Monday, January 21, 2008

No Name Calling!

Today is the first day of No Name Calling Week, a week in which we can all focus on the effects our words have on others. The week was created particularly to help educate kids in fifth through eighth grades... grades when kids are notorious for teasing and bullying! But people of every age can participate in this week. It is a great time to talk to the children in your life about name-calling.
Ask your kids if they've ever been called any names, and how these names made them feel. You can also ask if they've ever called other people names, and discuss what made them do this, and how it might have made the other people feel. Talk about how your kids can handle it if someone calls them a name, and how they can avoid calling other people names. Then, this week, everyone can make an effort to really watch their own language! Try to avoid even seemingly harmless, joking name calling, such as calling your friend a dork for watching a TV show you don't like.
Sometimes name calling in school leads to more serious bullying. For instance, when everyone decides to call one kid a nerd, someone else might get the idea to write the word "nerd" on the kid's locker, or stick a sign saying "nerd" on the back of the kid's shirt. That can even lead to physical bullying. Talk to the kids in your life about how they can get help if they are the victims of bullying or if they witness other kids being bullied. You might like to check out the website Kids Against Bullying for some kid-friendly information and tips on dealing with all sorts of bullying.
Happy No Name Calling Week!

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