What's Happening in Character?

10 Ways To Raise Kids To Care: Simple Ways Parents Can Help Today’s ME Generation Learn to Be Kind

Posted by Michele Borba on Thu, Jun 1, 2017 @ 09:06 AM

Empathy is the ability to identify with and feel for another person. It’s the powerful quality that halts violent and cruel behavior and urges us to treat others kindly. Empathy emerges naturally and quite early, which means our children are born with a huge built-in advantage for success and happiness.

Though children are born with the capacity for empathy, it must be nurtured or it will remain dormant. And there lies the problem: studies show that American teens today are 40 percent less empathetic than they were thirty years ago. That’s a dangerous trend for many reasons. First, it hurts our kids’ academic performance, relationships and can lead to bullying behaviors. Also, it correlates with more cheating and less resilience. And once children grow up, a lack of empathy hampers their ability to collaborate, innovate and problem-solve—all must-have skills for life-long success.

But there’s good news for parents. The latest science shows that empathy can be taught and nurtured. My new book, UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me-World (Simon & Schuster) pinpoints not only the forces causing the empathy crisis but also a framework for parenting that yields the results we all want: successful, happy kids who also are kind, moral, courageous and resilient. Here are ten simple ways that we can teach our kids to care about others and boost their empathy from UnSelfie, which offers over 500 simple ways.

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Topics: Borba Michele, empathy, Kindness,, Parenting

Six Ways Students Can Spread Kindness in Your School

Posted by Michele Borba on Mon, Aug 29, 2016 @ 09:08 AM

Practicing kindness is what helps children tune into other people’s feelings and needs, trust more, step out of their own skins to understand others, and become UnSelfies (“more we, less me” oriented). Each kind act nudges kids to notice others (“I see how you feel”). Care (“I’m concerned about you”), empathize (“I feel with you”) and help and comfort (“Let me ease your pain”). And helping students practice kindness also activates empathy. That’s why I named “Practicing Kindness” as the sixth essential habit of empathy.

 Over the last years, I’ve observed countless classrooms around the world as I was researching ways to nurture children’s empathy. Here are a few favorite ways educators help students practice kindness and acquire empathy from my book, UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World. (I’ve included over 300 practical ways based on the latest science, and none cost a dime and are simple to implement).


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Topics: Kindness,, empathy, Borba Michele, Michele Borba

School Safety Summit Recap: Part 1

Posted by Rob McManamy on Fri, Nov 8, 2013 @ 07:11 AM

Part 1 of a blog reporting on CEP’s 2013 National School Safety Summit on Oct. 24. The summit included presentations and discussions which largely fell into two broad categories: preventing violence with improved school climate and engagement, and crisis management responses to active situations of violence. Look for the second part on crisis management and active shooter situations in coming days.

School safety promoted by engaging students, parents and promoting dialogue

Meeting in the wake of yet another school shooting—this one in Sparks, NV—speakers and attendees at CEP’s first-ever School Safety Summit Oct. 24 in Washington, D.C., rallied around the ideas of  greater student engagement, wider community involvement and more robust support from the federal government.

Dr. Michele Borba, the first speaker at the summit, said school safety is not only about preparing for a crisis—it’s about creating a safe school climate where bullying is reduced and students trust faculty and staff. Since most school shooters tell someone (usually a peer) before the event, creating trusting relationships with adults and mechanisms for students to anonymously report threats can make huge strides in preventing a tragedy.

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Topics: character education, school climate, school safety, Borba Michele, school shootings

How to Wean Kids from TV and Video Games and Back into L.I.F.E.

Posted by Michele Borba on Sat, Aug 3, 2013 @ 10:08 AM

Noted psychologist and parenting expert Michele Borba serves on CEP's Board of Directors and shares  her blogs with us. To read more check out her home page. Follow her on Twitter @micheleborba.

The majority of parents admit their kids are in front of that TV more than they’d like, but with summer here that could pose a special problem: How to get the kiddos off the couch so they experience something other than TV these next months.

Beware: it’s easy for kids (and us) to fall into the additive habit of spending too much time in front of the boob tube. But there are dangers to our children’s emotional, physical, cognitive, and social development that we should consider. The fact is the more kids watch TV, the more time is lost
for nurturing creativity, learning sports or hobbies, reading and expanding their knowledge, playing in the great outdoors, practicing social skills, or just finding ways to entertain and enjoy themselves. Those key “Family connecting moments” are lost, as are other crucial life lessons and just experiencing those lazy, hazy crazy days of summer.

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Topics: character, character education, parent involvement, family, technology, Borba Michele

How to Talk to Kids About the Newtown School Shooting

Posted by Michele Borba on Mon, Dec 17, 2012 @ 11:12 AM

The senseless school shooting that happened Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the small town of Newtown, Connecticut is every parent’s nightmare. My heart breaks, as I’m sure yours does, when I think about these families. As of this moment [written 12/14/12] 28 people, 20 of whom were children between four and ten years of age, have died. All of us-including our children-are trying to make sense of the unimaginable. If you’re a parent or a teacher you may be wondering how to talk about this tragedy with your children. Here are a few tips I hope will help you have a most difficult but necessary conversation. Gauge these pointers to the age and maturity of your child.

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Topics: Michele Borba, family, school shooting, school safety, Borba Michele

Nurturing an Attitude of Gratitude in Kids

Posted by Michele Borba on Tue, Nov 20, 2012 @ 09:11 AM

There’s something about the Thanksgiving season that tunes up my “reflective switch” and makes me think a bit more about our children. I worry that over the years we’ve removed ourselves a bit as a society from the real meaning of this glorious holiday. We’re seeing an upsurge–even in a recession–of kids who are a bit too spoiled, a bit too unappreciative, and a bit more ungrateful for all the good things life has to offer.

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Topics: Michele Borba, key lessons, family, teachable moments, Borba Michele

Michele Borba's Essential 6 R’s of Bullying Prevention

Posted by Adam Williams on Fri, Nov 2, 2012 @ 17:11 PM


Internationally recognized expert and author Michele Borba gave attendees a tour-de-force of the critical components of effective bullying prevention. Most people don’t realize what an issue bullying is in the United States, but a few statistics make it clear that we have an epidemic. Today, 1 in 3 US students are bullied. Rates are similarly high and rising internationally, where 1 in 5 students is bullied. The problem is so bad that the US National School Safety Center has stated that bullying is “the most enduring and underrated problem in American schools.” 

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Topics: character, bullying advice, Forum Speakers, Michele Borba, cyberbullying, CEP2012, Borba Michele

Help for Parents: 18 Tips to Protect Your Teen from Cyber-bullies

Posted by Michele Borba on Tue, Sep 18, 2012 @ 14:09 PM

“A number of middle school students—including my daughter–are receiving vicious anonymous e-mails and text messages from peers. The school sent a letter home describing the problem as ‘cyber-bullying.’ What do I do to help my daughter? When do I worry? Do I call the police? HELP please!” - A concerned mother from Omaha, NE

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Topics: Michele Borba, bullying advice, parent involvement, cyberbullying, Borba Michele

7 Surprising Parenting Solutions That Boost Kids’ School Success

Posted by Michele Borba on Tue, Aug 28, 2012 @ 09:08 AM

Academic success impacts our children for the rest of their lives: it influences their self-esteem, college selections, job attainment, financial success, and even their choice of spouse. It’s no wonder we go great lengths to give our kids an academic edge.

But despite our good intentions, we often overlook a few simple strategies that research has proven to impact children’s academic success. Even better, these seven science-backed solutions are things that every parent can do, don’t cost a dime, and they are proven to boost children’s school success.

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Topics: Michele Borba, key lessons, parent involvement, Borba Michele

Bully Prevention: Helping Kids Cool Hot Tempers

Posted by Michele Borba on Tue, Jul 24, 2012 @ 12:07 PM

“I tried to stay calm, but it was too late!”

“I wish I could tell when I’m about to explode.”

“Don’t keep telling me I’m going to lose all my friends because of my temper. I can’t help it.”

Your child may be more excitable or passionate by nature, but sometimes this emotional temperament can get out of control.

Though you can’t change your kid’s basic personality, you can teach him some strategies and skills to help him get along and handle intense feelings. And there are important reasons to do so.

Let’s face it, hot tempers can cause serious damage in health, relationships, school, life, as well as ruin your kid’s reputation. Unless kids learn ways to recognize their own unique danger signs of control their anger, problems are inevitable. After all, hot-tempered kids are no fun to be around.

New studies show that hot-tempered kids are also more likely to be bullied or be a bully.

All good reasons to work on this issue problem A.S.A.P.  And what better time than during the summer? Here are ways to work on bully prevention and ensure your child keeps his or her cool.

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Topics: Michele Borba, bullying advice, discipline, moral character, family, Borba Michele

9 Sure-Fire Ways to Get Kids Reading

Posted by Michele Borba on Tue, Jun 19, 2012 @ 15:06 PM

REALITY CHECK:Are you aware that kids can lose upward of three months’ worth of reading progress during summer break?

The infamous “summer reading slump” is well documented and shows that learning declines in most kids during these lazy, crazy days, but especially so in reading.

Kent State education professor, Timothy Rasinski, points out that this can mean a loss in a child’s reading achievement of almost one-and-a-half years through sixth grade!

But don’t despair. The reverse is also possible. Reading just a few books before school starts can save kids from a summer reading loss. Studies also show that parents can play a crucial role in curbing that drop, particularly on older kids’ reading attitudes and behaviors.

9 Ways to Help Kids Beat the Summer Reading Slump

Here are nine parenting solutions I shared on the TODAY show to get kids reading, beat the dreaded summer reading slump, and hopefully even rekindle that great love of the printed page.

1. Let them pick. A study by Scholastic found that 89% of kids say their favorite books are the ones that they pick out. Kids also say a big reason they don’t read is that they don’t like what we selected for them. So get your child involved in the selection.

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Topics: Michele Borba, parent involvement, family, Borba Michele

Surprising Ways to Nurture Empathy in Kids

Posted by Michele Borba on Tue, May 22, 2012 @ 11:05 AM

by Michele Borba

REALITY CHECK: Empathy is the moral virtue that helps children “identify with and feel other people’s concerns.” When they do, they are more likely to reach out and respond in more caring, compassionate ways to others. Unlike genetics or appearance or most temperaments, empathy can be cultivated, and research shows that infants are already hard-wired. The best way to nurture empathy is for children to witness or experience it.

So now review the last few days: What has your child done or seen that would stretch — or shrink — his or her empathy growth?

The Power of Experiencing and Witnessing Empathy

Several years ago, our youngest son brought home a note from his teacher asking for parent volunteers to chaperone a class field trip. His teacher, Cindy Hollinger, was encouraging her students to give up their Saturday morning to participate in a race called “Lauren’s Run” sponsored by the City of Hope. The event was held in the memory of Lauren Zagoria, a three-year old child who died from cancer. Her parents, Janis and Marvin Zagoria, founded the event in her memory and honor and were committed to finding the cure for the disease that took their beautiful child from them.

Our local event was held on a large open field. Each racer would pay an entrance fee of a few dollars, and all the profits would go to pediatric cancer research. Volunteering to drive to that event was one of the easiest decisions I’ve made.

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Topics: Michele Borba, moral character, family, role models, Borba Michele

5 Steps to Boost Reliability and Responsibility in Children

Posted by Michele Borba on Tue, May 1, 2012 @ 16:05 PM

Parenting advice to curb irresponsibility, excuses and “blame games” and boost trustworthiness, accountability and kid responsibility

Any of these sound familiar?

“I forgot.”

“Take care of this for me.”

“It wasn’t my fault.”

“I did some of it, but I left it on the bus.”

“I don’t know where I put it.”

They are statements of irresponsible kids and part of a growing trend I call the “Big Brat Factor.” Kids with an irresponsible attitude rarely stop to consider how their actions affect others, and so their attitude is selfish. The world revolves around them, so someone else will—(and should in their minds)–do their jobs, wake them up, find their toys, and replace lost items they “misplaced.” If they do err, they usually never admit their mistakes, apologize, or take ownership. After all, “It’s someone else’s fault.”  In fact, usually everyone but them is responsible for their irresponsibility.

If this attitude isn’t turned around, it will dramatically impact every area in our kids’ present and future lives: academic, moral, professional, emotional and social.

The replacement attitudes of responsibility, trustworthiness, and reliability are essential for our kids’ moral character and future well-being. So let’s get started!

 

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Topics: core values, Michele Borba, family, Borba Michele