bullyinggirlssmall

How to Tell If Your Child Is Bullying Others (And What to Do About It)

When I was in middle school, I was bullied pretty badly, resulting in depression and even serious considerations of suicide.

I carried a lot of hurt and anger, and I didn’t deal with that in the healthiest of ways. It pains me to reflect upon how I transferred my hurt from bullying by mistreating younger kids and by being terrible to a few of my friends.

I was displacing my hurt onto others so that I didn’t have to carry it alone.

But despite the ways I treated some of my peers, I was never labeled a “bully.” That’s because I didn’t fit the “bully” profile: My grades were good; I had no history of discipline issues; I was well-loved by my teachers. Yet I was acting in much the same way as those kids who were labeled “bullies.”

In today’s schools, we see the same. Some students are identified as “bullies” or “problem students.” Yet when we’re honest, many of us at different times in our lives have been mean to someone in the regular and sustained way that would constitute bullying.

bullyinggirlssmallIn truth, the label of “bully” is in no way useful when actually attempting to address the problem of bullying.

To simply label some people “bullies” and some people “victims” with the rest of us as “bystanders,” we never actually deal with the root of why someone is exhibiting bullying behavior. It’s a cop-out.

Bullying is primarily a problem of power, and as such, it tends to have one of two roots: an internalized feeling of superiority in regard to another group or individual or feelings of insecurity and hurt that lead one to lash out at others.

In either case, bullying has a measurable root that we can address. If we’re concerned that our child is being a “bully,” it’s best to start with the question, “Why?”

And in recognizing the roots of bullying behavior, we open the door to actually understanding the nature of bullying, which helps us to understand when our kids may be mistreating others and how to prevent bullying in general.

How to Identify If Your Child Is Demonstrating Bullying Behavior

In designing a comprehensive bullying prevention and intervention program for parents at CivilSchools, we compiled research that identifies seven patterns that could be indicative of bullying behavior in a young person.

(Please note that no single pattern listed below necessarily means your child is demonstrating bullying behavior. These are just a guide for considering whether you should intervene if you’re concerned.)

Sign 1: A Pattern of Abnormally Angry or Aggressive Behavior

Few children or adolescents are angry or aggressive as a status quo, so if you start to see a lot of aggression or anger, it’s coming from somewhere. Plus, if you’re seeing it, there’s a good chance it’s being directed at others in bullying behavior.

Sign 2: A Pattern of Depressed, Sullen, or Sad Behavior

Notably, this is also one of the signs that a student might be experiencing bullying, but when a student falls into a pattern of depression or sadness (as I did when being bullied in middle school), they might choose to pass that burden along to others through mean behavior or bullying.

Sign 3: Regularly Throws a Fit When They Don’t Get Their Way

Any parent knows that children go through a phase of lashing out when things don’t go their way, but if this is persistent, there’s a good chance that they are lashing out at other children to try to control outcomes. Some students fall into a pattern of intimidating other children into going along with their will.

Read the rest at Everyday Feminism.

When Bad Allies Get “Good Guy” Awards

Jamie Utt:

Such an important piece on fake “allies” and abusive men. A lot of important reminders for me in my work.

Originally posted on Make Me a Sammich:

Clymerquote3A while back I wrote about fake allies—specifically, Charles Clymer, a cis white dude who used to run a popular Facebook page called “Equality for Women” but shut it down amidst accusations that, among other things, he was deleting comments from and banning women who questioned his views or the way he ran the page. And then there was his abusive verbal flaying of Stephanie Kay in a private conversation that went public a year or so ago and revealed the dude beneath the Perfect Feminist Ally act. It didn’t help that when called on that tirade, Clymer basically stood by his remarks and went on to admit—almost proudly—that his goal is to become a professional Feminist Leader. And he dug himself in deeper when, following the many accusations leveled at him directly and via the #StopClymer hashtag (by nearly every woman who had been a moderator at the EFW Facebook page, among others)…

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The Culture of Campus Social Justice Elitism by Amer F. Ahmed

Jamie Utt:

Really appreciating this reflection on “elitism” within social justice activism. It’s not just on college campuses! Thanks to my brother Amer Ahmed for this reflection.

Originally posted on Commission for Social Justice Educators Blog:

In recent years, I’ve increasingly been noticing a dynamic that I’ve been coming across more and more often on college campuses.  More specifically, it is something I’ve observed amongst the social justice communities within campuses (the groups/offices, etc. that use the language of social justice).  It’s a dynamic that I believe is even more acute in the more competitive campus cultures in higher education.  Am I the only one who has noticed that there is a culture of ‘out-social-justicing’ others? (Yes I’m aware that I completely made up that word/phrase; be warned this will be the last time)

I increasingly have been hearing conversations, particularly amongst students, who seem to duel each other with language that proves that they’re more social justice-ey than someone else.  It might involve someone who might say something to the effect of, “Like, he’s such a Cis-gendered, white, straight male who is obviously transphobic without…

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Hijacking the Language and Legacy of Dr. King

Originally posted on Change From Within:

Yesterday, on the day honoring the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, a lot of people were posting quotes from Dr. King to Facebook and Twitter.  By far, the most commonly posted quote was one from King’s I Have a Dream speech that he delivered on August 28, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.  During that speech, Dr. King said,

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

His sentiment is a powerful one, a sentiment that calls for a different racial reality than he knew as a child or than his children knew.  This quote is part of a radical ideology of racial justice that moves past a negative peace of White Privilege and Supremacy…

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#BeThatGuy: 7+ Everyday Ways that Men Can Transform Masculinity

Ron-Swanson

I recently wrote a piece on my personal blog that highlighted seven men who are transforming masculinity, and I was blown away by how well it resonated.

It shattered all of my daily hit totals and is still bringing in a strong number of people to the blog on a daily basis.

In reflecting on the post, I realized that it was so popular because it touched on an unfilled need.

We need more resources that teach men how to transform masculinity to make it more responsive, less violent, and more inclusive of the tremendous diversity of masculinities that can exist.

And though I detest most everything I see coming out of the Men’s Rights Movement for the ways it is dripping with misogyny, this is one area where I agree with many of its activists: We need a new masculinity!

We need to talk about what a more inclusive masculinity could actually look like beyond “Real men cry, too.”

Now, I rarely agree with those MRM activists about what that masculinity should look like, but in my experience in social justice work, sometimes you have to look for growth points wherever they exist. At least we agree on something!

So let’s start there.

If masculinity needs to be transformed, in what ways can we change it so that men can more fully realize themselves without hurting others?

Here are a few of my suggestions.

Listen More

This one is really hard for me.

I preach listening all the time, but I often struggle to practice what I preach.

If other male-identified people received the same conditioning I did, they were told to make sure that their voices are heard and that they have the last word.Don’t worry about talking over people (especially women). Just assert yourself and your voice!

So a simple way that men can begin to transform masculinity is to listen more.

Obviously it makes sense to start by listening more to women and trans* or genderqueer people, but really, we must do a better job of listening to allpeople.

Hell, we could use to do a better job of listening to all beings: the earth, animals, plants, as well as people.

The point here is that when we are constantly asserting ourselves into space and conversation, we have no capacity to learn.

When we are constantly asserting ourselves into space, we are constantly in a state of vulnerable power, one where we exert power over others to hide the fact that silence and listening can be terrifying.

After all, listening might mean that we have to actually hear people and thereby change ourselves and our practices.

God forbid that we open ourselves up to learning from the experiences of the world around us through listening.

That might mean that we don’t, in fact, have all the answers, as we were taught from the earliest of ages!

Show More Loving Affection

I remember writing an essay about myself in seventh or eighth grade, and in that essay, I boldly proclaimed, “I still cuddle with my mother!!!”

Then something changed.

I got the message.

You do not cuddle, especially not with your mother.

Now, obviously the messages we receive in middle school and early high school are some of the most extreme, boiled down messages about our identity that we can possibly receive, but the message has stayed with me.

There aren’t many spaces in my life where I share loving affection with people outside of my partner.

Men, particularly in the United States, tend to have a complicated and fraught relationship with touch.

We don’t really show affection to women who we are not in a relationship with or who are not immediate family members, and we almost never show loving affection for other men.

Thus, men have a responsibility to change this. And doing so will be tricky.

After all, we have to consider all of the people who may not want our touch at any given time because of legitimate (fear or triggering of sexual violence) or less legitimate (homophobia) reasons.

So we must start with our most inner circles and move out.

We must tell the men who we love that we do, in fact, love them.

Whether through hugs or pats on the back or even a simple hand on the arm of a friend, we must find a way to show those we love that we care about the healing power of touch.

We must find ways to extend loving affection beyond our partners or immediate family members.

Make Enthusiastic Consent a Daily Value

As I came of age in my sexuality, I was taught that consent was something very specific: If she (because it was never taught in a gender-neutral way) says no or stop, that (probably) means you don’t have consent and (probably) should stop.

Needless to say, my consent education was—well—lacking.

Read the rest at Everyday Feminism.

So you say you’re not voting . . .

I’ve recently heard a lot of people decrying the “lesser of two evils” contest that we face in the upcoming presidential election.  Many of those folks give one reason or another as to why they’re not voting in the November election.

I recently had a White dude say to me, “I just can’t support either main party candidate, and the third parties are a joke.  I mean, Romney’s out of the question, and do you know how many innocents Obama has killed with his drone strikes?  I think I’m just going to sit this one out.”

My response?

I hear ya, man.  The numbers of people killed by Obama’s drones is absolutely out of control.  He is a moderate Democrat with a bellicose foreign policy, and Romney’s hard right turn in this election makes him out of the question for me.

It’s pretty nice, huh?  Having nothing really at stake in this election?  It’s nice to be able to sit this one out.  I mean, as Straight dudes, it’s not like we have to worry about our rights to visit our partner in the hospital when visiting hours are for family members only.  As men, we don’t have to worry about our reproductive rights and our bodily autonomy being under attack at both the federal and state level.  As White folks, we don’t have to worry about about how the unemployment rate for our people is twice the national average (even if ours DOES sit close to 8%).  As folks with wealthy parents, we probably don’t have to fret too much about the exploding poverty rates or the inherent link between violence and concentrated poverty.  It sure is nice to be able bodied and of to live without serious mental disability, for those cuts to medicaid would surely hurt.  It’s nice to have been born in the U.S., so we don’t have to worry about the INS busting down our doors and holding us indefinitely before deporting us from the only home we’ve ever really known.

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