When One Little Boy Said NO to Bullying… a Message for 2019

say no to bullyingHave you noticed…it’s hard to go a week without hearing or reading a story about bullying. There’s the “traditional” bullying we all knew growing up – and perhaps dismiss a bit too easily because of that. The skinny kid being shoved in the hallway…the mean rumors spread about one kid by the “in-crowd”.

And then there’s the new “flavor” of torment –cyber-bullying. Where leaving school no longer brings relief but often just opens the door to a whole new world of abuse. By email, by phone, on social networks, the insults, the hurt just keeps coming.

We read about it…

We read the sad stories – after the fact – when bullying contributes to the death of a child:

  • Rebecca Ann Sedwick – the 7th grader from Florida – who jumped to her death from an abandoned cement silo after enduring a year of online and in-person bullying.
  • Jordan Lewis – a sophomore in high school – who committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest. In a note, he blamed his suicide on bullying… and more recently
  • Brandy Vela – the 18 year old Texas teenager – who put a gun to her chest and killed herself in front of her family after being relentlessly bullied.

A 2013 Huffington Post article announced that bullying is starting to become recognized as a public health issue. According to Dr. Jorge Srabstein, medical director of the Clinic for Health Problems Related to Bullying at the Children’s National Medical Center (CNMC), “Bullying is linked to a wide range of health issues, both physical and emotional symptoms.“ It’s four years later, and that same sentiment is echoed in a 2017 article published by CNN:Bullying is a ‘serious public health problem,’ experts say.”

How do we enter 2019 with this hanging over us? Can we change this scary direction we’re heading in??

Email can be a help line

To answer that, I’m going to share with you a story…well actually it’s an email, but the email itself tells the story. It was written by an ELEVEN year old, to his school principal.

Email Subject: I have found out about a serious bully situation – Benjamin E.

Dear Mr. C.

I began writing this e-mail as soon as I got home, I was on my bus and I found an eighth grade boy, I forgot his name already, but he is in eighth grade and is black and rides bus 115. Anyways, he was crying so I talked to him. He looked so depressed and sad and nobody was paying him any heed. The first thing he said to me was “I’m a loser”. I tried to comfort him and all, but nothing worked I told him to tell his parents about his being bullied but he said that his dad was out of the state and he thought his mom might have moved, he has a grannie though. He says that he doesn’t know the bully’s name, but the bully is male, white, an eighth grader, and is not on bus 115. He say he has no friends, he also says his mom did this to him and that his parents are awful people. I tried to get him to make friends with someone else on the bus but he says they don’t follow him at school so they can’t be his friend…or something like that. I have notified the bus driver of bus 115 and he said “oh, yeah, he does that” so I e-mailed you. I am very worried about him since he said this is my life which made me think he really hated himself.

If you want, I would be happy to talk to you about this boy being bullied. if you need to get ahold of me, my classes are….xxxxx

Sincerely, Benjamin E., 6th grade

So, to answer the question I asked before… can we change this scary direction we’re heading in??

I have to believe if an eleven-year old could write this email, we have a chance.

Starting with one child… and parents who care enough to teach that bullying isn’t ok (and neither is just standing by and watching it happen) …and a school system that reinforces that message and teaches kids what to do if they see someone being bulled…

I think we can

…it only takes one Benjamin to jump in and care and make a difference in one child’s life…and a whole bunch of people to share his story…and hopefully before long, there are two kids…and then four.

That is my wish for all of us for 2019


Note: For some wonderful anti-bullying resources, please go to the National Bullying Prevention Center

5 Tantrum Parenting Mistakes and the Tamers That Keep You Sane

No one wants to be the parent with the red-faced toddler screaming and crying at the grocery checkout because he can’t have Gummi Bears. But when parents attempt to calm kids down, they often get it wrong, according to experts.

Here are the most common mistakes parents make — and what works instead.

Tantrum Mistake No. 1: You try reasoning with him.

Parents tend to keep talking and explaining to their overwrought child why he can’t have the thing he wants. “He’s emotionally wound up and incapable at that moment of being logical,” says Susan Stiffelman, a family therapist and author of Parenting Without Power Struggles: Raising Joyful, Resilient Kids While Staying Cool, Calm and Connected. “Trying to make him think rationally will actually make him feel more alone.”

Tantrum Tamer: Stop talking. After your initial explanation, don’t say another word to him, suggests Stiffelman. Once he realizes his tantrum isn’t getting him anywhere, he’ll calm down.

Tantrum Mistake No. 2: You’re unclear about the rule.

If you tell your child “No” but then start hedging as his tantrum escalates, he’ll sense your hesitation and keep at it until you give in, says Thomas W. Phelan, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and author of 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12.

Tantrum Tamer: Spell it out and stick to it. “If you’re clear and consistent, pretty soon the kid will understand that when you say “No,” you mean no, and if he pushes, nothing good will come of it.”

Tantrum Mistake No. 3: You’re not empathetic.

It’s hard to have sympathy in the middle of a meltdown, but not acknowledging that your child is upset makes him feel that his frustrations are going unheard, according to Stiffelman.

Tantrum Tamer: Show you understand. If your child goes ballistic when the baby sitter arrives, say something like: “It doesn’t seem fair that you can’t go out to dinner with Mommy and Daddy tonight.” But don’t add an explanation; that will make things worse. Expecting a young child to understand is unrealistic because … he won’t.

Tantrum Mistake No. 4: You lose your temper.

One out-of-control person is enough. What’s more, “you’re modeling bad temper to your child,” says Phelan. “Although sometimes you can intimidate him into quieting down, this will only give you a false sense of control.”

Tantrum Tamer: Keep quiet. Remain calm and say nothing. And if you’re in a public place, leave as quickly as possible.

Tantrum Mistake No. 5: You ignore his needs.

You’re asking for trouble if you’re not tuned in to what sets him off, according to Stiffelman. You can avoid many meltdowns by taking his needs into account.

Tantrum Tamer: Think ahead. If your child frequently has a meltdown when you two spend the entire morning running from store to store doing errands, adjust your schedule accordingly. Not playing to your child’s tantrums helps restore calm — for both of you.

And while you can’t always avoid meltdowns, having smart strategies lets you keep them from escalating and stop them sooner.

Child Health & Safety News 12/24: Teething Jewelry Safety Risks

twitter thumbIn this week’s Child Health News: How much difference can a later school start make for teens? As Seattle’s school district found out, it can help a lot! n.pr/2STRXo6

Welcome to Pediatric Safety’s weekly “Child Health & Safety News Roundup”- a recap of the past week’s child health and safety news headlines from around the world. Each day we use social media to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we overlook something, but overall we think we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed. Still, quite a bit happens every day – so to make sure you don’t miss anything, we offer you a recap of this week’s top 15 events & stories.

  • How Does Sensory Play Help With a Child’s Development? bit.ly/2QPcEFs 2018-12-23
  • Institute of Child Health doctors perform life-saving open-heart surgery on infant bit.ly/2EHf6ql 2018-12-23
  • Celebrity nutrition expert Rujuta Diwekar tells parents How to care for their child’s health and gives tips on child health and the ideal diet for today’s children. bit.ly/2T4F9eJ 2018-12-21
  • Pets Help Prevent Allergies In Infants, Study Says cbsloc.al/2CuE5vl 2018-12-21

PedSafe Child Health & Safety News Headline of the Week
FDA says teething jewelry poses safety risks after child injuries http://bit.ly/2T7DPry

  • Saturday Morning at AMC, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is Sensory Friendly bit.ly/2Luiki1 2018-12-21
  • Can pyruvate improve cardiac function among children with LCOS following surgery? American Heart Association is funding a study http://bit.ly/2V7zQx8 2018-12-20
  • Kids in hot cars: 8 safety tips (even in winter!) https://yhoo.it/2T7Kpyj 2018-12-20
  • Bringing joy to pediatric patients can start with an in-residence dog… a highly trained service dog that works in a healthcare setting to provide specialized tasks and create an emotional connection with peds patients http://bit.ly/2V9FjDC 2018-12-19
  • New child passenger safety law update to go into effect in Nebraska on January 1st http://bit.ly/2CwYMqm 2018-12-19
  • Pregnancy, breastfeeding and the common cold: What new and expectant moms need to know: 2018-12-18
  • Social Media Companies, Reporting, and Secondary Victimization – Cyberbullying Research Center bit.ly/2Ci7HMe 2018-12-18
  • Teen vaping continues to rise, survey finds cnn.it/2Erz08q 2018-12-17
  • Will Spanking Kids Really Scar Them for Life? bit.ly/2Bqlij0 2018-12-17
  • Sweets for Kids at the Holidays? What Dentist Approved That? bit.ly/2EqLMUB 2018-12-17

Kids and Household Chemicals: How to Avoid a Trip to the ER

How many of us here are guilty of wanting a clean home? Or a clean classroom for our children? Or even a clean car? Please raise your hands. I am hoping that all of you raised your hands and said I do I do. Keeping the areas that your children live in and frequent clean and as germ-free as possible is an obsession of just about every parent I know. We use hand sanitizer every time we touch or think we may have touched something and we use sanitizing wipes to wipe down every surface that our kids touch and then we wipe down our kids. It’s a never ending cycle. The bottom line being that we want our kids areas clean. There is nothing wrong with having these areas clean but aside from living in a bubble, this means that you are going to have to clean and this inevitably means using some form of chemical or chemicals and that is where the danger starts.

According to Yahoo Health and Wellness, more than 7 million accidental poisonings occur each year and 75% of those involve children under age 6. Injuries vary from minor such as itching or irritation to more severe injuries such as breathing difficulties, internal injuries and sometimes even death. Household poisonings typically involve medicines, household products and cosmetics that were left out, unlocked and easily accessible. Some of the packaging and labels on these products is very close in color and animation to some of the foods our kids love to eat and is many times confused as a snack or drink when it is in fact a chemical such as glass cleaner. The whole key to trying to avoid these terrible situations is prevention. A little planning now can make all the difference later.

Some Poison Prevention Tips:

  • Keep medicines and chemicals out of sight and reach of children, preferably in a locked cupboard or childproof chemical lock box.
  • Wherever possible, buy products in child resistant containers
  • Always store chemicals in their original containers
  • Dispose of unwanted medicines and chemicals safely
  • Never store chemicals near Food to avoid possible confusion.
  • Write this down and memorize it: Poison Control 1-800-222-1222

What if I am unsure about what has happened and need help? I will tell you what I tell everyone who has a “what if” question about injuries. Call 911. The dispatchers can help you while the emergency crew is on the way and may even be in contact with poison control at the same time.

Kids are naturally curious and explore every nook and cranny of their homes and will unfortunately find anything you have left lying about or unlocked. While we cannot stop every injury from household items we can lessen the blow by spending some time on prevention and educating our children as to what is safe and what is not.

Sat. at AMC, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is Sensory Friendly

New sensory friendly logoSince 2007, AMC Entertainment (AMC) and the Autism Society have teamed up to bring families affected by autism and other special needs “Sensory Friendly Films” every month – a wonderful opportunity to enjoy fun new films in a safe and accepting environment. Tomorrow, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is Sensory Friendly at AMC.

The movie auditoriums will have their lights turned up and the sound turned down. Families will be able to bring in snacks to match their child’s dietary needs (i.e. gluten-free, casein-free, etc.), there are no advertisements or previews before the movie and it’s totally acceptable to get up and dance, walk, shout, talk to each other…and even sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced during movie screenings unless the safety of the audience is questioned.

Does it make a difference? Absolutely! Imagine …no need to shhhhh your child. No angry stares from other movie goers. Many parents think twice before bringing a child to a movie theater. Add to that your child’s special needs and it can easily become cause for parental panic. But on this one day a month, for this one screening, everyone is there to relax and have a good time, everyone expects to be surrounded by kids – with and without special needs – and the movie theater policy becomes “Tolerance is Golden“.

Families affected by autism or other special needs can view a sensory friendly screening of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse on Saturday, December 21st at 10am (local time). Tickets are typically $4 to $6 depending on the location. To find a theatre near you, here is a list of AMC theatres nationwide participating in this fabulous program (note: to access full list, please scroll to the bottom of the page).

Coming in January: Bumblebee (Tues. 1/8); Mary Poppins Returns (Sat. 1/12); Glass (Tues. 1/22); A Dog’s Way Home (Sat. 1/26)


Editor’s note: Although Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has been chosen by the AMC and the Autism Society as this month’s Sensory Friendly Film, we do want parents to know that it is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for frenetic sequences of animated action violence, thematic elements, and mild language. As always, please check the IMDB Parents Guide for a more detailed description of this film to determine if it is right for you and your family.

Child Health & Safety News 12/17: Sesame Street Muppet is Homeless

twitter thumbIn this week’s Child Health News: Parents and kids needed a better asthma test; thanks to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, it’s here bit.ly/2RZXb1J

Welcome to Pediatric Safety’s weekly “Child Health & Safety News Roundup”- a recap of the past week’s child health and safety news headlines from around the world. Each day we use social media to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we overlook something, but overall we think we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed. Still, quite a bit happens every day – so to make sure you don’t miss anything, we offer you a recap of this week’s top 15 events & stories.

  • Recently, the National Institutes of Health researchers presented initial findings from the brain scans of 4,500 participants. Here’s what we know so far about kids and screens: yourteenmag.com/technology/kid… 2018-12-16
  • What’s Medicaid Got to Do With Early Childhood Development? bit.ly/2CftsMV 2018-12-16
  • Emotional Competency, Communication, And Bullying In Adolescent Technology Use bit.ly/2ULkOg6 2018-12-15
  • Childhood inflammatory brain disease linked to poorer health-related quality of life bit.ly/2RXDxTZ 2018-12-14
  • The Best 3 Holiday Gifts for Families with Allergies bit.ly/2EgYXrn 2018-12-14
  • How an Orlando school used telehealth to stop scabies outbreak bit.ly/2Qvnpwy 2018-12-14

PedSafe Child Health & Safety News Headline of the Week

‘Sesame Street’ Muppet Lily is first to experience homelessness. The hope is that Lily’s story can not only reach kids who can identify with her, but also help others have greater empathy. cnn.it/2C7rZIz ~1 in 20 children < 6YO experienced homelessness in 2014-15

  • Pediatric Experts Help Families Navigate Difficult Conversations About Health and Illness During the Holidays bit.ly/2EgQ7K1 2018-12-12
  • Trouble With Self-Regulation: What You Need to Know u.org/2rueI6A 2018-12-12
  • 2018 CNN Hero of the Year cnn.it/2Qqf9O2 For Dr. Ricardo Pun-Chong, being a physician isn’t just about treating patients — it’s about how you care for their families 2018-12-11
  • Sex education needs to evolve to keep pace with trends like sexting, experts say ab.co/2G8jD7t Research published this year suggests one in seven teenagers have sent explicit texts and one in four have received them 2018-12-11
  • Parents urged to reconsider artificial sweetener for kids bit.ly/2RPxXTL The report found that artificial sweeteners—previously linked to weight gain in children—may actually be stimulating children’s appetites and leading to overconsumption 2018-12-11
  • In Remote Villages, Surprising New Measures – rapid diagnostic tests, a suppository drug and a bicycle ambulance – Save Children With Malaria nyti.ms/2QrPBjR 2018-12-10
  • How to Foster Empathy in Children nyti.ms/2B755PI 2018-12-10
  • No change to how Child Protective Services handles parent marijuana use bit.ly/2EcAxzj 2018-12-10
  • Why You Should Not Give Milk to a Child on an Antibiotic bit.ly/2LblgAc 2018-12-10