Every day thousands of young people experience bullying from their peers while at school, after school in their neighborhoods, and even when they are at home, through social media and texts. We have created many resources to help Educators and parents to help facilitate a conversation about bullying and ways to prevent bullying along with offering proven strategies to help kids dealing with bullies.
Tips for Parents
If you are a parent, you may not be aware that your child is being bullied. Many kids are afraid to let an adult know what's happening. They feel embarrassed and think they have to handle the situation on their own. Have you noticed any of the following signs in your child?
Here's what you can do if your child is being bullied:
1. Talk with your child, letting him or her know that you understand and care.
2. Get in touch with your child's teacher or with school officials to inform them of the situation. Do this after school, by phone, or in a letter to protect your child's privacy and to make sure the bully or other kids don ’t find out. Keep written accounts of the bullying incidents and the times when you've talked with school staff members about the problem.
3. Teach your child the skills needed to resolve a bully situation such as being verbally assertive and having the confidence to seek the help of an adult.
If you suspect that your child is the one doing the bullying, try some of these options:
1. Talk to your child about the reasons behind the bullying. Reassure your child that you still love him or her.
2. Consider family counseling to determine the cause of the problem. Your child may need help learning to manage anger and to resolve conflicts peacefully.
3. Help your child understand the differences between aggressive and assertive behaviors.
4. Let your child’s teacher know that your child is trying to stop bullying. The teacher may be helpful in setting goals and correcting bad behavior.
Tips for Educators
If you are an educator, you can take steps to curb bullying in your classroom and beyond:
1. Find out how common bullying is in your school. Create and distribute an anonymous questionnaire, or talk privately with other teachers, your students, and their parents.
2. Set firm rules against bullying in your classroom.
3. Be aware of incidents of aggression that take place in the bathrooms, on the playground, in the lunchroom, and in the hallways. Monitor these areas to ensure a safer school environment.
4. Keep a written record of bullying incidents, including names, dates, times, and circumstances. Submit the reports to the principal.
5. Give students a chance to talk about bullying and its effects. Hold workshops or class discussions.
6. Get administrators and parents involved in reinforcing good behavior and supporting victims of bullying.
At the beginning of July, we had thousands of recommendations for anxiety help resources and tools from students, parents, and tutors.
After a tough selection process and after whittling down hundreds of recommendations, I'm delighted to announce that your book ‘Stress Can Really Get On Your Nerves’ has been chosen to feature in The Expert Parent's Guide to Childhood Anxiety, in the chapter on expert-approved anxiety relief tools.
We produced the guide in collaboration with the national charity Action For Children, who expressed that they loved your book - so congratulations on the wonderful accolade and exposure.
Check it out: https://tutorful.co.uk/guides/the-expert-guide-to-help-your-child-with-anxiety
During high school I spent more days gazing out of my classroom window than I did looking at the blackboard.
A memorable incident related to window-gazing happened when I was in grade eleven. (Aka standard nine or form four depending on which country you are from.)
I was in a full-on dream-sequence, and knowing me, I imagine that I was probably thinking about running toward my girlfriend in slow motion.
In my mind her hair was flowing behind her as if in water. Autumn leaves were swirling around her feet, also tumbling in slow motion, as she stretched out her arms to embrace me.
I definitely heard a soundtrack to this daydream. Based on official records it could well have been Heart of Gold by Neil Young.
Suddenly the song screeched to a halt as if someone had dragged the turntable’s needle across the vinyl record.
I felt a sharp pain in my right earlobe.
I looked up.
It was my math teacher looming over me and grabbing my ear in a vice-like grip. (My school friends reading this will know exactly who I’m speaking about.)
“Do you know why you always fail maths?” she said, smirking.
I shook my head.
“Because you are an idiot and you don’t pay attention.”
“I actually don’t understand the work,” I said, sincerely.
What I said was true. For some reason I did not have a grasp on the subject and failed to get grounded in the earlier years so the further we delved into the math mayhem, the further behind I got.
For some reason my answer irked her.
“You will not get very far in life without maths,” she said. “I wish you’d get that into your thick skull.”
“I don’t think trigonometry will help me be a better writer,” I said, not being able to hold my mouth as per usual. (I had already decided around that time that I wanted to be an author.)
“Pah,” she said giving my head a slight push. “Writer indeed.”
The boys in the class laughed. Someone shot a rubber band at me. I saw whispers behind hands. Embarrassing to say the least, but that was obviously her intention.
“I can’t wait to see where you land up after school,” she said.
Fast forward at least thirty-five years.
Here we are today.
I’m still not sure where I’m going to land up, but getting letters like the one attached to this post makes me realize that I’m headed in the right direction, despite never ever passing trigonometry.
I’m alive and other things I don’t want to forget in twenty seventeen.
#1: ‘Little by little, a little becomes a lot.’ – African proverb.
It’s deeply disturbing and so sad that the news and social media, has become a cesspool of negativity awash in fabricated and instigated drama.
The most upsetting thing to me is while all of this is going on, tucked away in a valley in the Magaliesberg in South Africa, a small family is taking care of 400 orphans in a sustainable village called Botshabelo.
While disgusting and vile internet trolls waste the world’s time on worthless, false and unimportant nonsense, Marion and Con Cloete and their daughters Nicole and Leigh are doing the most incredible work for the orphans in their care, twenty-four hours a day.
On one of my visits to the village, I made this little documentary.
The pictures say more than any words I can find to describe Marion and the work she, and her family quietly, does while the world paddles around in sinking boats through the negative slough that is slowly seeping into our souls.
Someone asked me the other day what inspires me and gives me hope for the future. Without hesitation I told them that my Botshabelo family does.
In particular, Marion’s philosophy and the daily therapy that forms an amazing mantle of light draped around these kids to educate and comfort them. The family’s important and mostly unseen work is highlighted in this little video.
Join me as I visit the real Angels in the Dust here:
Someone asked me over coffee recently what I considered the most valuable lesson I learned on my travels.
Without hesitation I told him the most important thing I learned was that the fact that, no matter what happens, there is ALWAYS seems to be hope.
On the way home from coffee, I turned on the radio and every channel I listened to was negative. I heard about…
One political party bashing another.
One religion bashing another.
One celebrity bashing another.
Sports fans bashing opposition teams.
DJ’s laughing about someone’s misfortunes.
I read a few articles on the Internet that day and the comments under the articles sent a shiver down my spine. Most comments under any article were downright horrible.
I read about…
People being so rude and hurtful without shame.
People viciously putting others down.
People making vile racist comments.
People drooling with hatred for everything and anything they don’t agree with. Like the putrid comments under You Tube videos. (How can people get so worked up and nasty about whether the Eagles are a better band than the Doobie Brothers or Metallica better than Iron Maiden? If the people who post those comments spent all the time and energy they do hating each other and volunteered instead, the world would be a better place.)
I turned on the TV after that and saw footage from the various terrorist attacks around the world.
I saw people being stoned because they had been the victim of rape.
I just couldn’t stand it!
So, I turned off the media and went to the Children’s Hospital close to where I live and visited some kids with cancer.
And I SMILED because I saw…
Families supporting each other.
Kids making every moment that they’re alive, COUNT.
A child with cancer comforting another child who was throwing up from her chemo.
A bald kid moon-walking down the hallway singing, “I’m bad, I’m bad,” at the top of his voice!
Two teens with cancer, who are dating, swooning, loving on each other and planning their future because instead of saying 20 percent of kids with cancer don’t survive they are saying 80 percent of kids with cancer DO survive!
Make no mistake. At the hospital I saw a lot of pain and suffering, but unlike what I saw, heard and read in the media, in the Cancer ward, more than anything, I saw…
An open letter to my incredible, new, creative mentor.
Dear Ivy –
You may be six years old but the other night you taught me more about creativity in two hours than I learned the entire time I was at school.
You taught me that…
The sun does not have to be in the top left or right hand corner of a picture. It can be on the bottom if you’re looking at it reflected in water.
Guacamole is a great substitute for green paint and it spreads rather nicely.
A regular old HB pencil can last for hours and hours and doesn’t need a battery or recharging.
Every restaurant has sheets of white paper in the office if you just ask with a big smile.
If there is an obstacle in your way, such as a glass of water, just draw around it and incorporate it into your picture.
People look at cell phones more than they look at original art.
A drawing of a cat can be turned into a drawing of a dog if you use a pen to…fluff up it’s hair, mess with its ears, pop in a couple of teeth, add a collar, and add a wagging tail.
You can explain what your art represents by saying, “Look at me,” to the viewer to get their full attention while you discuss your work.
You don’t need expensive markers, pens or paints to make a powerful, moving, artistic statement.
Beauty is in the eye of the pencil holder.
If the picture you’re making isn’t working, throw it over your shoulder and start again even if you’re in a restaurant.
A heart does not necessarily have to have a perfect ‘heart’ shape. It still means love.
You don’t have to sign your name in the bottom left or right corner of your picture. Slap bang in the middle is perfectly fine.
A paper airplane can fly backwards if you throw it hard enough. (We made and decorated a paper plane and I was trying to show you how to throw it but you told me I was wrong and you insisted on throwing it backwards. You were right. You threw the plane into the air. It arced up backwards and then gently eased forward gliding comfortably past a number of tables and almost flew into the kitchen.)
You also made me realize that It is possible to illustrate a portrait on a plain ol’ white napkin.
Can’t wait for my next lesson.
One thing I have learned from my author and artist friend Danny Gregory is that every day matters. In fact his best-selling book, ‘Everyday Matters’ is one of the only books I’ve ever read multiple times.
In his book Danny talks about how he began to view every day differently after his wife Patti became a paraplegic after fainting and being hit by a train in a New York subway station. Their son, Jack, was only ten months old at the time.
During Patti’s rehabilitation, Danny began to record the things he saw around him in a journal. He drew everything he laid his eyes on, even his breakfast. That journal eventually became an incredible book and a blog phenomenon.
Patti was my mentor. I e-mailed her stories and every picture I ever drew or photographed. Her feedback and encouragement was so inspiring and comforting. Both Patti and Danny taught me how to actually see the things I was looking at.
Sadly sweet Patti died a few years ago, about eight years after her accident. I miss her every time I capture something I’d like to share with her.
This morning was no different.
I was sorting through some photographs (included in this post) that I have taken since her passing, mostly with my iPhone. I decided to post them for Patti just in case there are some artsy angels hanging around my place.
If so, I hope they will alert her to my post because I know she’s probably extremely busy doing wonderful things out there in the universe.
Patti collected friends for a hobby and I’m so glad, and grateful, that she collected me while she was here.