6 Bullying Prevention Tips for Families

1. Offer Support Whenever it gets to your notice that your child is being bullied, keep your calm and openly pay attention without being judgmental. Show that you believe what you have been told by your child and the bullying is not fault of theirs. Do not offer aggressive solutions like asking the child retaliate or just paying no attention to the situation. Instead of thinking about solving the problem for your child, it is better to discuss about reasonable ways to represent her/him in a thoughtful discussion about options for responding. Take time to think over things with your child. Let the your children know they can always talk to you and ensure to give them the assurance Keep the lines of communication open and reassure your child that she /his safety and well-being are your top concerns. 2. Gather Information Endeavor to ask detailed questions about the whole incident in a way that is non-judgmental and ensure to take as much note as possible about who was involved, when/where/how frequent it happened, the form of bullying and anyone who may have witnessed the incidents. In a situation where the bullying had taken place electronically, save/print important screenshots, text, emails, photos, etc., and tell your child not to erase such evidence in the future. Also tell your child not to have any form of participation with aggressors online. 3. Reach out to the School Call the attention of the proper authority at your child’s school or any other institution where the bullying must have been happening. Relate the truth about the situation to them and share evidence and... read more

7 Bullying Intervention Tips for Families

1. Increase Communication Begin discussion that has to do with the social and online lives of you children as often as possible. Ask specific questions that can create important discussions (e.g., instead of “How was school?,” try “What was lunchtime like at your school—who do you sit with, what do you do and what do you talk about?”). You have to ensure your conduct shows how genuinely interested and open minded you are, and must not in any way see you as trying to control or invade privacy. 2. Monitor Behavior You can get to see your children under different situations by being watchful during social gatherings, volunteering at school and participating in extracurricular activities. If in any case you realize that your children are overly aggressive, vulnerable to peer pressure or show other behavior that gives you cause for concern, talk to them about your concerns and correct the behavior. Keep watch on the warning signs associated with bullying behavior (e.g., fear of attending school, social withdrawal, fear of attending school, avoidance of or preoccupation with technology) and you can always believe that your instinct will intervene when it seem like your children are deviating. 3. Facilitate Positive Social Experiences Assist your children in selecting hobbies and friends that will make them have a good feeling about themselves. Whenever you realize that certain activities or relationships are capable of causing bad feelings or unhealthy conflicts, talk about how things can be improved and keep away from negative scenarios. Be a guide to your children in helping them friends and interest in different settings, by doing so they would... read more

3 Ways Inner City Schools Can Help Their Students Avoid Violence

One of the biggest struggles inner city youth face today is rampant violence at home and at school. Many of these youth come from tough home environments and are often faced with even harder challenges once they reach school grounds. Often times, conflicts that originate in the class room, gym or lunch room, follow them into their neighborhoods after the bell rings at the end of the day. Here are 3 effective strategies schools can teach students to help them deal with potentially violent situations. 1. Conflict Resolution A good way to teach effective conflict resolution strategies is to use role playing. Set up the scenario of a situation of bullying, violence, or even drug use. Throughout these scenarios, group leaders can show students the best ways to deal with the various situations they might find themselves in. Doing a tracking exercise could prove to be another beneficial way in teaching such strategies. Leaders could have students simple observe and track different situations of conflict and violence that they might encounter throughout their day at school. Come back as a group and discuss those situations and how they could have been handled to prevent a negative outcome. Simple teaching of good listening and observation techniques can prove to be of huge benefit. Often times the body language of someone can be misconstrued and taken in the wrong context, therefore leading to an unnecessary conflict between two or more people. 2. Critical Thinking Teaching students to simply stop and think before reacting to perceived negative situations will prove to be beneficial when it comes to preventing bullying and violence. Often... read more

Black Lives Matter: A Social Movement For Real Change

Black Lives Matter is a movement that started on 13th of July in 2013. Founded by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, the social movement focused on systemic racism and gun violence meted out to African Americans, or black people. The movement started in the United States and has gained traction around the world. However, the movement remains concentrated and mostly relevant in the United States. Black Lives Matter aims to end gun violence and police brutality against African Americans. It also partly focuses on gun control. In a broader sense, the movement opposes the systemic racism that has existed in the United States for centuries and even though slavery has been abolished and blacks have the same rights as whites, the menace of racism still exists as undercurrents in the society. At times, the undercurrents come to the fore and result in different kinds of incidents. From police brutality to targeted shooting of black people, the underlying racism persisting in the American society has become more obvious in recent years. Black Lives Matter: Origins Black Lives Matter started as a social media movement protesting the deaths of African Americans at the hands of law enforcement officers. The police brutality shed light on the larger issue of racial inequality and that there was embedded racism in the criminal justice system of the country. What started as trending issue on social media with #BlackLivesMatter after the acquittal of George Zimmerman who was charged with shooting African-American teen Trayvon Martin quickly became a social movement that galvanized public support which had been building up over the years. As Black Lives... read more

5 Things You Can Do If Your Child Is Being Bullied At School

No matter how much people try to create awareness about how bad bullying someone is and can be; there are several teenagers that keep doing it. I remember the time when I was in school; I was bullied every now and then since I was one of the fattest kids in the class. The teasing affected me like was my worst nightmare and would spoil my entire day. When I became a parent, I decided to find ways to protect my child from bullying. If you have recently found out that you kid is being bullied at school, the following are five things that you can do for him: Introduce him to the concept of bullying – The worst thing about being bullied is that people don’t even know that such a concept exists. I know bullying can destroy the self-image and confidence of a person, especially if he is young. As a parent, it is your responsibility to tell your kid that the others are simply trying to put him down to have some fun about it and there’s absolutely nothing serious that they have in their hearts. This may not make sense to you now, but when you think about it, you realize how important it is for your kid to know that the others can be forced to shut their mouths if he takes their bullying comments as jokes. Talk to the teacher or professor – If bullying is affecting your kid negatively and seriously, you may wish to talk to the teacher or professor of your kid’s school. If she is unable to handle the... read more

Wheelchairs Against Guns Presents: The Sugar Hill Basketball Clinic

Wheelchairs Against Guns would like to invite all New York City children, ages 6-18, to the first annual Sugar Hill Basketball Clinic. Registration is FREE and all kids will get FREE t-shirts and lunch after each game. Clinics will be held every Saturday, during the summer, from 10am – 12pm in the park of PS 28, located at W. 156th Street between Amsterdam and St. Nicholas Avenue in Harlem New York. The Sugar Hill Basketball Clinic was created to present an alternative to kids hanging out on the street. For two hours, parents can take comfort knowing their children are safe playing in the park and not hanging out on the corner getting in trouble. In addition to learning the fundamentals of basketball, the clinic is designed to teach children the value of teamwork, build positive self esteem, and develop critical thinking skills that will help them make better decisions.   Wheelchairs Against Guns is a non-profit organization comprised of men living with disabilities as a result of gun violence. During the school year, members of the organization visit New York City schools to conduct anti-violence workshops that teach students practical ways to deal with bullying, gangs, and gun violence. Kareem Nelson, the founder of Wheelchairs Against Guns, had this to say about the Sugar Hill Basketball Clinic: “At our workshops, we teach students three lessons — critical thinking, how to have positive self-esteem, and conflict resolution strategies.   The basketball clinic was created by our COO Terry Parris, as a way for WAG to give back to the community, while continuing to reach the youth during the summer months... read more

3 Simple Ways to Build Your Child’s Self Esteem

No matter how many gifts you give to your child, there is one gift that is the most wonderful and priceless of them all — YOUR LOVE. YOUR LOVE come with no strings attached and is in an ever abundant supply. It nurtures your child and provides a blanket of protection to make them feel safe and secure as they grow through the various stages of their life. Knowing there is a loving and supportive parent in their corner, builds your child’s self esteem like nothing else. And that’s a good thing… because they will need a healthy dose of it to navigate through all of life’s trials and tribulations. With that in mind, here are 3 simple tips you can use to help build your child’s self esteem: 1. Teach them how to respect themselves and others – Unless you show your child respect, they will never know what it looks like. If your child doesn’t develop respect for themselves and others, they could go through their entire lives undervaluing their capabilities and never living up to their full potential. A great first step to teaching your child respect is effective communication. Speak to them politely and use a calm tone. Try to avoid raising your voice when they have done something wrong. Instead, seek to understand why they did what they did, then patiently correct them. Lashing out at your child can cause them to retreat emotionally and feel like they have no value to you or themselves. So when having conversations, listen intently to what they are really trying to say, rather than waiting for the... read more

3 Effective Conflict Resolution Strategies for Teenagers

A child’s character is forged by the principles and values they learn from home and at school. It goes without saying, parents and teachers play an important role in their mental and emotional development. When children are young, it is easy to direct their behavior, but as they enter into their teenage years, the changes in the child’s personal life make it more difficult. As a teenager, they begin to feel many new emotions they never felt before and their bodies undergo unexpected physical changes. As they struggle to cope with these new developments, the teenager may begin to rebel against their parents and teachers. In their youthful minds, they mistakenly believe these new changes mean they are now old enough to make their own correct decisions. Consequently, the teenage years are a time they experience many social conflicts in their lives. If you have a teenager and recognize they are going through this phase, here are three of the most effective conflict resolution strategies you can share with your child: 1. Encourage them to talk about the conflict —  If your teenager is having a conflict with someone, encourage them to sit down with the other person and try to talk it out. Tell them it is okay to express their emotions to the other party, but also let them know it is equally important to understand the other person’s point of view. Most of the time, they will see that the conflict was nothing more than a misunderstanding or miscommunication. Share this conflict resolution strategy with your teenager and let them know you are there if they... read more

How to stop the spike in New York City gun violence?

In 2015, there was a spike in New York City’s gun violence crime rate. Murders were up 19% and shooting incidents increased nearly 10% compared to the same time last year. Many New Yorkers are alarmed and concerned. They want to know why the city’s youth are so violent, and more importantly, where are they getting all these illegal guns from? As the founder of Wheelchairs Against Guns, a nonprofit organization that conducts anti-violence workshops at NYC schools, I come into contact with inner city youth on a daily basis, so I would like to share my insights on these issues. I cant say for sure where all these weapons are coming from, but I can tell you from first hand experience, guns are as enticing to our inner city kids as a new pair of Air Jordan’s. And considering the number of incidents involving gun violence, it seems the guns are easier and/or cheaper to get than a new pair of sneakers. How can we begin to address this problem of gun violence?   Social scientist say the violence amongst our youth is due to mental illnesses, but I don’t agree. I don’t want to label our inner city youth “sick” because I believe these issues stem from a lack of productive alternatives in their communities. Illegal guns and drugs flood lower income neighborhoods and the at-risk kids that need resources the most aren’t receiving any.  Most are left without positive guidance and are looking for direction anywhere they can find it. Unfortunately, that usually means joining the neighborhood street gangs. These kids are constantly exposed to negativity and the... read more

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