“Loser.” “Dork.” “Sissy.”
These words aim to hurt and most children say them because they think it makes them look cool in front of others.
Think back to when you were in school – were you called names by your classmates that made you feel bad about yourself? Some kids are taunted for things such as being too quiet, having red hair, being too tall or too short, or because they make all A’s. Verbal abuse can leave kids feeling insecure and rejected.
In honor of No Name-Calling Week, Jan. 23-27, 2012, Hubbard House would like to encourage all parents to talk to their children about how their words can hurt others.
No Name-Calling Week was inspired by “The Misfits,” a young adult novel by James Howe. Four friends in the seventh grade were the victims of verbal abuse because of their weight, height, intelligence, and sexual orientation/gender expression. The friends created a political party during student council election and aimed at ending name-calling of all kinds. In the end, the friends win the support of the school’s principal and their idea for a No Name-Calling Day.
Using this book as a motivator, No Name-Calling Week was created by GLSEN and Simon & Schuster Children’s publishing. The week was promoted to schools across the nation. No Name-Calling Week seeks to focus national attention on the problems with name-calling, and to provide students with the tools and inspiration to eliminate name-calling, bullying and harassment in their communities.
As a parent, you can do your part by remembering that you are your child’s role model – your children learn from your behaviors. Promoting no name-calling at home will help keep your children from becoming a bully. You can help by doing the following:
- Be a good role model. Don’t call people names. Say you disapprove when you hear someone putting down another person.
- Voice your disappointment if your child has taunted someone. Make them apologize.
- Express your concern if your child has been taunted. Help by reflecting on why kids do this. And talk about ways of coping.
- Teach that name-calling hurts everyone. Doing it—or tolerating it—undercuts our integrity and humanity.
- Foster empathy. Always encourage your child to think how it might feel to be in another’s shoe.
For more information on No Name-Calling Week or how to start a No Name-Calling Week program in your school, visit www.namecallingweek.org.
ABOUT HUBBARD HOUSE: Founded as the first domestic violence shelter in Florida in 1976, Hubbard House is a certified, comprehensive domestic violence center providing programs and services to more than 6,000 women, children, and men annually in Duval and Baker counties. While Hubbard House is most known for its emergency shelter, the agency also provides extensive adult and youth outreach services, school-based education, therapeutic childcare, batterers’ intervention programs, court advocacy and volunteer and community education opportunities. Visit www.hubbardhouse.org to learn more.
By Lindsay Van-Zant