Archive for July, 2014

Is it best to let the one I am forgiving know that I have done this? I have a friend who gets annoyed with me and says I am too sensitive whenever I let him know that I forgave him for something he did that I think is wrong.

This is a situation that is not as unusual as you might think. My advice is to assess the situation before you proclaim your forgiveness to him or her. You can forgive from the heart and then show this by your actions. You can even strive for a reconciliation without your verbally expressing forgiveness. Of course, reconciliation is best accomplished when the other acknowledges the wrong, you forgive and express this, and the other receives this and changes. Yet, the world is not always so neat and tidy as this. A key issue is this: Your forgiveness is not diminished if you do not verbally proclaim it and if the other does not accept it. You can go in peace knowing you have done the best that you can when you forgive from the heart.

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Adverse Impacts of Childhood Bullying Extend Into Adulthood

The negative impacts of childhood bullying are much more pervasive and long-lasting than researchers previously believed, according to a just-published study.

Those bullied in childhood had increased levels of psychological distress at ages 23 and 50, according to the British study that covered a 50-year timespan.  Victims of frequent bullying had higher rates of depression, anxiety disorders, alcohol dependence, and suicidality than their non-victimized peers nearly four decades after exposure. Additionally, childhood bullying victimization was associated with a lack of social relationships, economic hardship, and poor perceived quality of life at age 50.

While those impacts for adults were undocumented up until now, the study also confirms what researchers have long known—that childhood bullying can be devastating.

“Not only do victims of bullying have elevated symptoms of anxiety and depression in childhood and adolescence,” the study reports, “they also show increased rates of self-harm, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts, and psychotic symptoms. As a result, victimization by bullies is increasingly considered alongside maltreatment and neglect as a form of childhood abuse.” bullying Graph

The new study was published in the July 2014 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry:  Adult Health Outcomes of Childhood Bullying Victimization: Evidence From a Five-Decade Longitudinal British Birth Cohort. Data were from the British National Child Development Study, a 50-year prospective cohort of births in 1 week in 1958. The authors studied data from 7,771 participants whose parents reported bullying exposure at ages 7 and 11 years, and who participated in follow-up assessments between ages 23 and 50 years. Of the three well-respected researchers who completed the study, one is a Newton International Fellow while another is a British Academy Mid-Career Fellow.

“Like other forms of childhood abuse, bullying victimization has a pervasive effect on functioning and health outcomes up to midlife,” the study concludes. ”Our findings. . .emphasize the importance of gaining a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying the persistence and pervasiveness of the impact of childhood bullying. These risk mechanisms could become suitable targets for intervention programs designed to reverse the effects of early life adversity later in the life course.”

And at least one researcher is already addressing those risk mechanisms.

Dr. Robert Enright, a University of Wisconsin-Madison psychology professor, says his research and interventions may be the only ones in the world focusing on pent-up anger as the source of bullying. Dr. Enright, called “the forgiveness trailblazer” by Time magazine, has been researching forgiveness for more than 25 years, has created the International Forgiveness Institute to disseminate the results of his work, and has produced Forgiveness Education Curriculum Guides for students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade that are being used around the world.

Now Dr. Enright has just released a new curriculum guide called “The Anti-Bullying Forgiveness Program: Reducing the Fury Within Those Forgiveness-Brothers-HugWho Bully.”This guide can be used by school counselors, social workers, and teachers. It is for students in grade 4 (age 9) through grade 9 (age 14) and is intended for use with those who are showing bullying behavior.

“Bullying behavior does not occur in a vacuum, but can result from deep inner rage, not resulting from those who are bullied but often from others who have hurt them in family, school, or neighborhood,” Dr. Enright says. “The purpose of our guide is to help such students to forgive those who have deeply hurt them so they no longer take out their rage on others.”

Dennis Blang
Director
International Forgiveness Institute

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Solution to Rampant Bullying–Forgiveness Education

Yet another tragic school incident, this one involving two 11-year-old boys. Yet another case of bullying gone uncurbed. Yet another example of amazing forgiveness.

An 11-year-old boy at Pacific Christian School in Auckland (on the north island of New Zealand), was stabbed in the right temple by an 11-year-old classmate wielding a pair of school scissors on Tuesday (June 24, 2014). Bullying-AppleThe injured boy was taken to Starship Children’s Hospital, where he remains in critical condition in a coma. Doctors are unable to determine if he will ever fully recover.

The boy’s assailant, an 11-year-old classmate, was taken into custody and turned over to Child, Youth and Family care. According to The New Zealand Herald, “the stabbing shocked the country given the ages of those involved.”

The injured boy’s uncle said his nephew’s parents have already forgiven the other boy. “We don’t hold grudges, we remember the Lord’s Prayer. That’s how they feel.”

In the wake of the stabbing, which happened just moments after the teacher left the room,  Pacific Christian School has been accused of “knowing about classroom bullying but failing to act,” the Herald reported.

“That’s not at all unusual,” says Dr. Robert Enright, founder of the International Forgiveness Institute based in Madison, Wisconsin, USA. “In most cases, teachers don’t know how to handle students that bully and administrators are unable to provide clear guidance except for disciplinary procedures.”

AISDBulliedinSchool2Earlier this year, Dr. Enright developed The Anti-Bullying Forgiveness Program: Reducing the Fury Within Those Who Bully based on his more than 20 years of scientific forgiveness research and his Forgiveness Education Curriculum Guides that have been tested and in full use for more than a dozen years by schools in places like Belfast, Northern Ireland, and more recently in Monrovia, Liberia (West Africa), and Israel-Palestine.

“It is our contention that bullying starts from within, as anger, and comes out as displaced anger onto the victim,” Dr. Enright said. “Forgiveness targets this anger and then reduces it, thus reducing or eliminating the displaced anger which comes out as bullying.”

Unless we eliminate the anger in the hearts of those who bully,” Dr. Enright believes, “we will not eliminate bullying.”

Dennis Blang
Director
International Forgiveness Institute

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Some people say they have no one particular to forgive in their lives, and so forgiveness is not relevant for them. What would you say to them?

I would say that they are very fortunate, indeed, not to have a serious injustice from another.  I further would say that this kind of life will not last forever because of the nature of this world.  So, please begin to learn about forgiveness now so that when the storms of life come, you will be ready.

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VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR RESEARCH PROJECT

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