few answers to the problems of hate, violence and cruelty to fellow man, but wants to bring awareness to the need for cultural change.

She has amassed a host of experts, media personalities like Oprah, author Deepak Chopra, and others to bring awareness to the idea of supporting systems to build confidence in youth, empower them to be brave and kind. Her message: Stop the hate, violence and meanness and try love, kindness and acceptance.Who can’t get behind this idea?

But while all the experts have a wealth of understanding on violence, bullying, hate and other factors that contributes to tearing down the confidence and esteem of a person, few solutions are working. Why is that?

Lady Gaga believes that we will transform the hearts of people through acts of kindness and bravery, one person at a time. She is on to something, but how to change hearts is what is missing in this conversation.

True transformation of the heart is found in Ezekial 36: 25, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” The Holy Spirit in us motivates us to pursue holiness and gives  extraordinary power to love under the most difficult circumstances. Christ in us causes us to be brave, to empower, to love, to have empathy, and to be kind. Jesus’ commandment was to love your neighbor as yourself.

Spurgeon said that a man’s heart is not easily softened and that hearts that are not softened grow harder and harder. We live in a culture of hardened hearts—the hard hearts of cruelty and meanness. But as Spurgeon notes, a heart of flesh is tender towards the suffering of others. It brings a tenderness of conscience, the very thing needed to make change.

So while I applaud Lady Gaga for aiming high to make a shift in the culture– from violence to love, the missing ingredient is God’s ability to change a heart of stone to a heart of flesh. This change requires spiritual surgery on the heart. He takes out that heart of stone and replaces it with a heart of flesh. Then, we are empowered to truly love one another.

The Truth About Autism and Vaccines

posted by Linda Mintle

Mary’s son is autistic. She desperately wants to believe that the vaccinations her child received as a toddler triggered the disorder. Toddlers receive the MMR  vaccine around the same time as autistic symptoms begin to be noticed by parents. Because of her son’s diagnosis, Mary has not vaccinated any of her other children.

So what is the latest on autism and vaccinations?

Historically, the tie to autism and vaccines originated out of a 1998 small study in England. The study claimed that vaccines caused a gastrointestinal complication that triggered autism.

The report was published in a medical journal, The Lancet. However, in 2010, The Lancet retracted the study and the lead author lost his medical license because of fraud. Multiple studies on autism and vaccines have been conducted and continue to show no link. Furthermore, the ingredient (thimerosal) parents’ fear in the MMR vaccine was removed in 2001.

Yet, inflammatory rhetoric towards vaccinations and autism continues because we have celebrities insisting on causes that have not been proven and courts awarding damages to parents who sue. Neither is about science.

Like so many of you, I have a family member affected by autism. And this is what motivates me to get the facts straight. Research, such as the studies at Eastern Virginia Medical School on autism will continue to unlock the complicated door of these spectrum disorders.

Is Facebook Promoting Porn? 8 Guidelines for Parents

posted by Linda Mintle

Facebook has massive appeal. It allows us to stay in touch with friends, re-connect with people with whom we’ve lost contact, communicate with relatives, be aware of the needs of others and so much more that is good and healthy.

But Facebook has a dark side. It has become a place for child predators to group. Child predators look for places where children can be found and this technology has given them a breeding ground. With millions of children on Facebook, an investigative report on WND.com found Facebook groups with titles like Kidsex Young, Preteen Lesbians, Love Little Kids and more.

And even though efforts are made with photo software designed to filter illegal child abuse images, it doesn’t stop the predators from using Facebook as a platform. WND.com determined that the sites are being used to trade and post child pornography.

Parents, what can you do to protect your kids from pedophiles who may pose as their “friend?”

1) Follow the guidelines. Children under 13 are not supposed to have their own Facebook pages.

2) Friend your child so you can supervise his or her account. Because of the dangers involved, this is not a place you want to give your child complete privacy. You pay the bill for the Internet. Predators often pose as friends.

3) Reconsider allowing posting of photos. Pedophiles can take them and use them on pornography sites. Once the photo is public, you have no control.

4) Don’t give a young child a mobile smart phone.  Facebook has mobile apps that pose a risk.

5) Customize the settings. Do what you can to protect if you give them an account. Use the family’s email address.

6) Keep the computer in a public space in your home and monitor usage.

7) Teach your child to NEVER share private information.

8) Teach your child to ignore anyone who is not a personal friend that the family knows. “Friend” has a different meaning than a real friend.

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