• Bullying starts early — with parents and babies

    Abully2Adults seem to have an easier time pointing fingers at child bullies than at adult bullies. There’s a notion that children are bullies by nature. Wrong. Adults often don’t realize that child bullying is learned from adults. Bullying attitudes are built into mainstream ideas about parenting. Don’t fall for them.

    Bullies are paranoid and think that others are out to get them and so act aggressively to prevent harm to themselves. It’s like  “prevent defense” in football, where players use aggression to prevent aggression.

    Some parents bring the same kind of distrustful attitude to their parenting: Paranoia about being manipulated. When parents think their baby is out to get them, to manipulate them, to control them, they adopt the mindset of a bully. They ignore the baby’s communications about needs (for touch, movement, conversation, breast milk) because they attribute intentional power-plays to the baby. They view parenting as a power struggle — between the poor helpless parent and the all-powerful manipulating baby. Huh?! Yes, crazy thinking! But such distorted thinking is encouraged by other baby-paranoids and experts who encourage parent-against-baby attitudes.

    Bullying is typically defined as unwanted aggressive behavior “that involves a real or perceived power imbalance” (from stopbullying.gov). Usually bullying is seen as an act of commission (taking action towards another person).

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  • In Safe Babies Courts, 99% of kids don’t suffer more abuse — but less than 1% of U.S. family courts are Safe Babies Courts

    "Prayer Time in the Nursery--Five Points House of Industry" by Jacob Riis. Residential nursery 1888.

    “Prayer Time in the Nursery–Five Points House of Industry” by Jacob Riis. Residential nursery 1888.

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    The dirty little secret about family courts – where kids and parents who’ve entered the child welfare system end up – is that they often make things worse, especially for the youngest children — from newborns to five-year-olds.

    It’s not intentional – child welfare systems and family courts were set up to help children and their families. But traditional family courts can further traumatize kids already suffering from adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) by moving them from one foster care home to another, by rarely letting them see their parents (if parents are willing and able), or by leaving them to languish in foster care limbo for years before finding them a permanent home. All this contributes to these children developing chronic diseases when they’re adults, as well as mental illness, violence and being a victim of violence.

    It was decades of research that shows unequivocally how toxic stress caused by adversity does long-term damage to children’s brains and bodies that inspired

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  • Weathered by my high ACE score

    mounds

    1. We are knee deep in one of the worst winters in history. When the winds pummel my house and the ocean flows through my basement, what am I thinking is: “I’m so glad I have flood insurance.”  What I am feeling is help. I scaredI want my mommy. I need a daddy.

    It’s hard to admit as a middle-aged woman (and feminist) how much the idea of rescue appeals. I have decades of experiential knowing that wishing is futile.

    I know my craving for the present, stable and loving parents I never had is like wanting to snort, stab a needle, drink too much or inhale food. I know not to dive into the craving but I can’t pretend desire is gone.

    It comes and comes back. Always. Even when it goes away it returns. Usually when I’m tired, sick or afraid.

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  • Schools need policies to deal with teachers who bully

    AbullyteacherWe hear a lot about bullying these days, but rarely do we hear about teachers who are bullies. In the many articles and books about bullying, the focus is almost exclusively on peer victimization – actions taken by one youth towards another.
    But the small minority of teachers who engage in this pernicious behavior are only infrequently challenged or disciplined, so the behavior persists. There is even a Facebook page, No More Teacher Bullies, with numerous examples of teacher bullying, many contributed by frustrated parents.

    In their book, Youth Voice Project, Stan Davis and Charisse Nixon describe their findings from an anonymous online survey of more than 13,000 student in grades 5 – 12 in 31 schools around the nation. In that sample, about 3,000 students

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