Critique of “Bullying It Stops Here” 6

Let’s Really Stop It.

I could not find the time to post about last Sunday’s Anderson Cooper’s “Bullying It Stops Here” until now. We still deal with the aftereffects of bullying everyday at my house. Yet, I hear how surprised people are about the study done by University of California sociologist, Dr. Robert Faris. Some have even called it groundbreaking. I laughed when I heard this and then I screamed at the television.

Does anyone ever listen to the parents of children who have been victims of bullying or to the victims themselves? The only new thing I got out of the whole show is a new term, “social combat.” I have been referring to it as the “mean girl” syndrome in our case. A syndrome that ironically began after the girls watched, “Mean Girls,” the movie inspired by Rosalind Wiseman’s book, Queen Bees and Wannabes.  

I know the book was not intended to have this effect, but in our case it did. I do believe Rosalind Wiseman’s other books including, Owning Up Curriculum: Empowering Adolescents to Confront Social Cruelty, Bullying, and Injustice, are more helpful and I do like how she now realizes the importance of the bystander’s and the teacher’s involvement in combatting bullying. I just think we need to go further than that if we really want to end the problem. 

Overall the study did not take some things into account. For instance I paused the video when they showed the survey questions the kids answered. Every child had a chance to identify someone who had been mean to them by student ID number and by initials. Now I know for a fact that the bullies identified my daughter as the mean one even though she was not. They even convinced others that she was mean. She was merely responding to the way they treated her. That is not meanness; that is self-preservation. These are two very different things. That is not to say that there are not children who are both victim and bully, but I would argue that this needs further investigation instead of taking it at face value in every case.

It is important to note that you cannot decide to put the victim and the bully in arbitration until you help the victim to heal and become empowered, and you cannot decide that they both need social skills training either which is what Dr. Phil suggested. They both need help, but social skills are not what the bullies lack. They lack kindness, empathy and in some cases humility.  

They overlooked other things too. They focused on “social combat” and bullying as it related to gay or perceived to be gay students at a school where the district has banned the term so that the victims cannot report the bullying without getting in trouble themselves; however, they missed other groups of victims. Basically any difference even medical health issues like allergies, diabetes, cerebral palsy and cancer, as well as those with learning disabilities, or any diagnosis are often victims of bullying to some degree.   

I think it is also important to educate teachers about how their own choice of words and/ or the way they talk to their students can set some children up for bullying. They need to understand the long-term effects of bullying too. Again, I am speaking from my family’s experience regarding this. You can read more about this in my previous post, Teachers Please Inspire and Support Our Children « Delightfully Different Life.    

People who believe bullying is no worse than it was in previous generations confound me. I strongly disagree and believe me I do know that many of my generation still carry scars of bullying. The biggest difference is society’s apathy about the bullying, leaving many of these children feeling they have nowhere to turn for help. My parents would never have allowed my brothers or me to be so blatantly mean, yet some parents today turn a blind eye, or are in denial. Add in the Internet, cell phones, and game consoles that too few learn to use responsibly and you have a recipe for disaster. Thus, the increase in suicides.

I am grateful that more light is shinning on this issue and I do hope more people are paying attention. I also hope I will have more opportunities to educate others about ways to help with this cause. Today I am grateful for every step in this direction no matter how small, and I am especially grateful that I got  a chance today. You can view it here: Keiki Talk – anti-bullying book. Thanks again Olena! 

Enormous Gratitude 4

Today I am grateful that Steve Jobs saw his and others’ differences as a good thing and chose to be vocal about his insights. I hope others will remember his example and realize that those with differences really are the ones who change the world for the better.

I am also grateful that Hawaii is finally getting more active in the fight against bullying and that Hawaii News Now interviewed my daughter and me about this. I am also grateful that I had a chance to talk about how everyone can help this week in a nineteen minute health segment on Dr. Kathleen Kozak’s show on Hawaii Public Radio.

Small Part in Helping to Make the World Better 10

There are times I feel smaller and less significant than this Gecko, but I am not about to let that stop me from doing my small part for bully prevention.  Everyone who knows me knows this is a cause very dear to my heart.  October is  Bullying Prevention Awareness Month so I am grateful that Dr. Kathleen Kozak has invited me back to the “The Body Show” on Hawaii Public Radio at KIPO 89.3 FM on Monday, October 3, 2011 at 5:oo PM HST.  You can click on the link then click on KIPO for the live stream.  You can also read more about ways you can help at the sites listed below.  

Bullying prevention advocates call for social movement to address effects of bullying | kare11.com.

National Bullying Prevention Center.

Bullying Prevention Awareness Month (October 2011) | National Child Traumatic Stress Network – Child Trauma Home.

Golden Rule Pledge Joins National Bullying Prevention Month as National Partner – Dr. Warren Throckmorton Christian Blog.

Stomp Out Bullying.

Are Glee Writers Using the Autism Community to Improve Ratings? 6

Read what one blogger said, crown_of_weeds: Sugar, Self-Diagnosis, Appropriation, And Ableism: So Here’s What You Missed On Glee. Do you think they really are using the autism community for ratings? Is this really what our society has come too? I hope not. I really hope the writer did not understand.

Here is an excellent summary of different views in the autism community Debate Heats Up: Is Glee Making Fun of Asperger’s? | Child Mind Institute. There are people within the autism community who do not understand Asperger’s and there are professionals like Allen Frances who make things worse with this What’s A Mental Disorder? Even Experts Can’t Agree : NPR. Is it any wonder that girls on the high-end of the autism spectrum do not get the support and understanding they need?

Here is part of a comment I left on a blogger’s post this morning, “The news media, celebrities and others fight for the rights of sexual orientation, color, religion and even more severe forms of autism and other disabilities including Down’s Syndrome. Most people know what Down’s Syndrome is and most have heard and some are even getting that sexual orientation is not a choice for many. Yet even members of our family fail to understand my daughter. I have left churches that condemned other religions or those who petitioned against same-sex marriage so while your assumptions are valid, you made a leap that missed the mark when you assumed ‘tolerance has to be tailored to fit YOUR PARTICULAR disability or challenge.'” I speak out about injustices related to Asperger’s because people with a diagnosis of Asperger’s are a minority within a minority and girls with the diagnosis are even more of a minority. I speak out because the diagnosis is relatively new (1994), and it will no longer be used in a couple of years therefore, it is misunderstood more than most. Taking such a vulnerable group and making any type of joke at their expense is just wrong.

Please join my e-mail campaign to make a positive change if you agree with me. Find out how in my previous post Glee Needs to Apologize to Autism Community for Recent Episode.