I get a lot of requests for resources on both bullying and effective parenting. I’m especially glad when I get the requests for resources on parenting. First, because it means that the requesting parent understands that whether or not your child is either a bully/bully-victim/or well adjusted and contributing member of society is nearly all about how they are parented. Second, because they are acknowledging that they don’t know all there is to know about the “science of parenting” and are willing to study some in order to become more effective parents.
Notice I said the Science of Parenting? To me, parenting is a science, not a “hit or miss” let’s try this situation. Or worse, “this is how I was raised so it must be good enough.”
Parenting our children is far too important for just “good enough.” And it’s far too important to rely on old, worn out and obviously inaccurate phrases like ”spare the rod, spoil the child.” There has been a lot of research done on parenting styles and the future effects of each as the child moves into adulthood. It has been found that there is a direct one-to-one connection between how you are parented and how effective you are in society and, eventually, with your own family.
So let’s get the parenting resources out of the way first. At the Academy, we have two books which are our blueprints for how we work with our students. The first book, which every Instructor on my staff is required to read, is “Whale Done! - The Power of Positive Relationships” by Kenneth Blanchard. While this is not specifically a book on parenting, it’s concepts lend themselves to very effective child rearing.
The second book is “S.T.E.P. - Systematic Training for Effective Parenting.” There are several books in this series, but they are all easy to read and absorb. The hard part will be to change the habitual way you interact with your children, in favor of new and more effective strategies. This book contains a wealth of knowledge and methodologies to help you raise very happy and well-adjusted children.
As far as resources for bullying, there is a ton of stuff out there, especially now that the subject has been brought into the national spotlight by such events as Columbine and the like. But here’s a few to get you started:
First, if your child is in the Manchester school system and you are having bullying issues, contact Heidi Macchi. She’s the Outreach Social Worker for the Manchester School system and in charge of the “Bully Buster” program at the high school. I’ve worked with her quite a bit and she’s a great resource. Her contact information is: Heidi Macchi, 25 N. School St., Manchester, CT 06042, Cell: 860-670-7904, Email: hmacchi@ManchesterCT.gov.
There are hundreds of websites out there offering information on bullying. My best suggestion here is to check out the “About Us” page of the website - always know who created the website you are using. Be slightly dubious of websites offering information on any topic, when the developer of the website has something to sell you. You could be getting "skewed" and biased information. Another tip is to never accept information from any single website as accurate. Anyone can throw up a website these days, and many people do. That doesn’t mean the information contained in them is useful or accurate. Only accept information if you can get at least three websites to corroborate the information. And if one of those sites can be a government site, a non-profit site, or at least a site that has nothing to sell you, all the better. Here’s a few to get you started:
I think one of the best ways to protect your children from bullies is to educate them about bullying long before they even get bullied or become bullies themselves. There are some great books out there that you can read with your children that both educate your child about bullying and give you the opportunity to spend some quality time with them too. Here’s some suggestions:
“Stop Picking On Me,” by Pat Thomas.
“Why Is Everybody Always Picking on Me? A Guide to Understanding Bullies for Young People,” by Terrence Webster-Doyle.
“Nobody Knew What to Do: A Story about Bullying,” by Albert Whitman.
“Just Kidding,” by Trudy Ludwig.
Make it a point to sit and talk or read with your children about bullying on a regular basis. Not only might it help them out in school, but it will help them out in "the real world" as adults!
And last but not least (and a shameless plug for my Martial Arts school) let me offer myself and my school as resources to all of you out there. Many of our parents bring their children to us because of bullying issues. I actually just took a call while writing this article from a mom that will be bringing her child in for exactly that reason. And if not my school, please feel free to call upon myself either through email (Joel.Waldron@Gmail.com) or phone (860-646-7993) for assistance. It would be my pleasure to help.