Putting an end to name-calling by embracing kindness

Partners Post, January 2015

In the young adult novel The Misfits, four friends struggle to survive 7th grade in an environment of vicious taunts and name-calling. Day after day, they are the targets of mocking comments about their weight, height, intelligence, and sexual orientation. With student council elections approaching, the four friends decide to form a new political party, the "No Name-Calling" Party, and wage a challenge against some of their more popular peers.

Children's HandsThe 2003 book by James Howe has inspired an event each January in schools across the country, known as "No Name-Calling Week."

Educators say teaching kindness is essential to reducing bullying — and with good reason. 

"Scientific studies prove that kindness has many physical, emotional, and mental health benefits," writes Lisa Currie at the blog Edutopia.

Kindness is something that children cannot learn in books alone, adds Patty O'Grady, Ph.D., an expert in neuroscience, emotional learning, and positive psychology. 

"Children and adolescents do not learn kindness by only thinking about it and talking about it," she writes at Psychology Today. "Kindness [is] best learned by feeling it so that they can reproduce it."

So take a moment to show kindness to others and to encourage the children in your life to show kindness to their peers. And if your kids are age 10-14, they may enjoy reading The Misfits — a book that encourages preteens and teens to embrace kindness while celebrating their own individuality. You can also find more resources to address bullying here.    



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