St. Thomas Aquinas - Keep it Sweet


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St. Thomas Aquinas - Keep it Sweet

  1. 1. St. Thomas Aquinas “Keep It Sweet” DEFINITION OF GOSSIP  Gossip- casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true.  “Words can be quite hurtful, and can cause tremendous heartache and problems for those victimized by this form of bullying. Yes, gossip is simply another form of bullying.”(  Today’s schools would benefit strongly from establishing and enforcing a zero tolerance policy on bullying of any kind within the building. It is essential, then, for schools and teachers to be as proactive as possible about the presence of gossip amongst their students. Background Information  In the course of developing friendships, many adolescent girls will belong to a number of social groups or cliques as they move through school.  Transitioning from group to group may carry problems including other group members' envy or jealousy. This can result in an amazing amount of gossiping and other forms of indirect bullying.  Another source of gossiping can come in breaking the implied rules of the clique.  In the United States, bullying among children and teenagers has often been dismissed as a normal part of growing up.  Bullying includes a wide variety of behaviors, but all involve a person or a group repeatedly trying to harm someone who is weaker or more vulnerable. It can involve direct attacks (such as hitting, threatening or intimidating, maliciously teasing and taunting, name-calling, making sexual remarks, and stealing or damaging belongings) or more subtle, indirect attacks (such as spreading rumors or encouraging others to reject or exclude someone).  “Gossip has long been considered a normal part of a teenager’s life. At its best, gossip may only be one person passing on personal information about someone else. But at its worst, gossip can be a malicious form of slander and accusation that can injure a teen’s self-esteem. With the advent of the Internet and cell phones, gossip has become far more socially and emotionally damaging for many teens.”(Global  “There is now an increasing awareness of indirect bullying by girls in particular. This can consist of passing rumors or lies about another person, either in person or via cell phones or the Internet. This can have a profoundly negative effect on a
  2. 2. St. Thomas Aquinas “Keep It Sweet” teen’s mental and emotional health and social development, according to Bullying Statistics.”( Emotional problems with gossiping and bullying:  Gossip becomes emotional bullying when teens intentionally use it to socially isolate a fellow student, leaving her alone and often depressed about being excluded. This can be difficult for teens to cope with, as they are particularly sensitive to what their peers think of them. The simple act of eating lunch alone can become a traumatic event when a teen is aware that others are discussing and intentionally excluding her. Effects of gossip…  Gossip can become a form of indirect or emotional bullying.  Gossip can be a malicious form of slander and accusation that can injure a teen’s self-esteem.  Gossip as cyber bullying has led to depression for many teens and in some cases, suicide, says Bullying Statistics.  There is now an increasing awareness of indirect bullying by girls in particular. This can consist of passing rumors or lies about another person, either in person or via cell phones or the Internet. What causes low self-esteem?  systematic punishment, neglect or abuse  failing to meet parental standards  failing to meet peer-group standards  being on the receiving end of other people's stress or distress.  belonging to a family or social group that other people are prejudiced towards  an absence of praise, warmth, affection or interest  being the odd one out, at home or at school. Why do people gossip?--  People fear the unknown. If people don’t have information that they want, they fear the unknown and will try to garner it from others – especially if that information appears to be hidden. This is why closed door conversations are so detrimental.  People want to belong and be included. If people believe they don’t have information that others have, they will feel excluded and on the outside of the “inner circle.” Information is power. Everyone wants to be part of the team, to
  3. 3. St. Thomas Aquinas “Keep It Sweet” be included and the easiest way to identify those who are part of a tribe are those who are “in the know.”  People crave intimacy and a sense of connection. I would suggest that because of the rampant pace we live at and the lack of real deal authentic communication with one another, many people crave a sense of genuine human connection and intimacy. Gossip is one of the quickest and easiest ways to connect with another human being. The secrecy, forbidden and exclusive nature of confiding in someone something that’s a bit subversive or judgmental is social super glue. Through the veneer of momentary vulnerability and trust, the two are bonded. Unfortunately gossip is a very sloppy second to real, meaningful connection.  People want to work with people they think of as peers. Meaning, if someone isn’t carrying their own weight, isn’t competent or capable enough to do their job or simply isn’t a good culture fit, then there will be gossip. Rather than being a “nark,” employees will talk both about said individual and leadership’s lack of awareness/action. And they will talk often. The longer said individual goes unaddressed, the louder and more embedded the gossip becomes. Sites Consulted: VIDEO Alternatives: 1. Journaling 2. Stand UP 3. Speak UP Pros of Alternatives:  Journaling: The situation is not escalated among your peers leading to more trouble. In addition, your feelings are expressed without causing more gossiping to occur among your own friends.  Stand Up: The problem is brought to attention and possibly resolved. Others will see you as a positive example and support you in that moment, and possibly stand up to gossiping later on.  Speak Up: The person who is gossiping will hopefully see that their words have been hurtful and see the errors of their ways, thus leading to the problem being solved.
  4. 4. St. Thomas Aquinas “Keep It Sweet” Cons of Alternatives:  Journaling: While you might be able to feel better about the situation, the problem is still not resolved, and people do not see that gossiping is hurtful to everyone  Stand Up and Speak Up: These alternatives could lead to situations escalating, more people brought into the problem, and possibly nothing getting resolved and allowing more gossiping to occur in anger.  Gossip is the number on reason for low self-esteem in middle school and high school aged girls Action Plan: 1. Make a skit to show younger students what gossip looks like and the damaging effect it has on students. 2. Have students in the school sign a pledge to not gossip about others. 3. The pledge will remain in the hallway of the school as a reminder not to gossip. 4. When students sign the pledge, pass out heart lollipops to remind them that everything that comes out of their mouths should be “sweet”. Related Information: 10 Tips About Bullying and Harassment 1. Talk about bullying with your kids. 2. Make sure that there is at least one meal a day when you and your family meet and talk. In addition, enjoy a break from the TV, phone and computer. 3. Get to know your children's friends. Meet the parents of your child's friends. 4. Plan times where your child has time to talk with other trusted adults. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, older relatives or friends can be important mentors to children. 5. Take your child to the library or bookstore to explore books on keeping safe and making good friends.
  5. 5. St. Thomas Aquinas “Keep It Sweet” 6. Meet with your child's teachers if your child faces problems with bullying at school. 7. Explore the Let's Talk Activity Booklet and discuss your family rules about bullying. 8. If your child is having problems bullying, report it to the school counsellor, principal or teacher. 9. Many TV and Web programs promote violence. Talk about how people can solve problems without bullying or becoming violent. 10. Know that kids are closely watching every adult in the home to see if bullying is OK. Work to make sure that adults model respect in your home. There are ten ways to stop a bully 1. Put on a brave face 2. Have a friend around 3. Avoid the bully 4. Ignore bullies 5. Confront the bully 6. Report the bullying 7. Improve your self-esteem 8. Control your feelings 9. Stand up for yourself when it gets bad 10. Don’t bully back Characteristics of Genuinely Low Self Esteem  Social withdrawal  Anxiety and emotional turmoil  Lack of social skills and self confidence  Depression and/or bouts of sadness  Less social conformity  Eating disorders  Inability to accept compliments  An Inability to see yourself 'squarely' - to be fair to yourself  Accentuating the negative  Exaggerated concern over what you imagine other people think  Self-neglect  Treating yourself badly but NOT other people  Worrying whether you have treated others badly  Reluctance to take on challenges
  6. 6. St. Thomas Aquinas “Keep It Sweet”  Reluctance to put yourself first or anywhere.  Reluctance to trust your own opinion Expecting little out of life for yourself Sites Consulted: esteem/#sthash.Spo3v45g.dpuf Parts of the Presentation at the Summit Background: Dymond and Akyra Action Plan: Isis and Daeja Alternatives: Dayjah B. and Chantaisa