Adults are busy today with keeping up with their demanding jobs, over=programmed after-school and weekend activities, extended families, friends, not to mention the constant need to have their cell phones glued to their attention. Technology consumes more energy than parenting today. Technology consumes more energy than connecting with the people we love, the children who need us. There is talk that cell phones are the new addiction. Addictions keep us disconnected and enveloped in a solitary world of the me, myself and I syndrome.
Distractions so encompassing are now a new threat to family life and the raising of our children with the kind and loving voices that take time, commitment and presence. Impatient voices or short replies have an energy that says you are not enough, you don’t matter. The voices may not have the same abusive language but they send a similar message that says I am more important, what I am doing is more important, leave me alone. The annoyed, stressed, impatient energy delivers the message. The language may be different but the message and energy feel the same to children who are looking for love, affection and a need to be emotionally safe.
Life in our fast track does not bode well for the generation living it, experiencing it and longing to belong. Children are competing now at home for the attention they crave only to find that it is not there. They find ways to distract themselves with TV, video games, ipads, for teens, texting not even talking on the phone anymore. Bullying comes in many packages! Time to take a hard look at this one!
When children are playing, it is a good time to see how they talk and treat one another. They model you! Children watch everything you do and then translate it into their language. They imitate you in their attempt to get ideas on how to connect,talk and get what they want from their friends. They watch your body language and your facial expressions. What kind of example are you providing for your children? Are they yelling, huffing and puffing, telling little white lies, and controlling what is happening?
I have watched children in preschool playing with their classmates and lo and behold I learn how they are spoken to at home, how the adults speak to one another and who controls what is happening in their homes. I have watched children in elementary classes out on the playground, playing a game and working as a team. I then learn how it is being done at home.
When children hit their teens, they begin to model their peers and want to portray those who seem to be popular and are getting the attention they crave. And we wonder why cyber-bullying is so rampant amongst this age group. We also haven’t been able to stop it.
I will take it one step further. Married couples more often than not model the relationship their parents had and so childhood behavior patterns continue and we pass them on from one generation to another.
How do we stop this? We learn new behaviors and stop the generational passing on of the bullying effect. We create new models and try not to slip into old patterns. It can be done! But it will take a new consciousness of parenting to bring it about.
Please visit my website to see how new behaviors can be encouraged and implemented into the family structure. Let’s Begin to model those wonderful Emotionally Intelligent Behaviors
Studies show that children and people with healthy emotional brains and feelings of emotional well-being exhibit behaviors that resonate with these attributes:
Positive thinking and Choices(Self-Confidence)
Love to help with service
Ability to Calm and Soothe Oneself
Persisting in the Face of Frustration with Gratefulness
To Hope and To Dream A Future
Do you know children and people with these qualities?
Have you asked them how they were raised?
Have you asked parents with children who exhibit these qualities, how they are raising their children?
For years, people who knew and loved my son with disabilities never asked me these questions. Yet, they are were surprised at his social appropriateness, his kindness, his willingness to help, his courage, his incredible persistence when taking on challenges, his positive thinking (liked it, loved it!), his unconditional acceptance of others, his ability to forgive, and his astounding capacity to set goals and to dream the impossible!
Yes, he was bullied but he taught all who knew him how to respect him and how to become his buddy. If my son could become emotionally intelligent with his challenges, so can we all!!!!
Ask these questions and then listen to the responses.
I was writing a letter to a man who wrote, When God Winks! I recommend it highly. In writing that letter, I realized something astonishing. Being Emotionally Intelligent is how I have learned how to remain emotionally safe in a very emotionally unsafe world. I now have the skills to manage my emotions and to not take personally offensive remarks or actions. I no longer hide from the world nor do I remain passive. I take positive steps to address those actions in a way that I can respect and that does not warrant a comeback. Had I had this skill as a child, I would not have suffered the painful and demeaning effects to my emotional well-being that I did.
Parents, your children deserved to have these skills so that when you are not present, they can maintain their own emotional well-being. They will have the ability to understand their aggressor and to respond with a positive action that quiets the bully and does not initiate more of the same. They also need the skills to self-soothe and calm themselves and to regain their stability. The skills of positive self-talk, service and gratitude build a strong sense of self that also provide the emotional strength to keep the presence of mind to use these important skills when they are confronted.
Does it just happen? Absolutely not! But practice at home and in an emotionally intelligent classroom brings the mindfulness so needed at these stressful times. Build an emotionally intelligent home! Encourage your child’s school to become Emotionally Intelligent.
The world is not emotionally safe but we can help our children protect themselves. When my beautiful son, a person with disabilities, passed from Melanoma, these skills helped me and are still helping me with this painful reality.
Bullying is a painful reality that requires a strong internal response. Visit my website to start using the activities I recommend for parents.
Parent Activities for Teaching Emotional Intelligence
What happens when they is stress at home? Teenagers especially pick up on the energy as do all children. However, when teenagers get anxious they go to their iphones,ipads and now instagram. That energy has to go somewhere. It is very uncomfortable to sit with it. Adults just keep moving, complaining and partying. Your teens spend more time with their tech toys.
What do teenagers do on their tech toys? They send messages and connect and put their negative energy out there. Emotionally this is a very difficult season for most. Managing our emotions takes a great deal of awareness and persistence. Do they have the skills to self-soothe, be positive, persist when frustrated and apologize when it all gets too much and the attitudes abound?
Most of them do not. So Parents, stay vigilant! Monitor those tech toys. Have a conversation about cyber-bullying and practice those EI skills that will help you get through this stressful season. Remind your teenagers about the hurt they put out and the harmful effects that last a very long time. Suggest they text the best gift they can give anyone… a kind voice…. for we are the voices we hear!
I have inserted the Emotional Intelligence Chart to help you with the behaviors that promote the ability to manage our emotions. Go ahead…give them a whirl.
This works! It will stop bullying!
Emotional Intelligence Chart
I received a comment from one of my followers. He doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about bullying. In his area of the country, you beat up the bully and have your friends help and that is the end of it. I stopped and contemplated that comment for some time. I thought about how to respond. This is how I am choosing to respond.
I was bullied for many years. Beating up my bullies was not the answer. I am female and strength is an issue. I was a child and survival was an issue. Not being popular for many reasons including my own choosing was also problematic.
The bully who was beaten may not bully the person who demonstrated their physical strength and power but he/she certainly continued to bully others who did not have this option. My bullies never stopped. I felt powerless and emotionally abused. My bullies came in many forms with different faces. I needed a way to stop them and preserve my well-being.
The power and strength needed to stop a bully comes from an internal feeling of self-respect, confidence and the skill learned that addresses this abusive negative energy with a positive response. Mine came late in life. Let’s teach all our children a better way to feel safe!
My in-services for teachers and their responses have been overwhelming. They are anxious to get back to their classrooms to start implementing this approach that is centered on developing the 7 Attributes of Emotional Intelligence with their students. I showed them how they can implement this method with only 5 minutes a day and the activities that build these skills through the emotional brain.
I shared my story and engaged them in the process with demonstrations of the strength of this process and its inherent success. In the evaluations they had to write for their South jersey district, I received over 40 comments about their feelings. Here are several of the generous comments. “Most interesting, engaging, effective professional development I have ever had.” “Emotional skills are imperative for the children’s social and academic well-being.” “Great strategies to use with my sons and students.” I begin by saying that this approach is different and unique…it’s a beginning. I am committed to bringing this method nationwide.
My inspiration is a man committed to the development of Emotional Intelligence in adults and children. Thank you Daniel Goleman. I have taken his theories and developed a program for children using a character by the name of CJ, Creator of Joy. CJ is a mentor aiding them in developing the 7 attributes of Emotional Intelligence in fun and play. He reminds children of how to be CJs each and every day. They give gifts of love (kind messages to their peers). They choose Happy Thoughts. This keeps them motivated and helps them re-frame their negative feelings (Can I have a Happy Thought, Please?). They engage in service through having buddies in their classrooms and being appreciated for being a great helper! They self-soothe and calm their emotions by saying “I” messages ( I am Smart). They learn to say “I am Sorry” so they can clear their heads to learn. They play again for play sustains hope and teaches them sharing, compromise, problem solving. And most importantly, CJs are grateful for all they have and all who help them. This helps persist in the face of frustration when times are challenging.
This is how we stop bullying. We address the cause, lack of emotional well being, and not the symptoms.
I became Emotionally Intelligent at the age of 60. Until then, my life was dependent upon my emotions and lack of skills in how to handle a challenging life. Life only became harder and so I share my development of Emotional Intelligence as how I have managed deep loss and its effects.
Teachers, upon hearing my story of how I was bullied at home and at school for over 18 years and its effects, experienced their own feelings of emotional chaos and well being in my seminar. They felt inspired to once again make a difference in the students they teach and hopefully inspire them to be the best they can be. I am grateful for the opportunity to share what I believe the only answer to the devastating effects of bullying.
Life moves at a very fast pace today. Two parents working, increased after-school activities, smart phones continuously on and distracting, children with I-Pads at the dinner table, schools eliminating play. We have little conversation and thus so many emotionally important discussions missed.
The saddest part of this is that we miss the best moments with our children. Dinner time was catch up time. Time to talk about what is happening in our lives daily, laugh and tease each other and connect emotionally. Schools miss the opportunity to teach the whole child and get better test results. Technology robs us of our social need to connect with each other and has become a haven for bullies. Put it all together and we are creating a new generation with artificial intelligence? That is what artificial intelligence means to me.
In teaching about Emotional Intelligence, I share the facts known about our brain. The emotional centers are 80% responsible for our physical, psychological and cognitive well-being. All life decisions, such as, what we eat, our careers, how we raise our children are all made from emotional brains. That is a big percentage and yet, we are downright ignorant of its impact on our society.
There is an old saying, “You can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results.” How are you developing your child’s emotional brain?
Last night on CNN I was listening to many of the comments by different officials in law enforcement. The one that triggered my full attention spoke of what training needed to happen for police everywhere. He was quite clear that training was an issue. It did require more tactical demonstrations and more practice especially for inner city police. Tactical training is important. But is there a missing component?
When you are in stressful situations, many personal factors are triggered unconsciously. Buttons get pushed and deep rooted cultural biases spring to the surface. Do you need tactical training? Absolutely! However, you also need to recognize how to manage your unconscious emotions through skill training in the seven attributes of Emotional Intelligence. This handles the human part of us that is controlled by our amygdala and the emotional brain that houses positive and negative memories. Stress swamps the ability to think especially in life and death issues. It is important to be able to clear your head instantly by taking a breath and focusing on what is the appropriate tactic to apply. All decisions we make, all actions and reactions are made from our right brain that houses the emotional brain. Tactical training (left brain) Action/Reaction/Decisions (right brain).
It is critical that we function at our very best during these situations. We must train the whole person.
Bullies who learn the seven attributes of Emotional Intelligence when triggered are able to reassess and re-frame their responses. Humanity becomes more kind, peaceful less judgmental. We will have law enforcers who know themselves better and thus react with more conscious awareness to the stressful, life threatening situations.
There are many new initiatives to help stop the ramifications of bullying. I have become aware of three in the last couple of days. Please go to the websites below and see what is happening around our nation.
Stand For The Silent: This was started by parents of an 11 year old boy who committed suicide after being bullied over a period of time. His parents travel around the country speaking in schools. The response has been encouraging. The website is very compassionate and lists other children who have decided to take their lives as a result of bullying. Stand For The Silent organizations are being started in schools even one in my backyard, Palmyra, Penn. This might be just what your school needs.
Stand Up For The Silent Website
The Bully Effect: This was a show aired on CNN in Feb. 2013. It addresses the Stand For The Silent initiative and also the movie, Bully. I, personally am so grateful to CNN and Anderson Cooper for acknowledging this painful and debilitating behavior that so many have to endure. Let’s encourage CNN to do a follow up show and address ways that we can change the environment in the schools to be Emotionally Intelligent. This will cure the cause and not just address the symptoms.
The Bully Effect, CNN
Movie: The Bully: Lee Hirsch wrote, directed and filmed this documentary. It is powerful and needs to be shown in every school. Please explore this movie and encourage your school district to show this movie to their students.
Bully the Movie by Lee Hirsch
I hope that by sharing this information with my followers that it will stimulate discussion and create ways for children who are bullied to find support, comfort and an alternative result. This was painful to read as a mother, professional and human being. But I am glad I did.
Thank you, Karen