The Bully Proof Classroom


The Anti Bullying Tip of the Day

Written By: James H Burns - Nov• 22•15

Interested in getting an anti bullying tip delivered to your inbox everyday. Go to The Bully Proof Classroom’s website and subscribe.   There are tips there for everyone, teachers, parents, coaches, and college students. Take the time to subscribe now.

Bitterness – Greed – Guilt – And Bullying

Written By: James H Burns - Sep• 23•15

The word is out. Bullying will not be tolerated. Schools, communities, and society have now drawn the line. Students will be disciplined in school for it, employees and employers will be held accountable for acts of harassment and intimidation, and everyone must be on guard in terms of what they say and how they act. The internet is filled with anti bullying programs, campaigns, lesson plans, strategies, and self help sites. States across the country have now passed anti bullying legislation, and New Jersey is leading the way with its Anti Bullying Bill of Rights. That’s it. NO MORE BULLYING! Well, I hate to disappoint everyone but bullying is not the problem; the root problem at least. Bullying is the result of the problem. It is the symptom of deep seeded anger (bitterness), the desire to do what we want and get what we want when we want it (greed) and the consequences of our past behaviors that were left uncorrected (guilt).

We are quite a society. Better yet, quite a country. Anytime we see a problem we create a law or we throw money at it with the hopes that it will go away. That’s right. A kid kills himself because of being bullied into emotional submission so let’s create a law that says, NO MORE BULLYING. Makes sense, I guess. But what about the kids or adults who bully? What is their real problem? What makes them want to act out the way they do? Remember, bullying is the symptom. Why treat the symptom? It only provides temporary relief, not permanent help. Did you ever have chest pains? Take a Tylenol, the pain might go away but you are still going to have a heart attack. Let’s take a look at the REAL problem.
Parents today don’t really take the time to get to know their own children. Most times when they talk to their kid they are usually disciplining them and they really don’t know how to discipline. Parents are usually reactive. Their kid does something wrong and they flip. No balance of rules and regulations with love and understanding. You see kids are born with the innate ability to do the wrong thing. If you think this is off base just remember the first words you wanted your two year old to understand. NO, NO, NO. The social and emotional window for the brain closes around the age of five years old. In other words, a child’s perception of the world around him is formed by five. Their conclusions have been drawn, but they still have a fear of disagreeing with their parents for now. They have a good memory and if their parents were unfair, reactive, lacked empathy, and disciplined out of sheer anger the kid will remember. As a child’s bravado increases he begins to take risks and starts to disagree with mom and dad. Around the age of ten the child goes through something called mental puberty. That’s when about 3% of the kid’s brain starts to think like an adult. Then the arguments start. They don’t have to, but they do. Why, because of the parents inability to teach their child one very important skill that will in the final analysis produce life- long success. The child needs to be taught how to disagree with the right attitude. It sounds simple, right. Wrong, it’s hard. Why, because the parent doesn’t know how to get out of their own way. So, what do they do, they argue with their kid. No discipline, no love, they just argue. The parent themselves may have grown physically, but not emotionally. This arguing produces a sense of fear and intimidation in the home with the child’s perception being that’s how I get what I want. Argue. The child becomes more and more angry because guess what? He is not going to win; at least not for now, probably never. But, he will seek revenge for sure. The child will begin to become disrespectful, uncooperative and irresponsible. By the way, the manifestation of disrespect in a child is laziness. It’s not that he doesn’t want to take out the garbage; he just doesn’t want to take it out for you. A sense of despair begins to develop in the child as he/she moves into their teen years and another conclusion is drawn. This is a tough one. The now teen begins to believe; “I can’t please my parents anyway, no matter what I do, so what is the use in trying.” Ah, the bitterness is starting to creep in. The difference between anger and bitterness is anger is episodic and usually goes away within a short period of time. Bitterness is like a seed that grows in a child and becomes a tree by the time they become an adult. They are never happy, judgmental, and uncooperative, love to spread gossip, can’t take orders, disrespectful, and irresponsible. These qualities are pretty well disguised for a while. But once the person enters into a relationship the qualities begin to drip out. By the way, some of the people that a person meets may appear to have qualities that are just over the top in terms of how nice they are. They are patient, kind, understanding, polite, etc., but give it time. Remember too good is no good.

Now, how does all of this relate to bullying? These now bitter young adults get married, with no knowledge of how to raise or discipline children. They may have been victimized in their own home, by parents or even their siblings. They may have left home in rebellion because of the desire to get away from their parents. They may not even speak to their parents. They feel victimized by life and are self centered with no knowledge of how to be a good spouse or a parent. They are bitter victims. That bitterness is now taken out on their spouse and children. The message that their children learn is, I get what I want through fear and intimidation and that becomes their standard of comparison. They enter school with that attitude and ultimately become the next generation of bullies. No one wants to admit that bullying is an inter-generational problem but if we are going to begin to put an end to this epidemic it may require the healing of two or maybe three generations.

When I worked as a high school administrator, I spoke with hundreds of parents, and was stunned to find out that these parents did not speak at all to their own parents because of a riff that they had when they were teenagers. I realize that some parents have done things that are absolutely unforgiveable which requires therapy, and if therapy is needed, get it for the sake of you marriage and your children. But, if your relationship with your parents is affecting your life right now, and it requires a conversation that could result in forgiveness, do it. Bitterness is the root problem for many behaviors that people exhibit right now. Parents who have difficulty disciplining their own children need to take a look at themselves and what their relationship is or was like with their own parents. It is a known fact that people who have problems in this area lose their perception in life and can’t even recognize right and wrong behavior. Remember when someone loses control the end result is a negative reaction. Understanding bitterness, the first root problem, is the first step a person must take to help begin to solve the problems that bullying is causing in our schools and in our society.

I want what I want when I want it; a two year old mentality. The problem is society today we have adults with this same mentality. Have you taken a close look at our economy? How do you think we have gotten into this financial fix? People wanting what they want when they want it, like a house, they can’t afford. How about the epidemic of obesity, or drug and alcohol addiction? It gets to a point that it is all about want and has nothing to do with need. How about power? We all want it right? Do we need it? How about control, same thing. A two year old child learns the ropes quickly when it comes down to getting his parents to do what he/she wants when they want it. Throw a tantrum and young parents find themselves at a loss when it comes down to how to stop it. They don’t know how to discipline we’ve already said that. So, give him/her what they want and the tantrum subsides, until the next time. What parents don’t know is the next time will be in a grocery store or some other public place. The greed for power and control is a direct result of a lack of self control.

Bullies love power and control. They crave it. They love holding someone as an emotional hostage. A child who is given power and control in a home will crave it as he/she grows older and begin to see this type of behavior as “normal.” They will begin to develop an entitlement mentality; a mentality that no parent wants to admit to. I really don’t have a problem with people who crave money, houses, and other expensive items, as long as they can afford it and don’t believe that they deserve it and are entitled to it. A good work ethic always assures someone of getting these desired material things. When one uses power and control to get what they want that’s where the line has to be drawn.

Bullies use their greed for power and control to manipulate others, intimidate, and to instill fear into the heart and mind of their victims. This greed coupled with a lack of empathy produces a self centered and self absorbed person who will do anything to get what they want. Working on the conscience of a bully by speaking with him about his behavior may help. But, as we all know you can’t grow a conscience. Character education is the answer to this problem, but as teachers we get kids when it may be too late, and the greed for power and control has already become part of their way of life. The quality that needs to be taught is gratefulness. Gratefulness vs. Unthankfulness – Letting others know by my words and actions how they have benefited my life. Tough to teach, kids need a model. I guess we all have to wok on this if the next generation of kids is going to have a shot.

Guilt is a necessary emotion that keeps us from doing things that we know are wrong and that could hurt others. Too often though, the guilt engulfs us after we have done something that unwittingly hurt others or had an effect on out family or life in general. Parents are usually plagued by this emotion while watching their children grow into adult hood. They are overwhelmed watching their son/daughter make poor decisions that have a negative impact on their life. This guilt sits in the heart of a parent because for some reason they wish that they just had done some things differently that would have helped their son or daughter avoid the pitfalls that are having unending consequences in their life. What could they have done differently? The answer might surprise you.
At a very young age children don’t know right from wrong. They have to be taught and they have to be corrected. They also have learned how to get away with things like lying, sneaking, and at times even stealing. Children who are left uncorrected begin to believe that their parents by default agree with their behavior. This is not always intentional. For example kids sneak all the time. I might not see my daughter coloring behind the clothes in the closet on the wall with crayons, but she knows she did it and she knows that it is wrong; just the fact that she knows that it’s wrong produces guilt. That guilt produces in a child and I can’t put it any other way a rotten attitude. Children are waiting to be corrected. They want to be corrected; the reason, because it clears their conscience for every other past offense. Attitude is rarely corrected, behavior is, and correcting the behavior improves a child’s attitude. It helps improve an adult’s attitude as well. Just listen to some criminals who are locked up in prison for their crimes when they are interviewed. They are contrite and apologetic for what they did. Unfortunately it took a prison sentence to do it.
What does all of this have to do with bullying? I think that it is obvious. The lack of correction leading to the guilt and the rotten attitude produces behaviors that violate the rights and privileges of other people. It produces disrespect, a lack of empathy, an entitlement mentality. These three behaviors give you the definition of a bully.
Correction is the key if we are going to begin to take a bite out of this bullying epidemic. Without it guilt will permeate the hearts and minds of our young people. Correction takes on many forms from a good talking to a prison sentence, but it is something that must be done. It should be balanced, by enforcing rules and regulations with compassion and understanding. Discipline comes from the root word disciple which means to teach. It is not enough to just discipline for behaviors that are inappropriate. Parents and teachers must continually proact and teach behaviors like respect, responsibility, compliance, and empathy each and every day providing them with the tools that are necessary for life long success.

My Kid Will Make It

Written By: James H Burns - Feb• 24•15

The spring thaw, don’t you just love it; waiting for the crocuses to come up and the grass to turn green. For over fifty years this was the time of year that I lived for. The boys of summer, 162 games in 180 days, what fun? I am not a participant any longer just a spectator. Every summer though from the time I was eight years old until I was thirty five that’s what I did, I played baseball. As a kid the dream was to become a professional baseball player and do it for a living. I am sure that kids today have those same dreams and can see themselves hitting the homerun that wins the World Series or pitching a no-hitter. It was such a fantasy fest and we all did fantasize, but alas none of us made it. We played in and out of uniform, organized and pick up, honed our skills, took batting practice and we all thought we were so darn good, but not good enough. There were some guys in the town that I lived in that were so good that we figured we would be watching them someday playing for the Yankees. Not so.

I started doing the math many years ago and finally worked out the numbers. There are about three thousand professional baseball players in the United States and that includes minor league teams. I am not including Japan or other countries that play in the World Baseball Classic every four years. There are eight billion people living on the planet. The chances are greater that a kid will be hit by lightning than becoming a professional baseball player. Professional baseball players are the cream, cream, cream of the crop and have certain physical abilities that are innate to them and only them. When scouts talk about a five tool player they refer to a player’s ability to run with speed, has a strong throwing arm, can hit for average and hit with power, and can field their position well. These are all God given abilities that improve with practice but really it’s all about natural talent.

I am not too concerned about teenagers understanding those numbers, I think they do, but I don’t think that parents have a clear understanding of those statistics and further more believe that their kid is going to be the next Mickey Mantle. It’s not the belief that’s troubling it’s what parent’s do with those beliefs that can make life miserable for a lot of people.

Let’s be clear, coach’s coach, parent’s parent, and player’s play, anytime these three things get co-mingled and they start stepping on each others toes it is a recipe for disaster with the player losing and I don’t mean the game. Let’s take a look at what happens when each person in the group above doesn’t know how to do their job, creates unrealistic expectations, and starts telling others how to do their job.

Coaches Coach
Coaching at times can be tougher than teaching. When a teacher teaches they are in a classroom with their students and unless they are being observed by an administrator no one is watching. A coach during a game and at times during practice could be being watched by large portion of the community in which they work. They do this job at times for little or no money, they invest hours of their time into trying to help improve the athletic ability of someone else’ kids, and can be under appreciated and criticized unmercifully by parents and at times by their own players. Parents I might add who have unrealistic expectations of their own child’s ability and talent. I realize that parents are required to read and sign the handbook that lays out the rules for participation and they should realize their place during games but all too often in communities where sports is the center piece parents continually discuss the coach and sadly hold these conversations within earshot of their children. The coach becomes the object of rumors and gossip and is placed under the community microscope with parents chomping at the bit for the coach to provide them the evidence to support their belief. This is all started because of the agendas of a few disgruntled parents who believe that their kid should play every game even if their kid is not the best pitching choice for the game that day. Teachers are hired for their expertise in a subject area and are left alone to deliver content to their students. When they are allowed to call upon their own creativity and don’t feel intimidated by parents, and potentially administration they feel more confident and relaxed while doing their job. Coaches are hired to coach and they need to be left alone to deliver their expertise to their players. Parents who interfere with the coach while he is doing his job place undue pressure on him/her and rob the players of the joy of competition, and camaraderie. So if you are a parent do your kid a favor and leave the coach alone. He was given the job by a school district or a community that believed in him and his abilities to teach kids a sport and to get the best out of his players. Let the coach; coach and let him/her do what they love doing.

Parents Parent
Your kid may be good at his sport but unless he/she is the next Bryce Harper their not making the pros. So why put all kinds of performance related pressure on this kid. By the way if you ask any professional baseball player what their parents were like when they were in little league they will tell you that their parents said to just go out and have fun; for the love of the game and nothing else. As a matter of fact that’s why they made it to the pros because of the no pressure or expectations attitude. Parents need to parent and that means to encourage, nurture natural talents, and to balance rules and regulations with compassion and understanding. Parents are their kid’s life coach and need to point their kids in the right direction by instilling in them lifelong values and character training that breads success in the future. The minute that baseball or any other sport becomes the benchmark for success any game related failures will result in the kid feeling like a failure in other areas of his life and lose the confidence necessary to move forward. So, be a parent not a coach, leave the coaching to the coaches and work with your kid to be the best he can be as a person not as a player. If they are good people they will be good players. Use sports as a vehicle to help your son/daughter show off who they really are; someone with character and values, who respects his teammates and opponents, and understands that there is only one person in charge during games and practices and that’s the coach.

Players Play
Players play; think about that we call those who participate on sports teams players. Not workers, players. What does it mean to play? It means you have fun, you do it willingly, and you can’t wait to start doing it. You enjoy it. Is that what our kids experience today when they are involved as a player on a sports team? I don’t know, what I do know is I have seen enough kids being forced to go to Tuesday night soccer practice and Saturday morning games. Many kids today only play on organized teams and to them once the game becomes something that is organized by adults the word play doesn’t enter into the equation. Furthermore kids don’t know how to play today. They don’t know how to organize themselves and play pick-up games. Often, some leagues are in townships and the kids live miles apart and they don’t have anyone to play with and sharpen the skills that they learned at practice. Kids need to run around together alone and learn how to solve problems alone with adult coaching and not with adults hovering over them offering correction because their swing was off or they don’t know how to catch a fly ball. So let the kids play, if we don’t playing won’t be playing anymore it will be work.

So What Do We Do?
The solution is rather simple, let the kids play and stay out of each others way; easier said than done. I have been asked for solutions to problems by teachers and parents alike. My response at times has been “I am going to tell you what to do but, you’re probably not going to do it.” They either can’t or won’t do it. Ego’s are too big and when there are folks who have some power they use it to get what they want even when it is not in the best interest of the team or a group. School districts and communities are controlled by the minority who don’t always want what’s best for a group. Sometimes parents don’t always want what’s best for their own kid and they live vicariously through them hoping that they will somehow bring completion to their own unfinished life. As a society we have lost some real professional and personal wisdom and we want to dismantle the playground because one kid fell off the monkey bars. Our kids are looking to us for answers but we are too busy arguing with each other. They then look to each other and have their friends parent them by proxy creating what Robert Bly called “The Sibling Society” where the ground is level and no one is in charge.

As adults we have created this culture in a very innocent and unwitting way, and now we have to dismantle the Frankenstein Monster. We have to stop telling parents and kids what they want to hear and be truthful about their academic and sports related ability regardless of any unrealistic parental expectations. Billy Beane of Moneyball fame was drafted in the first round by the New York Mets right out of high school. He was identified by scouts as that five tool player we spoke about earlier. He played for a short time in the major leagues and then went into scouting. He never made it as a player but became a successful general manager of the Oakland Athletics. He was successful but not as the player that everyone though he would be.

When Bryce Harper made it to the pros as an outfielder for the Washington Nationals Davey Johnson the then manager of the team asked him how he felt, Harper responded; “This is the most relaxed I have ever been in my entire life.” Harper knew that he was hit by lightening and that he was the one in eight billion who became a professional baseball player. He truly did make it. Everyone else will have to just keep on trying but in reality all kids have the potential to be great people but not professional athletes. Even if a kid gets a scholarship and is all state in his sport he will always be a big fish in a small pond so let the kid have fun, let the coaches coach, and help parents understand how unrealistic expectations can do more harm than good.

Ten Reasons Why Educators Need Professional Development On the Topic of Student Behavior Management

Written By: James H Burns - Feb• 10•15


Since the dawn of public education teachers and schools have focused on the academic achievement of students. All students were expected to leave school with basic reading writing and math skills. Some kids excelled and went on to institutions of higher learning, some were trained at a trade such as carpentry, or auto mechanics, and still others left school with those basics and worked at more labor related jobs such as factory or office work. Everyone who left secondary school did have the basics just at different levels. Every student may not have had the capacity to go to college but just about everyone finished school and had the ability to function in the real world. With the onslaught of state mandated testing in so many school districts throughout the country teachers are still pressured to ensure that students achieve but the landscape has changed and hitting the bull’s eye is far more difficult than it was say forty years ago. The bull’s eye is tough to hit because teachers are now being asked to hit a moving target. The target keeps moving because the levels of disrespect, and irresponsibility pervades our schools and basically you can’t hit something that won’t sit still, keep quiet, come prepared, stay motivated, and who really has taken no ownership for their own education.

Local and state boards persist though in their belief that success is based upon achievement not on effort and character. The faulty philosophies that have come out of some of our colleges that focuses more on methods of instruction rather than behavior management has both young and veteran teachers alike trying to figure out how to hit that moving target. In schools right now we don’t need one more test, or in-service that helps teacher’s understand how to teach to the test we need a comprehensive program that focuses squarely on student behavior management, teaching respect, and encouraging responsibility. Our young teachers who have been in the field for between three to five years may not know any different and are hounded daily regarding the academic achievement of students whose behavior is out of control, and veteran teachers who have done a good job of reading the tea leaves are planning for retirement because the work load is increasing to the point that it is becoming unmanageable.

Our focus in education needs to be on steadying the target and improving student behavior, not on improving test scores. If we begin to focus on behavior, character, and effort rather than achievement test scores will naturally go up because we will begin to develop willing learners.
Colleges need to provide stronger training in the area of behavior management for future teachers and we need to provide more comprehensive training in the area of behavior management for teachers who are now in the field. Here are ten good reasons why:
1. Take a look at the schools
The behavior in our schools has deteriorated to the point that we don’t worry about school violence we worry more about school shootings. We are forced to get everyone to the finish line without mastery of basic content. So many kids come into schools with negative learned behaviors that we are forced to develop conditions to support the behavior. It would either be invent the condition or throw the kids out, but you can’t throw out the entire twenty to thirty percent of the chronic behavior problems. These kids aren’t going anywhere and they are going to make it tough for kids who want to learn to learn. So, if we want to teach the other seventy five to eighty percent we better figure out how to manage behavior problems.
2. This isn’t forty years ago
Let’s face it years ago parents supported the school and dealt with their child’s misbehavior. Today we have to fight the kid, the parent, and at times city hall. In addition the behaviors that we dealt with forty years ago were of the garden variety like having a playground fight, or goofing off in class. Today the levels of disrespect, and irresponsibility, are at such high levels that younger teachers have begun to view some of the behaviors as the “new norm” and anytime there is the slightest improvement they fall all over the kid with praise causing the kid to feel good about himself for no apparent reason.
3. Standardized testing is not a measure of achievement
Teachers are trained to teach to the test. Even for content related testing during the year there is this unspoken fear of failing a kid. Most kids have an inflated view of their academic ability and don’t realize their shortcomings until later in life when grades are more meaningful. Good grades are nice, but mastery is better. Students move through grade after grade with un-mastered skills and a lack of the necessary prerequisites to learn new information. This produces frustration, anxiety, and tension resulting in behavior problems.
4. Life is about Relationships
Ask any employer. They are more concerned about the attitude of their employee than whether or not they can do the job. They believe that they can always teach a person the skills on their job description, but they can’t teach the person how to get along. School is supposed to be a microcosm of society. Employers want their employee’s to be respectful, responsible, have a good attitude, can get along, show up, and are on time. Sound like school? If this is what employers want we should be teaching it; that is if we can find the time in the overly ambitious curriculum that is being used to help prime a kid to pass a test.

5. We don’t know how to have productive conflict
There are so many intergenerational dysfunctional problems in our families, schools, and in society in general that faculty rooms have become discussion forums. No answers, just discussions. The topic of the day here is the inability to confront each other, a student, parent, or an issue, or maybe our own demons. Productive conflict is something that is taught it is not an innate skill. Teachers may have difficulty with conflict strictly based upon their own life imprint. It is a skill that needs to be taught to our student’s so they can have disagreement and do it with the right attitude, and they can cooperate even though they may disagree. When this skill is not taught, power struggles are inevitable and relationships get strained. Some families don’t even talk to each other because of an unsettled youth conflict that became an adult conflict. Don’t worry once kids know this they’ll pass the test.
6. There are too many adults with poor attitudes
Kids are kids for a short period of time. Then they become adults; with the same crummy attitudes. Even the most intelligent of adults can have such arrogance that they are painful to be around. This is the other eighty percent of our school population. Knowledge without character produces this type know it all mentality. They were once kids who did well in school but never developed the character in order to know how to make the best use of their intelligence.
7. Our students lack empathy
As a society we just don’t have the same concern for each other as we once did. By this I am referring to the overall concern that a family has for the elderly couple up the street when there is a heavy snow fall, or helping someone with a dead battery, or bringing meals to a shut in. Adults don’t care as they once did and our kids care even less. There are too many students who stand around in school when someone is being bullied. Let’s make sure that they pass the test.
8. Bullying behavior is on the rise
Hurt people hurt people. Bullies come from dysfunctional families, are angry, and take out their anger on others. They made that decision around the age of five. Everyone knew there was something wrong but not enough was done to quell his/her misery. Early intervention didn’t happen and we ended up with a bully on our hands who interferes with the learning of others and creates an emotionally unsafe learning environment for everyone. Let’s take a test.
9. Kids seek revenge
It’s not enough to get even anymore and have a fair fight and get it over with. Revenge is the way today and kids don’t want a pound of flesh, they want a pound of your flesh and the flesh of five others. Victims who have been bullied don’t know how to fight back or have a productive conflict they digest the abuse and then act out when the time is right. Stop testing and start strengthening the victim. You will help them pass the test.
10. Some kids may be smart but they lack wisdom, and common sense
The smartest kids in the class could be the most deviant, and make the poorest choices. There are more kids today that can’t even make the smallest decision and can be led around by the nose by the wrong crowd. Smart doesn’t mean wise and at times even the smartest kids can lie, cheat, steal, and abuse others. Maybe even better than the average kid. There are all kinds smart and this kid is one dimensional, but he will pass the test.

Programs Needed

Motivating Disaffected and Hard To Handle Students

Designed For Teachers, Administrators, Guidance Counselors, Child Study Team Members, or Any Youth Care Provider
• Learn the symptoms of difficult students and treatment plans that work
• Build respect and rapport with your most difficult students
• Understand why students don’t care
• Develop language that confronts without condemning
• Break through the emotional wall of your students and increase motivation and responsibility
• Strengthen relationships with your students

There is a direct relationship between motivation and discipline. The hard to motivate are often hard to discipline. Teachers are becoming increasingly more frustrated and are asking what we do with students who are not prepared, don’t care, will not work, and are on track for failure as adults. Finding tools and strategies to increase motivation can solve many behavior problems. There are many things educators can do to reawaken motivation in students who have lost interest and perhaps hope. This seminar helps teachers develop techniques that build respect, increase responsibility, and develop greater compliance in students who are hard to handle. It helps teachers overcome the strong emotional frustration that saps their energy and ultimately leads to burnout.
Six Principles That Help Educators Help Students
1. Design – All students are designed in a unique way. This program helps teachers understand the problems that difficult students face and how we can improve their self-esteem and permanently change their behavior.
2. Authority – Help students understand the definition of maturity. Teach them respond to authority correctly to create more emotional freedom.
3. Responsibility – Learn the five key areas students are responsible for and stop their reactive and escalating behavior.
4. Ownership – Help students manage anger. Students will understand that they are not victims but people who can control their own responses.
5. Success – Help your students find answers to problems that occur and give them hope for the future. Get students to respond correctly in key relationships.
6. Problem Solving – Give your students the skills to self generate behaviors that build independence and maturity.
You Will Learn How To:
• Emphasize effort, create hope, build relationships, respect power, and express enthusiasm
• Teach respect, responsibility, and compliance
• Build relationships with even the most difficult students
• Establish guidelines for correcting inappropriate behavior
• Use the three-step process for correcting behaviors that works without fail
• Give a warning that communicates you say what you mean and mean what you say
• Build a student’s self esteem
• Help a student control his anger
• Teach relationship skills that work for a lifetime
• Keep students on task and focused
• Use visual cues that prevent confrontations and stop power struggles

The Bully Proof Classroom

Bullying has become an epidemic in our schools. However it is defined, bullying is not just child’s play, but a terrifying experience many American school children face every day. It can be as direct as teasing, hitting, or threatening, or indirect as exclusion, rumors, or manipulation. During the past decade, bullying has become more lethal and has occurred more frequently than it had in the previous two decades. Bullying can no longer be explained away, as some adults are inclined to do, as a normal part of growing up. Bullying has only harmful, not beneficial, effects for the target and the perpetrator- even the bystander. Many children in our nation filled with fear and intimidation because they are bullied and victimized daily. Bullying exacts a terrible toll on children, and the scars can last a lifetime” ( This workshop is designed to give teachers, parents, and students the necessary information to stop this epidemic from spreading any further.

This seminar will help your staff answer the following questions:
• What is bullying?
• What are the characteristics of bullies and victims?
• How prevalent is bullying?
• What actions and behaviors constitute bullying?
• What are the early warning signs of troubled children and those at risk for bullying behavior?
• How can we help the victims cope and deal with a bully?

This seminar will provide for staff, administration, students, and parents:
• Ideology: Bullying terminology and definitions
• Warning signs and characteristics of bullies and targets
• How to develop respect, responsibility and compliance in children
• Foundations of good character; teach students character qualities they will need for life-long success
• Strategies that help bullies and targets improve their coping skills

The New 3R’s in Education
Respect, Responsibility, and Relationships
The True Basics For All Success In life

Everybody knows what the 3 R’s of teaching are – reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic. But educators don’t totally understand that in order to teach these basic subjects successfully, they must constantly be working to develop respect and responsibility in their students. No longer can it be assumed that children develop these attitudes at home. Plus, teachers must learn how to build positive relationships with their students. Strong teacher-student relationships naturally foster a positive and safe learning environment where much learning will take place and where all students will become capable, connected, and contributing members of their classrooms.

Learn Practical Strategies That Will Teach The New 3r’s
1. Teach respect, responsibility, and compliance
2. Learn how to build strong positive relationships with students and parents
3. Understand how principles, rules, and procedures create a secure safe environment
4. Create a fair, and consistent learning environment that will be calming to even your most difficult students
5. Understand how to give instruction, warnings, and correction
6. Receive a set of effective consequences for grades K-12 that will impact future behavior
7. Practice proven verbal responses you can use in a crisis situation
8. Build respect and rapport with your most difficult students
9. Develop language that confronts without condemning
10. Break through the emotional wall of your students and increase motivation and responsibility

Defusing Power Struggles With Your Most
Difficult Students And Parents

Designed For Teachers, Administrators, Guidance Counselors, Child Study Team Members, Or Any Youth Care Provider
• Learn the symptoms of power struggles and how to deal with them
• Build respect and rapport with your most difficult students
• Develop language that confronts without condemning
• Break through the emotional wall of your students and increase motivation, compliance and responsibility
• Strengthen relationships with your students and parents

A Proactive Approach For Dealing With Power Struggles
Effective discipline can no longer be achieved solely through using authority. A typical school today has some students who have short fuses, and some who anger easily. Students today may make offensive statements and act in a hostile manner that can trigger a power struggle. Often, too much instructional time is lost because of minor disruptions that all too quickly escalate into classroom battles that destroy relationships and any positive climate that exists. To keep the focus on educational achievement educators must master how to avoid and diffuse power struggles. This practical workshop will present easy-to-learn methods of effective intervention that preserve students’ and teachers’ personal dignity.

Learn Practical Strategies That Prevent Power Struggles
1. Teach respect, responsibility, and compliance
2. Learn the warning signs for the onset of a power struggle
3. Learn how to build strong positive relationships with students and parents
4. Understand how principles, rules, and procedures create a secure safe environment
5. Create a fair, and consistent learning environment that will be calming to even your most difficult students
6. Learn proactive language that will diffuse potential power struggles, and allow you to gracefully exit from power struggles that do erupt.
7. Learn Techniques You Can Use When A Student Has Too Much Power In Your Classroom
8. Learn fogging techniques that distract and disarm the verbally aggressive student
9. Understand how to give instruction, warnings, and correction
10. Receive a set of effective consequences for grades K-12 that will impact future behavior
11. Practice proven verbal responses you can use in a crisis situation

Climate Control For
Your School and Classroom

This Conference Will Provide Teachers, Administrators, Anti Bullying Specialists and Coordinators with the Necessary Skills and Strategies to Help Teach Respect, Encourage Responsibility, Reduce Bullying Events, and Improve The Overall Behavioral Climate in Their Classroom and School.

This conference will help answer the following questions:
1. What are the characteristics of positive classroom/school climate?
2. Why is classroom/school climate so important?
3. How do I encourage respect?
4. What do I do with disrespectful behavior now?
5. How do I increase student accountability and build greater student responsibility?
6. How does an improved school and classroom climate increase student achievement?
7. Why is it so important for kids to feel emotionally safe?
8. What do I do with disrespectful and unsupportive parents?
9. How can we help the victims cope and deal with a bully?
This conference will provide for staff, administration, and
child care professionals:
1. 12 Strategies to help improve classroom/school climate
2. How to develop respect, responsibility and compliance in all students
3. How teach students character qualities they will need for life-long success
4. Strategies that help bullies and targets improve their coping skills
5. How to develop a code of conduct that can be effectively communicated to all students
6. How to be more effective in changing student behavior
7. The importance of getting and keeping everyone working on the same school goals

Become Your Personal Best

A in-service for teachers, administrators, CST members, guidance personnel, support staff or anyone who wants to learn powerful principles in personal change

What This In-Service Will Do For Educators:
1. Learn the principles of personal growth and change
2. Begin to understand who you really are and what your purpose is
3. Build powerful relationships with co-workers and superiors
4. Develop effective communication skills to use with parents, students, superiors, co-workers
5. Learn how to become part of the solution rather than complaining about problems
6. Build rapport with the most difficult co-workers and parents
7. Learn how to be proactive rather than reactive
8. Learn how to build security and confidence through your own success
9. Learn wise time management
10. Build team building skills
11. Learn how to identify problems in your own value system and how to improve it
12. Restore the character ethic to your own life
13. Develop a balance in your physical, mental, and social and emotional life

A Proactive Approach For Dealing With Life
In education, we constantly have sought to improve the behavior and the academic achievement of our students. Almost every continuing education workshop or class is designed to help educators accomplish this. Even though this is valuable, these workshops fail to address the idea that it is the character of the teacher that will affect students’ success in the classroom and ultimately in life. Educators can fall into the trap of becoming so focused on the deficits of others, i.e. the students, the parents, supervisors, child study members, and co-workers that they become less concerned about their own areas of weakness. This workshop is designed to teach your educators how to become more self-aware and give them strategies to personally strengthen their value system and their character. The effect of your educators moving closer to becoming self-actualized will be that they will become more effective in their respective roles, and they will be much better equipped to meet the needs of all of their students.

You Will Learn How To:
Realize Your Ultimate Personal Potential And
Become The Best Educator You Can Be

Character Is Everything

Changing Student Behavior from the Inside Out

Designed For Teachers, Administrators, Guidance Counselors, Child Study Team Members, Or Any Youth Care Provider
1. Create an awareness in students, teachers, and administrators of the importance of character and its relationship to achievement
2. Build relationships with your most difficult students
3. Understand the root problems behind lack of student achievement
4. Develop language that confronts without condemning
5. Understand the Emotional Bank Account and make deposits of praise and acceptance

Proactive Approach For Dealing With Behavior Problems
Much has been said over the years about the student who is difficult to manage, and who exhibits behaviors that lack a moral compass. Educators and child-care providers need strategies that address the pervasive problems of disrespect, irresponsibility and a lack of compassion for their fellow students. In this seminar Jim Burns addresses the problems that are at the root of these behaviors. Character training truly makes a difference in the outcome of a student’s life. As a student builds character he/she will become more successful. Students who are taught character qualities such as honesty, reliability, diligence, and respect learn to change their behaviors from the inside out and truly understand how to self generate positive behaviors, and have a change of heart, not just a change of mind.

Qualities Developed Through Improved Character
1. Self-Acceptance – As students are recognized for showing specific character qualities, they will improve in other areas as well, such as achievement, respect, and responsibility.
2. Responses to Authority – As the key people in the school recognize these positive qualities in each student, students will have a more positive response to them. Teachers, administrators, and support staff will then be able to discipline students in a much more positive manner and teach the necessary skills for lifelong success.
3. Relationships – Because there is so much positive reinforcement for students in the praising of character, students will begin to see each other in a more positive light. Students will then encourage positive character in each other.
4. Priorities – Because students will begin to feel better about their own character, they will be able to focus on achievement. This will help to reduce anxiety and eliminate bad habits.
You Will Learn How To:
• Teach character through instruction, example, and activities
• Recognize positive character in students and praise them for their efforts
• Change the way you look at student behavior
• Model positive character for your students
• Give a warning that communicates that you are concerned about the student’s reputation
• Build a student’s self esteem
• Help a student control his/her anger
• Teach relationship skills that work for a lifetime
• Use character to improve student attendance, grades, and test scores
• Use behavioral referrals as an instructional tool to teach character

About Jim Burns

Since 1977 Jim Burns has been working with students who have learning disabilities and behavioral problems. He has almost 40 years of experience working as an administrator, teacher, college instructor, and seminar leaders. He is committed to helping administrators, parents, and teachers establish standards of excellence and help them build successful relationships with their staff, students, and children. He has written and designed The Bully Proof Classroom, a graduate course that is now offered at The College of New Jersey in partnership with The Regional Training Center. This course is endorsed by the NJEA. He has also written “Anti Bullying 101.” A book that provides teachers, administrators, support staff and parent’s 101 tips on how to achieve permanent help in dealing with unruly behavior and can be used as part of any anti-bullying program. He is available for on sight in-services and keynotes and can be reached at 1-732-773-9855 or at

Books Available

Picture for email

Defusing Power Struggles Cover       Handbook Cover               Everyday Cover Final

The_New_3Rs cover                                    Climate Control Cover


Cyberbullying: It Effects Our Children

Written By: Amy Williams - Feb• 10•15

From childhood up until teenage years, growing children can oftentimes experience some of the most difficult struggles they will face in their lifetimes. This isn’t because worse things tend to happen to teens, or even necessarily because teenagers are in an odd flux between parental dependence and independence. Rather, this is because the teenage brain is still growing, meaning that the teenagers’ experience is interpreted by an inherently flawed mind, that tends to magnify or distort situations that might not even be problematic.

Of course, situations that are problematic present an even greater risk to teens. One problem faced by today’s teens unique to current and future generations is cyberbullying. While this is a new problem, it isn’t an insignificant one. When problems like this can take up all of a teen’s even start effecting their education and social lives.

That’s why, without being too intrusive of course, parents should step in where possible to combat cyberbullying. This can range from running monitoring software to interacting with your child on social media. In either case, teens shouldn’t be left to their own devices online. While they should have some freedom, it should be moderated freedom rather than unbridled access to the limitless content of the web.

How to Recognize Cyberbullying

If you think your child might be facing their own cyberbully, but is too nervous or embarrassed to tell you, consider their online habits. Both increased and decreased usage of the internet could be the result of cyberullying, depending on your child’s individual case. Any offbeat or dejected emotions accompanying a change in internet usage patterns could be an indicator of cyberbullying.

What to Do About Cyberullying

Below are tips for parents of children who are being cyberbullied:

Teach confidence. While this can’t be the entirety of your cyberbullying prevention strategy, raising confident kids will better equip them to deal with bullies, both physical and digital, when the time comes.

Create safe spaces at home. By designating zones at home where technology is forbidden, children will feel that they have the capability to escape their bully. This is one way to support a cyberbullied teen without facing the issue directly.

Monitor Your Child’s Friend Requests. A good amount of the time, the bullies online are ones who your teen barely knows. This makes it easier for them to act in malicious ways. By encouraging your teen to only accept friend request from friends they truly know, this situation can be better avoided.

Save evidence. If it comes down to needing to involve the school or parents, take advantage of technology and save evidence. This will make things far easier down the line.

Helping Your Child

At the end of the day, your goal as a parent is to make sure your child is safe and content online. This can be a delicate balance, due to the fact that modern children and teens interact socially online nowadays. Limiting their internet use too much can put a damper on what may otherwise be a healthy, digital social life.

Ultimately, you should treat bullying online like bullying in person. While you can’t prevent them from encountering bullies in the real world, you can equip them to deal with the problem.

For more information, see the infographic below.

Cyberbullying info graphic







The Bully Proof Classroom’s eBook Store

Written By: James H Burns - Nov• 25•14

Please take the time to visit The Bully Proof Classroom’s eBook Store. Here you will find some great books on anti bullying, defusing power struggles, and behavior management. These books are available for immediate downloads.

Just click on the link

Technology To Fight Cyberbullying

Written By: James H Burns - Sep• 30•14

With more exposure to social media outlets than ever, people, particularly kids, have taken advantage of an evolved form of bullying – cyberbullying. Cyberbullying isn’t your parents’ brand of face-to-face bullying that they may have experienced in their youth. Cyberbullying is just as malicious and encompasses everything from students picking on each other via social media to strangers across the globe hiding behind a keyboard while typing words of harassment. Although technology may have helped to spawn the alarming trend of cyberbullying, technology also poses a possible remedy. A number of apps and other forms of technology are available to help teachers, students and parents prevent it.

Here are four apps and/ or software programs designed to help combat cyberbullying.

Trend Micro Online Guardian: Trend Micro Online Guardian was founded by a mom who witnessed her daughter being cyberbullied and took great strides to correct matters. Online Guardian contains extensive computer controls for tracking popular social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. This software also offers instant messaging management and malware protection.

YouDiligence:  Parents can’t always be there firsthand to stop cyberbullying, but that doesn’t mean they can’t track instances of cyberbullying to help prevent future occurrences. YouDiligence allows parents to monitor their child’s social networking pages while specifically tracking keywords related to bullying, racial slurs, alcohol, profanity and more. With a list of more than 500 “alert” words and phrases that parents can edit based on their specifications, YouDiligence can email alerts to parents when any questionable activity occurs. These updates can then be emailed to parents and viewed via the online dashboard for easy tracking. Avira Social Network Protection

Avira Social Network Protection is another software program that was created as a result of a parent witnessing their child experience cyberbullying. Avira Social Network Protection, previously known as SocialShield, differentiates itself from other anti-cyberbullying programs by monitoring social networking sites to not only protect against bullying, but preserve a child’s reputation. It uses cloud-based software, making it accessible virtually anywhere via a computer or phone. Safety is recorded on a scale ranging from 1-10, with 1 being regarded as the most dangerous and 10 being safe and secure. It determines which posts, videos, threads and friends are deemed appropriate or run the risk of harming a child’s reputation.

STOPit:  Currently, only one out of ten cyberbullying victims inform an adult about their situation. With the STOPit app, developers and parents are trying to offer children a greater degree of freedom and empowerment by giving them the tools to attempt to halt cyberbullying themselves. STOPit allows children to take screenshots of malicious online behavior and send it to a customized selection of adults, such as teachers and parents. In the instance of older online predators, children who report problems remain anonymous, and the app offers local law enforcement alerts and easy access to 24/7 help lines.

With social networking sites constantly changing, updating and evolving, the Internet can seem like a playground for cyberbullies. However, with apps and software such as those mentioned above, helpful and preventative measures to combat cyberbullying are being developed – if not already here.

This article was provided by Drexel University Online, which specializes in innovative, Internet-based education programs for working professionals, organizations and corporations in the United States and abroad. For teachers and education professionals looking to advance their careers, Drexel offers a wide variety of accredited master’s degree programs online.


Written By: James H Burns - Jun• 16•14

With the new teacher evaluation system now firmly entrenched in New Jersey Schools and in other schools around the country teachers need help now more than ever in meeting their professional responsibility to follow the recommendations established by school administration. Ensuring that students’ progress academically it is extremely important and it is the primary reason why children attend school. Teachers are trained in their subject area and are always ready to deliver expert instruction to help ensure that their students will achieve a life time of success and of course do well on state mandated tests that provide the evidence of student achievement. Colleges have provided the necessary course work for core content, but have not provided enough rigor in helping teachers deal with the behavioral dysfunction that is faced in schools each and every day. Student behavioral problems interfere with the learning process with power struggles, disrespect, irresponsibility, non-compliance, bullying, and violence eating into the teacher’s time, and creating a non-productive learning environment. The old adage that teachers spend 90% of their time dealing with 10% of their students could never be truer. Behavior problems disrupt the consistency of instruction, creates emotional fear in the minds of other students, increases the absentee rate, can intimidate the teacher, and prevents students from retaining information in their long term memory. It effects the entire classroom and school climate.

The Bully Proof Classroom does not view bullying as the sole problem, but more the result of the problem. The problem is the lack that students have for the rights and privileges of other people, which we define as disrespect. Bullying is the behavior that epitomizes this disrespect. This disrespect permeates classrooms, schools, families, and communities and can make teaching one of the most challenging professions in which an individual enters into.

We at The Bully Proof Classroom are offering to schools and individual teachers a program called Edu-Coaching. This program provides a behavioral coaching program for teachers that will help them regain some of the surrendered ground that the students have claimed and give them the tools necessary to teach respect, encourage responsibility, and improve school and classroom climate. This is not consulting work, but rather an approach that uses on sight coaching as well as coaching with the use of emails and text messages. Schools or individuals who use this program will receive the following:

1.      A two hour in-service on the topic of anti-bullying. This in-service covers the strategies necessary to teach respect and improve school and classroom climate.

2.      On sight observation of individual teachers to help improve student behavior. This is not an evaluation it is designed to offer constructive suggestion and encourage positive student teacher relationships.

3.      Weekly teaching emails that provide strategies to meet the needs of individual teachers.

4.      Text messages that offer suggestions for more immediate problems.

5.      Phone consults on an as needed basis.

6.      Face to face consults on an individual basis.

7.      Face to face conversations with administration to help them help their teachers.

8.      Schools will receive an evaluation of the school climate with a report provided to the entire staff in a power point presentation.

 If anyone is interested please email me at or give me a call at 732-773-9855.

This would be a contracted service and would be available for 6 months or one school year. Face to face services would be available for teachers and schools in NJ, NY, MD, PA, and CT. Phone consults, emails, and text messaging are available nationwide.


Don’t Be An Easy Target

Written By: James H Burns - May• 21•14

At times victims of bullying can be like a magnet and attract bullies. They can become easy targets based upon how they walk, what they say, or because they are just awkward in social situations. This is not to say that victims are to blame for their treatment. Rather I am offering an approach to help the victim develop resiliency and confidence. This requires coaching. We can’t just say to a victim to take action on their own. They have to practice, pick and choose their battles, and know when to walk away. This all comes with the help of a teacher, a parent, or a coach who has their best interest at heart. Here are eleven easy strategies that you can teach your students to help them develop confidence and avoid becoming or remaining a target.

  1.  Only you know if you are being bullied. The warning signs are the knot in your stomach and the fear in your heart.
    Bullies don’t have to know about the knot or the fear.
  2. Learn to stay “Stop Knock It Off.” Realize that when you say it that the behavior may not stop. After you say it, walk away.
  3. If what you say doesn’t work it doesn’t mean that you are a failure. You failed that time. You just haven’t gotten there yet.
  4. If a bully confronts you simply state “You have mistaken me for someone who wants to fight.” And Walk Away.
  5. Walk with your head up and your shoulders back. Walk at a moderate pace between classes. Don’t give the impression that you are looking over your shoulder.
  6. Hold your books under your right arm with a firm grip. Don’t clench them like you are thinking that someone is going to knock them out of your hands.
  7. Pay attention to your surroundings. When you are walking almost take a panoramic view of where you are going.
  8. Listen to your classmates and only respond when you believe that it is absolutely necessary.
  9. Don’t disclose any information to anyone that you believe that they will use to bully you.
  10. Know who your friends are. Keep your friends close and your enemies (the bully closer). Don’t try to be friends with the bully or be his sidekick. It won’t stop him from bullying you. By keeping the bully closer you are merely trying to understand his motives and how to manage his words and actions.

The Haunted House

Written By: James H Burns - Jan• 11•14

Forgive and forget; that’s the line we are all taught as kids, and as adults we try to be sure not to hold grudges against those who have slighted us or who have exhibited behavior that lessened our own sense of self worth. Well, the forgiving part is easy because we forgive for ourselves and saying I forgive you is easy enough but, unless a person gets amnesia they will never forget the past hurts that have been inflicted upon them by their parents, peers, siblings, or maybe even employers. We all are only a compilation of what people have said to us or done to us, and those past hurts can wreak havoc on future relationships and can produce in families what I call

The Haunted House.

This house is not the brick and mortar variety and the residents are not harassed by the likes of some specter in the movie Poltergeist. It is a place where the experiences of the past have created an environment where the members of this family accept the abnormal behavior almost as a new normal, and this is where many children are raised. The dysfunction that occurs within the walls of this house is a direct result of the past hurts of the parents of the children that have been inflicted upon them by their parents or other significant others. Remember, people never forget, and if anger and bitterness remain because of past hurts during a person’s upbringing the children will suffer at the hands of a parent who lacks the ability to love, discipline, and communicate and by all measures is a parental bully; a bully who lacks the requisite skills to form a lifelong relationship with his/her children. But, that’s not all; this parental bully will create schisms in the house that pit the family members against each other and an example will be set that I get what I want through fear and intimidation.

What are some of the problems that this haunted house produces? Well read on and you will discover some of the reasons why dysfunction exists in so many homes, schools, and society.

The Haunted House produces a poor perception of life. Things don’t happen to us they just happen. Our reaction or our response to what happens will determine the tone that gets produced in a home. Those that live in a haunted house are always blaming circumstance or upbringing as the reason why they act as they do. They believe that they are determined. In other words, it came down through the DNA molecules or the learned behavior is so ingrained that they just can’t change. They don’t believe in the power of change or that they can change their response to the negative influences that have plagued them over the years. They are irresponsible in their thoughts, words, actions, attitudes, and motives and these negative traits just leak out into the atmosphere of the home where they are absorbed almost by osmosis by the children.

The Haunted House produces disrespectful attitudes. Ah, yes respect; having a high regard for the rights and privileges of another person. Respect is hard to give if you are not receiving it yourself and in a haunted house respect is tough to find. Parents who have multiple children and who are disrespectful can almost unwittingly create such sibling rivalry that the children begin to bully one another. Mom and dad fight all the time so it must be okay for us to fight as well. The problems really start though when mom or dad starts to draw some unfavorable comparisons between the children. This by default produces a sense of favoritism with children becoming jealous and envious of each other with one of the children gaining an upper hand; the upper hand that was given to them by one of the parents. Once the attitude of superiority develops in one of the children they then begin to believe that they can say and do what they want to their sibling(s). This behavior can be so unforgiving that it can produce scars that last a lifetime and it all started in the dysfunctional haunted house.

The Haunted House produces a lack of cooperation and non-compliance. Why are kids rude and disrespectful to one another? Is it a condition or is it learned behavior? I am not going to get into whether or not ADHD or ODD is the cause of the problem. All I can say is that 40 years ago the problems with blatant disrespect were few and far between possibly because these conditions weren’t invented yet. Bullying is a learned behavior and it is learned intergenerationally. What parents do in moderation the children will do in excess. Adult children who have left home in rebellion and have strained relationship with their parents have lost their ability to cooperate with family, school, and employment systems. They no longer know how to cooperate even though they might not agree nor do they have the ability to disagree with the right attitude. Moreover, the kids suffer because this attitude is brought into schools across the country where the children of these parents bring that same learned behavior with them and will con mom/dad to fight to the end against a discipline policy that that they believe has treated them unfairly. Parents accept this challenge only because they believe that they can win the battle with the school but will ultimately loss the battle with their child at home. This lack of cooperation and non-compliance has imputed the idea in our children that they are more academically adept than they really are, and that behavior is relative to a situation. It communicates that everyone has reasons for their behavior, but rapidly these reasons are becoming excuses. Self esteem is important but because of the failure to see the forest for the trees today kids feel good about themselves for no apparent reason. This failure of a society to go to the mat with this type of behavior has produced entitlement in our children and has allowed the bullying epidemic to escalate across the country.

So What Can We Do? We can’t change the way a parent was raised, but we can work to change the attitudes of children today, so going forward the next generation will develop more kind and caring behavior towards each other. Permanent help comes when we address the root problem and it is eradicated almost like the vaccine eradicated polio. Temporary relief comes when we work along the way and treat the symptoms we see and hold individuals more accountable for their actions. Awareness is the key and parents must be aware of their own upbringing and how the past can truly remind them of what they are not now. So here are some ideas on how we can overcome the dysfunction of the haunted house.

Knowledge of where we came from can at first be frightening but then it can help us gain insight into our own behavior. I am not talking about genetics here but more how we can understand the lifestyle and behavior of our ancestors. Do a family tree or visit the homeland of your grandparents if possible. It can help to understand the origin of some of the dysfunction that plagues you today.

Build a value system in your home. Know what is important to you and understand why you are teaching it to your kids.

Set boundaries long before they are violated. Boundaries set in anger only make situations worse. Teach your children how to set boundaries as well especially if they are the victim of bullying. Teaching a child at a young age to say “Stop, Knock It Off” can go along way in building their confidence.

Know your own discipline style. Are you autocratic or permissive? Do you best to balance your rules with a sense of love and understanding.

Don’t hold grudges especially against your spouse or your children. Once consequences have been imposed by you or even someone else realize that the deed was done and the price was paid.

Ask for forgiveness when needed and keep the emotional bank account from becoming overdrawn. This helps build trust and allows for mistakes.

Talk to your parents. Get things straightened out if the relationship with your parents has been strained over the years. Understand that you don’t have to do what your parents say, but always work to respect their opinion.

Understand that change at times can be frightening and that it is a step of faith. Accept the incremental process of change and be aware that you will revisit old behaviors from time to time.

Accept confrontations as a part of life and be courageous. Fearing someone can be paralyzing especially if it is your own child that you fear. Realize for yourself and for your children that courage is like a muscle and we only have to be brave for 2 minutes at a time.

Realize that this process is a marathon not a sprint. Stay the course, don’t give up. If necessary seek the help of a mental health professional to gain greater understanding into your own behavior.