Dear Feelings Doctor: My son is in the third grade and he is being bullied! We live in a nice community, and he goes to a great public school. They have assembly meetings about this type of thing and it still happens. He is so young. How can I help him with this? Thank you for helping me.
— Sheila in Santa Barbara
Dear Sheila: Bullying is not a fun thing to deal with, and it will happen even when the school and parents attempt to stop it before it begins. Talk to your son and find out how long it has been going on, who it is and let him know that this type of behavior is not OK. Get the school, teacher and also the other parents involved. This may sound like an extreme response, but if this is stopped and taken care of immediately, it will send signals to the entire school and its students that “bullying is not tolerated” here.
Next, talk to your son and role play different situations, teaching him how to make eye contact and set his boundaries with anyone who he feels is invading his space in a hurtful manner. Boys are tribal and aggressive to a certain extent; this is their innate nature. Crossing over that line and becoming violent is something else all together.
Have the discussion with your son about being brave and sharing this information with you. Others will learn from this, and it will give the students another view of just how to handle uncomfortable things, and that teachers and parents really are there to help.
Dear Feelings Doctor: I am in my late 40s and really want to go back to school. The problem I face is that I am too old and I feel that everyone will make fun of me. What do I do to stop thinking about that stuff and go anyway? Thank you for your advice.
— Brenda in Los Angeles
Dear Brenda: I have a question for you: If you think you are too old now, how old will you be if you don’t go back to school? If there is something you wish to do with your life that excites you, give yourself permission to explore it!
It’s a funny thing, we tend to worry more about what strangers and others will think about us than about the choices we make in life. What do you think about yourself is the real question. I say, “yes” go get ‘em. Talk to a school counselor, get a list of classes that you are interested in, sign up for one or two and take it from there.
There are so many amazing things in the world to explore and experience. It sounds like you are headed for some amazing times. Let yourself go, get started and hold on for the ride!
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Imagine This ...
It’s better to fail in originality than succeed in imitation.
Success is going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.
There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.
Those who lack courage will always find a philosophy to justify it.
The superior man is distressed by his want (lack) of ability.
Some people take no mental exercise apart from jumping to conclusions.
Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you.
What the mind can conceive, the mind can achieve.
Water gratitude and see what grows.