Bullying is a common topic in this day and age, affects kids of all ages all across the country, when researched is many times one of the initial reasons as to what drives a teen to violence with school shootings, and sadly what is the leading cause of death among our young. Some statistics on suicide today are as follows:
- Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year, according to the CDC. For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. Over 14 percent of high school students have considered suicide, and almost 7 percent have attempted it.
- Bully victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University
- A study in Britain found that at least half of suicides among young people are related to bullying
- 10 to 14 year old girls may be at even higher risk for suicide, according to the study above
- According to statistics reported by ABC News, nearly 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because of fear of bullying
This Month’s Campaign centers around bullying and how to help build our youth up so bullying will slowly be knocked down. There isn’t one project for all this month but rather a few ideas and resources that may help Ambassadors build their compassion and self-confidence as well as understand how mean words and actions affect others.
A great place to start is to join ISP and Operation Warm Wishes for an amazing event where kids will write poems and letters of encouragement to other kids who are being bullied. At this event will also be guest speakers who are former self-proclaimed “bullies” and how they have changed their ways, why and how their actions affected others. It’s truly a unique and special event I believe anyone over the age of 5 should attend.
From ISP’s inception, I have always stated the I felt if each child did acts of service and were praised for their kindness bullying could be thwarted altogether. If our kids do consistent good, are emotionally aware of others and their needs, use compassion in their actions and feel good about what they were putting out in the world – so many problems with our youth, the bullying epidemic and widespread suicide would take a turn for the positive.
If you cannot come to this event or live outside of Orange County, here are a few ideas for different age brackets for the month of September. Starting the school year off right with our kids and their peers will mean a much smoother school year.
Pups: Bully or Buddy Worksheet
This worksheet is quick, easy and has concepts Pups can understand. This quick activity will show kids how to determine if another child is someone they should be around or not. Also teaches them the differences between being a friend or unknowingly hurting someone else. Click here for a free download of this worksheet.
Ninjas: Superhero Capes
The superhero cape activity requires a large group of teens who know each other relatively well. Give each teen a large piece of paper approximately 3 feet by 4 feet. The teens write their names in large print along one of the 3-foot edges and then cut out a circle from the same end; the circle should be large enough to slide over their heads. When placed over her head, the teen’s name should be displayed across her chest, while the rest of the paper flows behind like a cape. Once the capes have been arranged around the room, the teens then scatter around and write positive affirmations on each other’s capes. The teens should aim to write at least one positive attribute or trait about each group member. At the end of the activity, the teens view their own capes to see what others have written. In many cases, reading these positive statements helps the teens feel a bit like superheroes with high self-esteem.
Jr. Ambassadors/Ambassadors: Self-esteem activities with family, friends or classes
Many kids bully due to self-esteem issues. This link has self-esteem activities for all kids – those who lack self worth who could in the future bully or those being bullied. For activities, click here.
- Have you ever been bullied?
- Do you know anyone who has been bullied?
- How did it feel (if you) or how do you think that person felt?
- Why do you think people bully?
- What should you say or do to a bully bothering you?
- What about do or say to a bully hurting another?
- What can you do to help the bullying at your school? What part can you play?
Whether your child or a child close to you is being bullied or not, at some point you can bet they will by someone. The best defense we can give them is the opportunity to build their self-confidence and give them the ability to build their armor now so they don’t falter later.
Have a wonderful start to the school year!