Raising Healthy Families with Moms Meet and KIWI

How to Navigate Bullying from a Family Therapist

September 20, 2022 Moms Meet and KIWI magazine Season 5 Episode 6
Raising Healthy Families with Moms Meet and KIWI
How to Navigate Bullying from a Family Therapist
Show Notes Transcript

Every parent dreads hearing that their child is being bullied, or that their child is a bully. Navigating these scenarios is tricky and oftentimes requires parents to take a step back and breath before reacting to do what’s best for their child. In this episode, hear from Danielle Matthew, a licensed marriage and family therapist, about how to prevent kids from becoming bullies and what to do if kids are being bullied. She shares valuable tips on how to talk to your children about bullying, what to do when others are being bullied, and so much more. 

Chrissy:

Welcome to Raising Healthy Families with Moms Meet and KIWI. We're giving you the tools to enjoy the beauty and chaos of life with little ones in the healthiest way possible. Hi everyone, I'm Chrissy Kissinger, Chief Mom Ambassador and today's host. In today's episode, I'm talking with Danielle Matthew, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist to learn more about how to prevent our kids from becoming bullies and what to do if your kid is being bullied. This episode is brought to you in part by Challenge Spreadable Butter. If you're looking for a spreadable butter with superior fresh taste and simple ingredients and are tired of flavorless synthetic spreads, it's time to stock your fridge with Challenge Spreadable Butter. Made with real challenge butter, a kitchen staple since 1911, this spreadable butter comes in three varieties canola oil, olive oil and pure avocado oil. Whether you wish for a simple spread for your bread or a boost of flavor in your recipes, Challenge Spreadable Butter delivers fresh tastes without compromise. Today we're joined by Daniel Matthew, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with over 25 years of experience whose lifelong mission is to treat and support bully victims and their families, aid schools and health and wellness professionals and educate others about the bullying epidemic. She is also the co founder of CPE collective which empowers parents, teachers and students with the skills necessary for building positive strong communities. She has authored Amazon parenting best seller, the empowered child how to help your child cope, communicate and conquer bullying, and has been featured in Huffington Post today.com and has appeared on Fox, ABC and CBS Morning shows and Mom Talk Radio. Thanks so much for joining us today. Danielle,

Danielle Matthew:

Thank you for having me.

Chrissy:

So bullying is a topic that I personally am excited to dig into. Because you know two of my kids are at that age now where bullying can become an issue. They're both in elementary school. So I want to make sure they aren't being bullied or also you know that they aren't becoming bullies themselves. So can't wait to jump in. Just going to kind of dive into the questions. So bullying is not always fully understood by all Can you give us an overview of what it is and how we can identify it, especially with our children?

Danielle Matthew:

Yeah, so bullying is you know, a pattern of behavior that happens over and over again, of being mean to someone. There's four very distinct types of bullying. We all know physical and verbal, are very, you know, known for many years, but we've really come I think the last 20 years was cyber bullying and relational bullying, and cyber is online. And relational is leaving people out of groups and not allowing them to be part of things. And so there those two bowlings have come up much more. And so when someone has power over somebody else, is the way I really distinctively say that's bullying. And it usually happens over and over again, it's not like a one time event, when it's usually a one time thing. And this is a really important distinction. It's usually what we call conflict resolution, right? There's a conflict and we need to resolve it. And it's not a pattern and someone having power over somebody else. It's more of a conflict. So there's they're having power over somebody else over and over again, usually at school year after school year can stop and then it can start again. That's really distinctive of what bullying is.

Chrissy:

Yeah, that's super helpful to understand that, you know, differentiation there. But, you know, I mentioned, you know, my kids are in elementary school, but I imagine kids in different age groups experienced bullying in different ways. Is that correct?

Danielle Matthew:

Absolutely. I mean, when you're younger, it's a younger form of bullying and being mean and having power over someone else. In middle school, it looks you know, I think I'd say well, let's put it this way. Think in elementary school. It's more relational. Err not relational, I would say it's verbal and physical. And then I think as you get into middle school, in high school, you're looking at more cyber and relational bullying. So the types of bullying get more distinctive, and aren't so easy to see as kids get more clever and older and strategic. Hmm.

Chrissy:

So I know you mentioned you know, the four pillars and the four different types of bullying. What are some examples of those? I know one of them. You mentioned kind of leaving people out of groups, but can you give examples of the other types?

Danielle Matthew:

Yes. So relational repeat is just weaving people out of groups, you know, group chats, not including them in group chats. That's the one I hear a lot as they get left out a group chats, they're not invited to things. So that's relational bullying happens a lot with girls, especially we see that more in middle and high school. Then we have cyber bullying, which I think in the last 25 years has really come up where it's online bullying. So when things happen online, people tell you things they can take pictures of you, you know, and they can put it all online and to the abyss and then you can't get it back. So what I teach a lot of my students and stuff when I go and do presents Usually, or even with clients is, you're always on stage. So when you're on stage, you can't take that back. So be thoughtful about how you present yourself on social media. So for any parents out there, when they asked me often like what we should do about social media and phones and when to have them. And I think it really depends on how mature they are to handle having a phone, having a computer and how they present themselves on social media, and coming up jointly with like a contract of what that's going to look like of how they're going to use social media. And I do encourage parents to check and have parental control, so they can occasionally look and see what's really going on. So I think that really helps with the cyber bullying, then we have verbal, which is calling people names. And then we also have physical, which is physically hurting people. So just so I'm sure it makes sense is verbal and physical are the easiest to catch. Because we can hear what someone says we can see if someone hurts somebody else, which is why we see a little more of that in elementary school, but middle and high school, it really shifts. And in that shift, it really becomes more the cyber bullying and the relational bullying kids get sneakier. And, you know, they just get more strategic.

Chrissy:

Yeah. And so cyber bullying would is probably fairly new, right? I mean, I've said to my to my husband, like, when we grew up, we that wasn't a thing, because we didn't have social media. We didn't I didn't have my first phone until I was in college. Right. So. So that's, that's fairly new. So how do you guys suggest like, targeting that? I mean, obviously, I know you're talking about the the signs and warning signs. But how do you even address that, especially as a parent who didn't experience that themselves? Right? Like, everyone kind of experienced the teasing, or you know, the traditional signs of bullying. But for cyber bullying? How do you address that as a parent, if you don't, if you've never experienced it yourself?

Danielle Matthew:

So you made a really good point just now is the whole idea of that you haven't experienced yourself. So what I often see with parents is that they don't know what to do, or they just get really reactive, of course, because they're protective of their child. So in my book, I have something called the three E's we also talked about in our child, parent educator collective, and it's called empathy, empowerment, and engagement. And this is all that's the premise of my whole book, The empowered child about how to really talk to kids about bullying. So I'm going to go through each one. The first one is empathy. I often see this a lot where parents start telling other adults how their child feels, Oh, Johnny feels sad today. Oh, I think he's just really upset because he didn't get to do XY and Z. And they don't allow room necessarily. They don't do it purposely. But that's just kind of the way they've always done it to say, How are you feeling about this happening online, and someone calling you names, we'll just call it. And we really ask that as a question, or I'm wondering if you're feeling embarrassed, you know, but we asked his questions, and we ask how they feel. And if they're not a kid who's very verbal, we can do it more like I'm wondering if, and put a word out there. But we don't want to tell them what they feel. That is the worst thing. And I promise you, if you do that with a teenager, that will be the end because teenagers do not want to be told what to do. And they want to come to their own conclusions. So that's why I like that we start with the empathy because that really pulls them into saying this person wants to understand me, this person wants to understand what's going on for me. And then we have empowerment, I'm a big believer, that's why my business is called the empowerment space. And we do a lot of empowerment work with the CEP collective, which is really empowering kids to handle their own problems. So that often can be really hard, because there's a difference between being that helicopter parent, and also to helping guide kids with a roadmap. So this is more of a guidance thing, which we talked about. Well, if Johnny did that to you on the screen, how do you want to handle the problem? If he called you out on names, you put some pictures up? How do you want to handle it? And sometimes they'll be really angry about it and say, Well, I want to do this, this and this, or I can handle it. If you're a teenager by myself, Mom and Dad, you don't need to help me with this. And what I encourage in those moments with parents, is that they help guide their kids, hey, let's do a roleplay right now, hey, I totally know you can handle this. And if they're younger, hey, let's still do a roleplay. And we can what's an example of a situation maybe we can use the one that we just talked about. And we can just come up with some examples. And if it doesn't work for you, we can try other things. And so it really opens the door. We don't tell them what to do. We don't micromanage them, but we engage them in a dialog and a roadmap of ways to help empower them to say I can handle this. I can do this myself. So here becomes the problem sometimes is that parents want to I go to the principal offices when kids are mistreated, right? They want and sometimes what ends up happening is they have both sets of parents, the bully's parents, and the victim's parents and the principal or assistant principal, all sitting in an office together. And I never encourage that. And every time I tell that to parents, they look at me like, What are you talking about? Now, if it's about someone who's got more sociopathic, scary behaviors, and that's more danger issue, than that would be more police situation. So I want to differentiate those upfront. But why that's a problem is because guess what ends up happening afterwards, that bully continues to victimize the victim, and either just more careful, it doesn't end it and makes it worse for them and almost opens that wound even worse. So I never recommend that, if possible, I really encourage kids to handle their own problems. It's not to say school shouldn't be accountable, they should and have bowling policies in place. I like to see that all the time when there's already an act of bullying, you know, a plan of what they do for when kids are being bullied. And then I know I kind of swayed away, but I want to go back to the third E, which is engagement. And that's the final step, which is the follow up with the plan. And what that looks like. And hey, did it work when we tried this? roleplay? Did you try that? Did it work? Well, kind of okay, do you want to try something again? And so it's, we know we're gonna have to practice it because the reality is bowling doesn't stop. It may stop briefly, but it can always start again. So those three years is my long winded I guess, answer to you about how I would handle talking to your children about bullying.

Chrissy:

Yeah, and I love the empowerment piece too. Because to your point as parents, all we want to do is we want to protect our kids, right? So it's so easy and natural for us to just jump in and say, I'm going to take care of this for you, I'm gonna handle it. But you're right, it could, it could make the situation worse. But I want to talk a little bit about how to even you know, begin opening that line of communication with our kids, because I can see, you know, a child not even wanting to talk to their parents about it, because they're worried that it'll escalate and make matters worse for them. So how do you create? Or how do you suggest creating that open line of communication so that the parents are aware? You know that this is even happening? Because sometimes parents might not even see signs, right? It could be happening at school, in places that were even like you said, cyber bullying, if you're not monitoring their phone, you may not see it?

Danielle Matthew:

That's a great question. So what I always recommend is something called a family meeting. So once a week, the family joins together, and they put their cell phones away. And they have they talk and say, Hey, what happened this week. And I always like to use the talking stick when I mirror this for my families. The person who has whatever object you decide is the talking stick in your hand gets to talk. And they get to say how their week was there can be a topic of, hey, what was the big events of this week, what was what was good this week, what wasn't so good. And you can go around as a family and consistently have these hourly meetings once a week and check in with your kids and just see how they're doing. Because when kids start activities and get older, they're going to be gone a lot. And mom and dad may work and have their schedules, and everyone needs a time that they can really come together and just be.

Chrissy:

Yeah. So if you have a child who, for instance, if you have a situation where you know, someone from the school contacted you to let you know that this was going on, but your child doesn't know that you know this yet, do you recommend giving them an opportunity to bring this up with you during that family meeting? Or kind of just, you know, jumping right into it and letting them know like, look, I got this call today? Do you want to tell me what's going on?

Danielle Matthew:

So the way I always do it, especially with the middle and the high school kids, the way I always work is I'm very direct and transparent. And usually kids really respect that a lot more than dancing around things or trying to sugarcoat it, they see right through it. That's what I love about the middle school and high schoolers, they can really see through it. So yes, I would bring it up in the meeting. And I would say, hey, or I don't know if it would be the meeting because maybe that's something that they don't want a sibling to know, necessarily. So you have to really see how close they are with their siblings. And what that dynamic is, I'd be very careful about that. But I would just come out and say, Hey, I got a call from the principal today. I heard this was going on. First of all, are you okay? And that's a good way to start it because it's asking a question. Can we talk about it? Can I help you in any way? Is there anything I can do to provide support? I'm here for you. And they'll probably say no, I want to handle it myself because they don't like parents to get involved because they do want to handle things themselves especially as they get older. And so it's really important to more of it's creating a space is to answer your question if they're the one being bullied, about being able to come back how We'll have a talk about it, maybe even doing some role plays and strongly suggesting just trying it, even if it's not something they end up wanting to do, and just really creating that space for them to come back to you. That's how I feel like with middle and high schoolers, they really respect parents more when they don't do this. Don't do that. I mean, yes, parents have to do a certain amount of that because they're the parent. But there's also a way, I think you have to approach teenagers a little differently, and even middle schoolers. And with the younger kids, I would just say, hey, this happened, can we practice some things because they're going to be more open and needing more guidance, because they're a little younger, and aren't going to be as sure of how to handle things. But for the older kids create the space. And I said this to a parent, even yesterday, you know, create a space and say that I'm creating a space for you to come and talk to me, and I'm here for you. And you can keep reminding them of that. So you can see the consistency without overpowering them. You know, it's not like an everyday reminder. But just usually teenagers will come back around and a great time to really talk about issues, I think is the car rides.

Chrissy:

Yeah, that's a really great point. Yeah. So and I know you mentioned that you typically don't recommend that, you know, both sets of parents of the bully in the in the victim meet, would you say it always, for the most part makes matters worse, if the adults intervene? I mean, obviously, if it's a safety issue, that's another discussion, but again, like, I don't know it, so my kids are nine and five. So yes, I love the empowerment piece. Because you're right, you're teaching them to be able to I mean, boiled down at standing up for themselves and to to handle conflict resolution, right? That's kind of a life lesson there. But does it? Is there ever a situation where the parent should intervene? Or do you typically recommend not doing that.

Danielle Matthew:

So I'll give you an example of something that happened to that five or six years ago, I had a parent who had a kid on a baseball team, okay. And every time the kid would come off the baseball team, he'd be crying. And the parent was like, this is enough, I'm gonna go talk to the coach, my kids upset, he's coming off the field really upset. And then he said, so I'm going to talk to him and get it to stop. And then I say, so then what? He's like, Well, what do you mean, then what? And I said, Well, what's going to happen, then once you talk to the coach, they're going to stop being mean to my son, and they're gonna stop calling them names. I said, they're not going to, they're going to continue it. So I think I would do it more. If the parent needs to get involved, and they feel the kid can't themselves really stand up for themselves, and they're worried about it. I wouldn't do it around other kids. I would take a coach as an example that I gave aside when the kids are gone, and just say, Hey, this is what's going on. What do you want to say to the coach? Is there anything he can do to help you? What how can we support you, but I'd give it more of a decision for them to make versus embarrassing them in front of everybody. And then the kids finding out, you know, that you told on them? It just set your kid up to be more victimized? I feel I see it every time every time.

Chrissy:

Yeah, yeah, I totally feel that. And I guess in this case, it could be you know, a principal or a teacher instead of the baseball coach. I always struggle. So you know, kids, especially younger kids, from what I've experienced, sometimes, I'm not fully aware if they're telling not the truth, but if they're stretching the truth, or if they have just an idea that maybe they misconceived it, right? So how, as a parent, like, I want to be their advocate, but at the same time, I don't know if they're telling me the truth. And I don't want to let the school know something's happening if it's not truly happening. So what do you usually recommend with that? I mean, as a parent, like, you want to be your child's greatest advocate, but you also don't want to, you know, start starting issue if there really isn't one happening.

Danielle Matthew:

That's a good, that's a very good question. And I think that resolution is really important. So I think you have to have a talk, really an honest transparent one with your kid and say, Hey, do you want me to go back to the school? Are you saying this is a real issue? Is this detailed enough? Because this is what I'm going to go say to the principal right now, or the assistant principal or the dean, does this fit? I want to make sure that I'm getting what you're saying correctly, so I can be your advocate. But if I'm missing something, or you said something that's maybe not quite accurate, just let's talk about it and it's not a big deal. I just I want to make sure I get the story straight.

Chrissy:

Yeah. I love that. That's that's really good advice. And what do you typically say if you know we do bring it bring the issue to the school's attention and they aren't responding? I know my our elementary school has a phenomenal bullying kind of standard in place if that does happen, but what do you do if the school does Don't step in or do anything at all.

Danielle Matthew:

So here's here are my steps. This is what I always recommend to parents, I recommend that they try the principle first. And then they asked to see Do you have a policy on bowling, and then they want to look at that policy and make sure those steps are being followed. But they must ask to see that policy. Most schools now have them. But a while ago, when I was doing this work, not all schools did they have a sexual harassment policy, but it wasn't specific to bullying. Now I am seeing more of those. So I would ask to see that and make sure that the principal is doing what they're supposed to be doing. And the thing that I like to do a lot when you talk to a dean and principal or an assistant principal, is I like to ask them to follow up with me. And let's put a date on the calendar now that you or someone's going to follow up about how things are going. Because sometimes schools will get so busy that they'll forget to follow up. And that's what frustrates the parent is they're not getting that contact, they're not getting that follow up. So as the parent, I would say, Great, let's put something on the books right now, let's talk when let's we'll put it on our calendars. And then we can have that follow up. If that doesn't happen, and it's tried a few different times, I'm a big believer, when you start seeing a pattern of behavior, that's when you have to address it. So if it's once I give it another chance. And if you start to see it's a pattern, then the next step, after the principal is a superintendent, you go to the superintendent and let them know what's going on, and how things are and show them the policy or what you did. And make sure you've documented very clearly on a piece of paper and emails that you can show all the steps you took first before you went to that superintendent, so they really understand why you're coming to them. And what you really tried as the parent first, if it continues to be an issue of escalation, and you're not seeing any change, or follow up or the superintendent also needs to follow up with you on a time and a date. And you're still seeing it being a problem, then you have to really hire a lawyer at that point that is a special attorney, lawyer of educational attorney is really what they are. And usually in certain districts, they have relationships already with schools. I've worked with some who say Oh, if they already know them, and and that can help to kind of ease some of the situations and that is a last resort is hiring an attorney because the reality is having someone come in to a school district, let's just say and talk about bowling and talk about, you know how to help kids with social and emotional learning that's part of bowling can really help them more and paying for something like that is a lot cheaper than a lawsuit. Mm hmm.

Chrissy:

Yeah. Yeah, I get that. So and, you know, we're talking about bullying in the elementary or middle school or high school level. Are there cases of bullying younger than that? Or is it because that, you know, I think of bullying and I think school aged kids, but do you ever see kids being bullied younger, at younger ages, school?

Danielle Matthew:

Preschool doesn't start in elementary school starts in preschools, you will hear a lot of stories from kids that it starts there. And it's very basic, of course, because they're just little kids. But there's still mean behaviors that are repeated over and over again and have power over somebody even that young.

Chrissy:

Yeah. So you know, I want to talk a little bit, we're talking about the your, if your child's being bullied, but what I want to talk about how to keep our children from becoming that bully, right? I think some of it is probably learned behavior, whether they're seeing in other kids or you know, whatever the case may be, are there things we can do to prevent our child from becoming a bully themselves?

Danielle Matthew:

Well, I always think having open communication with your child and making sure you keep the lines of communication open, even as they get older, I think you have to model good behavior for children too, because a lot of times parents are bullies, and that's how they're modeled or the sibling is a bully, and that's how they become a bully. So I think you have to look at your own role modeling at home and how you handle situations with people. It's kind of like that idea of a parent saying you can't have a phone at dinner, but the parent gets to have the phone and write because it's that role, model and conflictual piece because it's not really being modeled at home. So modeling good behavior at home of talking things through being honest and transparent and nice to everybody not being mean, if you are frustrated, looking at better ways to handle your frustrations, and modeling that early on and discussions you have with your kids, whether it's in the car or family meeting, I really highly recommend that. And I think that's the best way to guarantee without a guarantee that your child will become a bully. Sometimes what happens and this is where you can intervene is kids become bullies because their peers that they want to look cool to are being the bully. So when these situations happen, I'll give you an example how they cannot be a bully is what I tell people, a lot of people say, oh, you know, you can be a positive bystandard and go help the victim and you can do all of that. I don't think that's realistic. And a lot of people might disagree with me. But you can't ask children to be a positive bystandard. Because pure life is hard. And they have to fit in with their peers. Number one, and if they don't, their self esteem is go down even more. And that's how they get through middle and high school. So what you can do though, is have them be a neutral bystandard, which I call someone who maybe in the moment doesn't engage when the bullying is happening, but can go back to that victim afterwards, uh, Hey, are you okay? I'm really sorry, that happened, you know, use your voice still, in that can be more powerful. And even if they're associated as being part of the bullying, that's a way to separate yourself out.

Chrissy:

Yeah, that's a really great perspective. And an example too, because I know a lot of times, you know, we always want to help people, and if we see someone being picked on, but it's a lot easier to say, you know, definitely help someone than to then to jump in and, you know, make that your first response. So, I want to transition a little bit and talk about the pandemic and how that has impacted bullying. I'm curious if it made bullying worse, or if it made it better, because, you know, kids weren't together in person. So have Did you have a lot of experience with that did were you seeing it being, you know, more cases of bullying or less cases, once the pandemic hit?

Danielle Matthew:

I didn't see as many bullying cases, because the the intensity of the day to day interactions were not happening. However, there were some online stuff still going on. So I'm not going to tell you there wasn't bullying happening. I just don't think it was as extensive as what I have personally seen when you're in school day to day and with those kids there. I think there's still online stuff, though. And yes, I think it happened during the pandemic, I think kids were bullied, but it would all be cyber bullying based.

Chrissy:

Got it. Okay. And, you know, we talked a little bit about identifying if our kids are being bullied or whether our kids are being bullied, but I want to transition into talking more about the impact of it. How does bullying impact our children's mental health?

Danielle Matthew:

Well, it's incredibly significant, their self esteem could go down. For years, I have had clients that come to me as adults, I have had clients and adolescents that I've seen, and they want to kill themselves. And I will give you one example, I had a client who was really being bullied at her school, and she was about ready to go home and try to kill herself. And what stopped her was this one girl coming down the hall and saying, are you okay? Because she could see that her face was very sad. And that stopped her. So the peer impact of positivity and kindness is gotta be given to more of our kids, because that is where we work as a community better. So it can impact in the moment, they can feel bad about themselves, they can already have a self esteem that's not strong. So it can lead to suicidal ideation. And sometimes, as we see a lot in the press, we've seen, there's a lot of kids who do commit suicide because they were bullied. And it can affect them as an adult, where they don't feel good about themselves, they don't feel they can have positive relationships with other partners, they don't feel they can get good jobs, because they still feel like that kid who was bullied, and if they don't work through their issues, and work it through, it can really help them in their earlier years.

Chrissy:

Yeah, and that kind of goes to that story you were just telling about, you know, telling our children that, while they may not intervene in with, like, while the bowling is actually happening, connecting with that person, and that victim afterwards is really providing comfort and a level of level of comfort to them. And you don't know how it will how much it'll help them. And in that case, it was significant. So that was a beautiful story. Do you know the percentage of students or children who are bullied? So I'm just curious, because, you know, we're talking a little bit about taking that into your adult life. And like, I know, I was picked on as a kids and there are things that I'm insecure about because of what I was picked on. Is it almost 100% of people that are either teased or picked on? I don't know that it's necessarily necessarily bullying, but kind of that teasing perspective that you take into your adult life.

Danielle Matthew:

I think the percentages are often skewed. So I'd say it would be a stronger percentage that kids have experienced bullying in their lives than not. But here's the problem. The reporting of the bullying is not accurate. So we don't necessarily know and so sometimes in my presentations, I'll give numbers, but I also caution with those numbers because I I always say they're a lot higher, because the reporting doesn't happen.

Chrissy:

Got it, okay. And at what point do you typically suggest that you know, the parents reach out to a therapist or, or get counseling for our children if they are being bullied, because you know, it could be a one off thing, or it could be a consistent thing. And like you said, but that story you were telling with that girl, like, obviously, as a parent, you never wanted to get to that point. So when do we know that it's time to intervene with some professional help.

Danielle Matthew:

So the signs that I look for are I always see the grades drop, that's always my first sign. And I see that time and time again, that it's a bully kid, when their grades significantly drop, if you see an increase in depression, they're going into the room or they're disengaging from you as the parent, they're not You're not seeing their friends come over, I would say that's a clue. If they come home with marks on their face, you know, and they say, Oh, I hit myself with my backpack, you know, I would really look into that more. And I think just really, it's, I'd say, it's the grades, its depression level, its isolation factors, them not wanting to do activities anymore that they like us to do. And they don't want to do them anymore. They just want to sit in their room and isolate by themselves. I'd say those are all signs and symptoms to at least be assessed.

Chrissy:

Got it? Okay. So I know we talked a little bit about the empowerment piece. And, you know, teaching our kids going through that role playing of you know, how to how to intervene themselves. If if it's a friend, a good friend, or if you know, you're friendly with the parent, and the child has intervened, and nothing has changed, still occurring? Is it a bad idea for the parent to talk to the other parent if they're friendly? Like a one on one or you know, without getting the children involved?

Danielle Matthew:

So that gets to be a little dicey, doesn't it? Because it depends on the age of the kids. And it depends on the friendship of the parents, I have seen over time in my practice, parents are friends and their kids are friends. And then there's a falling out. And then the parent no longer wants to be as close with the other parent. And so it's a dicey topic. I don't know. I think it depends how close a friend's the parents are. And if they really want to maintain the friendship, say, Hey, this is what's going on. I don't know what's happening on your end, can we talk about it and come up with some agreement to meet in the middle somewhere? And if that can't happen, then I think those are touchy subjects. And sometimes what I see more than than I don't is the parents stopping friends.

Chrissy:

Yeah, yeah, can definitely get very tricky in that situation, too. And obviously, you want to try to save any friendship, but you know, you cannot, there's only so much you can do, I guess. I want to talk a little bit about social emotional learning. Can you explain what that is, and then also why it's important to teach that to our children.

Danielle Matthew:

Thank you. Yes, social and emotional learning skills we call them are like life skills. They're like decision making skills, their relationship skills, their self awareness, social awareness, the there's five competencies of, of social and emotional learning. And it's really important to teach these kids starting in elementary school, to learn how to be connected, and to become good leaders and how they become successful and, you know, advocating for themselves. All of these are within these five competencies. So what my business partner, Dr. Eve, Goldstein, and I have done is we've created a seminar series, all around social and emotional learning. And we've called the whole seminar series, the CPE collective, which is child parent, educator collective. And we really give a series of seminars we are we do keynote, speaking to school districts, we also do talks to school districts on individual grade levels of what social emotional learning looks like. But Eve has really taught me very well a lot of acronyms, and teachers love acronyms of like, what things look like, like we have smart goals that are specific, you know, they're measurable. There's, you know, there's all sorts of things with smart goals. But you know, just the whole idea, I'm just using that as a quick example. And so we really give strategies of how you can use things like the ABCs of friendship. Are you an A friend, are you a B friend? Are you a C friend, the three E's How do you use empathy, empowerment and engagement with kids? How do you use it with teachers how to use it with parents, and we really create a great framework and our different presentations that we offer through the CPE collective to really get the whole community because if we don't have a whole community of change, then and if people aren't on the same page, and the teachers are speaking one language, the kids are speaking another and the parents, how are we going to make a less divisive community happen? Mm hmm.

Chrissy:

So are you connecting mostly primarily with with teachers to engage their children during the school year, or are you providing As resources to parents are a bit of both?

Danielle Matthew:

So usually we're hired by the school district, and we come in and we hit everything. So like this one we're gonna do coming up, we are doing a keynote to really inspire teachers, and all the educators in the district. And then we are also going to do a parent talk that night to also give the same information to parents. And then we go to the teachers for each grade level. And we give those specific acronym level, common language ideas of what they can do in their grade levels, to really promote the social and emotional learning what it might look like, because we don't want to give them new curriculum that they have to learn, they'll say, forget it, rightfully so. So we want them to implement in what they already have to begin to teach some of those life skills. And that really is what they need to survive in the world, I think.

Chrissy:

Yeah, for sure. I love that. And, you know, obviously, there's always a core group of things that you learn in school, you know, math, science, all of that. But it is super important. I mean, you take life skills throughout, you know, everywhere with you, even even when you're in school. So, and I don't think that it's put those resources are provided enough to students. So that's super helpful. And also, the fact that you're not only teaching, you know, the curriculum to to teachers, but also the same to parents, right, the consistency there is key. So I think that's really important. Can you tell us a little bit more about the empowerment space bullying therapy program.

Danielle Matthew:

So I don't at this point have the program is really more about one on one work that I do with the kids where they can come in, and we talk about bullying and ways to help them with it. I also do provide consultation. So if someone wants to call me and have a consult about bullying, I like to provide that also. So I really want to do that. And I promote my book and the ideas in my book of empathy, empowerment and engagement. And that's how I focus my attention to really help with the bowling part of the world.

Chrissy:

Do you find that this might be a really silly question, but do you find that there's a certain time of the year where bullying peaks more than other times, like around the holidays? Or in the winter months? Is it or is that not a thing?

Danielle Matthew:

I think during the school year, primarily, it can always happen. Summer time depends, you know, depends what activities are going on, if people are still being excluded from chats, you know, online, did they or not, you know, and what happens a lot is people look at their Instagram or their Snapchats. And see they're not included in. And that's part of the relational bullying that goes on. So I don't know that I could say to you quantify there's a certain time of year, you don't have to worry about bowling, because I think it's always changing. And always seeing it various times of the year.

Chrissy:

Yeah, I want to ask a little bit about the social media, cyber bullying piece. So like I mentioned, my oldest is nine, so I you know, he doesn't have a phone or an iPad or anything like that. So I'm not quite into that, but I am fully dreading it. Because I you know, it's again, like, I never had to experience that as a as a child. And I also know that, you know, there's a fine line between allowing our kids to be able to use certain technologies. And also, if you ban it, they're gonna find a way to use it secretively. Right? So do you have really good resources for parents like in terms of monitoring, you know, what they're doing without being invasive? I don't know. I mean, I need to definitely dig in. Because I don't know anything like that. But anything like any good apps, or just any good advice that you can give for parents who can help, you know, monitor that and, and see, you know, chats that their kids are on or that they might be laughed off of.

Danielle Matthew:

So I think the way I would start this is like how how you need to be responsible to have social media, what does that look like? Let's have a discussion together and come up with a number of things that are going to be important for you. You're on stage at all times you have to look at we're not allowed to post negative comments. It can only be positive comments, you know, you can only be on social media so many hours of the day, and coming up with that contract with the discussion with your child. And then I would always suggest parental controls and there's different apps you can Google that will have parental controls. And yes, you should be checking and that's part of the contract you just talk to your child about right away is we will be checking. I don't want this to be a surprise later. So there will be periodic checks. And I say those checks should probably happen at least once or twice a month at the minimum and if they want to more they can but want to be careful not to be too invasive, but make sure you still have an eye on what's going on. And I would really let them know that you will be checking with these parental controls which allow you in this See their social media sites and what they're doing? And you can approve the ones you want. Do you want them on Snapchat? Do you want them on Instagram? Do you want them on Tik Tok? You know, those are the big ones right now that the kids are really using. So are those that you're comfortable with? And if so, how do you want them to use it? That's really the important piece because kids don't realize that the negative pieces of how they use social media can impact them. So people can have it because it goes into the abyss, and you can't get it back. So you really have to have that in depth conversation with your child regarding the rules around social media and how to use it respectfully.

Chrissy:

Yeah, I mean, I feel like a lot of adults don't even know, they can't wrap their minds around that. So it's definitely it's a whole other animal. It's it's a different game. But, you know, I I'm big on like that open communication between parent and child, right, as long as you're being open and communicating clearly, hopefully, that, you know, helps things. But, you know, we talked about the CPE collective. Do you have any other resources that you can share with us? You know, obviously, this podcast episode has been super helpful. I know for me, and hopefully it's helpful to those listening. But are there any other resources that people can check out?

Danielle Matthew:

Yeah, I have on my empowerment space. website, I have other resources on there. I have a colleague friend of mine who just wrote a book for elementary school, called the bully blockbuster, something like that, it's, I think, should be on my social media page. And so that's one there's a lot of resources to give you them out. Outside of being able to look at my resource page. I obviously have my book and I there's other books out there. And there's different levels of you know, learning. I have a very dear friend who has a whole series post the pandemic with anxiety and depression for elementary school kids called Frankie, and the worry B's. I think for older children, I think there's some other books about like reviving Ophelia, which is very old, but talks about some of the angst and peer pressures of teenage hood. So I think that there's lots of different resources for the age groups, you know, to read about bullying. And there's also now podcasts on bullying. And there you can, there's so many wide ranges of ways to get more information. That could be helpful.

Chrissy:

Yeah. Well, thank you so much for joining us today, Danielle. I know personally, this conversation was super helpful. And it's such an important topic to cover as well. I think a lot of parents out there are going to really take away some key elements and and, you know, pointers from the conversation. So thank you so much. Thank you for having me. And thanks for everyone. For listening. Make sure you hit the subscribe button so you don't miss the latest podcast episodes. Today's episode is brought to you in part by Daily Crunch sprouted nut medley. Satisfying your crunch cravings shouldn't mean giving up your healthy lifestyle or your time. Daily Crunch is on a mission to make snacks that taste as good as they make you feel. Daily Crunch cherry berry sprout a nut medley contains a uniquely crunchy mix of sprouted almonds, walnuts and cashews, paired with antioxidant rich dried cherries and blueberries. So go ahead and ditch your old trail mix for a sprouted nuts snack that's clean, packed with protein and highly satisfying. Thanks for conquering healthy living at all ages and stages of life with us.