Here’s a soulful reminder of why we have to take action against bullying….Anyone remember the first time you heard this song with its powerful message? The issue may have been different, but the urgency is the same. Please paste the attached link into your browser, if the link doesn’t click open.

“We Are The World” (Lyrics, Singers’Names and Little History)

Creating Positive Self-Esteem

POSITIVE SELF-ESTEEM.image A wonderfully simple, fun, and effective way to reinforce a positive self-image in children is to have them complete an I-DID-IT sheet. Ask them to make a list of three things they did today that they are proud of. These can be really simple things. Give your child, grandchild, or student a star for each activity– and two stars for anything that involved being kind to another person. Do this twice a week. You can even try doing the list as a family now and then. Sharing the results creates great camaraderie and insight into what we and our children value. (By the way, the proud expression on my ten-year-old goddaughter’s face in the photo is because she had just helped me solve a problem with using my iPAD. Okay–I admit she knows more tricks to using a tablet than I do. I touched my first computer at age 32. I gave her one on her third birthday–now she’s dispensing advice to an old lady! Love those youngsters!) More at

The Potential for Greatness in All of Us

imageHere’s a touching reminder by George Saunders of the greatness both inside and beyond us. Excerpt: “Err in the direction of kindness. Do those things that incline you toward the big questions, and avoid the things that would reduce you and make you trivial. That luminous part of you that exists beyond personality – your soul, if you will – is as bright and shining as any that has ever been. Bright as Shakespeare’s, bright as Gandhi’s, bright as Mother Teresa’s. Clear away everything that keeps you separate from this secret luminous place. Believe it exists, come to know it better, nurture it, share its fruits tirelessly.” Please click the link to read the entire article.

Bullying – Then and Now

I’m thinking back a few decades (okay–more than a few) to how my parents advised my siblings and me to handle bullies. My dad, probably the kindest and most loving man I’ll ever know, said, “Don’t pay any attention. He’s just playing with you.” My mom, equally loving but infinitely more practical, knew that strategy wouldn’t work with the tough kids in our neighborhood. She insisted we stand up to anybody who was “messing with us.” My mom loved us fiercely and didn’t want to see us beaten or bullied by anyone. She taught us to fend off bullying in the best way she knew how. Today, her warning to my brothers and sisters and me would be frowned on by many. “You’d better hit her (or him) back. If you just stand there and get beaten up, you’ll get a worse beating when you get home.”

Needless to say, my siblings and I learned to fight back physically and verbally–even if we didn’t always win. As a result, we got picked on a lot less than the timid kids who wouldn’t resist. But, in today’s world, it’s even more important that we teach kids non-violent ways to stand up for themselves. There are many community resources to help. There’s also online help, including one of my favorite websites:

I’d love to hear how you coped with childhood bullying or maybe you could share with us your favorite resource on this topic.

International Bullying Prevention Association

imageVery worthwhile organization! Check out their website!

The mission of the International Bullying Prevention Association (IBPA) is to support and enhance quality research based bullying prevention principles and best practices in order to achieve a safe school climate, healthy work environment, good citizenship and civic responsibility.

Kid Power – Face Bullying With Confidence

Face Bullying With Confidence
8 Kidpower Skills We Can Use Right Away
by Irene van der Zande, Founder and Executive Director, Kidpower

Most harm caused by bullying is preventable! This list of coping skills is excerpted from an article entitled Bullying – What Adults Need to Know and Do to Keep Kids Safe, by Irene van der Zande. Do log onto her website to read the full article (

1. Walking with Awareness, Calm, Respect, and Confidence
People are less likely to be picked on if they walk and sit with awareness, calm, respect, and confidence.

2. Leaving in a Powerful, Positive Way
Coach your child to veer around the bully in order to move out of reach. Remind your child to leave with awareness, calm, and confidence. Point out that stepping out of line or changing seats is often the safest choice.

3. Setting a Boundary
If a bully is following or threatening your child in a situation where she or he cannot just leave, your child needs to be able to set a clear boundary. Coach your child to turn, stand up tall, put his or her hands up in front of the body like a fence, palms out and open, and say “Stop!”

4. Using Your Voice
If your child does get into a situation where somebody is trying to push or hit or knuckle her or his head, you could practice by holding your child gently and acting as if you are going to do the action gently. Coach your child to pull away and yell NO! really loudly. Coach him or her to say “STOP! I don’t like that!” Teach your child to leave and go to an adult for help.

5. Protecting Your Feelings From Name-Calling
One way to take the power out of hurting words by is saying them out loud and imagining throwing them away. Help your child practice throwing the mean things that other people are saying into a trash can. Have your child then say something positive out loud to himself or herself to take in. For example, if someone says, “I don’t like you,” you can throw those words away and say, “I like myself.”

6. Speaking Up for Inclusion
Being left out is a major form of bullying. Exclusion should be clearly against the rules at school. A child can practice persisting in asking to join a game. Coach your child to sound and look positive and friendly, not whiny or aggressive.

7. Being Persistent in Getting Help
Children who are being bullied need to be able to tell teachers, parents, and other adults in charge what is happening in the moment clearly and calmly and persistently even if these adults are very distracted or rude – and even if asking for help has not worked before. Coach your child to keep going and say: “Excuse me, I really need your help.”

8. Using Physical Self-Defense as a Last Resort
Children need to know when they have the right to hurt someone to stop that person from hurting them. At Kidpower, we teach that fighting is a last resort – when you are about to be harmed and you cannot leave or get help. Learning physical self defense helps most children become more confident, even if they never have to use these skills in a real-life situation.

About the Author
Kidpower Founder Irene van der Zande has been featured as a child safety expert by USA Today, CNN, and The Wall Street Journal. She is the author of The Kidpower Book for Caring Adults: Personal Safety, Self-Protection, Confidence, and Advocacy for Young People, Bullying: What Adults Need to Know and Do to Keep Kids Safe, and theKidpower Safety Comics series.

Introducing Siggy

Siggy is a friendly, one-winged mockingbird who finds that his quick thinking and talent for imitations help him turn the tables on the neighborhood bullies and win the admiration of his friends and adopted family. Siggy and the Bullies is a charming adventure that contains powerful lessons for small children of what to do in the face of bullying behavior.
Siggy and the Bullies