Educate Yourself… a note from Dr. Becky Bailey
Whether you are a Republican, Democrat or neither, you are probably tired of verbal attacks in the name of “campaigning.” What a horrible model for our children. It basically teaches children that bullying, attacking, name calling and lying are fundamental to democracy. I’ve been using sites like www.factcheck.org to try to clarify the half-truths and educate myself. As a result, “educate yourself” is my new favorite term.
Some of you are old enough to remember when we, as a country, became aware of sex abuse against young children. It exploded in the media, centering on childcare centers where the abuse occurred. Our country was outraged, and rightly so. Social policies and legislative measures flourished in response to media coverage and public concern. Schools fingerprinted employees and instituted “no touch” policies. “Stranger danger” campaigns became popular even though 90% of juvenile sex abuse victims know their perpetrator.
Educate yourself. Did this have a lasting impact on young children’s wellbeing? The United States has the worst record in the industrialized world, losing five children a day to abuse-related deaths. There are 39 million known survivors of sexual abuse, and 66-90% of abuse goes unreported. Despite public commissions, policies and government measures addressing sex offenders, the actual budgets in this area have been consistently cut (Davidson, 2008). The Penn State tragedy recently brought abuse to the forefront yet again, but to what end? It seems we are not truly ready to do the hard work required to educate ourselves and make lasting changes.
Now bullying seems to be the white-hot cause to rally against. As a country, we have collectively turned our attention to the pain, massacres and suicides that arise from childhood bullying. Media coverage, commissions, social policies and legislative measures are flourishing. “Zero tolerance” campaigns abound as states and schools seek to write anti-bully policies.
Educate yourself. A meta-anaylsis of anti-bullying programs yielded the following results: None. Our anti-bullying efforts have made zero impact on the problem. We are going down the same path that we did with child abuse: Widespread public attention but few personal or lasting changes. There has got to be a better way!
If we are to successfully heal the hurt of bullying, we must change ourselves, our families, our communities and our “campaigning.” The only way to do this is one relationship at a time. From the boardroom to the bedroom and from schools to society, we must learn to connect instead of control, problem solve instead of punish and self-regulate instead of self-sabotage.
Educate yourself. As a country, we have built our anti-bullying campaigns on four core myths. It is time to bust these myths wide open and seek real solutions.
Educate yourself. Stop applying the same mistakes to new problems. Learn the skills you and your school need now. Join me in Washington, D.C. this September to begin this important journey together! Register online at Conscious Discipline.com for our life-changing parent night, and our two-day workshop for educators, administrators, legislators and community leaders. The two-day conference September 28-29 includes $150 in complementary materials from Conscious Discipline, and tuition discounts are available for students. The September 27 parent night is absolutely free of charge to all those who wish to attend. Simply register online now.
Fang, X., et al. The economic burden of child maltreatment in the United States and implications for prevention. Child Abuse & Neglect (2012), doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2011.10.006 Retrieved from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213411003140
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. (2010). Child Maltreatment 2009. Available from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/stats_research/index.htm#can
Davidson, J. (2008). Child sexual abuse: Media representations and government reactions. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge-Cavendish.