Back to school safety Part 2: My 6th grader wants a Facebook account – what do I do?

We have written blogs about bullying before – but in light of the recent bullicides in the news we felt the need to write another……

We are extremely saddened by recent events and it had us thinking about – parenting and wonder if we as Parents have to start really examining our own bias and feelings towards other people.

Think about it… what are you modeling for your child? What are you saying? What are you doing to show your child you are an empathetic, caring, compassionate human being? What are you teaching your children today to give them the understanding that actions have consequences? One of the goals of KidSafe is to teach children how to use their inner safety voice…..that little voice inside their heads that allows them to stop before acting… to think about the consequences of their actions, in the hope that they will make safer and smarter choices. It is hard for children to not react right away and to stop and question situations (for that matter it is hard for adults)… but we can teach them…they can learn this skill – but are we the parents modeling using this skill too?

We are heartbroken over the girl with cerebral palsy who was bullied so badly on the bus that her dad had to come on the bus to protect her and his frustrations got the best of him because the children showed no empathy, tolerance or understanding for what they put his little girl through – what happened? He was arrested. This is what it has come to. We wonder what do the parents of the bully’s think about their children’s behavior? Are they proud?

Last week the college student who committed suicide after he was videotaped with another boy and it was posted online – a major case of cyber bullying. We are disgusted, and horrified – and wonder, what is lacking in these children? Where is the compassion for people? Where is the tolerance? What are these children learning at home that makes them think this is okay – have they never been taught to treat people the way they would like to be treated?

Baffled….upset…confused…disturbed and the list of emotions we are feeling goes on …about what is happening to our children. Programs like KidSafe are trying to make a difference by teaching children empathy for others by discussion and role playing real life situation to teach children how to handle safety situations…But at the end of the day our students go home to their parents…so ask yourself right now……What are you doing to help contribute to your child’s attitude about people and the world? What is one thing you can do right now to increase your child’s compassion for others? Please read our recommendations below:

Take the time to sit down with your child and talk to them about bullying/cyber bullying/ respect/empathy, compassion and tolerance – tell your child if you see someone being bullied – try to think how you would feel if it was you – what would you want and need??? Then be that person.

(We taught middle school children recently. They are all aware, confused and frightened of the latest cyber bullying suicides. We asked if they had spoken with their parents about it. One, only one student’s parents had the courage and took the time to talk directly with their child about the issues. Perhaps we need to stop just living under the same roof as our children and start having real conversations.)

KidSafe Suggestions for Continuing the Conversation on this Sensitive Topic

All children need to know and be told regularly that they are loved no matter what. Parents please have this conversation with your kids all the time not just when they are in a moment of crisis or conflict.

Emphasize to your children/teens/young adults that embarrassing and perhaps awful humiliating things do happen in life – and that yes – with the internet it is worse. BUT also remind them that as painful as the moment is, it will pass, the escape of suicide is not the option.

Help build your child’s confidence, increase their social circle, put them into situations in which they can do well and prosper. Show them life outside of the one in which they are living..volunteer for others less fortunate, because at the end of the day you can usually find someone that has it much worse.

Remind your children that you are available and they can come to you with anything – nothing will be too daunting for you as the adult . Explain to them that no matter what there is help and support out there and you will be by their side and on their side through and through.

One teen’s callousness should not have the power to end another’s life. We need to keep this conversation going on both sides of this crisis. We as parents can make a difference. When you finish reading this blog ask yourself, what kind of person do I want my child to be when they grow-up ? We hope it is the answer parents have been given for years – to be better than I was – to do better than I did…well that can only happen if we (the parents) raise ourselves up to be the best we can BE!!

Testimonials

"Thank you for giving us the opportunity to be included in the KidSafe program. I highly recommend this program to other schools. We hope that we will be given the same opportunity for our Kindergarten and 2nd grade students to be a part of this wonderful program during the 2016-2017 school year."

Mrs. Keelyn Meselsohn 2nd Grade Teacher/Team Leader Tradewinds Elementary School

"The Safe and Smart Series Book My Body Is Special and Belongs To Me is kept in my middle school clinic and has been a tool that has opened many conversations for me between students that have experienced a difficult situation and were unable to talk about it. Through the illustrations and nonjudgmental verbiage the author has allowed kids permission to share their feelings about invasion of their personal space. Thank you so much."

Nurse Connie, PBC School Nurse 6.8.2016

"I'm so grateful that KidSafe has partnered with my daughter's school.  I learned so much in the parent training--how to recognize potential sexual predator behavior; how to quiz my child about what they would do in different scenarios; and how to explain safe and unsafe touch.  In addition, knowing that my daughter is receiving weekly trainings on these topics gives me great peace of mind.  I have confidence that I can reinforce what she is learning in school in order to prevent her from ever being a victim of such a heinous crime.  Thank you KidSafe for your dedication to protecting our communities' most vulnerable citizens."

Christina Kranick

“It was a normal Saturday and I was at the rink with my 7 and 8 year old. My son asked me if he could use the Men’s Restroom by himself.  Without hesitation, my daughter said,  Absolutely not! I was in KidSafe today and you cannot go to the restroom alone.  It is very important that Mommy is with you.. with us.   I was so proud of my little girl!  We are so blessed to have Debbie Miller at our school teaching our children the importance of safety. Many thanks to you all!  Your program and instruction is absolutely amazing.  Keep up the great work!"  

Tara Henley Admissions Assistant, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and School, Ft. Lauderdale

I am a parent of two Pine Crest children and I attended your program on Monday night. I just wanted to thank you so very much for the very informative seminar. As hard as it was to hear all of those things, it was very needed. We were thrilled that you were able to come and share that very important information with us and our children. So again...thank you.

Elisa Aronberg

Today’s training was awesome! It was very informative. Sally was a very good resource, she motivated us a lot! We want to pass on this information to parents, teachers and students! Thank you for offering workshops like this. These are tools we use to continue serving our children and families.

Participant from Children’s Services Council of Broward Seminar

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