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Posts Tagged ‘peer pressure’

Allowing Children to Stand Out From the Pack

February 24, 2014

 

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Not everyone can be a leader.

In every community there are natural leaders and people more comfortable with following. That doesn’t mean that the followers are blind. Their mission is to find the right person or persons to follow.

And even within the system of leaders and followers, it is vital for all concerned to realise that they all have unique gifts and characteristics which they need to harness, even at the cost of seeming different.

But people don’t like being different. They feel it makes them stand out in a negative way and it reduces their opportunities for gaining respect and acceptance from their peers.

In the classroom this is depicted by the academically gifted student who tones down their effort levels so as not to stand out. Commonly classified as a form of peer pressure, it makes children feel like they need to be seen to have the same tastes in movies, clothes, songs and interests as the pack, just to fit in.

I look at the picture above and I feel sad that doing something different looks odd or uncomfortable. Surely, as teachers, we should be working towards creating a classroom environment where each child is made aware of their unique skills and qualities and is able to express themselves without risk of excommunication.

 

Click on the link to read Hilarious Examples of Kids Telling It As It Is

Click on the link to read Kids Can Operate an iPad but Can’t Tie their Shoelaces

Click on the link to read What is the Difference Between Over-Praising Children and Lying to Them?

Click on the link to read The Skills Kids Can Learn from Traditional Board Games

Click on the link to read Our Impressionable Children are Desperately Looking for Positive Rolemodels

 

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Our Young Children Shouldn’t Even Know What a Diet Is?

November 28, 2012

Message: Negative imagery painted with words like these are looked at by 500,000 people per year, a study has found

Our generation took body consciousness to a whole new level, with quite devastating results. We were taught to judge others not by the breadth of their character but by the size and shape of their bodies. It saddens me that this obsessive desire to look a certain way has seemingly overridden the desire of being a good person, resisting to gossip, being truthful and loyal to the people around us and acting with integrity. We live in a society where people would sell their souls for a preferred dress size and confidence is based on form and complexion over character development.

What has this philosophy provided us with?

Depression, peer pressure, cosmetic surgery addiction, diet crazes, suicide, bullying, anorexia and bulimia.

And what are we doing about it?

Passing the sickness on to our very young:

The internet is awash with pro-anorexia websites which thousands of girls – some as young as six – are using to compete against each other in deadly starvation games, a study has found.

More than 500 of these ‘gruesome’ sites exist and encourage vulnerable young women to barely eat and just drink coffee, smoke and take diet pills to look like a ‘goddess’.

Using the phrase ‘starving for perfection’ they say users should eat no more than 500 calories a day – the recommended level is 2,000 for women and 2,500 for men.

They also include ‘thinspiration’ sections with images of super-slim women and in the last year 500,000 girls have admitted visiting them, and one in five were aged between six and 11.

University Campus Suffolk in Ipswich has carried out research into the issue and found than many of these websites are set up by people with anorexia and other eating disorders.

‘It starts with an individual who wants to share their experience and as they get a following they set themselves up as almost Goddess-like,’ researcher Dr Emma Bond, senior lecturer in childhood and youth studies said.

‘When I started this research last January I came across a website set up by a girl who was disgusted with herself because she had put on a few pounds at Christmas. She planned to fast for three days and regain control.

‘In under two hours, she had 36 followers saying things like “You’re wonderful, you’re an inspiration to me, I’m only fasting because of you”.’

Some of the people are even posting pictures of themselves in very few clothes on thousands of blogs and on social media like Twitter.

Official figures show that one in 200 women and one in 2,000 men have anorexia – which means they starve themselves or exercise excessively to stay slim – although some experts believe the true number is much higher.

Around eight per cent of women and one per cent of men develop bulimia at some point. They binge on excessive amounts of food then make themselves sick or use laxatives to stop gaining weight.

Many sufferers of eating disorders hide their problem from family and friends by pretending they have already eaten to avoid meals and wearing baggy clothes to conceal their skeletal shape.

Doctors believe that anorexia or bulimia is more common in people who are perfectionists, tend to worry a lot or are often depressed.

Click on the link to read Charity Pays for Teen’s Plastic Surgery to Help Stop Bullying

Click on the link to read Most People Think This Woman is Fat

Click on the link to read It’s Time to Change the Culture of the Classroom

Click on the link to read Sparing Young Children the Affliction of Body Image

The Fixation on Bus Monitor’s Donation Earnings is Extremely Disappointing

June 24, 2012

I can’t believe the rhetoric I have read about the money Karen Klein is earning from donations. So what? Generous people were so outraged by what they witnessed on that clip that they donated money. Get over it!

This story was never really about a bus monitor anyway. The. Klein case merely exemplified some very big bullying related issues – namely, the lack of respect many children have for adults, the lack of empathy for a person who is clearly being hurt, the influence of a group in regards to peer pressure and the passive behaviour from bystanders.

I am happy that Ms. Klein’s earnings mean she never has to step foot on that bus with those children again:

An elderly bus monitor who was taunted, picked on and threatened by a quartet of ruthless seventh-graders is likely going to retire on the $586,000 she has so far received in donations from concerned strangers who were outraged after viewing a video that captured her torment.

‘She is definitely surprised and overwhelmed and certainly thankful for everyone’s support, and it is nice knowing she is not alone,’ Karen Huff Klein’s daughter, Amanda Romig, told RadarOnline.com on Friday.

‘We never thought it was going to be that much, she didn’t think that much – then wow!’ Romig added, saying that her 68-year-old mother is not likely to return to work.

Click here on my post which discussed the need to punish the middle school children involved.

I hope the generous people who helped secure this donation together with the many other people who were shocked and angered by the clip, now focus their energies on ensuring that their children never treat people like those middle school children treated Ms. Klein.

The Kids Who Bullied Their School Bus Monitor Shouldn’t be Punished: Nelson

June 22, 2012

Excuses, excuses, excuses. Young bullies may be acting out due to their own “need for a sense of significance and belonging“, but they have to accept responsibility for their actions. The children who bullied their school bus monitor acted completely inappropriately and deserve far more than “positive discipline”:

The New York middle school students caught on video taunting and mocking a 68-year-old school bus monitor don’t deserve to be punished, says parenting expert Jane Nelson.

Everyone else in America might be calling for harsh, swift justice to be meted out by both the Greece Central School District and the parents of the kids involved. But not Nelson.

Co-author of two dozen parenting books including the “Positive Discipline” series, Nelson says the traditional means of punishment — yelling, shaming, hitting, grounding, etc. — are counterproductive.

“I think to go after these kids in a punitive way, it just doesn’t help,” she said. Nelson knows that the vast majority of parents will scoff both at that notion — and at her belief that the young bullies are merely acting out due to their own “need for a sense of significance and belonging.”

Video of a Bus Monitor Being Bullied by Middle School Children Goes Viral

June 22, 2012

I’m sick of reading excuses for why a bus full of middle school children acted in a most deplorable way to their bus monitor. There are no excuses for such vile behavior. I don’t care what age you are, you have a responsibility to be a good citizen and decent person. It sickens me to see a pack bullying situation where a soft target is exposed and then tormented without any resistance whatsoever.

Explanations like this are both unhelpful and insensitive to poor bus monitor, Karen Klein:

When kids reach middle school, bullying becomes more common and more sophisticated, experts says.

“Middle school-age kids are sort of an age group that is notorious for an uptick in the intensity of bullying,” said Dr. Gail Saltz, a psychiatrist in New York and TODAY contributor.

During the middle school years, kids are facing intense peer pressure, the pack mentality is strong and kids feel a growing sense of independence – all while their moral compasses are still developing, she said.

“It’s a time when they’re figuring out who they are by sometimes crossing the line and breaking the rules,” Saltz says. “Their insecurity drives a lot of cliquishness and defining themselves as better by making someone else feel worse.”

Don’t even try to excuse this behaviour in any way based on the age of the perpetrators. This is a culture problem. The parents of these children need to do as much soul-searching as the children themselves.

I am saddened to hear about the families of the students getting death threats. What kind of response is that? What is the sense in dealing with bullying by continuing the chain of bullying? This is isn’t even about a bus full of children. This has even wider implications.

Middle school children worldwide should be put on notice. No more excuses. I don’t care how old you are. It’s time to grow up and treat others with respect!

Teaching Children How to Argue

June 19, 2012

I noticed while teaching students about persuasive writing how difficult they find it to form opinions of their own. It is almost as if children today do what they have learned to do without ever reflecting on the reasons why. This poses a significant problem when it comes to peer pressure. If you don’t have the tools to work out right from wrong, positive from negative, you can be very easily lead.

This unfortunate consequence was part of the findings of a recent study undertaken by the University of Virginia:

WHILE parents have been teaching their kids not to argue with adults for generations, new research shows it may have its benefits.

A study by the University of Virginia shows that young teenagers who are taught to argue effectively are more likely to resist peer pressure to use drugs or alcohol later in adolescence.

“It turns out that what goes on in the family is actually a training ground for teens in terms of how to negotiate with other people,” said Joseph Allen, psychology professor and lead author of the study, results of which were published in a recent edition of the journal Child Development.

Prof Allen said that parents are often “scared to death about peer pressure” but also frustrated by argumentative children.

“What we’re finding is there’s a surprising connection between the two,” he said.

Prof Allen said that teens “learn they can be taken seriously” through interactions with their parents.

“Sometimes, it can be counterintuitive to tell parents to let their teens argue with them,” said Joanna Chango, a clinical psychology graduate student who worked on the study.

In fact, learning effective argumentation skills can help teenagers learn to “assert themselves and establish a sense of autonomy”, she said.

I don’t agree with the assertion that we should encourage our children to argue with us. Instead, teachers and parents alike, should encourage students to question everything, to feel confident to form their own opinions and not to follow a crowd just for the sake of safety in numbers.
Click on the link to read my post on beating peer pressure.

Beating Peer Pressure

February 24, 2012

Is a good sense of humour enough to ward off the threat of peer pressure? Child psychologist Kimberley O’Brien, thinks so:

A child psychologist from Sydney’s Quirky Kid Clinic said people should not trivialise peer pressure by saying it happens to everyone.

“We shouldn’t say it’s normal and it’s fine because it’s not,” Kimberley O’Brien said.

Ms O’Brien said parents need to encourage their children to choose friends they are comfortable with.

“It’s important to teach kids to be assertive. If parents model that behaviour and speak up in the community if they feel something is not right then children learn to do the same.”

The Quirky Kid Clinic advises teenagers to make a quick exit if they are feeling uncomfortable in a situation. They teach young people how to use humour to defuse a potentially risky situation.

“They can just laugh and say I’m not into this and leave,” Ms O’Brien said.

“If they are feeling under pressure, we encourage kids to trust their early warning signs and gut feelings and speak up and ask for help.”

Ashley Long and her friends had been drinking alcohol when the helium party trick turned deadly. The inebriating effects of alcohol can make it increasingly difficult to avoid being pushed into risky behaviour.

“[Teenagers] are much more easily influenced if they have been drinking, even physically if they are stumbling or can’t move properly,” Ms O’Brien said.

“They may have lost their phone or friends so it is more difficult to seek help.”

 


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