Bullying Workshops

Bullying is a sad fact of life for many of our children.  According to the 2009 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (US Dept. of Health & Human Services), 1 in 5 teens had been bullied at school in the last year. The government’s Find Youth Info web site (findyouthinfo.gov) also reports some recent bullying statistics:

  • Bullying is most common among middle school children, where almost half of students may be bully victims
  • Between 15 and 25 percent of students overall are frequent victims of bullying, and 15 to 20 percent of students bully others often
  • About 20 percent of students experience physical bullying at some point in their lives, while almost a third experience some type of bullying
  • Cyber bullying statistics show about 8 percent of students have been the victims of a cyber bully
  • Studies have indicated that females may be the victims of bullying more often than males; males are more likely to experience physical or verbal bullying, while females are more likely to experience social or psychological bullying
  • Students with disabilities are more likely to be the victims of bullying
  • Homosexual and bisexual teens are more likely to report bullying than heterosexual teens.

In an effort to address these sobering statistics, on January 5, 2011, NJ Governor Chris Christie signed into law an act concerning harassment, intimidation and bullying (HIB) in school settings that amended various parts of the statutory law, including the requirements for the prevention and intervention of HIB on and off school grounds, at school-sponsored functions and on school buses.

In compliance with the Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying Law, also known as the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, the South Brunswick School District will be offering three (3) grade-level-specific parenting workshops to introduce parents and students to the details of the legislation, as well as to offer strategies and solutions to help parents deal with HIB issues with their children, whether bully or target.

The first workshop, for parents of elementary school students, will be held Wednesday, Oct. 19 at Crossroads North School, from 7-8:30 pm.  The high school workshop will be held the following week at the high school on Tuesday, Oct. 25th; the middle school workshop two day later on Thursday, Oct. 27th, again at Crossroads North.  Childcare will be available for the elementary and middle school workshops.

According to Judy McCormick, the South Brunswick School District Anti-Bullying Coordinator, the workshops are designed to be attended by parents with their children and are being presented in three parts:  a two-part information session, first outlining the details of the law and then providing specific grade-level strategies for helping their children to deal with HIB issues; and finally, interactive small group activities with parents and children for more helpful strategizing and role-playing. McCormick notes that while parents are encouraged to attend the workshop with their children to receive the greatest benefit, it is not a registration requirement.

We hope you will join us at one of these workshops to find out how this important legislation affects you and your child. In the meantime, please help us to fine tune the workshops to provide the information you need most.  Have you dealt with issues of bullying with your child, either as the bully or as a target of one?  What is the area of greatest concern? Is cyber bullying a concern?  How do you monitor the technology? Do you encourage your child to be an upstander?   If so, how?  Please share your stories!

Who is that alien in my child’s bedroom?

Do you feel like someone has taken your formerly precious child and replaced him or her with an unrecognizable adolescent? Who is that alien in your child’s bedroom?  Attend our our Oct. 6th workshop, Helping Your Child Navigate the Road to Middle School Success and learn not only how to identify and understand the stranger, but strategies and techniques to make these inevitable (and normal!) transitions more manageable for the entire family.  In addition, this interactive workshop will address the roadblocks to success that often pop up during the middle school years, from minor distractions to more serious risky behaviors that your child may encounter and will offer sound strategies and advice for identifying and dealing with them effectively.

During this workshop, we will be featuring, “Life At the Crossroads, “ a video of current and former students highlighting our middle schoolers’ changes and transitions; telling their stories as only they can. The video offers an informative and sometimes surprising, behind-the-scenes peek into the world of our teens and is bound to be a launching pad for some interesting post-workshop conversation with your child.

While waiting for the workshop, we can recommend a book which offers some insight to dealing with your teen:  Yes, Your Teen Is Crazy! Loving Your Teen Without Losing Your Mind, by Michael J. Bradley.  Bradley, a psychologist drawing on current brain research, argues that since teenagers’ brains aren’t fully developed, much of a teen’s seemingly irrational behavior or thinking can be explained by biology.  In addition, Bradley argues, contemporary culture further challenges teens’ thinking capabilities; the prevalence of sex, drugs and violence makes the teen’s job of cognitive balancing even more precarious. The good news is that parents do make a difference and Bradley clearly explains how parents can encourage and guide their kids through these tumultuous years. (Publisher’s Weekly).  As an added bonus, we will be giving away several copies of Bradley’s book to ten lucky registrants!

As we plan and fine-tune the workshop, we’d like to know some of the issues you’ve encountered in dealing with your middle-schooler.  What are the areas that you’ve found to be most stressful?  School work? Friends? Risky behaviors? Discipline?

More importantly, have you discovered any ideas or methods in dealing with your teen, in which you’ve found success?

Helping Children Learn

Our first workshop for the 2011-12 school year will be Saturday, Sept. 24th entitled, Powerful Strategies to Help Children Become Better Learners, presented by Nathan Levy. Mr. Levy, a former South Brunswick Principal, has written more than 50 books, used around the world to help increase student learning.  His presentation will explore a variety of methods used to reach learners in unique and fascinating ways.  An insightful and often humorous speaker, Mr. Levy discusses the best ways for parents to encourage children to develop fluency in thinking and writing.

What are some of the stumbling blocks that you’ve encountered in helping your children to learn and become better students?  Do you find certain subject areas more difficult than others? How about ages?

More importantly, have you discovered any ideas or methods with which you’ve found success?

Welcome to the SBPA blog!

Welcome!  If you’ve found this blog, you likely know a little something about the South Brunswick Parent Academy! However, just in case you’ve landed here via google, here’s some background information: The South Brunswick Parent Academy (SBPA) was founded on the concept of “Solving the Puzzle of Parenting … One Piece at a Time,” and is a result of the collaboration between the South Brunswick Municipal Alliance and the South Brunswick School District.  Both have partnered to offer a series of workshops under the SBPA umbrella, offering workshops on a variety of topics of particular interest to parents, including South Brunswick School District workshops on curriculum, instruction and safe and caring schools.

Now in its sixth year, the SBPA is adding this blog, as well as recommendations for companion readings to further supplement and enhance the information discussed in the workshops.  Our hope is that the blog will become a useful vehicle for sharing information both in the planning stages of our workshops and as a forum for continued discussion after the workshops:  hopefully adding another helpful piece to “the puzzle of parenting.”

Toward that end, please feel free to add your comments, questions or suggestions.  We will do our best to shape and define the blog as we go along, with deference to the needs and wants of our followers.  Check back frequently for updates and information!