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?


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):

2nd Article link (about Phoebe Prince):

Monday, September 19, 2011

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


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


Jealousy…. What an ugly ruins friendships and hardens your 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...'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 Remember.....

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

As Usual...Be Sweet,

Dori Lowry