The Family Table

Educating Families About the Benefits of Family Meals

Archive for the tag “bullying prevention”

Tip of the Week: Bullying

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Research shows children who have regular family meals are less likely to bully other children and more likely to talk to their parents if they are being bullied themselves. This hit home with us at dinner one day last winter, when I noticed my 8th grade son wasn’t his usual happy self. I asked him how school had gone that day and got the typical teen answer of “fine.” As the conversation progressed, and I asked him specifically about one of his classes and he said, “I really don’t like that class anymore.”

I was surprised, but he revealed that a boy in that class was bullying him; making fun of him in front of the class and calling him names. His opening up gave us a chance to talk about different ways he could respond to this bully, and if the situation was at the point where I needed to talk to the teacher. My son felt, with some of the tips we had given him, that he could handle it. Over the next few weeks we checked in with him regularly to make sure the situation was resolved. We also had conversations about how my son should respond when the bully moved on to bullying another child in front of the class.

One of the best benefits about the family table is that it gives children a safe place to open up. Starting a conversation at the table about bullying can start with questions like, “What’s it like to ride your bus?” or “What do you think parents can do to stop bullying?” or “What’s your lunch time like? Who do you sit with?” To help start the conversation about bullying download conversation cards or for a quick list of tips visit stopbullying.gov

Holli-Seabury-2012

Holli Seabury, CEO

McMillen Center for Health Education

Tip of the Week: Unity Day

Today is National Bullying Prevention Unity Day: Make it orange and make it end! Unite against bullying! Bullying is a nationwide issue; it affects students locally, in every school and organization across our community.

The McMillen Center is the largest regional provider of bullying education, reaching over 5,000 youth a year with our bullying programs. We are having conversations with many students about bullying, but the most important conversation kids can have about bullying are the ones they have at their family table. Through the Family Table project, we are working to strengthen families one meal at a time – intentional conversations take place when families make the time to sit down and connect. Why not plan to sit down with your family, friends, or close ones and ask, “Do you ever feel like you are being picked on?” Or, “Do you know someone who is being picked on?”

And then, really listen. Knowing they have a safe place to share, can give children the courage they need to open up to us about what may be happening in their lives. The conversation at family meals can provide children with the determination and strength to look at the person who may be picking on them, and respond, this time, in a way that makes that behavior change. Not only do family meals provide a time to share, studies also show that kids who eat at least three family meals a week are less likely to bully other children.

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