Teen Talk with Renée: October is National Bullying Prevention Month – Let’s spread kindness!

“Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” – Plato

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“Don’t you ever let a soul in the world tell you that you can’t be exactly who you are.” – Lady Gaga 

“When someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level. No, our motto is, when they go low, we go high.” – Michelle Obama

Fall is here and the days are slowly growing shorter and cooler. The leaves are restless and are beginning to shed their outer coverings to reveal their true dazzling colors. In fall we get to see the beautiful colors that lie hidden beneath – purple, red, orange, gold, and everything in-between. Now is the perfect time to celebrate and honor the beauty that lives in everything and everyone! It is the perfect time to spread kindness and inclusiveness. If we spread enough kindness in the world, there will be no room for hate!

October in National Bully Prevention Month. What exactly is bulling? According to stopbulling.gov, bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. The imbalance of power is what distinguishes bullying from other conflicts such as having an argument or disagreements with friends or peers. There are three types of bullying behavior: verbal – the saying or writing of mean things; social – the hurting of someone’s reputation or relationships; and physical – the hurting of a person’s body or possessions. While physical bullying requires close proximity to a bully, verbal and social bullying can occur through our virtual connections. This is known as cyberbullying.

If you have ever experienced bullying, you are not alone. The 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) indicates that, nationwide, 19.5% of students in grades 9–12 report being bullied on school property in the 12 months preceding the survey. The same study indicates that an estimated 15.7% of high school students were cyberbullied in the 12 months prior to the survey.

What can you do if you have been or are currently being bullied? Speak out! Let someone know. Talk with your friends, parents, teachers. You are valued and there are many resourced available to you. Here are just a few excellent resources:

Stomp Out Bullying is a national nonprofit dedicated to changing the culture for all students. It works to reduce and prevent bullying, cyberbullying, and other digital abuse, educates against homophobia, LGBTQ+ discrimination, racism, and hatred, and deters violence in schools, online and in communities across the country.

Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center founded The National Bullying Prevention campaign in 2006, a month-long event to prevent childhood bullying, and promote kindness, acceptance, and inclusion.

Born This Way Foundation looks forward, toward a future that supports the wellness of young people through an evidence-based approach that is fiercely kind, compassionate, accepting, and inclusive.

Love is Louder action center was designed to share tips, tools and ideas for actions that can help us take care of our emotional health, and take care of each other.

It Gets Better Project inspires people across the globe to share their stories and remind the next generation of LGBTQ+ youth that hope is out there, and it will get better.

If you are the person doing the bullying, now’s the perfect time to look at yourself and ask why and how: why do you bully others, and how can you make a change. Just like the leaves that are changing, so can you. Now’s the perfect time to shed the hate and see the beauty all around you!

Until next time,

All the best,

-Renée

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