Confessions of a Former Mean Girl

Her name was Jackie and we were cruel to her. She lived in a small, weather-worn house across the street from our school. She wore the same out-of-style clothes every day. They were stained and frayed. Her hair was never combed, and her homework was rarely done. For these crimes, a court of spoiled and selfish fifth-grade girls sentenced her to a year of hard time as the target of jokes, disdain, and teasing. I was on the jury. Decades later, I look back on those playground moments with a great deal of shame and embarrassment. I think the worst thing we did to Jackie was the plot to make her think we were going to let her in our group (dubbed “The Magnificent Seven” by a teacher) all the time knowing we were going to ostracize her a few days later. The plan was to tell her how ...

How Can I Tame My Son’s Rude Jokes?

Dear Mama Drama: My ten-year-old son is always cracking jokes and thinks he is extremely funny. The trouble is that his jokes are usually at the expense of someone else. When people respond negatively to him, he acts like they are overreacting and too sensitive. I think he has some sharp wit beneath the rudeness, but I don’t know how to tap into it. Most of the time he comes off acting like a jerk instead of being funny. ~Unamused Mama (photo credit) Dear Unamused: Ten-year-old boys often use humor to engage socially and, as you relate, they don’t always understand the line between funny and rude. Children (and some adults) also use inappropriate humor to humiliate others in order to feel better about themselves or attempt to elevate their social status. This is also bullying behavio...

Federal school discipline guidelines reflect Colorado’s ‘baby steps’

The Obama administration released new federal guidelines Wednesday to address discrimination in K-12 school discipline policies, an issue on which Colorado already has taken some halting first steps. Casting the initiative not just as a policy discussion but as a legal issue rooted in civil rights law, the U.S. Department of Justice and Department of Education cited national data showing a correlation between race and higher rates of discipline. It outlined several steps aimed at keeping kids in school and ending what some critics have dubbed the “school-to-prison pipeline.” “A routine school disciplinary infraction should land a student in the principal’s office, not in a police precinct,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. The federal guidelines suggest ways...

5 ways to help kids pay attention in the classroom and at home

Mindful Life School teaches children in Colorado to use mindfulness to increase capacity for empathy, attention, impulse control emotional regulation and intimacy.

Mama Drama: Strategies for a Successful New School Transition

Dear Mama Drama: My eight-year-old daughter is starting a new school this year and I need some ideas to help her with this transition. Last school year was difficult as she struggled with feeling unsupported and misunderstood by her teachers and she often refused to go to school. She also had some difficulties with bullying behavior from her peers, particularly on the playground. (photo credit) Understandably, she is anxious about starting a new school year with teachers and peers she doesn’t know. Any ideas you have are greatly appreciated! ~Protective Mama Dear Protective: Your daughter will benefit greatly from you being proactive as well as protective. There are many things you can do together to make this new school transition smooth and positive for her. First, talk with your daughte...

Mama Drama: Anniversary Advice Round Up

Mama Drama is celebrating two years with Mile High Mamas!! We’ve rounded up all of the drama Lisa has covered during that time into a variety of categories to make it easier for you to find that special nugget of information or advice you need. Keep the questions coming ([email protected]) and remember that we all have our share of Mama Drama, so contribute your advice, ideas, and tried and true strategies as we support each other through the journey of motherhood in this fabulous community of moms. Be sure to bookmark this page for easy access and share it with all your mommy friends! Developmental issues: Articulation Angst – When to worry about speech concerns.

Mama Drama: School Anxiety Support…for Mom

Dear Mama Drama: I was bullied in school and have a lot of anxiety for my daughter who just started preschool. I worry that the teachers won’t stand up for her and that she’ll be picked on, so I’ve told her to hit anyone who bothers or hurts her. Her teachers say that she will end up in trouble instead. How can I help her stand up for herself if she can’t hit? ~Scared Mama  (photo credit) Dear Scared: Bullying is a real problem, but you can empower your daughter to stand up for herself without teaching her to hurt others. Our experiences growing up have a big impact on how we view school for our children. It is easy to project these onto our children, but is more important to support them in creating a positive outlook about school so their experience can be better than ours. Hitting it no...

Mama Drama: Bully Busting Basics

Dear Mama Drama: My 5-year-old son is entering kindergarten and is the sweetest kid. He gets along with everyone but I fear he will be a target for bullying because he refuses to retaliate. What skills can I teach him to stick up for himself and as a mother, how should I react when kids are mean? P.S. This happened right in front of me the other day (kids bullying him at Jungle Quest) and you’d better believe I FREAKED out on them as Mama Bear. Not my best moment but they stopped. Need tips. 🙂 ~ No Bull Mama (photo credit) Dear No Bull:

School-Sanctioned Bullying: The Importance of Being Your Child’s Biggest Advocate

Since I’ve become a parent, I haven’t worried about whether or not bullying might happen…I’ve been flat-out waiting for it.  Because, frankly, bullying is nothing new.  We’ve all been through it at one time or another and while it isn’t fun, it’s reality.  But this type of bullying came in a way that I wasn’t expecting.  Yes, it was another kid.  But the shocking thing was…the school was giving him the tools to do it.

Your opinion: Bullying and where do you stand on discipling other people’s kids?

The media and blogosphere are abuzz in the wake of the suicide of Rutgers college freshman Tyler Clementi after his roommate secretly broadcast his encounter with another man. This is an extreme and tragic example of cyberbullying and it makes me wonder 1) Do the two students who committed the crime have a history of bullying and if so, when did it begin? 2) What is our role as parents as it pertains to bullying and/or disciplining other people’s children? My children are still young–ages 4 and 6. These issues are surfacing and I have been torn as to how to react. Does stepping in overstep our bounds when the boundaries are different with each person? A few weeks ago, my son Bode had his second soccer game. His team played another that looked like they had been playing together...