Wednesday, October 5, 2016
WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: October is National Bullying Prevention Month
"He took a few cups of love. He took one tablespoon of patience, one teaspoon of generosity, one pint of kindness. He took one quart of laughter, one pinch of concern, and then he mixed willingness with happiness. He added lots of faith, and he stirred it up well. Then he spread it over a span of a lifetime, and he served to each and every person he met."
--Muhammad Ali's words to a British journalist in 1972 for how he wanted to be remembered which became known as his recipe for life. Muhammad Ali was born January 17, 1942 and died June 3, 2016.
In working with families and children in the Growing Healthy Kids movement, one of the hardest things is meeting children who have been bullied.
One of the long-term psychological consequences of being an overweight child is caused by the bullying inflicted by other kids. You have probably heard the expression, “Kids can be cruel.” Sticks and stones can break our bones. Harmful or mean words, however, can damage our soul.
Bullying is never OK. Some of the families I work with to get to healthier weights have children who become withdrawn, skip school, and suffer from depression and/or low self-esteem as a result of what other kids have said or done to them, often because no adults did anything to protect them from the bully. Picking a kid last for an activity because they are overweight. Calling someone “fattie”. Leaving one person off the birthday invitation list when everyone else in the class is invited. Ostracizing someone. These are some of the ways our children are being bullied because they are overweight.
Bullying is defined as unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Be a positive role model for your kids and all the kids in your neighborhood. Be kind to everyone. Watch the words you use so they will not hurt others. If you see someone who is bullying a child, stop it on the spot.
To learn more about National Bullying Prevention Month and resources for your family, your school, and your community, please click here or go to www.pacer.org/bullying/nbpm.
Nancy L. Heinrich, MPH
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.