Monthly Archive for August, 2009

Deterring bullying

Over on Slate, Alan Kazdin and Carlo Rotella tell parents what it takes to deter bullying. Under the headline “Bullies: They can be stopped, but it takes a village,” Professors Kazdin and Rotella explain what not to do and what works. They draw on real research about the issue, not just people’s reports and impressions.

Let’s say you find out that your child is being bullied by a schoolmate. Naturally, you want to do something right now to make it stop. Depending on your temperament and experience, one or more of four widely attempted common-sense solutions will occur to you: telling your child to stand up to the bully, telling your child to try to ignore and avoid the bully, taking matters into your own hands by calling the bully’s parents or confronting the bully yourself, or asking your child’s teacher to put a stop to it.

These responses share three features:

1) They all express genuine caring, concern, and good intentions.

2) You will feel better for taking action.

3) They are likely to be ineffective.

So what should a parent do? Well, my recommendation is easy: Read the article for guidance.

And, teachers, you should read this article, too. Then consult the resources listed here:

Physical punishment repudiated

Over on 60-Second Science Blog, the news source of Scientific American, Karen Schrock reported that a task force of the American Psychological Association (APA) released a report recommending that caregivers eschew physical punishment. Ms. Schrock noted that at least one member of the task force disagreed with the recommendations, but that most members endorsed it.

Corporal punishment has long been a hotly debated subject, with conflicting study results and opposing ideologies feeding the fire. Now the results of a five-year effort to review the scientific literature are in: a task force appointed by the American Psychological Association concludes that “parents and caregivers should reduce and potentially eliminate their use of any physical punishment as a disciplinary measure.”
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