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Babies and Bullies

 
 
sozobe
 
Reply Wed 10 Nov, 2010 12:14 pm
http://www.ndparents.org/images/Cute-Baby.jpg

Just read this, really interesting. Longish excerpt:

Quote:
We know that humans are hardwired to be aggressive and selfish. But a growing body of research is demonstrating that there is also a biological basis for human compassion. Brain scans reveal that when we contemplate violence done to others we activate the same regions in our brains that fire up when mothers gaze at their children, suggesting that caring for strangers may be instinctual. When we help others, areas of the brain associated with pleasure also light up. Research by Felix Warneken and Michael Tomasello indicates that toddlers as young as 18 months behave altruistically....

More important, we are beginning to understand how to nurture this biological potential. It seems that it’s not only possible to make people kinder, it’s possible to do it systematically at scale – at least with school children. That’s what one organization based in Toronto called Roots of Empathy has done.

[....]

Here’s how it works: Roots arranges monthly class visits by a mother and her baby (who must be between two and four months old at the beginning of the school year). Each month, for nine months, a trained instructor guides a classroom using a standard curriculum that involves three 40-minute visits – a pre-visit, a baby visit, and a post-visit. The program runs from kindergarten to seventh grade. During the baby visits, the children sit around the baby and mother (sometimes it’s a father) on a green blanket (which represents new life and nature) and they try to understand the baby’s feelings. The instructor helps by labeling them. “It’s a launch pad for them to understand their own feelings and the feelings of others,” explains Gordon. “It carries over to the rest of class.”

I have visited several public schools in low-income neighborhoods in Toronto to observe Roots of Empathy’s work. What I find most fascinating is how the baby actually changes the children’s behavior. Teachers have confirmed my impressions: tough kids smile, disruptive kids focus, shy kids open up. In a seventh grade class, I found 12-year-olds unabashedly singing nursery rhymes.

The baby seems to act like a heart-softening magnet. No one fully understands why.


Whole thing:

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/08/fighting-bullying-with-babies

Before I saw this article, I had already been thinking in a vague way about bullying and why it seems to be a newly severe problem. I was thinking of starting a discussion here about it.

Is it the same as it's always been but it's just getting more attention lately?

If there is actually more of it, does it have to do with less unstructured free play time, for kids to figure out social stuff without adult interference?

This now makes me wonder if segregation by age has something to do with it (if there actually is more now than in the past, and I guess that depends on "past," too -- 25 years ago? 50? 500?).

In the pretty recent past, it was pretty common for kids of widely varying ages to spend more time together, if not in large families than in heterogenous neighborhood play groups. A bit further back than that you have one-room schoolhouses. And back further than that and you have extended family groups (not just the nuclear family but cousins etc.) with older kids taking care of younger ones.

Perhaps "it takes a village" goes the other way too -- the village benefits from helping to raise that baby.
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Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Wed 10 Nov, 2010 02:05 pm
@sozobe,
I think the big difference is technology. It used to be if you were being bullied, you could get away from it. You had to watch out during recess, before school and after school. If you watched yourself you could avoid the bully.

Now when you go home, you don't get a break from the bully - facebook, internet and cell phones have done away from the safe haven of home.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Nov, 2010 02:19 pm
Oh interesting.

I want to read the whole article so I'll leave this as my bookmark....

Today I took an online test where you try to determine if someone's smile is genuine or fake. Your post reminded me of the test: http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/mind/surveys/smiles/

I thought I'd do very good on it since I spent my professional past looking at just such things -- waiting for the real smiles but I only got 14 out of 20 right.
manored
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Nov, 2010 03:29 pm
I think its the same it has always been, actually, probaly less. Its just getting more attention now. As the technology and general knowledge of humanity advances, mere survival becomes easier and so we have more free time. More free time with which we notice problems we couldnt notice before because we were too busy surviving =)

Quite interesting, that experiment with children and babies. I didnt think the result of interacting with babies could be that deep.

Linkat wrote:

Now when you go home, you don't get a break from the bully - facebook, internet and cell phones have done away from the safe haven of home.
Eh, if you care that much for what you get through these means, then you would have a problem either way, I would say.

boomerang wrote:

Today I took an online test where you try to determine if someone's smile is genuine or fake. Your post reminded me of the test: http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/mind/surveys/smiles/

I thought I'd do very good on it since I spent my professional past looking at just such things -- waiting for the real smiles but I only got 14 out of 20 right.
I hate fake enthusiasm. I wish employers didnt demand ever-lasting enthusiasm from the contact-with-people personel.
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Nov, 2010 05:28 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:

Oh interesting.

I want to read the whole article so I'll leave this as my bookmark....

Today I took an online test where you try to determine if someone's smile is genuine or fake. Your post reminded me of the test: http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/mind/surveys/smiles/

I thought I'd do very good on it since I spent my professional past looking at just such things -- waiting for the real smiles but I only got 14 out of 20 right.


heh, I got 18 out of 20 correct.

How did they test these people to give "real" smiles?
roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Nov, 2010 05:36 pm
@chai2,
Heh! Darn good question, and I bet they told them to smile "naturally and sincerely".
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Nov, 2010 08:12 pm
@Linkat,
Linkat, good point about technology. I was going to argue that people have had phones in their houses for a long time, but I do think that's a little different from cell phones for a few reasons. For example, when there was just one family phone you had to go through the parents a lot to get to the potential target of bullying.

Also you can just not go on Facebook or the internet, but if the intent is to find solace and then the bully interrupts that...

Manored, my thinking was similar to yours. I just can't tell, yet. I've been reading so much about bullying and how it's showing up earlier, etc.... I don't think I had a particularly horrific childhood (it was pretty good in fact, I think) but the level of bullying doesn't seem that different to me. I think it's less hidden, which is good.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Nov, 2010 12:16 pm
@sozobe,
I was also thinking in regard to the cell phones - texting/pictures as well. How many times have you heard of teen being convinced to send a naked or half naked picture of herself to some one she trusted and then it gets forwarded in seconds to the entire high school...you couldn't do that 15 years ago.

Another thing I heard recently regarding the internet/cell phone use and teens and pre-teens is at this age group, they do not have the inpulse control. Meaning they do not usually think things out first - is this a good idea to send/what will happen if I send this/etc. They just react before thinking. And with the internet - once it is out there pretty hard to retrieve it back, rip it up and throw it away.
0 Replies
 
manored
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Nov, 2010 03:24 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:

Also you can just not go on Facebook or the internet, but if the intent is to find solace and then the bully interrupts that...
Like the saying goes: "Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words cannot hurt you."

The same goes for bullying over the internet. And, well, actually any forms of bullying other than physical injury and pranks.

Off course, most children, and in fact even most adults never manage to realize how harmless words really are. But I think its something that can be taught.

Then again, I never could (and still cant) understand the social world of children and teenagers.

Linkat wrote:

I was also thinking in regard to the cell phones - texting/pictures as well. How many times have you heard of teen being convinced to send a naked or half naked picture of herself to some one she trusted and then it gets forwarded in seconds to the entire high school...you couldn't do that 15 years ago.
A lot. I can never bring myself to feel sorry for the girl =)

Linkat wrote:

Another thing I heard recently regarding the internet/cell phone use and teens and pre-teens is at this age group, they do not have the inpulse control. Meaning they do not usually think things out first - is this a good idea to send/what will happen if I send this/etc. They just react before thinking. And with the internet - once it is out there pretty hard to retrieve it back, rip it up and throw it away.
Well, they should have. I suppose the backslash they suffer out of these mistakes teaches then that.
0 Replies
 
Merceditas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Sep, 2011 06:48 pm
@sozobe,
I would like to use this photograph on the cover of a book that promotes Natural Family Planning. Please let me know if I can have permission to use it. Our book is in 23 languages.
Please check our web page: Edit (Moderator): Link removed. We are a pro family non profit foundation.
Thank you. My email is: [email protected]
Medrcedes ArzuWilson
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Sep, 2011 06:55 pm
@Merceditas,
Hi Mercedes,

It's not my photo, just one I found online when I searched for "cute baby." This is the url:

http://www.ndparents.org/images/Cute-Baby.jpg

It appears to be from this website:

http://www.ndparents.org/

Hope that helps.
0 Replies
 
 

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