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School’s Back: Equip Your Child By Johanna Hicks

School’s Back!  Equip Your Child

               With the start of school, many students are looking forward to seeing their friends, meeting their new teachers, and getting back into a daily routine.  Equip your student to have a successful year.  Also, teach your child to be a buddy, not a bully.

               Do you remember the school bully who went around teasing and threatening you or your classmates?  Remember how you felt?  Remember how you wished he would just go away?  Ever wondered what happened to someone who was teased or bullied or what became of the bully himself?

Teasing and bullying is an ongoing problem for many of our children.  Those who are the victims of teasing and bullying can experience long-term consequences.  Victims of bullying may suffer from anxiety, fear, and low self-esteem.  They may avoid peers, school, and social activities where they may be exposed to teasing or bullying.  In some cases, children may drop out of school to avoid being harassed or attacked.

               According to my colleague, Dr. Rick Peterson, Assistant Professor and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Parenting Specialist, negative consequences for those who bully have been demonstrated as well.  He states that childhood bullies have school attendance and performance problems.  Those who bully tend to become aggressive adults and are more likely to become involved in criminal activities.

               Parents and adults should not expect children to deal with bullies on their own. Children need to be taught that bullying is an unacceptable behavior.  Children must be taught useful strategies to help them cope with teasing and bullying. Teasing and bullying cannot be totally prevented, but children can be taught to control their own reactions. Parents can teach their children some simple strategies to empower them and help them cope with their feelings and sometimes helplessness.  Some strategies parents and caregivers can teach their children include:

1)      Self -talk. Give children things they can say to themselves when they are being teased or bullied, which can counteract the negative remarks or behaviors. A child can say to herself,“Even though I don’t like being teased, I can handle it.”Oftentimes,the teasing is not a true reflection of the child, and the child should question himself by asking, “Is the teasing true?”In addition, the child should remind himself that his opinion of himself is more important than the teaser’s opinion.

2)      Ignore the teasing. Children should practice ignoring the teaser sincere acting with anger or tears may invite more teasing.Parents should monitor the teasing, particularly if it turns into bullying and/or harassment, and be willing to intervene.

3)      “I messages” are a way for children to express their feelings and ask to be treated differently. For example, a child could say, “I feel upset when you make fun of my clothes.  I would like you to stop.”  This strategy may work best in a classroom or daycare setting, where adult supervision is present.

4)      Using humor is another way to cope with teasing.  By the child laughing at the hurtful comments or put-downs, it shows that the teasing has little effect on them.  Another way to show indifference is for the child to respond to the teasing with, “So.”  Responding with “so” indicates that the teasing doesn’t matter.  Children find this simple reply to be an effective response to teasing.

5)      Asking for help at times is necessary if the child is having trouble with the above strategies or if the teasing turns to bullying.  Children can handle most types of teasing. However, if the teasing is repeated or occurs for a prolonged period of time, it becomes bullying and may call for an intervention by parents, teachers, and caregivers.

If your child is the one doing the teasing or bullying, parental involvement is crucial.  A country-Western song by Luke Bryan makes the comment that he believes most people are good.  Teach your child to be a good student, a good friend, and a good person.

Twogether in Texas – Last Call

               In last week’s column, I did not put the date for this event, so here it is – Saturday, August 25.  That is the date for the final Twogether in Texas marriage education workshop for 2018.  As of this writing, six couples are signed up, which is a great group – but I still have room for more!  Topics will include marriage expectations, communication, conflict resolution, money management, and goals & dreams.  This workshop is beneficial for marriage couples, seriously dating couples, and engaged couples.  Perhaps those who benefit the most are engaged couples.  Upon completion of the workshop, a certificate to save $60 (state portion) of the marriage license fee will be provided.

               The workshop is free and an added bonus is that coffee, water, morning and afternoon refreshments, and lunch will be provided.  No strings attached!  I’m not selling anything, and have nothing to benefit from except the satisfaction of knowing that couples have received excellent information for a firm foundation for their marriage.  Please call 903-885-3443 to sign up so adequate preparations can be made.

Closing Thought

The most successful people in life are generally those who have the best information – Benjamin Disraeli

Johanna Hicks Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Family & Consumer Sciences 1200-B W. Houston P.O.Box 518 Sulphur springs, TX 75483 903-885-3443 – phone 903-439-4909 – Fax [email protected]

Author: Savannah Everett

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