Wednesday Links: Bullying (What Every Parent Should Know)


Tomorrow at noon EST, I’ll be on Dr. Greg & Lisa Popcak’s radio show More2Life to talk about how to bully-proof your child!  I will be posting a summary of my discussion over on our sister site, CAPC, tomorrow evening, but here are some great links for parents interested in topics I won’t cover tomorrow.

Bullying 101

What is bullying? Here defines bullying 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.” This page also explains different types of bullying,

Is It Bullying or Ordinary Meanness? by Eileen Kennedy-Moore over at Psychology Today. What counts and doesn’t count as bullying and why it matters.


Cyberbullying basics. Ah, yes, there’s a whole new mean in town. Cyberbullying “includes mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.” Cyberbullying is becoming a huge problem especially among teenagers. This page gives parents basic information about how and why it happens and what they can do about it.

CDC “electronic aggression” tipsheet. A helpful pdf from the CDC explaining types of electronic aggression and what parents can do to prevent it or deal with it.

Sibling Bullying

5 Signs of Sibling Bullying.  Most siblings squabble, but generally this is pretty harmless when their is a tone of warmth in the relationship after these squabbles. Some behavior, though, rises to bullying and can lead to serious emotional harm to the weaker sibling. Here are 5 signs that sibling fighting might really be a bullying problem and 5 tips for addressing it.

Sibling Bullying Linked to Later Depression.  We don’t want to admit that one of our children might be bullying another, but it happens. In this study published by Pediatrics, children who were bullied by a sibling were far more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression in adulthood.  “Social learning and how to behave with peers starts at home, and when siblings are bullied it can have serious long-term consequences as we found in our study. It is important that parents set clear rules about what is allowed in conflicts and they should intervene consistently when their children maltreat each other repeatedly.”

Wednesday Links: Girls and Body Image

Today I have some great links for your about girls and the development of poor body image.

Tips to Encourage a Positive Body Image in Girls.  Body image shifts dramatically in early elementary school.  The author suggests that what moms say about their own bodies influences their daughters’ attitudes.

The Media and Body Image from WebMD. We all know the media perpetuates the “thin is beautiful” message. This article says we don’t have ban media, but suggests practical ways we can help our daughters look critically at media messages. The article, like the previous one, points out the impact on a daughter of her mother’s attitude toward her own body. This article also warns fathers about how they talk about women in front of girls.

Improving Your Body Image Through Catholic Teaching by Dr. John Acquiva.  A theology of the body approach to improving our perception of our bodies. This book might give parents some tools for talking to a daughter about poor body image.

Exercise Improves Body Image for Fit and Unfit Alike.  Research suggesting that regular exercise, and not the actual level of fitness, improves body image. This article is focused on adults, but it gives us yet another reason to put together a family-centered fitness routine.  AHA! That’s the topic of the Fall 2015 issue of Tender Tidings!

Image Credit: Eugene Seergev (

Tender Tidings Fall 2015 NOW AVAILABLE!

Free parenting magazine for gentle, intentional, and attachment-minded parents.


In this issue:

  • Family-centered fitness: body and soul
  • Dr. Greg explains how to answer your kids’ questions about gay “marriage”
  • Benedictine wisdom for your family
  • healthy, homemade snacks for busy kids


WEDNESDAY LINKS: Dealing with Disobedience


[Note from Kim: I apologize to my subscribers who are only today getting this post which was published on Wednesday, Aug. 19! I transitioned to a new RSS delivery service this week and we’ve been ironing out some wrinkles.  New posts should arrive in your email in-box with no problems in the future.]

The topic of obedience has come up recently in so many conversations I’ve had with friends that I decided to a Wednesday Links about it!  Most gentle parenting advocates focus on the quality of the connection between parent and child when addressing issues of obedience.  Yes, it’s very frustrating and not okay when your child is defiant.  Just remember: when your child says NO to you now when he’s little, he may have the power to say NO when he is a teen when somebody pressures him to do something immoral or illegal. Here are a few links to get you thinking about solutions:

Obedience as an Act of Love by Laurel at MuffinBlog.  LOVE THIS. It’s by a gentle Catholic mom who appreciates Dr. Greg and the Theology of the Body.  “The goal isn’t to instill obedience out of fear – of what might happen if they don’t obey, but rather instill obedience out of love – and what might happen if they DO. . . As parents (and in any other capacity where we expect obedience from others), we must first give example through loving service. We must give of ourselves in order to inspire others to do so in return. ”  YES!!

Obedience isn’t the goal; cooperation is from the Aha Parenting blog.  “Most parents feel embarrassed when their child doesn’t obey them. When we say jump, they’re supposed to jump, right? If they don’t, isn’t that evidence that we’re lousy parents? Actually, no. It would certainly be more convenient if our children would respond to our raised eyebrow by jumping to it. But it may even be dangerous to raise a child who obeys without question, who swallows his objections and does what he’s told.  Here’s why. Obedient children grow into obedient adults. They’re less likely to stand up for themselves, more likely to be taken advantage of. They’re also capable of simply following orders without question, without taking responsibility for their actions.” (Emphasis added.)

Are You Damaging Your Child by Demanding Obedience? by Ariadne Brill  “In our current culture, parents are praised when their children are obedient – it’s a mark of good parenting. The quieter and the more obedient the child, the better.  In truth, parents are doing a disservice to their children and to society when they demand that their children do exactly as they are told, no questions asked.  In other words, expecting children to dutifully comply with their parents commands, right away, is not such a great idea in the long run.”  The blogger gives 6 reasons demanding obedience is damaging.

But then she offers practical advice in another article: If Not Obedience, Then What? Ariadne suggests 5 ways we can use cooperation and mutual respect to ensure our children follow through on their responsibilities and other expectations.

Wednesday Links: PLAY

Some links about the importance of play for a child’s well-being and development:

Early Academic Training Produces Long-Term Harm:  this author cautions parents about academic pressure in preschool and kindergarten.

The effects of play on the learning brain: If you agree with the above author that children should not be pushed into academics too early, you will appreciate this article about the benefits of play on the learning brain. “Playful behavior appears to have positive effects on the brain and on a child’s ability to learn. In fact, play may function as an important, if not crucial, mode for learning.”

Will You Play with Me: a clear explanation of benefits of parents playing with their children, and in particular allowing their child to initiate play encounters.

“Mommy, You Are the Princess”: A new study published in the Journal of Infant and Child Development looked at the complexity of play in preschoolers when children play with their parents.  The most complex play occurs when the child initiates the play.

Children May Be Playing, but Their Brains Are Working:  types of play and what they do for kids’ cognitive development.

Wednesday Links: Strength-Based Parenting

Here’s a good one.  Intentional Catholic parents may be interested in this recent study (published in Psychology) about the benefits of “strength-based parenting”:

“Children are more likely to use their strengths to effectively cope with minor stress in their life if they have parents who adopt a strength-based approach to parenting.  Strength-based parenting is an approach where parents deliberately identify and cultivate positive states, processes and qualities in their children. . . This style of parenting adds a ‘positive filter’ to the way a child reacts to stress. It also limits the likelihood of children using avoidance or aggressive coping responses.” 

What is meant by a positive filter? I believe it’s a parent’s loving verbal intervention when a child is in the early stages of distress or confronted with a demand on their time, abilities, or emotions — a demand that stretches them in some way.  If the child is upset or worried, we can coach our child in responding in a healthy way to their concern, in a manner that draws on their strengths.

This approach contrasts with a parent’s inclination to “fix” their child as if he’s broken or defective, and sending that message to our child even if we don’t intend to do so.

If you’re interested in identifying your child’s strengths more clearly, perhaps you’d enjoy this book by Jenifer Fox: Your Child’s Strengths.  I don’t usually recommend books that I have not read myself, but this seems to be a useful and engaging book about how to think about our children’s strengths.

TENDER TIDINGS Summer 2015 Now Available!

The summer issue of our free parenting magazine is now available!

Click on flipbook to explore:

In this issue:

  • Natural Family Planning:  In Real Life
  • Navigating family road trips
  • Gentle discipline: the real root of misbehavior
  • Create a sacramental memory book
  • picnic recipes



Breastfeeding reduces risk of childhood leukemia.  A study from the JAMA Pediatrics concluded that breastfeeding for 6 months or longer reduces a child’s risk of leukemia by nearly 20 percent.  “The authors suggest several biological mechanisms of breast milk may explain their results, including that breast milk contains many immunologically active components and anti-inflammatory defense mechanisms that influence the development of an infant’s immune system.”

Raising Competent Children with Grit by Laura Markham.  12 tips for giving kids confidence and perseverance in the face of obstacles.


Free on-line parenting class.  The Center for Parenting Education is offering a free class on “The Right Attitude for Discipline that Works”.  June 16 8:30-9:30 p.m. EST.  “Yes!  It is possible to maintain a strong relationship with your children and build their self-esteem even as you discipline them.  Learn specific techniques and attitudes that will allow you to remain calm, clear and confident.”


In this edition of Wednesday links, here are some links that offer tips on getting kids to do their chores and that explain why doing chores is very good for our kids.

MY TOP PICK:  Here is a very clear 3-Part Series on chores from The Center for Parenting Education

Kids Who Do Chores Flourish by Temma Ehrenfeld.   “Studies indicate that kids who do chores also do better socially and in school through their teen years—and become happier adults.” Some interesting and important points & tips, including calling your child a helper rather than asking her to help.

How to Get Kids on Board with Chores from Parenting without Punishment.  “Children who refuse to do their chores or who drag their feet or do their chores incompletely are sending us a message in the only way they know how. Our job as parents is to decipher that message and help our children feel empowered, encouraged and motivated to contribute to the care of the family and family home. There are a number of ways to change the way we elicit our children’s help around the house.”

Chores and Children: Getting Kids to Help with Housework by Eileen Kennedy-Moore.  Clearly outlines how doing chores benefits our kids.  Several good tips on getting kids to help with chores in a positive way.  She makes the important point that scaring or threatening kids into helping is counter-productive:  “It’s easy to slide into thinking that when our children don’t pick up, it means they don’t love us or they don’t respect us.  We may feel angry, resentful, or dejected.  We may wonder how we ended up in the role of household drudge to our royal children! . . . Harsh scolding from a frustrated parent certainly won’t get children to embrace their role as valuable contributors to a smoothly running household. No healthy child is going to accept the message, ‘I’m suffering, so you should, too!’ “

Wednesday Links


7 Research-Based Ways to Increase Your Joy by Dr. Greg Popcak.   “People have a lot of ideas about what it takes to be happy, but these research-based ideas reveal the truth about how we were made to live.  As our Christian tradition teaches, happiness doesn’t come merely from the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of conflict.  It comes from pursuing a meaningful, intimate, and virtuous life that identified by a generous spirit, and open mind, and a grateful heart.”  Dr. Greg is so right!

I think in our culture people think happiness = doing whatever you want.  I have not found this to be true.  I have experienced the deepest most abiding joy in my life in my mothering, which comes with many duties, sleepless nights, doubts, and fears.  Joy, to me, comes from knowing I’m right where I need to be this particular day.  Even during struggles, illness, and other stresses that life will bring our way, if I am firm in my resolve to follow Christ and to ascent to his call on my life in whatever circumstance I am in, I will have an inexplicable joy and peace.

Gentle Discipline

Do Your Kids Have Selective Hearing?  From Parenting Beyond Punishment: “Do you ever feel like your questions and requests are ignored? You ask your kids if they have homework or to put their shoes away and you get no response. But you’re certain they can hear you because as soon as you even whisper ‘ice cream’ everyone looks up and says, ‘yes’!  YOU ARE NOT ALONE!”

Pope Francis:  “Where there is no mercy, there is no justice.”  In his Monday homily, the Pope noted the hypocrisy of those (even within the Church) “who judge and condemn others . . .  With such rigidity one cannot breathe”.  The Pope remarked that when we are sorry for our sins, there are those who want to condemn us rather than allow us to have hope.  Never punish penitent sinners for the very sins you conceal within yourselves, he says.  This applies to the parent-child relationship just as it applies to every human relationship.  When our children make a mistake because they lack patience, kindness, or maturity, let’s remember that we too at times lack these same virtues.

I would add to the Pope’s comment that where there is not justice, there is no mercy.  Justice without mercy leads to tyranny, but mercy without justice leads to chaos.  For children, this chaos is emotional and developmental.  Mercy doesn’t require that we overlook our child’s errors, but that we understand situations from our child’s perspective, that we guide them in finding ways to handle similar situations better in the future.

Radiant Faith

An Angel and a Maiden by Sarah Reinhard.  On the Feast of the Annunciation, a mother recognizes that she often says yes too quickly without discerning whether it’s God’s voice she hears calling or her own voice.  I can relate!  “It is no accident that I tend to approach saying Yes in one of two over-the-top ways: I say Yes without thinking and discerning, thus putting myself in a position to back out later or I don’t say Yes because I’m quite sure I can’t do it.”

A Strong Marriage

Premarital Sex Decreases Marital Satisfaction.  Dr. Greg comments on a recent study that found that “couples who partook in hooking up, premarital cohabitation, or even engaging in multiple sexual encounters with different people over the course of their lives would have a less likely chance of remaining in a happy marriage – if they even got married at all.”