What's Happening in Character?

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: Borba Michele, empathy, Kindness,, Michele Borba

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

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

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, Forum Speakers, CEP2012, Borba Michele, cyberbullying, Michele Borba, bullying advice

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

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

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

4 Safety Rules to Curb Cyber-bullying

Posted by Michele Borba on Tue, Jun 26, 2012 @ 17:06 PM

REALITY CHECK: Did you know that a recent survey found that almost 70 percent of adolescents say the best way for them to be safe online is through education? Are you educating your child how to be safe online?

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

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: parent involvement, family, Borba Michele, Michele Borba

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

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: family, Borba Michele, core values, Michele Borba

Eight Secrets to Raise "Can Do" Kids

Posted by Michele Borba on Tue, Apr 24, 2012 @ 16:04 PM

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Topics: parent involvement, resiliency, Michele Borba

Helping Girls Become Confident Leaders

Posted by Michele Borba on Tue, Mar 20, 2012 @ 15:03 PM

Contributed by Michele Borba

Parenting advice on how to raise strong, confident daughters from the inside out based on research by the Girl Scouts of the USA

What parent doesn’t want his or her daughter to be a leader? After all, that top role – be it debate captain, head cheerleader, newspaper editor, play director, student body president – is deemed the epitome of success. These are the kids whom adults applaud and peers look up to.

Make no mistake, each leadership success is one more step up a ladder, and each rung up the ladder gives girls that needed “edge” to be accepted to their choice college, win that scholarship or lucrative job. But even more important: those positions are the best ways to build our daughters’ character, integrity and confidence. There is some truth to that old “We’ve come a long way, baby” slogan. Our girls have come a long way in overcoming the “'Boys Only’ Leadership Club.”

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Topics: parent involvement, leadership, Michele Borba

19 Signs Your Child Is Being Bullied and What to Do about It

Posted by Michele Borba on Tue, Mar 6, 2012 @ 15:03 PM

Warnings signs that your child is being bullied

If your child is bullied it means that a peer or peers are intentionally causing her or him pain. Peer abuse! Just the thought can send shivers down our spines.

But the fact is 160,000 children skip school every day because they fear being attacked or intimidated by other students. Reports also confirm that bullying is starting at younger ages and is more frequent and aggressive than before. And the cruel behavior increases with age. Chances are your child may be bullied.

Also troubling is that our children don’t always tell us that they have been bullied. I’ve spent many a meeting with kids who were repeatedly victimized and in clear emotional pain.

“Why didn’t you go to a trusted adult for help?” I’d ask.

Their replies were concerning:

“I did tell my mom. She didn’t believe me.”

“I tried to tell, but I got too embarrassed.”

“If I told my dad he would have only made things worse by yelling at the bully.”

“Why bother? The stuff my mom told me to try wouldn’t work.”

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Topics: student voice, Michele Borba, bullying advice

15 Serious Facts about High School Stress

Posted by Michele Borba on Tue, Feb 21, 2012 @ 16:02 PM

Every parent and educator must know these troubling facts about our teens. Each fact is a wake-up call, but together they should mean: “Time for Code Red”

This blog was written by the Bachelor’s Degree Online and published with its permission.

One of the greatest lies ever perpetuated about the teen years is that they’re supposedly “the best years of your life.” Ask any high schooler these days how he or she genuinely feels about this statement and the opposite sentiment might very well end up relayed instead.

Every year, more and more pressures regarding classes, getting into the right college (or deciding if college is even the right choice), families, jobs, extracurricular activities, friends, relationships, and other stimuli just keep burbling away beneath their still-developing forms.

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Topics: testing, what works in education, character education in high school, Michele Borba

38 Parenting Practices That Build Moral Intelligence

Posted by Michele Borba on Tue, Feb 14, 2012 @ 16:02 PM

REALITY CHECK: The family is the first school of virtue.

Even in our increasingly toxic culture, parents can still have the inside track in their children’s development because parents are their children’s first and most important moral teachers. That premise only applies, though, if parents choose to use their moral influence.

Remember, children do not acquire strong character in one-time lectures, but in daily teachable moments. So take advantage of everyday moments to stretch your child’s character and there are dozens!

“You have a new friend in your classroom. How do you think he feels not knowing
anyone? What could you do to help him feel less lonely?”

“Listen to the lyrics on that CD. Do you want others to think girls should be talked
about and treated that way?”

“Was that helpful or hurtful? In our home we only do things that will build people
up – not tear them down. What will you do to make amends to your friend?”

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Topics: family, moral character, Michele Borba

Nurturing Tolerance to Reduce Bullying

Posted by Michele Borba on Wed, Feb 1, 2012 @ 15:02 PM

 

Contributed by Michele Borba

How teaching children tolerance can curb bullying and peer cruelty

REALITY CHECK: Did you know that today’s American youth is displaying intolerant actions at alarming rates – and at younger and younger ages? The FBI tells us most hate crimes are committed by youths younger than nineteen.

Tolerance is a powerful virtue that helps curtail hatred, bullying, violence, and bigotry while at the same time influencing us to treat others with kindness, respect, and understanding.

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Topics: Michele Borba, bullying advice