Not Every Bad Behavior is Bullying.


The most overused word in education is "bullying".

People throw it around way too easily.  You can make this accusation with absolutely no proof.

And sadly, the accusation comes with a pre-determined sentence of guilt.Bullying.

Every accidental bump, look, or comment becomes "bullying".

We are losing the right to not like each other.

If I disagree with you, I’m a bully.

Before you light up my email inbox or the comment section, please read the rest of this blog.

When a parent says their child is being bullied, I always ask them to define bullying for me.

100 out of 100 times they can’t. 

What they can do and say, is the situation their child is dealing with is "bullying".

And sometimes they are correct.

Other times they are not.

The definition of bullying is… the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively impose domination over others.  The behavior is often repeated and habitual.  One essential prerequisite, by the bully or others, of an imbalance of social or physical power.  Behaviors used to assert such domination include verbal harassment or threat, physical assualt or coercion, and such acts may be directed repeatedly towards particulat targets.

Thanks Wikipedia.

Bullying is horrific and should never be tolerated.

But claiming "bullying" in every situation that doesn’t go our way is also wrong.

Not every fourth grader who doesn’t get to line up first or play on their friends’ team is being "bullied".

Just because someone takes your seat at the lunch table doesn’t make them a bully.

Rude, yes… but not a bully.

As usual, our society has swung too far in identifying "bullies".

For far too many years, this type of behavior was tolerated.

Then we decided it needed to stop (a little late by the way).

That’s great, but we’ve also went way overboard (as usual).

When someone cuts in front of me on the freeway or takes my parking spot, they might be a bully.

But more likely, they are just a jerk.

And that’s life.  I wish it wasn’t, but it is.

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Cell Phone Contracts. Do This for Your Child.


The Evil Spawn doesn’t have a phone.               Cell Phone Contracts for Your Child.

She has two parents who work, eat, and sleep technology but she doesn’t have a phone.

Why?

One, she doesn’t have a job.  So how would she pay for it?

Two, she is twelve going on thirteen going on forty, but up to this point her parents (mainly mom… and mom is always right) don’t think she is emotionally ready for a phone.

Sure, she would know the technology portion forwards and backwards, but we weren’t sure if she was ready with the emotional responsibility that comes with putting a computer in her pocket.

There are mean people everywhere, but owning a phone just gives them more access to our kid.

It’s a big world out there and we weren’t sure if she was ready to carry it around in her back pocket.

Lastly, our daughter goes from home to school.  School to home.  There are phones available everywhere she is located.

I’m not one of the parents who believe my child will always be safe and never in danger just because she has a phone.

Do phones help with safety?  Maybe. 

But mostly they are status symbols that occassionaly make the child’s and parent’s lives a little less hectic.

In 2014, cell phones (and all technology) is wonderful.  I wouldn’t want to be without it.

But I also don’t want my daughter growing up in a world in which that’s all she knows.

One day she will have a phone.  Probably a very nice phone.

And we will pay for it.  She can pay us back once that job I spend every day dreaming about comes her way.

And when she gets this phone, it will come with rules.

My money.  My rules.

I will start with these 18 from Janell Burley Hofmann.  She’s a genius.  And a good mom.

An open letter to her son Gregory on her blog:

"Merry Christmas!  You are now the proud owner of an iPhone.  Hot Damn!  You are a good and responsible 13 year old  boy and you deserve this gift.  But with the acceptance of this present comes rules and regulations.  Please read through the following contract.  I hope you understand it is my job to raise you into a well rounded, healthy young man that can function in the world and coexist with technology, not be ruled by it.  Failure to comply with the following list will result in termination of your iPhone ownership.

I love you madly and look forward to sharing several million text messages with you in the days to come.

1.  It is my phone.  I bought it.  I pay for it.  I am loaning it to you.  Aren’t I the greatest?

2.  I will always know the password.

3.  If it rings, answer it.  It is a phone.  Say hello, use your manners.  Do not ever ignore a phone call if the screen reads "Mom" or "Dad".  Not ever.

4.  Hand the phone to one of your parents promptly at 7:30 pm every school night and every weekend night at 9:00 pm.  It will be shut off for the night and not turned on again at 7:30 am.  If you would not make a call to someone’s land line, wherein their parents may answer first, then do not call or text.  Listen to those instincts and respect other families like we would like to be respected.

5.  It does not go to school with you.  Have a conversation with the people you text in person.  It’s a life skill.  *Half days, field trips and after school activities will require special consideration.

6.  If it falls into the toilet, smashes on the ground, or vanishes in thin air, you are responsible for the replacement costs or repairs.  Mow a lawn, baby sit, stash some birthday money.  It will happen, you should be prepared.

7.  Do not use technology to lie, fool, or deceive another human being.  Do not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others.  Be a good friend first or stay the hell out of the crossfire.

8.  Do not text, email, or say anything through this device you would not say in person.

9.  Do not text, email, or say anything to someone that you would not say out loud with their parents in the room.  Censor yourself.

10.  No porn.  Search the web for information you would openly share with me.  If you have a question about anything, ask a person – preferably me or your father.

11.  Turn it off, silence it, put it away in public.  Especially in a restaurant, at the movies, or while speaking with another human being.  You are not a rude person; do not allow the iPhone to change that.

12.  Do not send or receive pictures of your private parts or anyone else’s private parts.  Don’t laugh.  Someday you will be tempted to do this despite your high intelligence.  It is risky and could ruin your teenage/college/adult life.  It is always a bad idea.  Cyberspace is vast and more powerful than you.  And it is hard to make anything of this magnitude disappear – including a bad reputation.

13.  Don’t take a zillion pictures and videos.  There is no need to document everything.  Live your experiences.  They will be stored in your memory for eternity.

14.  Leave your phone home sometimes and feel safe and secure in that decision.  It is not alive or an extension of you.  Learn to live without it.  Be bigger and more powerful than FOMO – fear of missing out.

15.  Download music that is new or classic or different than the millions of your peers that listen to the same exact stuff.  Your generation has access to music like never before in history.  Take advantage of that gift.  Expand your horizons.

16.  Play a game with words or puzzles or brain teasers every now and then.

17.  Keep your eyes up.  See the world happening around you.  Stare out a window.  Listen to the birds.  Take a walk.  Talk to a stranger.  Wonder without Googling.

18.  You will mess up.  I will take away your phone.  We will sit down and talk about it.  We will start over again.  You and I, we are always learning.  I am on your team.  We are in this together.  It is my hope that you can agree to these terms.  Most of the lessons listed here do not apply to the iPhone, but to life.  You are growing up in a fast and ever changing world.  It is exciting and enticing.  Keep it simple every chance you get.  Trust your powerful mind and giant heart above any machine.  I hope you enjoy your awesome new iPhone.  Merry Christmas!

xoxoxoxo
Mom"

 


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Raising a Teenager Who Plays Sports Has Taught Me This.


I’m a parent.Title IX.

I have a daughter who plays sports.

This has taught me many things.

Young ladies who play sports in 2014 are experiencing things that just weren’t there 10, 20, 50 years ago.

My kid and millions of others are so lucky to have these opportunities.

While Title IX isn’t perfect, I’m glad my daughter  was born after it was put in place instead of before.

Crazed parents can now obsess over their daughter’s future college athletic career instead of just being obessed with their son’s alleged college athletic career.

I call this progress.

Also, it’s interesting to watch people coach their own children.  In most cases this shouldn’t be allowed.

Of all the things our government sticks their nose into, you would think addressing parents living out their dreams through their children would be on top of the list.

Coaching your own children should be outlawed.  And immediately.

The amount of money spent on youth sports could probably also be better spent.

Like on curing diseases.  Uprgrading bridges,  Or maybe on math tutors.  Possibly getting third world countries internet.

But who am I to judge.

Even with all of these issues, I think the greatest thing I’ve learned about kids playing sports is without a doubt…

… It’s hard watching your child fail.

Success is SO much fun, but watching them fail is heartbreaking.

Necessary.

A fact of life.

The best thing a parent can do for their child.

But harder than you can ever imagine if you haven’t experienced it.

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I’m Here to Promote Failure.


Everyone wants their kid to do well.Failed.

I get it.

This is probably an instinct that goes all the way back to cavemen.  I can just imagine how proud the cave parents must have been when little cavekid, jr. came back from a hunt where he had captured the biggest rabbit.

So proud.

Parents live for their children’s successes.

Now, instead of rabbits, it’s games.  The more the better.

Travel this.  Club that.  All Stars.  Select teams.

The farther away a team is the better it must be.  Bonus points if your child plays out-of-state.

Double-bonus points if they play with older kids.

I think this is great, but we have forgotten half of the process.

Parents should also live for their child’s failures.

This may sound terrible, but it’s true.

Our children have to learn not to touch a hot stove.  Sometimes they learn this lesson best immediately after they touch a hot stove.

There are lessons to be learned in striking out, making an error, fumbling, hitting a ball out-of-bounds, and losing.

Failing has gotten a bad rap.

Our society wants to take it completely out of the equation.  We seem to have a need to protect our kids from the awful feeling of finishing second.

We might do this because we no longer have to protect our children from wild animals or any of the other unspeakable dangers cave people experienced.

We seem to believe if our kids always succeed, they will always succeed.

The truth is, if we want our children to be successful, they have to know how to fail and how to respond to failure.

Everyone is going to get knocked down sooner or later.  My fear is too many of today’s kids won’t know how to get up.

I continually see parents who are willing to do anything to make sure their child doesn’t fail.

They will spend any amount of money.  Put them on any team.  Drive them any distance.

Yell at any adult who doesn’t put their child on a pedestal and give them a trophy.

Make untold sacrifices just so their son or daughter can experience success.

And the truth is the best way for them to experience this elusive feeling of success is not more, it’s less.

Let them fail.  They will live.

Now, they won’t thank us for this.  In fact, as parents we may have to be the bad guy.

At least for awhile.

But one day, they will be happy their parents let them fail.

Just not today.

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Parents: Just Say No.


I’m old, so I have the right to complain about all of society’s problems.NO!  Say It!

As an old person, I’m of course bothered by young people and their new-fangled ways and crazy ideas.

I like things, not the way they were, but the way I remember them (which is a lot better than they were).

Lots of things bug me, but I don’t have time (or the strength at my advanced age) to blog about all of them.

One, stop with the trophies.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  if your kid (or mine) is crappy at a particular activity, they don’t deserve a trophy.

This leads them to believe they are just as good as the other kids and it’s just not true.

It’s okay to be bad.  It encourages children (and adults) to search for activities in which they are better.

Finishing 2nd stinks, but it’s not the end of the world.

The Constitution says “We are All Created Equal.”  This is true.  You will notice it doesn’t say, “We are All Good at Soccer When We are Eight Years Old.”

Some kids just aren’t as good as their peers.  If you ask them, they know.

Giving them a trophy might make the adults feel better, but it doesn’t make the kid any faster.

Another thing (actually there are many more, but I’m getting sleepy) that bugs me is parents need to man (and woman) up and tell your kids “No.”

“No” isn’t a curse word.

It’s not insulting.

It won’t ruin their lives.

If it hurts your child’s feelings, who cares.  They will grow up and hate you for a lot more complicated reasons than telling them “No” when they wanted candy, or to watch TV for 47 straight hours, or begged you for money, or wanted to wear something inappropriate to school.

“No” is good.  We all need to hear it.

Discipline is what we do for children, not what we do to children.

Stop with the trophies.  Stop trying not to hurt you precious child’s feelings.

They will survive.

We did.

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Why Are All the Children Screaming?


It’s the Holiday Season which means there are all kinds of events.Stop YELLING!

Parties, programs, church events, trips to the mall, and concerts to name just a few.

This also means one thing.

There will be loud wild obnoxious children running amok.

Why is this?

When did it become acceptable for parents to allow their kids complete and total freedom in public?

What happened to parents dropping "The Look" on their children from 40 yards away?

Where did the days of my youth go when kids were to be seen and not heard?

Who decided it was okay for school-aged children to run up and down aisles screaming and fighting?

What happened to common sense parental supervision?

Lastly, what happened to parents giving other adults permission to discipline their children if they saw or heard them get out of line? 

Individual rights and freedoms are certainly important, but so is respect for the group.

Any chance there is a correlation between the volume level of children and society’s decision that it is inappropriate to ever spank them?

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Parenting.


It’s the constant struggle between making your child’s life easier
and your life more complicated.
Who's in Charge?

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The T-Shirt Every Youth Sports Parent Should Be Required to Wear.


I saw this today.Best Shirt Ever.  And Smartest.

And it made my summer.

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How Do You React When You See These 4 Words?


Happiness?It's Time.

Sadness?

Excitement?

Fear?

Relief?

Dread?

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The Biggest of All Parental Mistakes.


I’m about to do all parents a favor.Never Make a Wish.

I’m going to share a lesson most of us had to learn the hard way.

Please take notes (or just refer back to this blog … it’s good for traffic).

Never.

Ever.

Wish.

Against.

Your.

Kids.

The mere thought of wishing against your children will infuriate the God of your choice.

Karma will smack you upside the head like a tired angry mom with 7 year old triplets in Wal-mart (I’ve seen her slap them into next week… and I was scared).

Examples follow.

Your kid is playing in his or her 100th baseball/softball game of the summer.  Every one of them took place in tempatures of at least 1,000 degrees.

You just want an evening off.  You spot what looks like a raincloud in the distance.

You quietly, without bringing any attention to yourself, wish it would rain just enough to cancel the game so you can go home and read a book.

This may seem like a simple harmless wish, but you know what will happen?

No rain for 18 months.  A drought of epic proportions.  Your kid’s game not only won’t be rained out, but it will go extra innings.

Farmers will hate you.

And if you’re lucky, you might get home by 2:00 am.

Another example.  Wish your child’s graduation program will be over in less than an hour.

You’ve just guaranteed you will be in a hot gymnasium without air conditioning sitting between smelly people for the next four days.

Wish the coach will put your kid in the big game.

It happens.  Only to have the very same kid do something so horrific the team loses by 97 points and the other parents won’t speak to you in the grocery store ever again (this last part could be a good thing).

Wish your child’s teacher would announce your kid as a mortal lock for a full scholarhsip to an Ivy League college. 

Not going to happen.  There’s a better chance the teacher says in her 47 years of education she’s never been more sure a child is guaranteed to be convicted of a felony before their 14th birthday.

Wish your kids gets a college degree so they can support themselves.

They do.

And they move back home for the next four decades.  With their spouse.

And four kids.  And two dogs.  And massive debt.

Get it?

Never wish. 

It angers the God of I Just Want Some Peace and Quiet.

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While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.