Bullying, for most kids, is a fact of life. It will happen in some form, at some point in their lives. For parents, the question is: How can we better protect our children from bullying?
Asking this question, researchers used a validated biopsychosocial 10-item resilience scale to explore the relationship between resilience and experience with bullying and cyberbullying. The scale included statements like “I can deal with whatever comes my way,” “I am not easily discouraged by failure,” and “Having to cope with stress makes me stronger.” Also included were items assessing both the protective capacity of resilience as well as its reparative ability to restore equilibrium in the lives of youth when they face adversity.
Drawing from a nationally-representative sample of 1,204 American youth ages 12 to 17, what the researchers found should have us all rethinking resilience: uniformly, students with higher levels of resilience were bullied at school or online less often, and among those who were bullied, resilience served as a buffer, insulating them from being affected in a negative manner at school (Hinduja & Patchin, 2018).
words, “Resilience is a potent protective factor, both in preventing experience
with bullying and mitigating its effect. Resilient kids are those, who for a
variety of reasons, are better able to withstand external pressures and
setbacks and are less negatively impacted in their attitudes and actions than
their less-equipped peers when facing this type of victimization” (Hunduja,
As Hinduja and
Patchin note, there has been much attention to bullying, and various
anti-bullying campaigns exist, however, what is often forgotten is the role and
responsibility of the child who is bullied.
children to learn and develop the skills they need to deal with problems, and
yet we rarely help them engage with those problems so that they can grow in
their ability to solve them. Instead, we seek to constantly protect and
insulate them – instead of bolstering their self-confidence, problem-solving
ability, autonomy, and sense of purpose – which are all innate strengths,” says
Hinduja (Hinduja, 2018).
The takeaway, according to Hinduja, is that kids do have the ability to become resilient, and develop agency to allow or disallow much of the harm that others try to inflict – and youth-serving adults have a responsibility to teach and model for them the proper strategies to deflect, dismiss, or otherwise rise above the insults and hate.
Cyberbullying is a 2-hour online continuing education (CE) course that reviews evidenced-based research for the identification, management, and prevention of cyberbullying. Click here to learn more.
Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Professional Development Resources maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Professional Development Resources is also approved by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); the Georgia State Board of Occupational Therapy; the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors (#MHC-0135); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678); and is CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).
Cyberbullying is a new 2-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that reviews evidenced-based research for identification, management and prevention of cyberbullying in children, adolescents, and adults.
Bullies have moved from the playground and workplace to the online world, where anonymity can facilitate bullying behavior. Cyberbullying is intentional, repeated harm to another person using communication technology. It is not accidental or random. It is targeted to a person with less perceived power. This may be someone younger, weaker, or less knowledgeable about technology. Any communication device may be used to harass or intimidate a victim, such as a cell phone, tablet, or computer. Any communication platform may host cyberbullying: social media sites (Facebook, Twitter), applications (Snapchat, AIM), websites (forums or blogs), and any place where one person can communicate with – or at – another person electronically. The short and long-term effects of bullying are considered as significant as neglect or maltreatment as a type of child abuse.
This course will describe specific cyberbullying behaviors, review theories that attempt to explain why bullying happens, list the damaging effects that befall its victims, and discuss strategies professionals can use to prevent or manage identified cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is a fast-growing area of concern and all healthcare professionals should be equipped to spot the signs and provide support for our patients and clients, as well as keep up with the technology that drives cyberbullying. Course #21-32 | 2019 | 40 pages | 20 posttest questions
Cyberbullyingis on online course and provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. After enrolling, click on My Account and scroll down to My Active Courses. From here you’ll see links to download/print the course materials and take the CE test (you can print the test to mark your answers on it while reading the course document).
Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. Click here to learn more. Have a question? Contact us. We’re here to help!
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Laura More, MSW, LCSW, is a healthcare author and licensed clinical social worker. Laura was one of the founding partners of Care2Learn, a provider of online continuing education courses for the post-acute healthcare industry. She now provides healthcare authoring services. She has authored over 120 online continuing education titles, co-authored evidence-based care assessment area resources and a book, The Licensed Practical Nurse in Long-term Care Field Guide. She is the recipient of the 2010 Education Award from the American College of Health Care Administrators.
Edie Deane, MS-CCC, is a creative leader who infuses all her work with an entrepreneurial spirit. Edie’s career spans healthcare areas from hands-on service to e-business. Her portfolio of experience includes: leadership, strategic and business development as online education company Care2Learn’s founder/owner; operations, administration, and education/training in national rehabilitation companies; and development of an e-learning department in a prominent healthcare software company. Edie currently owns ED Consulting & Coaching, focused on services for the LTPAC ecosystem.
Professional Development Resources is approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHAProvider #AAUM); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); the Georgia State Board of Occupational Therapy; the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors (#MHC-0135); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501) and the Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); the TexasBoard of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678); and is CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).
Childhood bullying inflicts the same long-term psychological trauma on girls as severe physical or sexual abuse, suggests a new survey of college students led by bullying researcher.
The study, which involved 480 college freshmen through seniors, indicated that the detrimental effects of bullying may linger for years, negatively affecting victims’ mental health well into young adulthood. While most of the scholarship on bullying has focused on kindergarten through 12th-grade students, the struggles revealed by college students who participated in the research suggest a need to develop assessments and interventions for this population, according to the researchers.
Participants in the study were surveyed about their exposure to a variety of traumatic experiences — including bullying, cyberbullying and crimes such as robbery, sexual assault, and domestic and community violence — from birth through age 17. Students also reported on their psychological functioning and symptoms of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The students who experienced bullying as children reported significantly greater levels of mental health problems than their peers, according to the study, published online by the journal Social Psychology of Education.
Educational psychologist Dorothy Espelage conducted the study while on the faculty of the University of Illinois, where she held appointments as the Hardie Scholar and the Edward William and Jane Marr Gutgsell Endowed Professor of Education.
Currently a professor of psychology at the University of Florida, Espelage is a nationally recognized expert on bullying, sexual harassment, homophobic teasing, and dating and gang violence.
Experiencing bullying was the strongest predictor of PTSD symptoms among the college students who participated in the survey, surpassing other types of trauma such as exposure to community violence or being abused or neglected by adults, Espelage and her co-authors found.
Females in particular struggled with the emotional damage inflicted by bullying, reporting significantly greater levels of depression, anxiety and PTSD than their male peers, according to the study.
“Bullying victimization significantly predicted students’ current levels of depression and anxiety — over and above other childhood victimization experiences,” Espelage said. “The prevalence of psychological distress in children who have been bullied is well-documented, and this research suggests that college students’ psychological distress may be connected in part to their perceptions of past childhood bullying victimization experiences.”
Students who experienced one interpersonal trauma were at the greatest risk of being victimized in other ways and of developing PTSD, the data indicated.
The researchers suggested that practitioners in college mental health centers need to be aware that students who request psychological help are likely to have experienced multiple forms of trauma that need to be assessed.
Practitioners should routinely collect information about the various types of trauma students may have experienced to identify those people at greatest risk of experiencing PTSD, the researchers advised.
A critical first step in restoring troubled college students’ social and behavioral functioning would be to provide clinicians at campus counseling centers with continued training on the current research on childhood bullying and its long-term effects, Espelage and her co-authors wrote.
The researchers also recommended that universities broaden the curricula of their sexual assault programs to encompass various other traumatic experiences, such as child abuse and domestic violence.
Connecting students with interventions that help them develop protective social support networks may be the best way to help them cope with the emotional aftermath of bullying and other traumatic experiences, the researchers suggested.
“Practitioners, in collaboration with school officials, need to make all efforts to develop and implement programs that increase traumatized students’ sense of empowerment and control as they navigate through college,” Espelage said. “This would be possible in a campus climate that fosters supportive ties among students, and between students and the campus community.”
U. of I. alumnus Jun Sung Hong, currently a professor of social work at Wayne State University, and Sarah Mebane of the Marine Corps Community Services co-wrote the study.
Cyberbullying is a 2-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that reviews evidenced-based research for identification, management and prevention of cyberbullying in children, adolescents and adults. Bullies have moved from the playground and workplace to the online world, where anonymity can facilitate bullying behavior. Cyberbullying is intentional, repeated harm to another person using communication technology. It is not accidental or random. It is targeted to a person with less perceived power. This may be someone younger, weaker, or less knowledgeable about technology. Any communication device may be used to harass or intimidate a victim, such as a cell phone, tablet, or computer. Any communication platform may host cyberbullying: social media sites (Facebook, Twitter), applications (Snapchat, AIM), websites (forums or blogs), and any place where one person can communicate with – or at – another person electronically. The short and long-term effects of bullying are considered as significant as neglect or maltreatment as a type of child abuse.
Children with difficult temperaments and those with developmental delays may have learned to express their dissatisfaction with challenging and defiant behavior like whining, anger, temper tantrums or bad language. They sometimes engage in negative behavior or “misbehave” because they do not have the necessary skills – communicative or otherwise – to make their needs known. The purpose of this course is to teach clinicians effective and practical strategies to manage challenging and defiant behavior in their young clients. The course will also focus on how clinicians can educate parents on how to manage difficult behavior and avoid power struggles at home. The dynamics and techniques described in this course are intended for use with typically functioning children and those with developmental or language delays. They are not generally adequate or even appropriate for children with serious behavior conditions like oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorders.
School refusal is a problem that is stressful for children, for their families, and for school personnel. Failing to attend school has significant long and short-term effects on children’s social, emotional, and educational development. School refusal is often the result of, or associated with, comorbid disorders such as anxiety or depression. Careful assessment, treatment planning, interventions, and management of school refusal are critical to attainment of the goal of a successful return to school as quickly as possible. Interventions may include educational support, cognitive therapy, behavior modification, parent/teacher interventions, and pharmacotherapy.
This course will break down the distinction between truancy and school refusal and will examine a number of psychological disorders that may be causing – or comorbid with – school refusal, including separation anxiety, generalized anxiety, social phobia, panic attacks, major depression, dysthymia, ADHD, and oppositional defiant disorder. Completing the course will assist you in performing a functional analysis of school refusal to determine the motivation and particular reinforcement systems that support the behavior. Specific intervention strategies will be reviewed, with a focus on tailoring and adapting standard approaches to specific situations. Participants will be given the opportunity to review several case studies and develop a sample intervention plan for cases of school refusal.
Professional Development Resources is a Florida nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) approved to offer continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA): the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; and by the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners. We are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within one week of completion.
Today, bullying is a national epidemic causing significant concern for parents and caregivers. Approximately one in three kids are bullied in hallways, classrooms and during school related activities each year. Media reports show widespread examples of victimization suffered by kids of all ages and ability levels. More troubling – students living with autism spectrum disorder are 63 percent more likely to be recipients of bullying behavior than typically developing peers. All children, regardless of ability, deserve to learn in a safe and nurturing environment where positive relationships are cultivated. Kids have a right to feel cared for and protected in school.
Adults are in no way immune to the problem. One in six has experienced bullying behavior in the workplace according to one report. Fear of income loss discourages individuals from reporting incidences or intervening on behalf of victims. With employment opportunities at a premium in the disability community, people with special needs are more susceptible to on the job bullying behavior with little to any recourse. Effects are far reaching; violence and intimidation cause harm to victims leaving support systems to cope with the aftermath.
Furthermore, increased social media, cell phone and email use continue to alter the bullying landscape. The National Crime Prevention Council reports 43 percent of teens have been cyberbullied by text messaging and social media. Incidents are now documented as they happen. Easy access to cell phones and social media platforms has resulted in viral video clips of horrific bullying incidents. The issue can no longer go ignored. No matter how benign the intent – it is the responsibility of every individual to reject bullying in all its forms.
To connect with the organization at the pulse of bullying research and prevention – PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center – go to pacer.org/bullying. People in need of immediate support and healing from bullying behavior can call our Autism Source Contact Center at 1- 800-3-AUTISM or visit autismsource.org.
Electronic Media and Youth Violence is a 1-hour online CEU course that summarizes what is known about young people and electronic aggression, provides strategies for addressing the issue with young people, and discusses the implications for school staff, mental health professionals, parents and caregivers.
Building Resilience in your Young Client is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that offers a wide variety of resilience interventions that can be used in therapy, school, and home settings.
Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Professional Development Resources maintains responsibility for all programs and content. Professional Development Resources is also approved by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; and by the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners.
Bullying has long been an issue in the life of children, and parents—many of whom vividly recall memories of peers saying or doing mean things—can often relate to this issue, as well. The good news is that bullying rates appear to be declining. According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, reported incidents of bullying among students in grades six through 10 decreased by 9% from 1998 to 2010.
There are many reasons for these recent improvements. Many schools have named the issue, and some conduct mandatory workshops to build awareness of bullying. It is common for information about the subject to be posted in school hallways, and some schools even hire counselors to work with children specifically regarding bullying.
The media have also helped increase awareness. Troubling instances of bullying, such as the case of Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers University student who ended his life after being mocked for his sexual orientation, help create dialogue about the issue. Video cameras on smartphones also make it easier to catch a bully in the act. Instances of these videos going viral have helped create an appetite for change.
Anti-Bullying Efforts Still Have a Long Way to Go
Bullying remains a central issue for the young people I work with, which makes sense given the developmental life stage they are in. Erik Erickson, a well-known psychoanalyst who developed theories on the challenges people face at different life stages, spoke about the importance of children developing a sense of industry and competence through their relationships with peers. Our early experience in the schoolyard helps develop ourconfidence in completing tasks later in life. These relationships are where we develop a sense of confidence in ourselves. Children in school environments where they are constantly put down can end up experiencing low self-esteem or feelings of worthlessness.
There is also an alarming correlation between suicide and bullying. According to Yale University studies, children who are bullied are two to nine times more likely to consider ending their own life.
The Case of “Michael”
It’s rarely talked about, but bullying can be difficult for parents as well as children. No one wants to watch his or her child be in pain, and we are often helpless to prevent it from happening. Our children’s hurt feelings are often experienced as though they are our own.A 9-year-old boy I work with—I’ll call him Michael—was caught between a rock and a hard place. He was deeply troubled after seeing an extremely violent movie at a friend’s sleepover party and did not know what to do with the disturbing emotions he had. Feeling overwhelmed, he confided in his mother. She instantly became enraged at the mother of the boy who had the sleepover, and called her at once to yell at her. The next day at school, Michael’s friends ignored him. When he tried to talk to them, he was shut out and made fun of.
This pattern continued for months. Michael turned again to his mother, who encouraged him to fight one of the boys from the party. This made matters worse, as he was suspended from school and became even more alienated from his peer group.
In my discussions with Michael, it became clear that he mostly had wanted to talk through with his mother the disturbing things he saw in the movie. Rather than trying to get the other kids in trouble, he wanted to process all he had inside and connect with his parents. The way the situation was handled not only left him isolated from his friends, it made him feel disconnected from his mother.
From One Generation to the Next
In discussing the situation with Michael’s mother, she shared with me her own memories of bullying. She, too, was scapegoated by friends and was often told by her father, described as a John Wayne type, to fight back when fighting was not necessary. As we processed the events surrounding Michael, she began to realize how hard it was to hear about her son’s struggles. Telling him to fight back was a way to avoid his troubling feelings.
Talking through all of this helped her to become more connected with Michael, and it helped her to better understand the difficult feelings that most children experience at school. I have seen generational patterns like this with a lot of the families I work with. In Michael’s case, his mother’s processing of her own experiences helped enable him to have someone to turn to when troubling situations came up.
What Parents Can Do to Help
It’s rarely talked about, but bullying can be difficult for parents as well as children. No one wants to watch his or her child experience pain, but we are often helpless to prevent it from happening. Our children’s hurt feelings are often experienced as though they are our own. It is hard enough to let them go when we drop them off at school, but to hear about the horrendous things that sometimes go on with supposed friends is disturbing.
To help with all of this, I recommend a couple of steps for parents:
Think and talk about your own memories of bullying. Witnessing our children’s experiences at school naturally stirs feelings related to our own experiences. The more your painful memories are talked about, processed, and understood, the more likely it is your child will have the knowledge and the skills to have a better and different experience. Working with a therapist offers a venue to process these feelings. Parent support groups can also be helpful in this regard.
Help your child talk about and process his or her experience with bullying.
Safety should come first, and if your child is in serious danger, the school or authorities should be alerted immediately. This is not enough, though. Emotional bullying (ignoring, starting rumors), verbal bullying (comments, insults), and cyberbullying (posting mean things online, etc.) are difficult to prevent and sometimes just as damaging. It is important for parents to express curiosity about the impact of all of this. The more a child can use his or her parents to openly process all that goes on with peers, the more resilient they are likely to be when issues come up.
Despite the gains we have made, bullying continues to be a central issue for school-age children. If handled properly, however, it can be an opportunity for parents and children to become more connected, heal wounds of the past, and create new experiences moving forward.
This video course starts with a thoughtful definition of “bullying” and goes on to illustrate the functional roles of the three participant groups: the targeted individuals, the bullies, and the bystanders. The speaker discusses the concepts of resiliency, empathy, and growth/fixed mindsets, and considers the pros and cons of alternative responses to harmful behavior. Included also are an examination of the utility of zero tolerance policies and a variety of adult responses when becoming aware of bullying behavior. The speaker utilizes multiple examples and scenarios to propose strategies and techniques intended to offer connection, support and reframing to targeted individuals, motivation to change in the form of progressive, escalating consequences to bullies, and multiple intervention options to bystanders. Further segments discuss ways in which schools can create safe, pro-social climates. The course video is split into 2 parts for your convenience: part 1 is 1 hour and 34 minutes and part 2 is 1 hour and 9 minutes. Course #30-73 | 2014 | 21 posttest questions Click Here to Learn More About This CE Course!
This is a test only course (book not included). The book (or e-book) can be purchased from Amazon. This CE test is based on the book “Treating Explosive Kids: The Collaborative Problem-Solving Approach” (2006, 246 pages). This book provides a detailed framework for effective, individualized intervention with highly oppositional children and their families. Many vivid examples and Q&A sections show how to identify the specific cognitive factors that contribute to explosive and noncompliant behavior, remediate these factors, and teach children and their adult caregivers how to solve problems collaboratively. The book also describes challenges that may arise in implementing the model and provides clear and practical solutions. Two special chapters focus on intervention in schools and in therapeutic/restrictive facilities. Closeout Course #60-95 | 45 posttest questions Click Here to Learn More About This CE Course!
This course, which includes two CDC bulletins, discusses the findings of the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV), the most comprehensive nationwide survey of the incidence and prevalence of children’s exposure to violence to date, sponsored by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The survey confirms the alarming statistic that most of our society’s children are exposed to violence in their daily lives. More than 60% of the children surveyed were exposed to violence within the past year, either directly or indirectly. The reports further reveal the adverse effects suffered by children who witness violence, identify risk and protective factors, and describe the key elements of designing an effective response. This course satisfies the domestic violence requirement for biennial relicensure of Florida mental health professionals.Closeout Course #20-73 | 2009 | 19 pages | 14 posttest questions Click Here to Learn More About This CE Course!
This course was written for professionals working in the mental health, child welfare, juvenile justice/criminal justice, and research fields, as well as students studying these fields. The authors’ goal is to make a case for the fact that juvenile and adult violence begins very early in life, and it is both preventable and treatable. The author draws on her 30 years of experience working in and researching violence to demonstrate that society must intervene early in the lives of children living in violent, neglectful, criminal, and substance-dependent families. This course provides information about the problems of violence — in its various forms of abuse, neglect, and just plain senseless killing — that takes place in this country. These are problems that are seldom handled well by governmental agencies of child welfare, juvenile justice, education, and mental health. This results in more problems, turning into a cycle of youth violence and sexual offending that will potentially continue for generations. However, with the correct intervention, this cycle can be broken, which creates a safer environment for all of society.Closeout Course #60-68 | 2006 | 136 pages | 36 posttest questions Click Here to Learn More About This CE Course!
Professional Development Resources is approved as a provider of continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC Provider #5590); by the American Psychological Association (APA); by the Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapy, and Mental Health Counseling (Provider #50-1635) and is CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within 1 week of completion); by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (Approval #PCE1625); by the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (Provider #114); by the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors and Marriage & Family Therapists (Provider #193); and by the *Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage & Family Therapist Board (Provider #RCST100501).
Bullying Prevention: Raising Strong Kids by Responding to Hurtful & Harmful Behavior is a new 3-hour VIDEO course that starts with a thoughtful definition of “bullying” and goes on to illustrate the functional roles of the three participant groups: the targeted individuals, the bullies, and the bystanders. The speaker discusses the concepts of resiliency, empathy, and growth/fixed mindsets, and considers the pros and cons of alternative responses to harmful behavior. Included also are a variety of effective responses adults can use when they become aware of bullying behavior, as well as an examination of the questionable utility of zero tolerance policies.
The speaker, Amy Burzinski, is a Licensed Independent Social Worker who utilizes multiple examples and scenarios to propose strategies and techniques intended to offer connection, support and reframing to targeted individuals, motivation to change in the form of progressive, escalating consequences to bullies, and multiple intervention options to bystanders. Further segments discuss ways in which schools can create safe, pro-social climates.
Those who complete this course will learn a functional definition of bullying, describe and illustrate effective strategies for reducing and managing bullying behavior, explain the critical role of resilience in addressing bullying, list best practices to use with targeted youth, aggressive youth, and bystanders, and – finally – discuss ways in which schools can create safer environments.
The presentation was developed in partnership with A+ Solutions, a practice group specializing in educational services to schools and families. Specialties include psychology, school psychology, social work, special education, speech-language pathology, professional counseling, and parent outreach.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), bullying, particularly among school-age children, is a major public health problem both domestically and internationally. Current estimates suggest that nearly 30% of American adolescents reported at least moderate bullying experiences as the bully, the victim, or both. Specifically, of a nationally representative sample of adolescents, 13% reported being a bully, 11% reported being a victim of bullying, and 6% reported being both a bully and a victim.
While many researchers continue to examine the risk and protective factors associated with bullying experiences, others are working to design, implement, and evaluate bully prevention interventions aimed at reducing bully victimization and perpetration, as well as increasing prosocial bystander involvement in bullying situations. This new video course falls into the latter category.
“Among all of the topics for which we have published CE courses for health and mental health professionals, this one stands out in my mind as one of the most important training experiences clinicians and teachers can have,” says Leo Christie, PhD, CEO of Professional Development Resources. “The problem of bullying is pervasive and growing, and professionals, teachers, and parents need to have effective strategies at their fingertips. Those strategies are taught and illustrated in this course.
“The bonus is that this course is a streamed video course that can be taken on one’s computer or mobile device. The “new CE” is the ultimate in convenience and accessibility because you can take it with you anywhere there is Internet. If I have a small slot of time available somewhere in my busy day, I can pull out my iPad and start viewing this course.”
Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists; the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (#PCE1625); the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); and the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678).
Helping your child to achieve an age-appropriate level of independence and to make friends outside of the home is a common goal for many parents. After all, every parent wants their child to be well-liked and well-adjusted, socially. When your child gets too old for structured play dates and supervised group activities, though, it’s not always easy to know exactly who his friends are or who he’s spending time with. At first blush, it’s tempting to let your child navigate the complex world of social interaction on his own until he comes to you with a request for help, especially if you’re concerned about being overly intrusive. There’s a difference between being a hovering “helicopter” parent and one that’s reasonably well aware of who your child is spending time with and what she’s doing when you’re not around. Rather than eschewing over-involved parenting to the point of dangerous aloofness, you’ll want to make an effort to know who your child’s friends are. These are five of the reasons why you should carefully consider your child’s social group, and the possible implications of him spending too much time with the wrong crowd.
Bullying Happens Among Friends – If your child has a full social life and lots of friends, it’s easy to think that she’s been lucky enough to escape the scourge of bullying. What many parents fail to realize, however, is that bullying can happen within groups of friends, too. If your child is on the outside of her social circle, she may very well be bullied or pressured into things that she’d rather not do by a “higher ranking” member of that circle. When you know who your child’s friends are and what goes on in their group, you’ll have a better chance of discovering any bullying or advantage that’s being taken of your child’s eagerness to fit in with the rest of her peer group.
The Question of Influence – When your child was a toddler, and even through the early elementary years, he probably thought of you as the smartest and coolest person in the world. As he gets older and more eager to establish an identity for himself separate from his family, he’ll begin to find more value in the opinions of his peer group. That’s when it’s most important to know who his friends are. Unless your child is exceptionally strong-willed, there will be times when he gives in to the influence of the crowd around him. Depending on who he’s spending time with, that influence could be a negative one.
The Breakup Backlash – During the preteen and teenage years, friendships can be quite intense. This especially holds true amongst girls, whose closeness will often leave them referring to one another as “sisters” and spending every available moment together. Unfortunately, these passionate friendships can also have the tendency to crash and burn, leaving your child to deal with the fallout. If you have a decent idea of who your child’s friends are, you’ll be better prepared to help her weather that particular storm.
Parental Supervision – Your child wants to invite his friends over, but he also wants to spend time at his best friends’ houses. When you don’t know the children in question, it’s a safe bet that you don’t know their parents, which is just asking for trouble. Before you send your youngster packing to a buddy’s house for the weekend, you’ll need to make sure that you have a basic idea of the house rules and that you know your child will be appropriately supervised throughout the visit. The last thing you want is for your curious child and his buddy to get into a liquor cabinet or engage in other illicit activities just because there’s no one there to stop them when curious impulses take over.
Avoiding Unfair Accusations – Kids’ behavior will go through a series of metamorphoses over the years between elementary school and adolescence as they try on various personas. When those behavioral changes are negative, however, you’ll need to be able to get to the root of them as soon as possible. If you have no idea who your child is hanging out with or the things that they do when you’re not around, you won’t be able to tell how much of their questionable behavior is a result of a bad influence and how much is actually his own idea. Getting to know your kids’ friends can help you to avoid the embarrassing and unfair characterization of good kids as “bad kids,” a label that can come back to haunt you when the kids in question are shown not to be a negative influence.
It’s not always easy to get to know your child when she approaches adolescence. So many things about your child will change, especially her level of attachment to the family unit. Understand that this exploration is both natural and necessary, but don’t give your tween such free reigns that you’re not even sure who her friends are.
It may be the most common kind of child abuse — and the most challenging to deal with. But psychological abuse, or emotional abuse, rarely gets the kind of attention that sexual or physical abuse receives.
That’s the message of a trio of pediatricians, who write this week in the journal Pediatrics with a clarion call to other family doctors and child specialists: stay alert to the signs of psychological maltreatment. Its effects can be every bit as devastating as those of other abuse.
Psychological maltreatment can include terrorizing, belittling or neglecting a child, the pediatrician authors say.
“We are talking about extremes and the likelihood of harm, or risk of harm, resulting from the kinds of behavior that make a child feel worthless, unloved or unwanted,” Harriet MacMillan, one of the three pediatrician authors, told reporters.
What makes this kind maltreatment so challenging for pediatricians and for social services staff, however, is that it’s not defined by any one specific event, but rather by the nature of the relationship between caregiver and child. That makes it unusually hard to identify.
Keeping a child in a constant state of fear is abuse, for example. But even the most loving parent will occasionally lose their cool and yell. Likewise, depriving a child of ordinary social interaction is also abuse, but there’s nothing wrong with sending a school-aged boy to stew alone in his room for an hour after he hits a younger sibling. All of this means that, for an outsider who observes even some dubious parenting practice, it can be hard to tell whether a relationship is actually abusive, or whether you’ve simply caught a family on a bad day.
Psychological abuse can also include what you might call “corrupting a child” — encouraging children to use illicit drugs, for example, or to engage in other illegal activities.
In their Pediatrics paper, MacMillan and co-authors say that 8% to 9% of women and 4% of men reported severe psychological abuse in childhood when the question was posed in general-population surveys of the U.S. and Britain. A number of U.S. surveys have also found that more adults claim they faced psychological maltreatment as kids than claim they experienced any other form of abuse. This suggests that psychological maltreatment may be the most common form of abuse inflicted on kids.
Because of that, pediatricians must be as sensitive to signs of emotional maltreatment as they are to signals of sexual or physical abuse, the authors say. And while it may be possible in the event of psychological abuse to intervene to improve the child’s home life — especially where the root cause is a parent’s own mental-health issue — the authors stress:
Consideration of out-of-home care interventions should not be restricted to cases of physical or sexual abuse; children exposed to psychological maltreatment may also require a level of protection that necessitates removal from the parental home.
While these cases are certainly extreme, experts say that any punishment that shames or embarrasses a child is not an effective way to discipline youngsters, and may cause long-term psychological damage.
“The research is pretty clear that it’s never appropriate to shame a child, or to make a child feel degraded or diminished,” said Andy Grogan-Kaylor, an associate professor of social work at the University of Michigan. Such punishments can lead to “all kinds of problems in the future,” Grogan-Kaylor said, including increased anxiety, depression and aggression.
Malicious punishments can also damage a parent’s relationship with their child, and lead to a cycle of bad behavior, experts say.
Instead, parents should use other discipline strategies, such as setting clear rules for kids and taking away privileges. Overall, parents should aim to create a supporting environment for their child.
“Positive things have a much more powerful effect on shaping behavior than any punishment,” Grogan-Kaylor said.
Out-of-the norm punishments can have social repercussions for children, said Jennifer Lansford, a research professor at Duke Univesity’s Center for Child and Family Policy. An odd punishment can make a child stand out, and provoke bullying, Lansford said.
In addition, children evaluate their own experiences in the context of what they see their peers experiencing, Lansford said. If children are disciplined in ways that are not condoned by society, “it can lead children to perceive they are personally rejected by their parents,” Lansford said.
Humiliating punishments can also disconnect parents from their children, making kids less likely to want to behave and do what their parents say, said Katharine Kersey, a professor of early childhood education at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., and author of the upcoming book “101 Principles for Positive Guidance with Young Children” (Allyn & Bacon, August 2012).
“Each time we [embarrass children with a punishment] we pay a price, and we drive them away from us, and we lose our ability to be a role model for them,” Kersey said.
“When you disconnect from a child, he no longer wants to please you, he no longer wants to be like you. You’ve lost your power of influence over him,” Kersey said.
Children who are punished in these ways usually still commit the behavior, but do it behind their parents’ backs, Kersey said.
Better ways to discipline
To properly discipline a child, experts recommend the following:
Focus on the positive — the behaviors you want to see more of — rather than the mistakes, Kersey said. “If a child is running, instead of saying stop running, you say use your walking feet,” Kersey said.
Be proactive: establish rules you want your kids to follow, and be reasonable in your expectations, Lansford said.
Listen to your kids: Often times, bad behavior is a mistake, Grogan-Kaylor said. Parents should listen to why their children did something, and explain why the behavior is inappropriate.
Timeouts are appropriate for younger kids. For older kids, taking away privileges such as watching TV may be effective, Lansford said. In a classroom setting, teachers may consider rewarding kids for good behavior, Lansford said.
Parent should model the responsible behaviors they want children to repeat, Kersey said.
Pass it on: Humiliating punishments don’t work to discipline children, and may have long-term consequences.