Monday, November 21, 2011

We Hear You Series #3: Don't Feed the Mean

In the beginning of my 5th grade year a few of my good friends, from the previous years, decided to turn on me. I had no idea why. It started with not talking to me and staying clear of me at recess and after school. Then the name calling began. I had very short hair for a girl, so they'd make rude comments or call me names based on that. They'd make fun of my clothes, too. I can remember just getting home as quickly as possible to share this with my mom and bawling my eyes out. I didn't understand why these girls had been my good friends before and now it seemed they hated me. I will never forget one girl that stood by my side through all of it. She never said anything, she was simply there with me, which was so comforting to me to know that one person liked me and at that same time was not bad-mouthing the girls that were being mean. I would run home as fast as I could to get away from that atmosphere every day. My mom would listen to me and then she would always say that sometimes when people make fun of others, it's because they have something they would like. In other words, my mom thought they were jealous of me. I just had to tell myself that over and over and never shout or comment mean things back. My mom made that really clear- no matter what, do not do what they're doing to me. Ignore the comments as hard as it was sometimes. No need to call names back at them, etc. I can also say that being involved in a sport at that time helped tremendously, as well. It was not associated with the school, so I had different friends there to hang out with and take out my frustration through the activity!

The bullying continued and led to prank calls that eventually were almost 24 hours a day. It got so bad, we intervened with the police to find out where the calls had been coming from. We did find out it was the same few girls. They had to apologize to me and my family. After that all happened, I remember being friends with these girls again. Even though I was hurt deeply by their comments, my one friend that was always there for me and my mom, helped me understand that some kids can be mean, but usually they have some issues of their own that they are trying to deal with. The best advice was not to feed in to their "mean-ness", but to ignore what they said to me and move on. Be the best me I could and surround myself with positive people and positive activities (sports, clubs).

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Palm Tree by Scout

It was a cold, snowy day. Scout went to Florida with his step-mom Lynda, his aunt Shelby, and his Dad. He flew on an airplane for the first time, and thought it was awesome! But on that plane ride, Scout got an idea of getting a palm tree.

He arrived safely, went to the hotel, and fell asleep. The next day, his aunt Shelby and his Dad took him souvenir shopping. He looked and looked for a palm tree, but couldn't find one. Finally everyone gave up on him, but he didn't give up on himself.

They were on their way to the airport, when Scout thought his dream of buying a palm tree for home might not come true, but he never gave up.

Scout and his family were a hour early to the airport and to waste time, they walked through the stores. In one of those stores, Scout found a palm tree "in a box" for sale and bought it.

When people don't believe in you or are just mean to you, that's no reason to give up.

Scout never gave up even though his family doubted. Anything comes true when you are determined and never give up. Scout is happy to wake up every morning and look at his palm tree.

So do yourself a favor, and NEVER GIVE UP.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Proud Mommy Moment

As a parent and an advocate against bullying, I continuously communicate with my children about being kind to one another and if someone hurts them in school, then they need to tell their teacher or a trusted adult.

I have a very shy and introverted 7 year old little boy. Dylan has anxiety, an adjustment disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and a touch of oppositional-defiant disorder. When things don't go his way, he gets angry and it's hard for him to listen to reason. He has been getting much better this year than last year, however and that is a good thing.

At the end of September, I received an email from his first grade teacher, saying that Dylan was bothering other boys in his class by poking them and shoving them. I just sat there, staring at the computer screen totally dumbfounded. I knew I had to have this conversation again, especially since I do nothing but talk about bullying on facebook and other areas. How could people take me seriously if my own son wasn't following what I have been preaching?

After school, his father and I sat him down and had a long talk about this issue. At first he denied it (of course), but I can usually tell when my children are trying to lie to me. He finally gave in, and told me that other people were picking on him, so he was poking them to get back at them.

This is where I went through the list of what he needs to do, in order to take care of the situation, without being a bully himself. He tried to rebuttle by telling me that he's not allowed to tattle (something his father and I can't stand when it's the petty stuff like "He's looking at me!"). I explained to him that tattling and telling are two different things, and it's ok to tell his teacher that someone is picking on him. I explained that if he were to take care of the problem by being a bully back, then he would get into trouble as well, and that is not acceptable. I explained again about kindness and learning to accept others, even if we do not necessarily like them. He just kept nodding and was getting irritated with me, and I know my son well enough to know that when he starts to get irritated, he starts to shut down.

Just recently, we had our first parent/teacher conference. I was nervous about going because of this situation, but I needed to know what was going on since that incident. I asked her how he was doing, and she smiled and said that she didn't know what I had said to him, but that his entire attitude had changed. She said that he now stands up for himself, and if someone picks on him, he will FIRST tell them to please stop and that he doesn't like what they are doing (I didn't actually go over that part with him, but he picked it up on his own!). She said if they don't listen to him, then he will go straight to her and tell her what is going on, and then he lets it go.

Can we say HOORAY??!!! I am so incredibly proud of him!! I almost cried during the conference!! After the conference, I went home and immediately picked him up into this huge bear hug and told him how proud of him I was. I asked him to please keep it up, and to always stand up for himself in an appropriate way. Dylan apparently wasn't shutting down on me. He was listening in his own way, and he wasn't really irritated with me. He was processing the information given to him, and I should have known better to think he had tuned me out. We ask our children to listen to us...and we should listen to them in return.

Communication is the key for our children to be successful. Open up the dialogue and discuss the important issues with them. Trust me, they ARE listening.


~Amy~

Thursday, November 17, 2011

An Open Letter to My Children

I love each of you in ways indescribable by me.

I want you to grow up knowing that you are loved.

I want you to grow up knowing that no matter what I am here for you.

I want you to grow up being able to be whatever you want to be.

I want you to grow up being whoever you want to be.

I want you to grow up knowing there are always options.

I want you to grow up in a world filled with random acts of kindness.

I want you to grow up being an upstander.

I want you to grow up being strong young women and men who advocate for those in need.

I want you to grow up in a world without bullying.

I want you to grow up.

Love,

Your mom

Monday, November 7, 2011

We Hear You Series #2: Commenting Up! (Speaking up through Facebook comments)

From Barb:

This is why I continue to post for ABC. Some people just have no clue.
I just want to share a conversation that took place on my wall yesterday. I'm still shocked at BLANKS comments. His name is blocked to protect him from the bullying. I'm gonna tell him the next time we meet, even though I'll always love him, my respect for him is gone. I'm very disappointed that this conversation even took place, and am still awaiting for BLANK to apologize.

Barb Soh shared a link.
"Please Remember" - A Tribute to Those Lost to Bullycide
Like · · Share · Yesterday at 10:47

1 share
BLANK SAID: I say man up. We all got picked on as kids.......why is everyone treating this as a new trend. Its a life leasson that has to be learened. Why do we coddle children these days
Yesterday at 10:56 · Like


Barb Soh: because children these days are horrible. my daughter was cyberbullied and it was horrible. no child should feel so low and degraded as children these days make them feel. you'll understand when you're a parent.
Yesterday at 11:00 · Like

BLANK SAID: I guess I see ur point.....but I always took it as a life lesson that makes u stronger. It may not have cyber bullying but it was bullying. It makes u stronger and realize how to deal with people.
Yesterday at 11:03 · Like


OUTRAGED #1 SAID:  How sad that you should say "man up". it's exactly this kind of attitude that teaches children (who eventually become adults) that it is ok to treat other people like shit and make them feel worthless. Remember... some kids may not have parents that care either, maybe they don't have anyone to help them stand up for themselves... regardless of what their situation is at home it IS NOT just part of life. We need to be nicer to each other, as children AND adults. and there is quite a difference between coddling a child and raising them to stand up for what's right. I for one have not raised my child or taught my child that it ok to harass people, call them names, spread rumors etc. and if more parents and teachers did the same maybe the world wouldn't be such a harsh place to live in.
Yesterday at 11:34 · Like

Barb Soh: ok BLANK. you know i love you but let me tell you a couple of stories. when i had my nervous breakdown and couldn't force myself out of my bed for 7 months out of the last year my sister screamed at me, told me to pull up my big girl pants, took my daughter away from me and told me to get over it. what the hell was she thinkin? had i been able to do that don't ya think i woulda? to this day, she has my daughter legally and there ain't a damn thing i can do about it but cry because being deemed mentally insane has taken away my rights as a parent. she is still saying the same sort of things to me, hurting me more every time i talk to her, keeping my depression and anxiety at an all time high. yes, i do see myself as worthless and have on many occasions considered suicide because of her constant control over my mental status. but i know that's out of the question because of my daughter.
Yesterday at 12:13 · Like

Barb Soh: now lets move on to my 33 year old gay son. how do you think his childhood was? he would get bullied at school and then come home to his physically abusive step father who took away my ability to protect myself let alone my sons. on his school trip to washington dc, nobody wanted to room with him, and those finally assigned to do so made his trip a living hell. then he went on to college. on the first day in the dorms, students were allowed to put white boards on their doors for friends to leave messages if he wasn't in his room. that first message was not from a friend. it said "faggots must die". i made it to the university of toledo in hour and a half from mentor to protect the rights of my son. the student was caught and expelled, but that will never change what was to be my sons wonderful first day of college.
Yesterday at 12:21 · Like

Barb Soh: now on to my 25 year old son with tourettes syndrome. he made noises, his eyes blinked constantly, he would flick his fingers and he was the butt of most jokes during his school years. he too came home to that father, who used to make fun of him also. what kind of life is it for a child or adult who gets bullied. i can tell you all too well, but just the thought of what my kids went through is hopefully enough to help you see it from the other side of the coin.
Yesterday at 12:25 · Like

OUTRAGED #2 SAID:  I dont know you BLANK but shame on you

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Informative Speech on ABC



Harvey Firestone once said, “Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life, but define yourself."



As a parent, there is little you wouldn’t do to protect your child. But what do you do when everywhere you turn you are not being heard?

She was so excited to start kindergarten last year. She packed her crayons, scissors and glue into her backpack and ran to the car hurrying her mom along. Kindergarten would be so much fun! But it didn’t turn out that way for her. She was repeatedly bullied by children in her class. She was slapped and spit on, oinked at in the lunchroom, blocked from using the bathroom and held down on the playground as two boys touched her on the outside of her clothes. She yelled for help and was punished. She was scared to tell her parents, and was making herself sick to avoid school. She stopped eating. Her mom took her to the doctor and then to a therapist. She tells the therapist what’s been happening and the therapist brings in her parents to tell them. Her mom goes to the principal who ignores her. They get a medical transfer from the therapist and pediatrician and the school admin refuses to honor it. She has been bullied into silence.

(Note: During this story, which is true, I had a picture of my Doodle up there, which even though I knew it wasn't a story about her, when I looked over and saw her picture on her first day of Kindergarten I got reallllly emotional.)

This was the founding advocacy case of ABC. I’ll let you know how this family fared, but first I will give you a bit of information on what ABC is and what we do.



ABC was founded in March 2011 at El Bracero in Michigan City. ABC stands for Anti-Bullying Coalition and using that same Acronym our tagline is: Advocacy, Building Awareness + Confidence.

ABC was formed as a Facebook page to advocate for local parents and raise awareness of bullying. In six short months, our Facebook page has grown to over 6000 people from all over the world. We have been blessed to connect and network with many like-minded activist pages.

We recently rolled out our official website at http://www.antibullyingcoalition.net.

When I was stressed about what aspect I would speak about today I reached out to the community and received an overwhelming response. Of course that only made it worse for me trying to narrow it down, but it was amazing to see all of the responses and great ideas.






Our services are:
♥ Strong Family Advocacy
♥ Workshops
♥ Coordinate "Positive Playdates," "Teen Time" and "Grown-Up Get Togethers"
♥ Building Awareness + Confidence
♥ Promotion of well executed, universal anti-bullying action plan
♥ The "What to do?" Resource




Bullying is a major issue in today’s society. Not just here, but worldwide. Here are some staggering national statistics:

* 1 in 7 Students in Grades K-12 is either a bully or a victim of bullying.
* 282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools each month.
* 90% of 4th through 8th graders report being victims of bullying
* Harassment and bullying have been linked to 75% of school-shooting incidents.
(Make Beats Not Beat Downs, 2009)



Bullycide is a newer definition for suicide induced by bullying.



According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:

• Suicide is the sixth leading cause of death among those 5-14 years old.
• Suicide is the third leading cause of death among those 15-24 years old.
(American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 2011)

This poster image was furnished to us by Putting a Face on Suicide who has a separate album of Putting a Face on Bullycide. There are many more who have lost their lives due to bullycides and the deaths of so many children due to bullying is what first inspired me to become an activist.



I have become friends with many parents who have lost their children to bullycides. Their strength, courage and determination to see a change is incredibly inspiring to me, as they have lived through my greatest fear, of losing a child to bullycide.

Two pages I would highly recommend that reflect what a worldwide problem bullying is are:

Jeremiah’s Hope for Kindness

And

Friends of Dom Crouch Against Bullying



The 5 year anniversary of Jeremiah’s death was just October 22. In honor of Jeremiah, his memory and his mother, Ann, we at ABC changed our logo to this in support. We have yet to change our profile picture:



I consider myself activist. I believe we can make a difference. ABC’s tagline is <3 Together We Can <3 because we firmly believe that it must be a together effort. One person may not be able to change the world, but together we can turn the tide of this epidemic.



To follow up on the story I shared with you earlier, after all the doors were shut in the mom’s face, we chose to go to the media and were featured on the front page of the Michigan City News Dispatch two days before we met with the principal and guidance counselor. It made an impact, her medical transfer was honored and she was able to withdraw from that school.

Her mom said to us, “You gave me my backbone back.” This still gives me chills.

We want to see a change in society to one of acceptance, kindness, compassion and empathy but until then, we will continue to advocate for families in need and have their voices be heard.

As my fellow ABC partner Aunt T says, “Prejudice is learned. Teach Acceptance.”



^That was my last line of my informative speech, but I've added this note for the blog:

In addition to the pages I shared in the speech, I’d like to take a moment to recognize the other phenomenal pages and work done by parents who have lost a child due to bullycide. I only had 5 – 7 minutes, would have preferred to share more as well as play the Words Do Hurt video, but there was not enough time.

Please check out the following pages:

Putting a Face on Suicide ~ https://www.facebook.com/puttingafaceonsuicide
B.R.A.V.E. ~ http://www.facebook.com/BRAVESociety
Kindness Matters ~ https://www.facebook.com/Kindness.Matters222
Smiles for Danielle ~ https://www.facebook.com/groups/173225196067230

Also please check out the Words Do Hurt video and Facebook page. Alye’s message is so very powerful, with not a single word spoken.

Words Do Hurt YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37_ncv79fLA

Words Do Hurt Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/WRDSDOHRT



Works Cited
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. (2011). Facts & Figures. Retrieved October 25, 2011, from American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: http://www.afsp.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.viewPage&page_id=050FEA9F-B064-4092-B1135C3A70DE1FDA
Anti-Bullying Coalition, Inc. (2011, October). Anti-Bullying Coalition. Retrieved October 24, 2011, from Anti-Bullying Coalition: http://www.antibullyingcoalition.net
Crouch, R. (n.d.). Friends of Dom Crouch Against Bullying. Retrieved October 24, 2011, from Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FriendsofDomCrouchAgainstbullying
Firestone, H. (n.d.). Goodreads Harvey Firestone Quotable Quotes. Retrieved October 24, 2011, from Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/show/7128
Gettis, A. (n.d.). Jeremiah's Hope for Kindness. Retrieved October 24, 2011, from Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JeremiahsHopeforKindness
Make Beats Not Beat Downs. (2009). Bullying Facts & Statistics. Retrieved October 24, 2011, from MBNBD Make a Sound for a Voice Unheard: http://www.makebeatsnotbeatdowns.org/facts_new.html
Suicide, P. a. Putting a Face on Bullycide. Putting a Face on Suicide.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

We Hear You Series #1 - Bully NO More


When my daughter was 5 yrs old she was relentlessly pursued by a child in her class to the point she did not want to go to school anymore...

I talked to the teacher who said (and I quote), "I know!! Isn't it cute? He LOVES her."

After I picked my jaw off the floor, I stated that this was NOT in any shape or form "cute" and it HAD to STOP! 

I was getting nowhere, so I took my daughter to the principal's office and said, “I give her permission to beat the snot out of ANYONE who touches her,”  (FYI - she was the most petite little 5 yr old and would NEVER lay a hand on anyone...LOL) “and if you put her in detention I will not only do the detention with her but will also notify EVERY SINGLE RADIO STATION AND THE NEWSPAPER, and inform them this nice little neighborhood school allows and condones bullying and yes...sexual harassment....”

The result?

Guess what!! I got an apology….. But wait?  Why did I get the apology when it was my child that was being bullied?  So then they apologized to HER and IT NEVER HAPPENED AGAIN!!

My daughter is now 26.  She is the most loving, beautiful, active young woman with tons of friends and a fabulous job, but has "that certain something" which attracts bullies. She has a much better understanding of it though and deals with it like a PRO. She is absolutely non-aggressive and now people understand that her gentle and kind nature is never to be confused with weakness!

Parents can be an enormous help to their children by solidly supporting them without being overbearing and BELIEVE your child when she/he complains about kids who aren't "so nice.”

Thank you for allowing me to share my daughter’s story!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Choosing Ourselves

Another form of being bullied? It's when someone decides that you are no longer their friend, or you're no longer supporting them because you have a viewpoint different than theirs. This is life, people. We are all different and none of us thinks or behaves the exact same way as the next. In the adult world, this makes no sense to me. If we are to be treated with respect and have an adult conversation, then shouldn't we be respecting all points of view, even if we don't agree with them? Aren't we allowed to think outside of the box? I choose not to engage in such behavior.

If this means that we must choose between respecting ourselves, or being trampled on because we do not agree with another person, then so be it. We do not need that in our lives. If we are to teach the younger generation how to stand up for themselves, then WE must show them how to do it. We must be their positive role-model and live by what we are wanting them to learn. This also means making hard decisions, by getting rid of the negative forces in our lives. Life isn't easy. I don't think it was meant to be. However, it's how we CHOOSE to live it and handle certain situations that makes it the way it is. We can CHOOSE to be happy or we can CHOOSE to be miserable by letting others hurt us. I choose to stand up for myself, which means that I choose me. And quite frankly I am worth it (and so are all of you).

What do you choose?


~Amy~

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Discussion Board Response about Bullying

 
This week in my online course of Abnormal Psychology the professor posted a question about bullying and suicides… Who is to blame, where do responsibilities lie and should bullies be held accountable when their victim or target commits suicide.

This is obviously right up my alley, and I could have easily taken information directly from what we've written on ABC in the different blog posts, article shares, tabs on our wall etc. but I wanted this to be original.

I've read it through a couple times since I posted this last night and I think I sound angry... I'm not trying to come across that way, I am very passionate about this and I hope you see my passion vs. my anger for the amount of bullying in our society worldwide. It's okay to be angry and frustrated with the status quo, that's how change happens, but anger doesn't solve problems. It's the actions we take daily that make a difference.

So here is my post and I've included the links to the 2 articles I reference in the bottom portion….

So I am incredibly passionate about this topic of bullying and actually the recent bullycides of children like Tyler Clementi, Phoebe Prince and Asher Brown is what lead me to create ABC: Anti-Bullying Coalition, Inc. a local advocacy group in NWI that advocates for families that are facing bullying and need help having their voices heard in the school system. We have talked to parents locally and across the world that have the same learned helplessness from a lack of response from the schools when it comes to bullying. However, it's not just the school's fault. Schools certainly can be better at doing their part to ensure successful resolution to bullying as well as successfully implementing pro-active anti-bullying programs, but this bullying is not just a school problem.

Bullying has snuck into every crevice of our society and has somehow become a tolerated social norm. Every time a person says "Kids will be kids" my skin crawls. That is tolerance of inexcusable behavior. Bullying is not just in schools but in workplaces, in communities across the world. Not just here but in every country on every level. It's complex and comes in many different forms. Physical, emotional, cyber... it's so pervasive, it's hard for kids to escape. They don't talk about it as they may be embarrassed or scared, or it can be so overwhelming it makes their throat tight and stomach ill every time they think about it. And there is such a lack of faith in the school system in successful resolution I truly believe that so many kids are so scared to say anything because they think it'll just make it worse. And so kids will bury it inside and end up feeling there is no other escape… and it honestly breaks my heart.

Since I founded ABC, I have connected with many like-minded pages and people on Facebook (our main page is on FB, we are working on getting a website live soon). And I have talked to parents who have lost a child to bullying and their strength is awe-inspiring to me. I never want a child to feel that suicide is the only way they can escape the awful-ness that is bullying. I fear my child being bullied to that extent (even though I talk to them every day about it… really) and I also fear that someone else will be bullying a child so badly that they will bring a gun to school and my child would be taken from me.

I wrote all the above before reading the articles and so the below is my response to the articles.

As for the article on facts & statistics… I share these on ABC frequently and honestly I feel that some of them are low. The main one I feel is low is the 160,000 children that miss school daily due to fear of bullying…. I bet it's more. I don't have proof it's more of course, but I believe there is a lot of hidden realities when it comes to bullying. I'd like to see more elementary school specific statistics. We focus a lot on elementary school and our first advocacy case was with a mom whose 5 year old in kindergarten was bullied to the point that she now has a school phobia and was suffering from an eating disorder. She was oinked at in the lunch room, pushed and held down on the playground and when she cried for help was the one put on the "wall," blocked from going to the bathroom and peed her pants. At 5. Makes me cry every time I think about it, but we all worked together and achieved a successful resolution.

As for the second article regarding Phoebe Price, well honestly it pissed me off. I have not previously seen this article though I have seen and shared other short-sighted articles with the blame being put on the victim. Bullying is a form of abuse…. But in many states it is not an official crime like sexual violence, domestic violence and child abuse. What those kids did to Phoebe was implorable and should not be defendable…. And they got a slap on the wrist with probation. After probation one of the girls was interviewed on the Today show and instead of showing remorse, she placed the blame on Phoebe by saying she had no idea that Phoebe had "so many problems." Totally ticks me off!

I could go on and on, and well I'm on page 2 of Word typing this response so if you made it this far, Thanks…. This is something that is so very easily change-able… with the implementation of pro-active bullying programs, in school and after-school programs focused on compassion and empathy, the teaching of kindness and acceptance in our society and an absolute zero tolerance for bullying.

Stand up, speak out, make a difference in someone's life!!!



1st Article link (about Bullying statistics): http://www.makebeatsnotbeatdowns.org/facts_new.html

2nd Article link (about Phoebe Prince): http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/04/20/phoebe-prince-victim-of-bullycide-or-of-a-deeper-problem/

Monday, September 19, 2011

Today in the News.... by Ruby Red (Pre-note by her Momma aka Cari)

Pre-note:

Tonight is the premiere of Dancing with the Stars and of course there has been a lot of hatred and prejudice directed towards Chaz Bono, especially by groups like One Million Moms. 

I try and use teachable moments with my children about acceptance, kindness and of course being an upstander vs. a bystander.   My oldest daughter under the pseudonym of Ruby Red has blogged for us before and she will be doing a series called a "Diary of a 4th Grader" starting shortly, but this morning while Good Morning America was on (but without sound as the kids got around for school) there were images of Chaz on the television screen.  I called my 4th grader over and asked her who the person on tv looked like.  She immediately said, "The guy from Jewel-Osco."  I was like oh, okay, so there's nothing that stands out?  Nothing different?  She said, "No." 

So, I could have left it at that, but I jump on these opportunities to talk to my children about acceptance of all differences, so I told her Chaz's story as I knew it.

I started by telling her about Sonny and Cher, and their song "I've got you babe" which is Mamaw and Papaw's favorite song to sing via karaoke.  I told her that Sonny and Cher had a daughter, Chastity but Chastity felt as if she was in the wrong body and had surgery to become a man.  I then told her that Chaz is now on Dancing with the Stars and that people are talking about boycotting the show because they feel this sends the wrong message to children. 

Ruby Red's response was a proud moment for me, when she just couldn't grasp Why someone would have a problem with Chaz dancing on Dancing with the Stars.  I asked her if she would write what she understands and how she feels about it and the following is her words.  She wrote them out and I'm typing them letter for letter, word for word.  In the past I've taken pictures of her words and included them here in the blog, but the pencil is pretty light on this paper and it won't show up. 

So here it is....


Chaz Bono

Chaz Bono is a person who was born a girl and wanted to be a boy so he got surgery to make him a boy.  I think it is great for him and people should let him dance on dancing with the stars.  

My mom told me some groups are trying to stop him from danceing but he should be danceing with the stars.  No one should tell him he can't.  I saw him on Ellen and his mom called in.  His mom is great for helping him and courage (meant to be encouraging) him.

by Ruby Red

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

An impromptu blog as I edge towards tears…

I have 3 children, a 4th grader and twins that are in kindergarten. My twins went to preschool for 2 years together in the same classroom and this is the first year that they are separate.

They lunch together but sit at different tables and have recess at the same time, but they are independent enough from each other to have their own set of friends. Still I would think it must be nice for each of them to know the other is there.

Yesterday, I got a phone call from the school nurse. As soon as she introduced herself, my stomach dropped.

She tells me that one of my twins was just in her office with a scrape on her knee and her forehead. My daughter told her that she was punched on the playground and pushed down by a boy.

The nurse gives me the standard chatter of the playground supervisors are extremely watchful, that they would have seen this; I tell her I understand the playground supervisors probably are watchful but that playgrounds continue to be a place rife with bullying. 2 playground supervisors can’t really catch everything between 25+ kids.

I told her I help run ABC and that my children know to find an adult and tell them when bullying happens. They are proud of my involvement with ABC and my daughter introduces me as her mom… with ABC… often-times to strangers.

But my daughter told her teacher that she just bumped into someone.


This leads us to the crux of this situation…..


We’ve had to really get on my daughter because of her fibbing, story-telling etc. She is a great story-teller, has a fantastic imagination, but the fibs, the lies, they lead us to a lack of trust with what she says. We have recently implemented a 5-minute time out in the corner every time we catch her in a lie. If we are not home and she lies, we total the minutes and when we get home she heads to the corner.

I told the nurse I would talk to her later and when she got home from her dad’s, we sat in my bedroom away from the other two kids and talked.

She told me that this boy with a white shirt punched her in the forehead and pushed her down by the swing set. She added that a playground supervisor had the boy apologize to her. And she said the boy was in my son’s class.

So I went and asked my son who was the boy in the white shirt and if he saw what happened. He hadn’t seen it, but he knew the boy and said he believed his sister… sorta.

I BADLY want to believe my daughter…. but due to her frequent fibbing and that there were 2 stories, I don’t 100% believe her. I’m at like 98%.

I hate typing those words, because it’s a terrible feeling….therefore the edge of tears.

I told my daughter last night that if she gave me her word I would believe her and she did, so I in turn believed her. And I told her I was going to follow up with this playground supervisor having the boy apologize to her but not telling either teacher that something happened.

This is such a HUGE problem in today’s schools.

The individual that sees the bullying handles it and passes along the information to no one. I want to know when something happens to my children and I feel it is the school’s responsibility to communicate within its staff when bullying occurs.

I called my daughter’s teacher this morning and we spoke at length regarding this.

I asked her if she would talk to the playground supervisor and call me back. I struggle with what I will hear when she calls me back. I do believe my child and I would hate to have that trust broken.

It’s a terrible situation to be in, one that I share with you in the hopes that there are parents out there in the same situation, or have struggled with the same thing in the past.

I would do anything to protect my children (and others) from bullying. Even if I don’t know 100% (like in this situation) I will follow up and do my job as a parent, as an anti-bullying advocate, to make sure there is clearer communication and that I am told that there was a situation.

A sense of resolution:

My daughter’s teacher called me back and told me she talked to everyone involved and that my daughter and this boy were playing tag and he pushed her down into the wood chips, the playground supervisor took them both aside, talked to them about it and the boy apologized.

My daughter was telling the truth about being pushed down, though I still don’t know how the forehead scrape happened, I feel an overwhelming sense of relief. And I feel bad about being at that 98% but I’m glad I had the opportunity to seriously talk to my daughter about how her frequent fibbing leads us to question her when something serious happens.

I have to give my daughter’s teacher kudos for listening to me, understanding the situation and taking the initiative to tell the playground supervisors if ANYTHING happens to one of her students on the playground she wants to know about it.

And finally, I want to say to parents who have been in the same situation as this, or one similar, that even if you have a doubt, always take the time to follow up and perhaps turn the situation into one that is a teachable moment not only for your child, but also can be for yourself.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

HEY HEY JEALOUSY

Jealousy…. What an ugly word....it ruins friendships and hardens your heart....it makes you something that you never intended to be...Jealousy is nothing more that fear of abandonment.....Do not overrate what you have received, nor envy others. He who envies others does not obtain peace of mind....

It has been a while since I last posted, and only because I have had trouble in finding something new and positive to write about....School has begun and the kids are back to the ol' grind stone as they say....I must admit, they were so happy to go back and everything seemed to be going well....and then .....the same old same old has begun... JEALOUSY....it's the same old story. A brand new School year, with new problems that arise. I believe that Jealousy is such a hindrance to us all, it makes us become vile and insecure and as much as we all try and contain that nasty little creature...that GREEN EYED MONSTER can takes a hold of some of us and won’t let go....It is very sad when children, especially children are ridden with Jealousy. They become full of anger, hate, resentful and unable to cope with reality. I have seen kids who have everything and still want more, nothing is ever enough for them. Is this a taught behavior or is it learned? I really don't know, but I do know that if we keep giving into their warped sense of entitlement that it can and will become unbearable. I think I have some pretty good kids who for the most part are well balanced girls....Of course they have at one time or another become jealous of each other, however, not to the point of no return. Adults on the other hand, I fear the most when jealousy has taken over their usual balanced life. It can make you say things and do things that you would never ever would say much less do. It can make you rude. (oh and how I HATE RUDENESS) it is such an obvious insecurity...or at least in my opinion it is....When you cannot say what you need to say without being rude it is merely fear and out of fear comes insecurity and Jealousy.

If I have learned anything in all my years, it's that I don't covet what others have, I am happy with what life I have lead and all the wonderful things and places I have seen and done....I hope that if I ever feel that GREEN EYED MONSTER rear it's ugly little head, I hope I have the sense enough to change what I don't like about my life and make it better.....so Remember.....

Envy is the art of counting the other fellow's blessings instead of your own. ~Harold Coffin


As Usual...Be Sweet,

Dori Lowry

Friday, August 26, 2011

Showing Respect

I had a discussion on my own anti-bullying page the other day about respect. What is the difference between showing respect toward someone you like and admire and being respectful toward someone you don't like?

Is there such a thing? Why do I need to be respectful toward people I don't like, or toward people who don't like me?

In my eyes, the answer is simple. We show respect toward people because it's the right thing to do, and because we are role models for the next generation. If we are teaching people that bullying is not right, then why not be the bigger person and show respect for all individuals?

I'm not saying that we have to like everyone we meet. That can be darned near impossible. There are always personality conflicts and disagreements and different values. It would be unrealistic if we were to ask people to like everyone they met. However, it IS realistic to ask people to at least show respect to all individuals no matter how they feel about them.

Being respectful simply means not reacting or acting in a negative way toward the person you don't like. It means not rolling your eyes, or talking about them behind their back, or bullying them. It means walking away, instead of engaging in rude behavior toward that person. It means agreeing to disagree in a polite manner when there are opposing views of a topic. It means allowing others to have those views without putting them down.

One of my members said something I thought was very true. "You may not get reciprocation but that's not too terribly important. What's important is doing the right thing by attempting to agree to disagree without being insulting or overbearing."

Another person said, "To an observer, there should be no difference at all." I think this sums it all up perfectly.

I teach my kids about respect all of the time. I would be very hypocritical if I did not show respect toward others in return. My children are my observers, and I am their role model. They should never have to ask me if I don't like a person, by my actions and behavior.

Children learn what they live. It's something I think we should all remember.



~Amy~

Friday, August 12, 2011

My experience with cyber-bullies

The word that comes to mind at the moment, is "Wow!" - I have just experienced for the first time, being cyber bullied tonight. The ironic thing about this, is that it came from a facebook support group!!

I have recently been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, and in order to understand that disorder more, and get support from people who also have it, I joined 2 support groups on facebook. Tonight, I engaged in a disagreement (which I believed was an adult conversation and was handled respectfully on my part) with an administrator, who deleted me right away without being warned. He told a person later, that I was being paranoid and I was having a bad day. Ummmm....people with bpd ARE paranoid and we DO have bad days! That was part of the "support" in the group. DUH! lol

Anyway, that wasn't too bad, until he began to leave private messages which were hateful, and followed me to ANOTHER support group (after messaging people, asking them if I were in that group, so he could join also) and began talking about me non-stop. I chose to block him so I wouldn't have to endure what he was saying, which apparently was against the rules in that group (I totally don't get that rule). So in order to stay in the group, I had to unblock him and watch as he continued to talk about me and lie about the incident that had occurred.

Needless to say, I removed myself from that group as well. Members of both groups, began to send me private messages, telling me what this guy was saying, and they all thought he was being very hateful and out of control. I responded by saying that he would be showing his true colors very soon and people would most likely be leaving the groups he was a part of. I was right. Many people have started leaving now because of him.

Now...my point is this. For the most part, I am a strong individual, but I certainly have my fair share of bad days, as we all do from time to time. Today was one of them, due to certain circumstances at home (I missed an important appointment and our dog died today). However, if I weren't such a strong minded person, what this guy was doing to me, could have sent me on a tailspin downwards.

He was hateful, spiteful, vindictive and rude. He laughed at the post I made about my dog dying, and he talked about me in public, even though I never said a word about HIM in public. He was trying to make me feel bad, and he was trying to make me leave the group (which obviously he succeeded). I did the best thing I could do, which was to get out of the situation and delete and block him so I would not have to see what he was saying. I also reported him to the administrators of facebook and I left the support group completely.

Those who have not been cyber bullied, have no idea how this feels. It's completely different than being bullied face to face, because a lot of people do not know how to handle a situation online. People don't want to delete or block the person, because it is our instinct to want to know what is being said about us. We want to defend ourselves and we have this "need to know" mentality, even if knowing is going to hurt us.

My plea for people if you encounter such a devastating situation online, to PLEASE get offline, or delete and block the person who is wanting to harm you. There is NO reason to put up with something like that. Report it to the appropriate officials, and then learn to let it go yourself. Easier said than done, I realize...but in order for us to keep our sanity in tact, that is the best solution.

Please...take precautions and keep yourselves safe, by being aware of what is being posted online, and by deleting, blocking and reporting individuals who are not good for you. You will feel much better about yourself, and you will be free of the bullies in cyberspace.

Thank you.



~Amy~





Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Summer Ending and Fall Beginnings...

“There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
by C.S Lewis

I can't believe that the end of summer is at our front door. It has been an eventful one and I must admit, I am sad to see it end... My Family and I have really had so much fun together, we spent most of our time at the beach with relatives and friends. It's always hard to say goodbye to those you love, and good times that have been had. The times that you spend with your family are precious moments. They can never be duplicated or relived. I think about how fast they have grown and will someday be going to college and I wonder how did we get here so fast. They were just babies. I feel very blessed to have three healthy girls who are such good role models, at least in my mind they are. Of course they all have their moments, but for the most part they are caring good hearted kids with very good heads on their shoulders. When we are young, we are so carefree and view the world through rose colored glasses....I wish for them that it will always be this way, but of course we know that it doesn't always stay golden...It thrills me to listen to their views on various subjects, knowing that they have not been tarnished by the outside world yet. Childhood should be just that...A CHILDHOOD. It is unfortunate that so many are robbed of their right of passage, being young and enjoying what all life has to offer...
One of my favorite quotes by Robert Frost always helps me realize that we must all take time to enjoy of our lives and the lives of our children, because CHILDHOOD is gone in a blink of an eye so remember....
NOTHING GOLD CAN STAY
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to greif,
So dawn goes to day.
Nothing Gold can stay.
And Remember, As Always, Be Sweet...
Dori Lowry

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My children

When it comes to bullying, I am very well aware that both my children could be at risk for this sooner or later. Both of them are my angels, but they have very different and distinct personalities that I believe could become a problem at some point. Knowing that, I make sure to spend a lot of time with them together and separately, to teach them how to build their self confidence and how to interact appropriately with their peer groups. I think we often forget how to do this because we (as their parents) think they are already perfect and why would anyone want to hurt them purposely?

My Son

Dylan is 6 years old, and is a complete mamma's boy. He loves to cuddle with me, read with me, and whenever he wants something, I am the parent he goes to most often first. The moments spent with his father, are the manly projects such as helping his father with his race car. He loves to get greasy and get a tool that he is allowed to use and the two of them have this father/son moment that no one can take away. It's very precious.

However, my son has issues. At the beginning of last year, I had to take him to therapy because he was acting out at home, and I had no idea what was going on. He was perfect in school, but would have a meltdown every morning and every afternoon when he got home. I was thinking he had hearing problems or had autistic tendencies, but when I had him evaluated, all of those things came back negative. We were referred to a therapist, who diagnosed him with having an adjustment disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, verbal obsessive-compulsive disorder, along with some anxiety issues. Whew!!

What this means, is that Dylan needs structure in his little world. He needs a schedule, and he needs to know what is going on at all times. If something is going to happen that is out of the ordinary, we have to tell him in advance so he can process it before it happens. When he comes home from school, he needs time to de-stress, because of being overstimulated during school. We give him this time without talking to him, and he will either go to his room and play with something, or to the toyroom/tv room to watch television by himself. After about 30 minutes, he has pulled himself together, and he joins the family. If we try talking to him during this time frame, he will have a meltdown.

He is very sensitive, and he needs everything to be orderly and fair. He has anger issues at times, and this is what scares me. If he's angry at 6 years old, what will happen with him when he is junior high or high school? Will this be the child who is the bully, or the one who is bullied? He's impulsive in his actions when he's angry. He is never physically out of control, but he can yell and scream with the best of them. I always know when something is wrong with him. He doesn't like to talk about things until he has time to process it. If we push him, then he cries and shuts down.

This last week, his sister spent some time away from home with a friend of hers for 3 days. Dylan almost had a meltdown because he didn't think that was fair, and he wanted to be with her. I proposed that we have mommy/son time together and he could choose what he would like to do. He was ecstatic about this. He chose to go to the pool with me, and I took him out to lunch. I also colored with him and played games, and we watched movies together. He felt as if he were the most important boy during those three days, and I know that was important for him. In doing these things with him, it increased his self esteem and showed him that he is a special person. I know that is the best feeling in the world for him.

My daughter

Alicia is 10 years old, and she is my drama queen. She cries at the drop of a hat (just like her mother), but is also a very compassionate young lady. She's growing so fast, and has started all areas of puberty except for mother nature, which I am sure will happen this summer. She's tall and skinny, and absolutely beautiful. Sometimes I forget that she's only 10 years old, and when I have said to her, "stop acting like a child!" she will scream at me and say, "But I AM a child!!" Oops. Sometimes I forget that, because she can act so mature at times.

Ali has a heart of gold. She has seen and heard me talk about bullying issues and how we need to treat everyone with respect. She has taken the caretaker role in school with a young boy who is a bit slower than everyone else. She helps him and encourages him to play with her and her friends when he looks lonely. She helps him with this assignments when she has completed hers, and she is just generally a sweet little girl. She likes everyone, and most of the time everyone likes her. Last year however, there was one girl in her class who did not like Alicia, and that just tore her world up. She couldn't understand it, and would try anything to get this little girl to like her. I finally had to explain to her that we don't have to like everyone we meet. Sometimes personalities just clash, and there's nothing that we can do about it. I told her that she had done nothing wrong, but we cannot make someone like us, no matter how sweet and nice we are. She seemed to understand this, but I know it still hurt her.

Today (since her brother is spending time away from home with his aunt), I took her to get her cell phone activated, took her out to lunch, and we went shopping for school. She had a blast. We talked about school starting and about bullying issues. I asked her what she thought bullying was, and she explained it all to me accurately. I do not believe that Alicia would ever bully someone, but I do believe that there is a possibility that she could become a victim of bullying due to her compassion and sincerity.

The purpose of this post, is that we as parents need to acknowledge that our children may or may not be a victim of bullying or become a bully themselves and we need to be prepared for that. As I stated before, we think that our children are perfect and they would never engage in such inappropriate behavior. However, our children are sponges....they soak up everything we say and do, and it is OUR responsibility to teach them the right way.

Children learn what they live.


Thank you.


~Amy~

Friday, July 15, 2011

SAY IT OUT LOUD

"Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself."
~ Robert Frost ~


For several weeks now I have had writers block. I have come to the conclusion that sometimes in life when your are not aligned with the universe it can make so many things that you usually view as normal, so completely out of whack...I fear that I have been overwhelmed in my everyday life that it has consumed me emotionally. I know that so many are feeling what I am feeling these days and I must admit it has so much to do with our Economy, yes I said it...THE ECONOMY. Times are hard for so many these day and so much burden is put upon us. I have been moping around, which is not in my character to do, but here I am acting as if I cannot do something about what is surrounding me. Then I was sent something from my Friend Elizabeth and it was like a light went off inside my subdued brain... it goes something like this.....


"Did you know that those who appear to be really strong, really are the most sensitive...Did you know that those who spend all their time protecting others sometimes really need someone to protect them? Did you know that three of the hardest things to say are: I love you, I'm sorry and Help me!"
...

I don't know who wrote this, but after I read this something inside me changed....Yes this is how I have been feeling, this what I want to convey to the outside world...I need Help! Then I remember what I read in a book that I absolutely love called "THE SECRET". If you want something you must say it out loud. You can't keep things inside, especially if you want something, or need something. All you have to do is ASK... Wow how easy is that, but sadly for most of us, it is the hardest thing to do...ASKING FOR LOVE, ASKING FOR HELP, ASKING FOR FORGIVENESS....We are so programed to do it alone and forget that there are those who are ready and willing to help us, don't be a victim because you have chosen to go it alone. I say that you are the only YOU there is and you must do what is best for you, sometimes we are bullied into silence and I say....Remember who you are and if times are hard...Shout it from the roof tops.... picture what you need and ASK for what you want!
As Always, Be Sweet
Dori Lowry

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Finding your own Courage

"Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it
takes to sit down and listen" ~Sir Winston Churchill ~


I am writing this for a dear friend, who I hope will sit down and listen........

There are so many forms of courage....Courage to be who you are, Courage to accept others and how they choose to live their lives and Courage not to judge....

I learned that an old friend of mine came out of the closet. I was elated, because for so long we all knew that this day would happen, but because of fear and lack of Courage he "PRAYED THE GAY AWAY"....Why would someone do this? FEAR and Fear alone...afraid of what others might think of him and the fear that he would not be accepted by those he loves and holds close to his heart. I think that acceptance in yourself is the first step at breaking the cycle of fear. You are who you are...Embrace your uniqueness.....
We are all different, how boring would it be if we were all made out of the same cookie cutter mold.....You are who you are, you were born this way, yes we all have a choice on what kind of person we become and the everyday choices we do have free will to make. Do I believe that you are born Gay? Absolutely.....I don't think it's the choice of a young person to choose to be ridiculed and called names, and expose themselves to the cruelty of those around them that do not accept them for who they are...
I once heard an interview say the most incredible thing and to this day will forever be burned into my brain......An interviewer had asked the question, "IS BEING GAY A CHOICE"? And so many answered yes...it is a lifestyle choice. I was completely insulted by their answers, because I have had many gay friends and not one had ever said to me....I choose to be gay, I choose, to be ridiculed, teased, harassed, BULLIED....
The next set of questions that was asked by the interviewer to the same people was....
"WHEN DID YOU CHOOSE TO BE A HETEROSEXUAL"...WOW, what a question....my mouth dropped open and my mind went blank...they stopped....they thought...they listened....they looked perplexed and they said..."I DID NOT CHOOSE TO BE HETEROSEXUAL, I WAS BORN THIS WAY"... Indeed they were, born this way.....

So the next time you want to judge a person for their sexual orientation, stop and think...WERE YOU BORN THIS WAY? Be Courageous to be who you are, because you are the only you there is!

As Always Be Sweet,
Dori Lowry

Thursday, June 23, 2011

ACCEPTING YOURSELF

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view”
To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.

One of my most favorite quotes ever...

Today I read something on a social network written by a young girl that really resonated with me. She was talking about not being pretty. It made me so sad to hear such words coming from such a young person. Not Pretty? Why would she feel this way, because from where I stood, I thought she was a very lovely girl who was very pretty. I started to think, why do these girls think so little of themselves and why would they write it for all to see?
I wonder what must be going through her mind? Being an adolescent is hard....So much pressure for young adults and pre-teens to deal with. I thank the Universe every day that I have girls with such high self esteem. Whenever someone has commented to them about their outer appearance, they have always said THANK YOU.


Yes, Thank you....Day one of their lives I have always told them how beautiful, smart and special they are, and I see the difference in the child who isn't told they are special and the child who has so much confidence in herself.....It is our J.O.B. to make sure that we raise intelligent, happy, confident young adults, they are our future and we must protect them, because the reality of it all will soon be upon them. I think we should all stop and think, walking in someone else's shoes might do all of us some good and help us understand what goes on in some one's life other than our own.


So I say, try to be more caring of the person next to you, for we don't know what goes on in their lives to make them feel so worthless....Take a moment to compliment a child, it could be the best thing someone has every said to them...We should all be accepting of others, who they are and what they stand for. It sure would make the world a better place if we did. Be good to yourself, accept who you are and if you don't like yourself FIND THE COURAGE TO CHANGE.....

As Always, Be Sweet....

Dori Lowry

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Who am I? That's easy. Who are you?

The Breakfast Club - 1985

"Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was that we did wrong...and what we did was wrong, but we think you're crazy to make us write this essay telling you who we think we are. What do you care? You see us as you want to see us... in the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. You see us as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal. Does that answer your question?"

So...who do I think I am?

For everyone else that sees me on the outside, that is easy. I am a woman. I am a mother, wife, friend, educator, mentor and advocate. What else is there? I assure you, there is plenty more of who I really am. Do you really want to know? Are you interested? Then listen.

People see what they want to see. Some see us as hot headed, egotistical, fat, flirtatious, funny, nice, compassionate, or stupid. They make fun of us for feeling how we do, and tell us that we shouldn't feel that way. They make our self-esteem drop to the ground because they do not validate our feelings or even acknowledge them. However, we as human beings are much more complex than that. We allow for you to see just bits and parts of who we really are, because of our fear of intimidation and failure. However, if you took the time and listened, you might be surprised at who we really are.

Open your eyes and your heart and listen to what is being said and how it is presented. Do not pretend to listen to us, and only hear what you want. We are more than what you see. We are human. Do not bully us into agreeing with your beliefs or be mad at us because we may not agree with everything you do. We are individuals. We are entitled to our own opinions and beliefs and our values are most likely going to be different. We will not stand to be ridiculed and humiliated just because we think outside of the box. We are who we are. That won't change.

If you really want to know us, then there are simple things you must know. Include us instead of exclude us...smile at us rather than look us up and down...listen to us rather than ignore us...talk with us rather than at us and accept us no matter how different you think we are. You don't have to like us, but at least respect us enough to accept our differences and allow us to be free.

Accept our faults and our failures, just as much as our goodness and successes. Include us, guide us, and trust us. Let our differences be what keeps us laughing, not what tears us apart. Teach us to fly, and we will soar.

Who am I? That is easy. I know exactly who I am and what I stand for. Who are you?



~Amy~

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    • COMMUNICATION

    • "By choosing to embrace and practice good values every day, you may not always get what you desire, but you will always be the person you desire to be.."
      ~ John C Maxwell from Today Matters


    • What great words of wisdom to instill in our families...Especially with how our economy is affecting everyone around us, taking a huge toll on the family unit. Since summer has begun, this is our opportunity as parents to reconnect with our children. Try and help them be the best young person I know that they can be...with a little love and guidance, all is possible...
      I know that we are with them every day, however, it's time we try and spend some real time with them...I have three girls of my own and two nieces. I have decided to make it my goal to try and be a better parent by doing one simple thing.....Listening...
      Listening to what they are trying to communicate to me. Oh, you all know how hard that can be, communicating with pre-teens and teenagers. These are vital and impressionable years and we have to take the time to HEAR what our kids are saying to us.
      We are very busy with everyday life and I believe we think we are listening to our children, but are we truly? So what do I plan on doing this summer in order to communicate better?

      Listen before I judge and yell...oh yes, I sometimes yell...I am going to be more understanding, and remember how I was during my teen years. I was impossible and knew that my mother didn't understand me at all. We forget as parents that we were once teens ourselves.
      I will go back to the "BACK IN THE DAY" library in my head and come up with some things I felt when I was their age...so yes, spend time with them, talk to them this summer and I think that maybe life will be that much more sweeter.
      What will you be doing?
      As always, Be sweet,
      Dori Lowry