Author & Advocate Visits Tuscan: Trudy Ludwig
By Roberta Baltin
On Monday, September 23, we were very fortunate to have child advocate and best-selling children’s author, Trudy Ludwig share her books, research, and words of wisdom with the Tuscan community. Since 2002, Ms. Ludwig has been writing books that provide children with insights and strategies to deal with bullying behavior. And not just the classic case of bullying that involves physical aggression, but verbal aggression, and relational aggression (using relationships to manipulate or harm others). According to Ms. Ludwig, research indicates that relational aggression is much more of a concern to children and teenagers than the physical kind. Ms. Ludwig’s mission is to give children mental tools to deal with bullying behavior in safe and effective ways. Her book, Confessions of a Former Bully, for example, presents the “toolkit”- eight strategies that can be employed to deal with bullying behavior. These strategies include:
· Saying “Stop!” (Only if you feel safe doing so.)
· Using humor or acting silly in a harmless way
· Walking away or getting away if you can
· Saying “Who cares? or “Whatever” using a neutral tone
· Changing the subject
· Agreeing (Only if you feel safe and comfortable doing so.)
· Confusing the aggressor with continuous “Why… “Why…?” “Why…?” questions
· Turning an insult into a compliment, only if you feel safe and comfortable doing so.
Her message? Find a strategy that allows you to be in your own corner. One strategy might work better for you than another. If it doesn’t work, don’t stick with it, but above all, don’t allow your “buttons to be pushed.” These tools are not meant to end bullying, but rather provide options to targeted individuals, so that they are empowered to help themselves during a possible confrontation.
During her evening meeting with parents, Ms. Ludwig shared some of the current research and statistics on bullying behavior. Researchers have found that bullying can often be stopped in a matter of seconds through appropriate action. While it is often difficult and inadvisable to confront an aggressor during an event, a bystander can find ways of mitigating the situation by providing comfort to the “victim” (or target) soon after the event has taken place. How? Bystanders can comfort targeted individuals when it is safe to assure them that the bully’s behavior was unwarranted and uncalled for. Bystanders can invite the victim to join a group; and report the event to someone who can help protect the injured party from being hurt again.
· When someone says or does something unintentionally hurtful and they do it once, that’s RUDE
· When someone says or does something intentionally hurtful and they do it once, that’s MEAN
The message was clear, when bullying takes place, a web is created and that web extends beyond the bully (aggressor), and the target (victim). It envelopes the bystanders and members of the community. Everyone is affected. Bullying is a choice. It is often a behavior that has been modelled and learned. Anyone can choose to be a bully. A bully can choose to change his or her behavior. It is by reaching out, with an awareness and concern for one another that an environment of respect and safety can be fostered.
If you are interested in receiving handouts from Trudy Ludwig’s presentation, please contact Roberta Baltin, email@example.com. Also visit Trudy’s website at www.trudyludwig.com.