Bullying Prevention, Bullying Prevention for Kids 0-5, Coping Skills, Resiliency

Resiliency: Helping your child build healthy coping skills

 

I have worked as a  violence preventionist for about 9 years and I have formulated a lot of opinions on how to educate a child that will rarely use violence as a means of solving conflicts.

When I use the word violence, I mean it as a word in a  broader context than most people realize.  Words can be used as violence; when someone is yelling and using obscenities this can make people afraid, especially children.  When the words and the anger are directed towards a child, the child may shut down as a means of coping with the feeling of being unsafe.

I cringe inside when I hear caregivers tell their children to “shut up,” or add a few swear words. By doing this you have the makings of a violent encounter for the child.  If a child is exposed to this kind of behavior by the caregiver day in and day out, the child will begin to use anger and swear words as a means of controlling a situation or as an unhealthy coping mechanism.

Yelling and swearing is a way that people can cope with the feelings of frustration that is going on inside of them.  This type of behavior is what is called an unhealthy coping skill.

From the time we are born we respond to negative experiences in an unhealthy, or healthy way.  For instance, some people will use alcohol as a way of coping with the difficulties in life.  This is not necessarily a bad thing if alcohol is used in moderation.  I myself have come home after a difficult day at work and have had some drinks to “take the edge off.”  This can be a way of dealing with the feelings of frustration, anger, and hurt that has happened throughout the day.

The drinking becomes unhealthy when it negatively impacts you or those that surround you as you drink.  Children learn the most from what they see rather than what is “told” to them.  If as a caregiver your main coping strategy is to drink until you pass out, then the child will learn that coping strategy also.  It may not be alcohol that they child uses as they get older.  It could be any substance: cigarettes, marijuana, pills.

The same thing goes for physical violence if the child witnesses or is the receiver of the violent behavior, then they learn that kind of behavior is a way to cope with the frustrations of life.  Violence can also be used as a way of controlling a situation.  If I do not like the way you talk to me, I can hit you to stop you from talking to me that way.  Of course, this happens over a long period of time, but this kind of behavior becomes a part of the child’s coping strategy.

How do you help your child learn healthy copings skills?  By making sure that you as the caregiver have a large selection of healthy coping strategies to offset the unhealthy ones.  Everyone has unhealthy coping skills, biting your nails, overspending, yelling, you name it.  The goal is to have more healthy coping skills that you use then unhealthy ones.  It is important that your child see you use your healthy coping skills and that you educate your child in skills that they can use that they are comfortable with.

You can go to my first post in my blog and there should be a list of over 50 different ways that you can use to cope with the ups and downs of life.  The major healthy coping skills:

  1.  Exercise, this one is especially important if you or your child suffer from depression.  When you begin to exercise the body will release all of the “feel good” chemicals, like dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphin.  Exercise has a way of distracting our thoughts, instead of thinking about all the bad things that happened in the day, exercise can clear your mind and give you a fresh new outlook on what is happening in the day.
  2. Meditation/Prayer is like exercise, it gives you the chance to clear your mind and think of good things rather than focusing on the negative things that happen to us in life.
  3. Reading for me was a way that coped with my childhood.  I had the ability to transport myself into the story and away from the dysfunctional events that were happening in my home.  I could literally be transported for hours at a time, enjoying the events of the book and forgetting about the things that made me sad inside.
  4. Spending time with healthy friends, people that you can trust to tell your innermost secrets and know that they will be kept in confidence.
  5. Spending time by yourself, and enjoying the solitude.

All of the above items are things that you can easily model for your children and help to give them ways that they can cope with the negative aspects of life.

 

Bullying Prevention, Bullying Prevention for Kids 0-5, Uncategorized

Welcome to the Journey for The Bullying Prevention Specialist Blog

My journey in becoming a bullying prevention specialist was not something that I expected to happen.  In fact, it took my life in a whole different direction, a direction that I had never envisioned for myself.

I was one of those people that never had a career choice in mind ever since I was little, so when I graduated from high school, and San Jose State University excepted me, I went in undeclared.  I took a variety of courses; psychology was one of the classes that I enjoyed tremendously, understanding by people behave the way that they do intrigue me.  I remember the day that I told my Dad that I wanted to become a Psychologist, he very seriously told me that he thought that would not be a good career choice because he saw that I tended to take on people’s problem as my own.

He was spot on, I was 20 years old, and I did not know how to set healthy boundaries, it was not a skill that I learned in my family, in fact growing up in a dysfunctional home the boundaries changed all the time.  Looking back now I understand what my Dad was trying to do; he was afraid that I would end up in a job that would take a toll on me emotionally.  So, I tucked my love of psychology away and decided to major in Business, after all, “you make a ton of money with a degree in Business,” well it didn’t turn out that way for me.

I ended up dropping out of college when I applied for a management job and was promoted to the position.  Who needs a degree when you have the management job, lololololol, I was so young.  Fast forward about 20 years and my family, and I moved to a beautiful town of Don Pedro, and I had the opportunity to quit my job and take a break from the career grind.

I took my kids to the back to school night at the elementary school that they were attending, and I saw a young woman with the most beautiful smile, she was manning a table and looking for someone to fill a job of Bullying Prevention Coach.  The thing that drew me most to the job was that it paid $15.00 an hour, it was part-time, and it was 10 minutes from my home.

I was hired for the job, and it changed my life and the direction of my career.  When I started to work with the kids and implement the program, it was like the heavens opened and this realization that this is what I was put on earth for.  Everything that I had done in life and been through gave me all the skills needed for the job.

I made the decision a few months ago that I wanted to share the knowledge that I had gained over the years in bullying prevention.  So here I am starting this blog and hopefully empowering parents to raise children that can deal effectively with bullying behavior.  I have decided that I will concentrate on information geared towards parents that have kids 0-5.  Laying the foundation for raising resilient kids is where I want to zero in on.

I hope that you will find the information that I provide informative and empowering.  I find that so many parents are resigned to the fact that there is nothing that they can do about their child getting bullied except homeschooling or camping out at the school so that they can provide protection.  I am here to assure you that as a parent you have all the power; information, education, and persistence is the key.  Oh yeah and courage, parents, and educators will tell you that there is nothing you can do, it is hopeless and just surviving is the way.  I hope that with my blog you will find that this is not the truth, there is plenty that you can do.  I am so glad that you have decided to take this journey with me, it should be an interesting ride.

Aloha, Kim

 

 

Bullying Prevention, Bullying Prevention for Kids 0-5, Coping Skills, Uncategorized

Being the Change Requires Courage

Thanks for joining me in my quest to change the world, one person at a time, starting with me.

Being the change in the world is not an easy task, in fact, it requires great courage to go against the status quo.  Being the change means learning patience at times when patience is the last thing you want to deal with.  When getting angry and blowing up feels so good at the moment, and you want to justify that that person deserves it.

I stumbled into bullying prevention as a career when our counties domestic violence agency received a grant to implement a bullying prevention program at our local elementary school.  My family had moved to the small rural county of Mariposa, California, fleeing from the influx of people moving into the Central Valley due to the housing boom.

I was hired to implement a bullying prevention awareness program and it changed my life forever.  It was like the heavens opened up and I finally realized this is what I had been looking for all my life.  It started me on the path of non-profit work and specifically working with youth, teaching them how to advocate for themselves.

Here I am almost nine years later and I want to share my knowledge with all those looking for answers.  Dealing with violence is deeply traumatic and complex, there are little fast and hard rules.  But there is hope, you can effectively navigate the terrifying waters of unsafe behaviors and teach yourself or your children how to stand against violence.

I’m glad you have landed here, you are safe and I welcome you to my site.

 

“A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.” Steve Maraboli

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