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Bullying

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Bullying can happen anywhere and to anyone. We want to help stop bullying at church, school, online, and in the community. Some feel that bullying is a normal right of passage in growing up. It isn’t!! There will always be conflicts between kids, but bullying is intentional cruelty, harassment, and emotional, physical and sometimes sexual abuse. This behavior can set the tone for a lifetime of intentional cruelty or worse. And the consequences to the victim can seriously affect them for the rest of their lives.

Psychology Today explains that Bullying is a distinctive pattern of harming and humiliating others, specifically those who are in some way smaller, weaker, younger or in any way more vulnerable than the bully. Bullying is not garden-variety aggression; it is a deliberate and repeated attempt to cause harm to others of lesser power. It's a very durable behavioral style, largely because bullies get what they want—at least at first. Bullies are made, not born, and it happens at an early age, if the normal aggression of 2-year-olds isn't handled well.

Many studies show that bullies lack prosocial behavior, are untroubled by anxiety, and do not understand others' feelings. They typically see themselves quite positively. Those who chronically bully have strained relationships with parents and peers.

Electronic bullying has become a significant problem in the past decade. The ubiquity of hand-held and other devices  affords bullies any-time access to their prey, and harassment can often be carried out anonymously. This parent page is a great resource for parents of students and teens.  Check it out HERE

There are many roles that kids can play. Kids can bully others, they can be bullied, or they may witness bullying. When kids are involved in bullying, they often play more than one role. It is important to understand the multiple roles kids play in order to effectively prevent and respond to bullying.

One of our kids@ehills kiddos I meet with regularly shared an amazing book she is reading right now on this very subject.

Of course I read it! Amazing read for any age really! The book Wonder is incredible, written with understanding and compassion. I would highly recommend you reading this with your family to lead to a great understanding and conversation about bullying.

There is also a movie being made about this book. As I watched this trailer, I was captivated by these words. “You can’t blend in when you were born to stand out”. Take a look HERE.

I had the pleasure of meeting with Tiffany Ann Johns to gain insight to share from her on this topic. Tiffany Ann is a mother of 4, one of which has special needs. She and her special needs daughter visit schools and organizations educating others on disabilities, bullying and how to demonstrate kindness. She shared some great reminders of ways we can help students and kids to choose to be kind.

  • When someone looks different or acts different, say hello
  • Introduce yourself, even if they do not respond
  • If you see bullying, stand up and say something
  • Do not rely on others
  • See something-Say something

Tiffany Ann suggested another amazing resource for children. This book is called Out of My Mind and can be found here. 

Remember….the opposite of bullying is KINDNESS.

in Youth

Blended Families: Part 2

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Blending two families has its challenges but the love and opportunities can far outweigh the struggles of adjusting to the blend! Here is Part 2 of our blog on Blended Families. If you missed Part 1, read it here.

Sonja and Kevin are a part of our church as well and they answered questions to share their wisdom and expertise from their blended family. See Sonja’s amazing words she shared below.

How did you set up house? Our family is set up where my ex and I don't interfere with how the other runs their home, but we do communicate quite a bit about decisions for my son. For example, day to day activities in my home and rewards and consequences for all our children are between my husband and I including when my son is in my home. If decisions for my son involve school, medical, activities or any long term consequences that need to be carried through at my ex’s home, that's when having an open line of communication and good cooperation is handy. We set ourselves up for success by making sure our son is with each of us for a 50/50 split both financially and time wise. No animosity, and we regularly reinforce the importance of having a good relationship with all of his parents.     

How did you deal with the ex? For us, having a good relationship with my ex means I can communicate with him on a regular, healthy basis and we can make good decisions together for our son. It also means my ex and I can still parent our son together, not create a combative environment between us that my son can be hurt from or be taken advantage of. We can really let our son grow up without being in the middle of an unhealthy relationship. 

What steps did you take to blend your divided family? I think the most important step in blending your family is being able to really put the past behind you. No matter what happened in your previous marriage, you have to forgive and open communication back up with your ex. Otherwise you're just dragging the past into your new marriage including old wounds and hurt feelings. That affects not only you and your child(ren), but also your relationship with your new spouse. It also is how I can show respect for my current spouse and our family, and give us the best chance to a happier future. It's so cliché, but you really need to let go and move forward. It's harder to do than it is to say, but it is definitely worth it.     

What worked? Good communication, a healthy working relationship, and playing off of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. It's amazing how God brings certain people into your life just when you need them. For example, I've always found it so interesting how much my husband and son have in common. They both really love everything math, science, and abstract to the point that we had to make a rule of no math at the table during dinner. Otherwise, we'd never get done eating. It's something they bond over. Meanwhile, my ex and my son love computer games. That's their thing. The other thing that's worked well for us is really thinking about how everyone feels. While keeping my husband’s and son’s feelings about certain situations for my son comes naturally, I continuously try to remember how my ex would feel and respect that as well. Especially when I'm having conversations with my son. While we have a strong family, I want to make sure he also has a strong relationship with his dad. I try to remember when I'm talking to him that he is part of his dad, and how I would feel if the tables were turned and he were talking about me. Lastly, be flexible. If you have a custody agreement, make sure it's in the best interest for your child(ren) and not because it's what you wanted. Be flexible if a day here and there needs to be swapped to accommodate emergency, vacation, or work schedules. You never know when you are going to need to swap as well. Give and take fairly, and remember to put your child(ren)'s best interest in the middle of you and your ex’s relationship instead of past feelings.    

We love that we can share our stories to make our life journey together! Please contact Robin Kluever, Family Pastor at for further resources for the Happy Blend!

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