Photos within Your Blog Posts: Do You Own Them?

I’m told adding pictures to our blog posts increases the likelihood that people will remain on our website pages much longer than they would if we have posts without pictures.  After studying my Google Analytics, I believe there’s some validity to this statement. At least, it certainly proves to be true for me.

 

I might add, whenever I’m on another blogger’s site, the pictures add to my curiosity. I gain more insight from the posts, and depending on the topic, I learn more about the author and/or contributor of the posts. For me, I also collect a small sense of connection as I delve more into the author’s world and perspective of their topical messages.

 

Since I purchased a nice Canon camera a few years back and now own a pretty fancy Samsung Galaxy Note 3, I find myself capturing pictures of all sorts. One never knows when some of the shots may prove useful in one way, or another for my posts.

 

I’m especially aggressive about this task due to an article I read a few months back. One blogger used a photo within her post that someone else shot.  Somehow, the owner happened upon the blog post and saw their photo used within the author’s blog, and the unimaginable occurred. The blogger was sued and had to pay the owner of the photo a handsome fee. A simple, “I’m sorry. I had no idea I did anything illegal. I didn’t mean any harm.” just didn’t do.

 

As an author who loves to include photos within my blog posts, I thought, Oh no! I never want this sort of thing to happen to me, so I stopped using photos that aren’t mine, including photos from Ficklr, which I have been told was safe to use. Now, I’m about the business of making my own collage of photos just for my blogging task. If I’ve taken the photos myself, I own the photos, right? Just long as I’m not taking pictures of someone’s child without their permission, I should be okay, at least I hope so.

 

Just today while visiting my Mom, I thought to take a picture of her new watermelon patch, a small spot she captured in her back yard for growing her very own watermelon. Whoever thought? At least I never at had inkling my Mom would ever do this. This was especially interesting to me for two reasons: (1) My Mom usually keeps a very neat and well-manicured lawn (as you can see this small area isn’t very pretty) (2) I’ve never seen anything like this before in my life — a real watermelon patch growing by my very own Mom right in her backyard, or any place for that matter.

 

My Mom’s Small Watermelon Patch

 

This one is the length of my hand.

 

This one is about the length of my foot (size 71/2).

 

Although I’m taking many different photos for the purpose of fulfilling this one goal, I’m truly enjoying myself and love how my collage of photos is developing.

 

I hope you will come back again soon to read more of my blog posts, and enjoy more of my very own shots that I’ll include to spice thing up a bit.

 

Photo   Oh and by the way, here is side view photo of my beautiful Mom.  This shot was taken last winter as she shopped at a furniture store. Perhaps I’ll capture one of her later on fiddling around in her watermelon patch.

 

 

 

A Grieving Dog

Going on trips with my family is so much fun! The excitement leading up to the days, packing and talking about what we might “get into” once we reach our destination only adds to the fun and anticipation, but what about our dear pets?  Once we reach our destination, do we think about our furry friends left behind with strangers (or in my most recent case my sister) between our fun and laughter?

 

Photo   Photo   Photo  Photo

For me, preparing vacations is a grueling task because I worry about the pets. I begin thinking about who will take care of all three of them. The cats: Chase and Patch and our dog: Floppy. I’m not as worried about Chase and Patch as much as I am Floppy, however. Any time we’ve had the Vet to board Floppy he wouldn’t eat and is miserably unhappy. I mean, going without food for 5 nights at a time worries me. It was reported by the Vet he actually did this about 3 years ago when we journeyed to Florida for a Disney World trip. It doesn’t seem to matter that the cats are placed near him for familiarity, or that he brings along his favorite toys or snacks, and as far as I know is taken care of quite well, the outcome is always the same.

 

Well, on our most recent trip to Corpus Christi/South Padre Island (only gone two nights, mind you) I just couldn’t bear to board him, so I asked my sister to “camp out” at our house and take care of our pets since she is very comfortable and familiar with all three pets, but especially Floppy since she helped us crate him. Since my husband and I both worked at the time he came into our lives and of course my daughter was quite young and is school-aged, my sister came in at noon each day for several weeks. She ensured that he “did his business” fed him quite well (giving him special treats along the way), played and loved on him. She literally spoiled him. He gets very excited when she comes over to visit, so she was the perfect person to care for him in our absence. When I contacted my sister, she was happy to take on the role as our pet’s caretaker for two nights, plus she had the entire house to herself, and was welcome to anything she saw and/or needed, so we were all satisfied and relieved. We were set, right?

 

Upon our return, I was shocked to learn from my sister Floppy was actually in misery most of the time. She actually watched him walk from room to room appearing to look for us, but at least he did eat while in her care. She fed him lots of cheese and deli meats between meals ):

 

I have noticed however, even after being home one full week, I can’t turn for Floppy. I’ve almost tripped over his little body three times because he is my new shadow. He walks behind me all day long no matter where I go and he wants to sit in my lap all day. At times when I look down he’s peering up at me, and whenever I’m at the computer or kitchen table he’s nestled next to my feet. My husband and daughter have noticed his actions, too. I suppose our dear dog thought we’d left him for good. Poor baby! I’ve had to reassure him all week long that’ll never happen as much as I am able.

 

I suppose pets are very sensitive and grieve just as we do. I’ve spent time this week letting him realize that he is just as important to me and I am to him.

 

Here is my big boy now:  He’s finally getting back to his normal self.

A Marketing Plan That Just Might Work This Time

Book TrailerLately, I’ve spent time pondering with an attempt for determining the best way to market my books because as all authors realize, writing the book is the easiest part. Then, comes the marketing. What a trip! And I almost mean this literally. I’ve tried one avenue after another, spent lots of time, effort and money on one plan or another. I realize spending time with one well-thought-out plan is strategically fundamental for gauging value and worth of an approach, but patience is a virtue. We each want instant gratification, exposure and most of all book sales.

 

Spending time learning what others have done and/or are doing is worth it all right, but what works for some may not work for others, so I’ve continued to read, and search until with the help of others, I’ve lucked upon something I think may work this time.

 

Here is what I mean:

Targeted audiences: It is highly important for authors to take valued time identifying their targeted audiences. This doesn’t only mean who, but where. Demographics are equally important in this marketing affair. This means authors must know what cities/states to send their marketing information. This all depends on the author’s platform topics. For example, my platform topics center on Diversity and Bullying issues, so I had to research cities who are accepting of multicultural awareness, multiracial/biracial children and family unions, and the like.

 

In addition, what I’ve learned from a trusted source here lately is less is best, but less doesn’t mean skimpy. Less means putting power within the packaging and streamlining with as much ‘bang” as possible, so instead of stuffing my envelopes with “everything but the kitchen sink” I’ve minimized with these three essential forms.

 

(1) Cover Letter

Within my cover letter I talk about my platform topics and why I do what I do. This gives the reader an idea of what drives me and my writing. My cover letter is addressed like this:

C/o Managers/Administrators

This way, I have only one cover letter and I don’t have to navigate between too many forms.

 

(2) Introduction to the Book

Although I’ve authored more than one book, I take turns sending out information on each book. This way, I’m focused on one book giving it its due credence, love and attention. Who knows, if the viewer is interested, they’ll take a look at my website and order my other books.

I have one of these for each of my children’s books.

 

(3) About the Author

Here, I tell the viewer about ME. Believe it or not, readers are extremely curious about the writer of books they read. I not only talk about my credentials, but I give them a small glimpse into my personal life, and move on to a small spill about my passion for storyline of my work (books)

I only need one Author Bio for all books, right?

 

Note:

By only including these three forms, it also saves on postage, doesn’t take a lot of the viewer’s time, and helps me remain succinct and organized in my planning.

 

So, Who Receives my Envelopes?

 

Blue Ribbon Schools

Principals or Counselors

Bookstores

CRNs/Managers

Libraries

Lead Librarians

Toy Stores (on occasion)

 

Additional Note:

Each city/state has all four entities, so you’ll have a wealth of people to send your marketing information to.

 

Will It Work?

Now, let’s see how this plan of action works. I’ll keep you posted on my FB and Twitter pages. I hope we’re friends so you’ll be able to see my updates and progress. I remain positive, upbeat and hopeful about this strategic marketing plan.

 

 

Fatherhood: What Does it Really Mean? – Author, Philippe Matthews, Tells Us

Four Fathers book coverWhat does the word father mean to you? What qualities does a great father possess? Does bringing a child into this world constitute such a noble name?

 

Well, according to author Philippe Matthews, being crowned a father means so much more than that.

 

Take a closer look at the synopsis of Matthew’s newly released book: My Four Fathers: Personal Virtual Interviews with the World’s Greatest Motivators Who Inspired a Fatherless Son!”

 

Synopsis:

Growing up without a father to guide you throughout the trials and tribulations of life is surely a difficult experience. However, this doesn’t mean that you couldn’t find other father figures who can guide you and mold you into the person you want to become. They could be a teacher you have in school, your neighbor or even an uncle.

 

This is what “My Four Fathers: personal Virtual Interviews with the World’s Greatest Motivators Who Inspired a Fatherless Son!” is all about. It’s all about finding a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s about not having to be depressed over not having a real-life father to guide you and support you. Rather, the book shows you that you can find inspiration and call certain figures your father even if they aren’t a member of your immediate family.

 

My Four Fathers is filled with interviews featuring four of the most recognized motivational speakers in the whole world. In the book, you’ll find conversations with Zig Ziglar, Les Brown, Brian Tracy and Dr. Denis Waitley.

 

Through this book, you will find that inspiration can come from anyone. And in this case, it came from four motivational speakers who served as a guiding light for a young man who grew up without a father. This book shows that the power of positive reinforcement received by fatherless children throughout their formative years can help them transform their lives for the better. Whether you’re a fatherless son or a daddyless daughter, you will find wisdom in this book that will inspire you to beat the odds. It will show you that no matter how dire your circumstances are, you can manage through all of it and become someone who didn’t let adversity affect who they want to be.

It shows that life can be impacted in so many good ways through powerful words uttered by men who have made the lives of others so much better.

 ~Author Philippe Matthews

 

I must admit I loved this book and the purpose behind it so strongly I rendered it a 5 star review. Take a closer look!  http://amzn.to/1lna01D

 

To learn more about author, Philippe Matthews:

Philippe “SHOCK” Matthews
Host: The Philippe Matthews Show (TV, Radio, Blog)
www.thepmshow.tv

 

Meet My Main Character

NEW BLOG TOUR 

GET TO KNOW MY MAIN CHARACTER

(A new manuscript in the making)

 

I’d like to thank Micki Peluso, author of …. And the Whippoorwill Sang, for inviting me to participate in the blog tour. Please visit Micki’s BlogSpot at: A Writer’s Journey http://www.mallie1025.blogspot.com/

 

I’ve been asked to respond to the following questions about My Main Character in a Work in Progress.

 

1.      What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?

My main character’s name is Addie Jane. She is a fictional little girl.

 

2.      When and where is the story set?

The story is set in a small, rural neighborhood. Addie Jane spends lots of time at her dear Aunt Sadie Mae’s house hanging on the window sill.

 

3.      What should we know about him/her?

Addie Jane is a very smart and determined little girl who believes in doing things for herself. She is a self-starter and is a wonderful problem-solver.

 

4.      What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?

Addie Jane wants so badly to take piano lessons from her dear Aunt Sadie Mae, but the problem is she isn’t very tall. She has short arms and legs due to a medical condition (I don’t want to give too many spoilers here.)

Because of her medical condition, it is very difficult for Addie Jane to reach the piano keys, and her dear Aunt Sadie Mae’s piano is grand all right.

 

5.      What is the personal goal of the character?

Addie Jane has always figured out things because she is a problem solver, but this time she is baffled. How will she make her dream come true and not upset her mother?

 

6.      Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

Yes, there is a working title for this manuscript, but it may change. For now I’ve given it this title: “Mighty Cool Difference.” I’ve also contemplated two more titles: “Mighty” and “Different, but Mighty”. Who knows? I many end up not using either of the three. I do know this: My title must be catchy enough to hold the interest of children in the age group I’m targeting for this book.

 

7.      When can we expect the book to be published?

It is my goal to have this book published in 2015. I’d love to have one book published a year. Of course, goals change and I realize I may have to add a few more “twists and turns” to this storyline to keep it a “page turner” for my young readers.

 

I’d like to invite you to learn more about two more authors, Chris Pederson and David Freeman.

 

Author Bio for Chris Pedersen:

 

Chris and her husband live in the beautiful Sierra foothills in California. With two grown

 

children and three grandchildren, Chris turned her career of writing technical material—

 

from manuals to magazine articles—into writing for children and crafting non-fiction

 

stories from real life. Her picture book, The Prisoner of Carrot Castle, available in a

 

limited print run, is an iPad interactive app with over 40,000 downloads. To find out new

 

books coming, visit the website http://purplecarrotbooks.com

 

Other published work includes: Work and Wag, about dog jobs, in Focus on the Family’s

 

Clubhouse Jr. Magazine, A Saving Transformation, in THE DOG NEXT DOOR by

 

Revell, and Get on the Right Train, in INSPIRE TRUST by Inspire Press.

 

In addition, since conquering cancer with diet, Chris blogs about health, her heart

 

passion, at Healthy Journey Café where she dishes out recipes and tips to achieve

 

optimum wellness.

 

Link to Chris’ blog:

www.purplecarrotbooks.com/blog

 

 

Please meet author, David Freeman(click on the various links and become inspired)

 

Website

LinkedIn
YouTube Trailer
Amazon.com Author’s Page

Rules of Gold: http://amzn.to/NOg3im

Bullies! Where do they come from and how long will they stay?: http://amzn.to/1konGcP

 

Mushroom Tales

With Mushrooms by Connie Robayo & Tales by Dave Freeman

 

Website
YouTube Trailer
FaceBook Author’s Page

Amazon.com Author’s Page

“Learning at Home” by Rhonda Cratty

Hello Followers and Friends!

 

Meet my dynamic friend, Rhonda Cratty. She has written a new book to assist busy parents with educational resources for their children. Take a look at a variety of educational resources.

 

Get to Know Rhonda Cratty

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Living in Colorado I enjoy walking, hiking, and cross country skiing in the mountains. When not writing, I enjoy traveling, cooking, quilting, crocheting, and painting, I included my experiences of 30 years of public school teaching, raising children of my own, and articles written for on-line and hard copy publications -within the pages of Learning at home.

 

What was the most difficult part of writing your book?

Deciding what to leave out, I finally decided there would need to be a second book.

 

What are you working on now?

I currently am working on the second in the Learning at home series and a children’s book.

 

What blogs do you belong to and are they blogs that support you book. What is the address to your book? 

I am the Parenting and Education Examiner at http://www.examiner.com/parenting-and-education-in-national/rhonda-cratty. The address for my book is:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/1494917203.

 

When did you join PnPAuthor?

I just joined PnP this spring.  Not only are they very helpful but I am starting to connect with other authors.

 

When did you write your first book? What lead you to do so?

I spent 30 years gathering information for my book and last year writing it.  What I learned in countless parent/teacher conferences is all parents are busy. Both working and stay at home parents want information of ways to help their children at their fingertips. So I wrote Learning at Home as a resource for all parents to find ideas, homework help, lists of books, recipes, and more.

 

Do give parents talking points on the topics to help them share information with their children?

Yes, for example  on October #2 I have exactly how to talk about your thinking to lead your child to higher order thinking, and then conversation starters.

 

Do the activities need supplies? If so do you have a supply list for the activities to make it easier for parents?

I do provide the supply lists, however…the reason for the picture on the cover is to show parents that parents can things use things they have around the house.

 

Is there a list of book titles with authors that parents could support the themes with?

All throughout the book are lists of books on all subjects.

 

When talking to parents what do you tell them is the biggest benefit of “Learning at Home”?

Learning at home by Rhonda Cratty is a new parent resource, filled with ideas to help children become the best they can be. Daily activities for family fun, that make subjects become more than pencil and paper, moving learning into everyday life.

 

Learning at home can be purchased in print or eBook form through Amazon.comhttps://www.createspace.com/4605718 http://www.amazon.com/dp/1494917203

 

Learn more about Rhonda at her website: http://famfunlearn.com/

“Learning at Home” by Rhonda Cratty

Hello Followers and Friends!

 

Meet my dynamic friend, Rhonda Cratty. She has written a new book to assist busy parents with educational resources for their children. Take a look at a variety of educational resources.

 

Get to Know Rhonda Cratty

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Living in Colorado I enjoy walking, hiking, and cross country skiing in the mountains. When not writing, I enjoy traveling, cooking, quilting, crocheting, and painting, I included my experiences of 30 years of public school teaching, raising children of my own, and articles written for on-line and hard copy publications -within the pages of Learning at home.

Rhonda in Colorado

 

 

 

 

 

 

What was the most difficult part of writing your book?

Deciding what to leave out, I finally decided there would need to be a second book.

 

What are you working on now?

I currently am working on the second in the Learning at home series and a children’s book.

 

What blogs do you belong to and are they blogs that support you book. What is the address to your book? 

I am the Parenting and Education Examiner at http://www.examiner.com/parenting-and-education-in-national/rhonda-cratty. The address for my book is:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/1494917203.

 

When did you join PnPAuthor?

I just joined PnP this spring.  Not only are they very helpful but I am starting to connect with other authors.

 

When did you write your first book? What lead you to do so?

I spent 30 years gathering information for my book and last year writing it.  What I learned in countless parent/teacher conferences is all parents are busy. Both working and stay at home parents want information of ways to help their children at their fingertips. So I wrote Learning at Home as a resource for all parents to find ideas, homework help, lists of books, recipes, and more.

 

Do give parents talking points on the topics to help them share information with their children?

Yes, for example  on October #2 I have exactly how to talk about your thinking to lead your child to higher order thinking, and then conversation starters.

 

Do the activities need supplies? If so do you have a supply list for the activities to make it easier for parents?

I do provide the supply lists, however…the reason for the picture on the cover is to show parents that parents can things use things they have around the house.

 

Is there a list of book titles with authors that parents could support the themes with?

All throughout the book are lists of books on all subjects.

 

When talking to parents what do you tell them is the biggest benefit of “Learning at Home”?

Learning at home by Rhonda Cratty is a new parent resource, filled with ideas to help children become the best they can be. Daily activities for family fun, that make subjects become more than pencil and paper, moving learning into everyday life.

 

Learning at home can be purchased in print or eBook form through Amazon.comhttps://www.createspace.com/4605718 http://www.amazon.com/dp/1494917203

 

Rhonda's Book Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learn more about Rhonda at her website: http://famfunlearn.com/

 

 

Deep-Seated Empowerment and Over-turning Bullying

 

Vasquez_cover3

 

I have been writing here lately endeavoring to add more books to Books That Sow: Strength, Character & Diversity, DBA.

 

My platform topics center on Diversity and Bullying issues, and I chose these topics due to my love for children and my passion to see them aspire to become while whole heartedly believing in themselves.

 

You see, it’s imperative to instill a sense of purpose within our children. I’ve said so many times that we can certainly do this all too well just by teaching them how to self-affirm while we shower them with positive, uplifting affirmations and self-fulfilling prophecy techniques.

 

Each child has value and unique characteristics. They may need to have someone point these out to them, or assist with shaping and molding them, but the reality is it’s there. We just have to help them tap into it.

Too, if we are effective in our mission, perhaps more children won’t feel isolated; feel like taking their lives and less likely to become targets of bullies. Instilling deep-seated empowerment within is crucial now-a-days and can be an effective pivotal point for dismantling low self-esteem or low self-worth in our children.

 

As parents we can work on these skills at home, and our teachers and administrators can take the torch over once our children are in their hands. Perhaps short social skills lessons will help.

 

What can you do to help with this undertaking?  What ideas do you have? 

 

It will take all of us.

My Writing Process

My Writing Process – Diversity and Bullying Issues

 

I was invited by Trish Jackson to take part in this Writing Process blog tour. Trish is a romance suspense writer who usually focuses on small towns and country folk, and her pets. Her stories are often set in Africa. Her book, Capricorn Cravings was released in February 2014. Here’s a link to her books on amazon.com

 

What am I working on?

Multicultural is my genre and my platform topics center on Diversity and Bullying issues. My children’s chapter book, Clique, Clique, STOP geared for ages 9-12 was released February 2014 by Tate Publishing and Enterprises, LLC. This isn’t my first children’s chapter book as Tate Publishing also helped me publish “No Tildes on Tuesday” in December 2010.

My latest book, “Teacher, Teacher, Can’t You See?” is currently going through production, and should be released very soon. This is the first of my books on bullying (with more to come) and has been told in rhyme by a male protagonist who just wants the teacher to stop, look and listen to his plea for help from the class bully, Johnny. Johnny was once his friend, but now he’s changed and acts really mad. What will the teacher do?

Currently, I’m working on two more manuscripts. One will focus on multicultural awareness and the true origin of piñatas told by a little girl who has always had a piñata hanging from the old oak tree in her backyard at each of her birthday parties for as long as she can remember, and the other manuscript’s storyline will focus on a child with (what some few may term as) a disability, but I’d rather term it as a medical condition caused by abnormal growth. Oops! Spoiler alert! I’ll pause here.

 

How does my work differ from others of the same genre?

I am not sure if my work differs from others of the same genre, but the book that I’m currently working on will feature a female protagonist with a medical condition that I’ve not found in books for young children. It will depict and highlight difference and diversity in a very strong and positive way featuring the positives things she benefits from even with her medical condition. This way, I’m able to distract from a negative picturesque viewpoint of her young progressive and positive life. My goal is to highlight “feel goods” within the text of this book.

 

Why do I write what I do?

I love children and l hate to see them trampled on. We have far too many children who possess low self-esteem and poor self-images of themselves. It tears at my heart strings because I believe in bestowing deep-seated empowerment within children. Regardless of their circumstances, we can find valued uniqueness in each child.

 

How does your writing process work?

Usually, my thoughts come to be late at night when my mind is clear and refreshed, but just before slumbering. I love the peace and serenity of early mornings, so once I’m awake I fee; energized to map out what I had in mind the night before, and rethink my storyline and plotting. I begin however, with pencil, paper and a warm cup of tea or my favorite brand of healthy coffee beside me sipping as I go along.

Once I sketch out what I have in mind, I ask myself if it might be of interest to a child. If so, who might my audience entail? Once I’ve mapped out the favored details, I am ready to input my draft work onto the computer.

For me, writing is relaxing. I get very excited thinking about how my work may impact children.

 

Here is the link to my books on Amazon and my website

 

Below is a fantastic author who agreed to follow me on this tour:

Deborah Brucks

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Deborah-Brucks-Author-Page/330111627099634?ref=hl

 

Others who have participated:

Kathryn Elizabeth Jones

Sally Carpenter

Stefan Vucak 

Renee Novelle

Lannah Sawers-Diggins 

Belinda Y. Hughes 

Shannon MacLeod

Trish Jackson

Cherrye S. Vasquez, Ph.D.

 

 

My Child is being bullied? Oh, I Don’t Think So!

Vasquez_cover3Ouch! That hurts! Why did you smack me!? “I’m being bullied again today and this is getting serious, but who will help me?”

Bullying is no joke, and it’s no dress rehearsal. Bullying is real and children who choose to exhibit these behaviors are not backing down without intervention. To answer this child’s question – YOU will help him/her.

Because we realize bullying behaviors occur daily in our nation’s schools, we must stop, look and listen to our children and deal with the pressures that these annoying behaviors pose on their lives.

Parents, school officials, and legislators, we have a huge responsibility, so we must do ALL that we can to help our children, but not just the child being bullied. We must also reach out to the child bully, and we can.

Let me ask these questions

As a parent, are you aware of anti-bullying laws and policies in place at your child’s school? If so, how are these policies being enforced? If not, have you voiced your concerns and/or asked to work closely with school officials in hope to create anti-bullying procedures at your child’s school? Do you know if school officials at your child’s school are clear about what actually constitutes bullying behaviors? If not, what are you waiting for?

School officials, have you written anti-bullying policies and campus plan of action? Have you disseminated your plan to parents? Are your main stakeholders (students) feeling comfortable and safe in the school setting? I hope so, because it’s your duty to ensure these policies are not only in place, but acted upon consistently and proficiently each school day.

In some cases, there are concerns about what constitutes bullying behaviors verses normal play, or friendly horsing around. Remember, bullying behaviors are intentional and are repeated acts over time. The child bully intends to pose harm, and he/she does not plan on stopping. I know that you have these concerns too, so I’ll define what bullying is and what it looks like.

Bullying Defined

Repeated acts of:

Verbal (name calling, teasing, insulting, or threatening)

Physical (hitting, kicking, scratching, pushing, stealing, hiding/destroying someone else’s property)

Social (refusing to talk to or play with someone, purposefully excluding someone)

Cyber (using electronics such as computer to write mean, demeaning messages about someone)

Religious (individuals who use religion as a weapon in order to gain power while trying to make people do things their way, or believe in their religious tactics. These individuals may also quote the bible, but most times do not follow the teachings of the bible).

Signs of being bullied: Be Watchful

Bullying younger siblings/cousins – taking his/her frustration out on others

Sudden moodiness

Emotional – Crying/Whining

Poor eating habits or asking to eat as soon as he/she gets home – bully takes lunch or lunch money

Depression

Torn clothes or mysterious bruises/scratches

Isolating self from others – appearing lonely

A change in grades – poor grades

A sudden dislike for school

Exhibiting unfounded anxiety

Low self-esteem

Complaint of sick feelings – stomach aches, headaches

Asking not to go to school

Signs of threats or suicide

If you have reason to believe that your child is being bullied

Stop, Look & Listen – Take Action NOW

Talk to your child. Ask him/her about their school day. Ask if there is anything that you should know. Whatever you are doing or plan to do, stop! Your child must trust that you will drop whatever you are doing to see him/her through this crisis. Your child needs to know that you are listening to him/her; you hear their frustration and the pain they’re experiencing. You may want to repeat what you heard them say to you, thereby acknowledging that you are really listening. Let your child know that you will be there for them “at all costs.”

Documentation

Get the story as clearly as possible from your child and document everything from your child’s version of the bullying incidents to every conversation you have with school officials. Be sure to write things down as soon as an occurrence arises or a conversation happens. This way, incidents are still fresh in your child’s mind. You may want to keep documentation separated by tabs in a tablet or a notebook to maintain a distinct record of each person’s story. It will be important to keep your child’s version separate from a school official’s so that messages don’t end up overlapping, getting accidentally mixed-up or combined.

Have other students been affected by the bully or bullies who are attacking your child? If so, what are their names? Were there any witnesses to the incidents? If so, what are their names? Does your child remember which class the other students are enrolled in? Can your child point them out? Encourage school officials to interview other children who may have been bullied.

Use dates, times and settings in your documentation. Did the incident happen in the cafeteria, classroom, or playground? Detailed documentation will not only help school officials target bullying incidents, but it will also give school officials an indication of how best to resolve issues as they examine antecedents (causes/variables that may have prompted the bully to react inappropriately), so that changes and individually tailored support plans can be implemented.

You might try color-coding verbal vs. behavioral actions just to make sharing information more succinct and organized.

Approach school staff immediately

Bullying will not just stop on its own. Don’t be afraid to approach school administrators.

You might find that some school officials and administrators may be territorial and believe that they are the educational experts, and you are “just a parent.”

Since you are your child’s greatest advocate, here are a few ideas about how to approach the issue of your child being bullied while working collaboratively with school officials:

Do your research. You can assist school leaders with ideas of how to bully shield and bully proof the school that your child attends.

Approach the school leaders as if you are on their side. Do what you can to avoid creating an adversarial relationship between you and the people who have the power to help stop what is happening.

Let the school leaders know that you are not only concerned about your child, but all children enrolled at the school. This will soften your approach thereby giving you greater lead-in for support and next steps.

Begin speaking to the school counselor before working your way up the organizational chart – Test the water, first.

When my own child was bullied at school, I spoke to the school principal directly. Due to budget cuts, this particular school had no assigned counselor. I approached the situation as a concern for the other child as well as my very own child. I said, “Perhaps this young girl is having personal problems in her home-life that’s making her feel angry.” Other times I would say, “Sounds like this child wants to take charge and is a bit bossy. Perhaps she can be shown how to use her leadership skills in a more positive and productive manner.” By using this approach with the school principal, I believe that I softened the conversation, thereby gaining the principal’s attention. It appeared that she was more willing to hear me.

But, there are times when the school will not help. Now What?

Before I address this problem, I want to urge parents to always gather as much information about your school the first week or two of the new school year. This is the time when the climate is still warm and friendly, and stress levels aren’t heightened due to the pressures of trying to keep up with everyday school life. Know the district level office organizational chart and levels of administration assigned to your child’s campus. Attempt to retrieve their contact information such as names, email addresses, voice mail, and telephone numbers, and perhaps location of their office – This is last resort. Never show up without an appointment.

When your child’s school will not listen to you or help you through a bullying crisis, and you know that you have done your part, you have spoken to the classroom teacher, school counselor, assistant principal and principal if circumstances have taken you this far, you should contact central office staff and speak to your child’s school assigned area superintendent.

Share your concerns and let this individual know that you have tried to work collaboratively with school officials at the campus level of your child’s school. Trust me – Now that bullying has gained national attention, there is no doubt this person will be all ears.

There are approximately 48 states that have laws mandating anti-bullying programs and services in schools, but some schools have been slow in implementing the programs.

Be sure that you know the anti-bullying laws of your state (Bully Police, USA has a state by state listing of anti-bullying legislation). Be ready and able to recite the Senate Bill and House Bill laws associated with the bully’s offense. For example, if you live in Texas and your child is experiencing sexual harassment issues at school, and no one will address the issue, share your knowledge of SB 471 and HB 194. If you do this, everyone will know that you mean business!

When to call a lawyer

If you have gone through all the recommended steps above, more than likely you will not have to call a lawyer; however there may be times when your story will land on “deaf ears.” If no one will listen to you, or if everyone has listened to you and they have chosen not to intervene, there is no more time to waste. You will want to get legal advice immediately. Time is of the essence and the safety of your child is paramount!

Focus on your child

Remember, there are effective steps that you can take as your child’s anti-bullying advocate. Consider the fact that bullying related suicides are real.

STOP whatever you’re doing and act quickly on your child’s behalf. Our children count on us to help them during crisis. This is not the time to put ANYTHING else before your child. Show your child that they can trust and count on you.

About the author

Author Cherrye Vasquez has a Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction; a Master of Ed in Special Education; and a BA in Speech Pathology/Audiology. Vasquez specializes in Multi-cultural education and holds certifications in Early Childhood Handicapped, Mid-Management and Educational Diagnostician.

Vasquez is passionate about empowering children, so her platform centers on diversity and bullying issues. She feels strongly that if children are empowered and armed with the tools needed for a deep love of self and self-identity, they will be able to withstand life’s challenges, including bullies.

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