2 Afternoon Agenda Understand the problem of “bullying” Look at the broader system in which aggressive behavior is one outcomeExpose the brain’s (subversive) role in the systemSee aggressive behavior as a result of environmental influencesUse this understanding to develop new strategiesCreate an intention for what needs to be doneEmpathic connectionPractice new tools and skills to support the intentionUnderstanding the problem of “bullying” so we can find better solutions (how biology and the environment influence adolescent behavior and adult responses to adolescent behavior, understanding risk-taking, resistance and counter-will)Understanding what is “normal” versus what is “natural” (developing curiosity around cultural norms, understanding the biology of behavior – that it is largely subconscious, automatic and habitual, understanding enemy images)Creating a clear intention in this effort to reduce aggressive behavior (personal responsibility through deep connection, trust and cooperation versus straight compliance and accountability)Inviting changes in behavior (creating conditions for learning & growth, getting kids to want to change, power “with “ versus power “over”, connecting authentically versus leveraging authority, seeking commitment versus compliance, understanding/hearing feelings and needs versus thinking, how SROs can support change creating a language that supports clear, objective and authentic connection, authentic listening, being “present”)
3 Conflict occurs whenWe think there is only one way or one person to meet a needWhen the strategy chosen to meet a need means that some other important need will not be metWe need to find ways to meet everyone’s needs
4 Understanding aggressive behavior What makes this problem so important?What is the problem about?What is the best approach for addressing it?
5 Key Concepts Seeing the “bully” through a new lens A product of his/her environment (biological, relational, cultural)More than likely acting subconsciously – instinctively, impulsivelyA result of chronic stress, adolescent brain adaptation and other non-intentional factorsTreating the real problem by providing empathic connection, and supportReplacing punishment and zero tolerance with a desire to understand, be curious and approach safety as a “protective use of force”To make every interaction a nano-shift in this direction
7 EMPATHY & COMPASSIONEmpathy is the ability to see the world as another person, to share and understand another person’s feelings, needs, concerns and/or emotional state. Empathy is not agreeing.Empathy is not sympathy. Sympathy is actually feeling their pain.Compassion is empathy with the added desire to help.
8 The most important change we can make to reduce bullying Empathic connectionThis afternoon, we learn why …
9 Ross Greene YouTubeKids do well if they can.Ross Greene
10 The SolutionTo address the cause and reduce the problem is in a broad sense to:Adopt a compassionate attitude when we work with the childCreate an empathic and authentic connection with the childIdeally facilitate the attachment of the child with a caring and competent adultAs mentors, develop skills and tools to model healthy and calming interactionsCommunication (verbal, nonverbal), word choiceSetting an intention of who we want to “be” in any interaction, even difficult onesPausing, breathingEncouraging release of calming hormone, oxytocin to interrupt or offset flow on stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline.Replacing certainty, assumption and judgment with curiosity
11 What % of your day is dealing with aggressive behavior? 0-20%20-40%40-50%50-60%60-70%70-80%80-90%90-100%What is the physical, emotional and financial cost?
12 The physical and emotional cost How would you rate the stress levels of dealing with this type of problem on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the highest stress?How would you rate the stress of your job overall?APA finds about 25% of the population experiencing high levels of stress (8 or >) while another 50% experience moderate levels (4-7)This is over and about the 26% of the population that is already diagnosed with some form of mental illness.
13 The cost of stressChronic mild stress can mean more susceptibility to sickness, being overweight, difficult sleeping, less sex drive, and increased risk of more stressAdditional stress is created because access to problem solving, decision making and social/relational skills is impeded which creates a cycle of social emotional issuesIt’s harder to relate, manage difficulty, focus and sleepIf stress levels are high and chronic, the health risks become significant …
14 The cost of high levels of chronic stress ObesityHeart diseaseCancerDiabetesaggressionDepressionAnxietyOther mental illnessLonelinessEstrangementDiscomfortSeparateness
15 Law Enforcement Marriage “We all know that the divorce rate for the nation sits right at about 50%, but did you know that the rate for officers is 60-75%? Staggering numbers when you really consider it. Approximately one quarter of the officers who are married will still be married to that same spouse at the end of their careers. One quarter.”November 3, 2013LAW ENFORCEMENT TODAY
28 Characteristics of the Bully 2013 copyright Sarah PeytonCharacteristics of the BullyImpulsiveDominantAggressiveEasily make friends (are not loners)PopularComfortable with violenceSocially adept (may be cold and subtly manipulative)Hold in-group/out-group mentalityA form of control and attentionLacking skills & tools;Asking for love, attention and support,To family members and peersAnger managementLack of adult modelingLack of understanding of behavior
29 Family Characteristics of Bullies 2013 copyright Sarah PeytonFamily Characteristics of BulliesLack of warmth and emotional supportLack of parental and family supportRigid enforcement of rulesUse of threats and bribesUninvolved parentsLack of supervisionInconsistent and corporal punishmentPoor moodsBullying of siblingsMaltreatment by a parentUse of humiliationViolence – nearly twice as likely to have been exposed to domestic violenceNegative family functioningp. 47, Strauss2013 copyright Sarah Peyton
30 Bullying Video Bully Richard Gale Interview (Bully of Casey Heynes) https://www.youtube.com /watch?v=__IjcLVBBYc
31 Causes of Bullying Negative family function Too much control by parentsAbuseNeglectSibling bullyingBeing bulliedOn rare occasion a genetic predisposition
32 Kids don’t believe they’ll get help In a survey of American middle and high school students, “66 percent of victims of bullying believed school professionals responded poorly to the bullying problems that they observed.”Other reasons the kids gave for not telling include:Feeling shame at not being able to stand up for themselvesFearing they would not be believedNot wanting to worry their parentsHaving no confidence that anything would change as a resultThinking their parents’ or teacher’s advice would make the problem worseHeartbreaking that children are not only experiencing bullying, but don’t trust the reaction of the adults around them enough to get help
33 Help for the aggressive child Children who are bullied are not finding the reactions from their parents. Children who bully are also not finding help.Some schools have zero tolerance for bullying. Children get sent home for bullying, but no support to change the behavior.Other times when children bully, adults around them don’t know what to do.In attempt to name the behavior as wrong, the child may perceive themselves as also wrong.Children are labeled “the bully” and those around them have a static impressions of whether or not the child can truly change behavior.A focus only on the harm experienced by child who was bullied does not create space for the child who is bullying to hope that their needs will be acknowledged.
35 The Evolution of the Brain The brain evolved from thestem of the spine out and up.The amygdala is the control center for the primitive, and still dominant, fight/flight impulse.The newest, most sophisticated, executive functioning part of the human brain is the prefrontal cortex (PFC) behind the forehead.
36 Primitive brain = Survival Instinct Amygdala constantly seeks threatprimary function is survivalFight/flight/freeze response activated when “triggered”Stress hormones cortisol & adrenaline are released preparing body for actionresponds to physical or emotional threat or an important unmet needDoesn’t distinguish between fantasy or realityActivation of the F/F/F cuts off access to the PFC and with this the ability to problem solve, make decisions, regulate emotions and perform other executive functions.
37 Prefrontal Cortex Integrates: Me - selfYou – empathyWe - relationalThe purpose of adolescent brain development is to integrate the brainTo link different areas of the brain to allow more sophisticated functions to emerge (so the whole is better than the sum of its parts)How? During adolescence the brain is remodelingPruning (what you don’t use) so it can specializeMyelination for efficiency – also disciplined practice
38 Limbic region Where emotions come from Motivation – should I bother doing this thing?Evaluation – how to get this process turned on so the student will pay attentionMemoryAttachment – our mammalian capacity to have a child dependent on the parent for survivalAdolescents have emotional spark
39 Effect of stress on behavior Stress hormonesAmygdalaExecutive FunctioningPFC
40 The 2 basic states of the brain Reactive or receptiveNO or yesCan’t learn or communicate optimally if you are threatenedCan’t engage in a supporting, connectingFight, flight, freeze or faint (vasil vagal response)Temperate (genetic) or attachment (experiential) determines the response
41 We are in Social-Engagement when we Make eye contactVocalize with an appealing inflection and rhythmDisplay contingent facial expressionsModulate the middle-ear muscles to distinguish the human voice from background sounds more efficiently
42 We are in Fight or Flight when 2013 copyright Sarah PeytonWe are in Fight or Flight whenWe are afraid or angryWe have an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, muscle toneWe want to take action to protect, defend or get away
43 We are in Freeze when We no longer want to move (fall in energy) 2013 copyright Sarah PeytonWe are in Freeze whenWe no longer want to move (fall in energy)Our heart rate, blood pressure, respiration and muscle tone decreaseEyelids droop (not in sleepiness)Voice loses inflectionPositive facial expressions dwindleAwareness of the sound of the human voice becomes less acuteSensitivity to other’s social engagement behaviors decreases
44 The impact of chronic activation of stress hormones Biologically the threat response is meant for occasional activation. Physical exertion balances the physiological changes and normal functioning is maintained.Most threat is emotional with no physical exertion which is not considered normal by the body and results in:High blood pressure, digestive problems, sleep problems, weight problemsAnxiety, depression, memory & concentration impairment, aggression, fatigueImpact of long term stress on Children(video URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ak7o9nxpWD4)
45 Rewiring the brain - Neuroplasticity Neuroscientists now know that our brains are plastic and changing throughout our lives.They also know that we humans, by virtue of having a cortex, have the ability to influence neural structure, thinking, choices, habits and behavior.This is called neuroplasticity and it has been proven true in altering conditions from depression, anxiety, aggression, stress and conflict management.There is an interpersonal component as well with evidence the brain is wired to interact socially and attune to one another.Stroking premature babies for 10 minutes a day promotes brain development. The brain responds to touch, attachment, connection.
46 What % of decisions are conscious? 0-20%20-40%40-60%60-80%80-90%90-100%
47 We create our own reality StoriesJudgment, Assumptions, LabelsHabitsBrain prioritizes efficiency:HabitsJudgmentAssumptionsLabelsOur brains create our stories subconsciously and retells them over and over again, tweaking as convenient, without our approval.blaming(Moralistic) judgments implying wrongness or badness on the part of people who don’t act in harmony with our valuesBlaming, insults, put-downs, labels, criticisms, comparisons, and diagnoses are all forms of judgmentAttention is focused on classifying, analyzing, and determining levels of wrongness rather than on what we and others need and are not gettingDemands that implicitly or explicitly threaten listeners with blame or punishment if they fail to complyDenial of responsibility via language that obscures awareness of personal responsibility (“I had to”, rules, actions of others, roles, impulses)Making Comparisons between people
49 2013 copyright Sarah Peyton Right prefrontal cortex qualities: (and qualities that counteract bullying)Regulation of body systemsAttuned communicationEmotional balanceCalming the amygdala (modulating fear)Response flexibilityEmpathyIntuitionMorality
50 The Hemispheres Have Different Tasks: Left:Narrow focus, the knownIs in charge of approach and speaking in conversationOther people are toolsTracks detailsBuilds categoriesCan discern and differentiateMakes patterns from the specificRight:Uncertainty, newness, broad scopeIs in charge of listening and the non-verbal, making space for the otherUnderstands emotion and the soul, the individualThe new, the novel, the specificAttends to the big pictureMetaphor and poetry
51 Divided brainLeft narrow focus to detail (finding seeds, known), right is broad (unknown, change, connection)Frontal lobe is to stop immediacy, stand back, outwitting the other party (Machiavellian) and also to empathize and make bonds, is uniquely humanRight hemisphere is newer, understanding, disposition for living,Not reason or imagination, need both hemispheresStarted long ago to drift to left hemisphere, very convincing, controllingThe right hemisphere does not have a voiceKnowledge of parts and wisdom of wholeRationality grounded in intuitionNeed to return to right hemisphere, the intuitive mind is sacred“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”
52 Your brain is just another organ. It is not you Your brain is just another organ. It is not you. Build skills in becoming aware of the thinking that is not working for you.
53 Brain effects of bullying Exposure to parental verbal abuse is associated with increased gray matter volume in superior temporal gyrus.Akemi Tomoda, Yi-Shin Sheu, Keren Rabi, Hanako Suzuki, Carryl P Navalta, Ann Polcari, Martin H TeicherDepartment of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.NeuroImage (impact factor: 5.74). 01/2011; 54 Suppl 1:S DOI: /j.neuroimage2013 copyright Sarah Peyton
54 Effects of Bullying Reduces volume in the PFC where we: Interpret our social world, process our emotional responses, perceive meaning and language and where we self-expressTeens – being ostracized by one’s peers can throw adolescent hormones even further out of whack, lead to reduced connectivity in the brain, and even sabotage the growth of new neurons.Limbic region – memory is compromisedCorpus callosum damageThe researchers found that the more exposure to peer verbal abuse subjects reported, the more likely they were to be experiencing anxiety, depression, anger, hostility, dissociation, or drug use – effects that can be linked to damage to the corpus callosum.PTSD
55 2013 copyright Sarah Peyton PTSDIn the short-term, bullied children show cognitive damage and a tendency toward poor school performance. In the long term, cumulative brain trauma can lead, some psychiatrists to diagnose Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in adults, depending on the severity and duration of the childhood bullying. This is a crucial insight–just as we know physical abuse by adults creates lasting damage in children, it’s becoming clearer that verbal or emotional abuse by a child’s peers is enough to create lasting, measurable damage in a child even as she or he grows older.Read more:2013 copyright Sarah Peyton
56 Cortisol - Quotecortisol may, in fact, underlie many of the adverse effects of bullying: It can weaken the functioning of the immune system, and at high levels can damage and even kill neurons in the hippocampus, potentially leading to memory problems that could make academics more difficult. Indeed, Vaillancourt has already found that teens who are bullied perform worse on tests of verbal memory than their peers. One of her next studies involves trying to get at this question directly: She will be putting some of her subjects, now ages 16 and 17, into an MRI machine to look for evidence of damage to the hippocampus.2013 copyright Sarah Peyton
57 Effects of corpus callosum damage 2013 copyright Sarah PeytonEffects of corpus callosum damageThe researchers found that the more exposure to peer verbal abuse subjects reported, the more likely they were to be experiencing anxiety, depression, anger, hostility, dissociation, or drug use – effects that can be linked to damage to the corpus callosum.
58 Things adults should know about the brain The idea that “it’s genetic” and brain function is permanent is untrue:Temperament and outlook is genetic – and alterableMost of what we do is habitThe brain is able to change throughout our lives with intention and practice (neuroplasticity)The brain has 2 states; reactive or receptiveInteract from a “yes” if you want to be received
59 Rewiring the brain - Neuroplasticity Neuroscientists now know that our brains are plastic and changing throughout our lives.They also know that we humans, by virtue of having a cortex, have the ability to influence neural structure, thinking, choices, habits and behavior.This is called neuroplasticity and it has been proven true in altering conditions from depression, anxiety, aggression, stress and conflict management.There is an interpersonal component as well with evidence the brain is wired to interact socially and attune to one another.Stroking premature babies for 10 minutes a day promotes brain development. The brain responds to touch, attachment, connection.
60 What to expect from our kids courtesy of the adolescent brain Sensitive – over-reactiveBored one minute – taking risks the nextHyper rational thinking means they really do know the risksExtremely drawn to peers and fitting in
61 The adolescent brain Emotional spark from active limbic region Trigger quickly but recover in 90 secondsImpulsivity in early teensSocial engagement for peer connectionPeer pressure and influence is enormousBut primed for collaboration (more important than IQ in life)Novelty for preparation of independenceDopamine draws to pleasure2 things happen with dopaminebase line is much lower which means more prone to boredomRelease level is higher which encourages risk takingHyper rational thinking - imbalanced
62 Hyper Rational thinking - Risk Taking: What to do about it “I’m trying to be like everyone else whose trying not to be like anyone else”.To access Neural networks around the heart and the intestines/gut (through the vassal nerve)Heart-felt sense and gut-feeling are real - this allows self awarenessThis is important because it gives access to internal compass – to positive values that draws on intuitionWhen emotions say “I think I’ll drive 90 mph through town.” Don’t say don’t do it, it’s dangerous”. They’ll do opposite.Get them to ask themselves “what am I looking for here?” emotions say “this is so exciting, low risk of death. Let’s do it!”Pause, build the skill to say “I am aware of a feeling in my heart that tells me this doesn’t feel right - an intuition. My emotions say it’s good, my gut says it’s not right.
63 Mental Illness begins at early adolescence Major psychiatric disorders have onset at adolescence 12-24Because of pruning processif you are genetically vulnerable or if you have had trauma your brain is set up with an insufficient number of neuronsPruning process means half neurons are lost
64 Brain Function Summary Subconscious impulse and instinct drive thinking and behavior:The brain is on alert and under stress far more than is normal with significant negative, immediate and long term physiological and emotional health impactHabit and automation dominate decision makingWe are biologically driven to assume, judge, blame, evaluate, and label. We look for difference and we see the problem.Objectivity, conscious thought and the ability to manage behavior is only possible with purposeful activation of the PFC.Where is the control? Where is the intention?
65 What just happened? What is the truth? Basketball videoNumber of throws?Did you see the lady?Video url:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkn3wRyb9Bk
66 Dan Siegel – the Adolescent Brain YouTube url:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kH-BO1rJXbQPlease listen from 1:00 onGut feeling and intuition …
67 Bullying is a complex system of interdependent factors Aggressive BehaviorSocietal/CulturalBiologyRelationshipsTo understand the problem requires an understanding of the systemToday we do this through the gift of technological innovation in neuroscience (fMRI imaging)More importantly through our connection, our dialogue - working together to embrace our sameness, our diversity and our interdependence.
68 Focus of change Factor Actions Managing stress Reattaching Lack of attachmentCommunication/conflict skillsParental aggression/abuseNourishmentThe teen brainSchool climateManaging stressReattachingBuilding communication and conflict skillsProviding foodEmbracing teen brainEngaging in climate efforts
69 Afternoon Agenda Part 1: Part 2: A deeper understanding of the system contributing to aggressionbrain biologyRelationshipsSocietal/cultural influencesAn understanding of unmet needsPart 2:Creating compassionate connection and understanding by:Creating an intention of how to interact with every childInterrupting the trigger within the adult and the childListening and acknowledging objectively and empathicallyIdentifying unmet needsRequesting present positive action
70 Every action is an attempt to meet a need. Marshall Rosenberg YoutubeEvery action is an attempt to meet a need.Marshall Rosenberg
71 The Summary – The root of Bullying Behavior The root of the cause likely has to do with one or all of the following:Ineffective anger/stress management skillsEnvironmental factors (relational, social, cultural) that have impacted the biology of the childRelational factors include familial experiences (abuse, neglect, poor modeling, sibling bullying), peers or experiences with people in the community (police)Social or cultural factors including media influencesBiological factors tracing to natural brain function (threat response) as well as neurological damage/alterations from chronic stress due to the factors listed aboveLack of “attachment” with a caring and competent adult resulting in a defendedness against adult trust, counter-will, peer orientationThe cause may seem to be intentional bad behavior but science and research indicate the more likely explanation is defensive instinct and impulse due to chronic emotional stress and lack of skills and tools
72 Unmet Needs are at the center of Relational Conflict BehaviorFeelingsNeedsSafety, financial securityAttachmentLove & belongingFood, RestSelf-worth, meaningBeing valuedConnection to othersAutonomy, independence,Having choicesHaving controlTrust, respectUnderstandingValidationIndividualitySolitude …
73 AttachmentAttachment is our mammalian capacity to have a child dependent on the parent for survivalWe need attachment until the day we dieLimbic region genetically programmed to push away at adolescence to prepare for independenceWe attach to peers instead; we need them to survive; we feel being and
74 The importance of attachment Its not about earning – every child needs to be attached to at least one caring and competent adultKids need a home base – someone to provide a place of retreat – just knowing –Evokes the desire to be good for those attached toChildren have instincts to be good and bad, threat or reward – just like us
75 What is your intention?Are you ready to give empathy in every situation? Isolate the behaviors that may not have been as intentional as they seem? Unconditional positive regard? Dignity? Respect? Compassion?
76 Summary Address the problem in order to stop it: Create adult connections for kids who have noneReplace punishment and judgment with empathy, support and compassionate guidanceReplace zero tolerance with “the protective use of force” (a nonviolent communication expression)Model compassionate communication and conflict resolutionUse natural tools available to each of us at any time:Release oxytocin, say “yes”, be curious
77 Compassionate Communication in Difficult Situations The Tools
78 What is your intention?I will hold this as my intention in any interaction, particularly with any child, regardless of circumstance:
79 Tools Use “yes” as much as possible Make a no, a “yes, no, yes”. Yes to something important, no to the request (“and I can’t let you do this”), yes to something else.Curiosity helps understanding much better than assumption, judgment and labeling
80 Achieving Connection through Empathic Understanding Goal = Make a Connection. Always connect first.Phase 1 – Preparation1) Set an Intention – how do you want to “be” in the world?2) Become self-aware – notice the thinking and events that cause you to trigger3) Practice pausing – as a first response to the “trigger” (breathe, smile, yawn, touch)
81 Connect Phase 2 – Connecting 1) Remember your intention – expect it will be forgotten when you need it most2) Invite your connection – smile, say name, greetIn personElectronically as well –
82 Empathic Support Phase 3 – Giving Empathic Support 1) Listen with full presence – listening is not waiting to speak2) Acknowledge with empathy – reflect back what you heard, with a feeling if possible3) Help identify the unmet need – help discover the source of their feelings or discomfort 4) Request the opportunity to provide support – ask how you can help
83 Requests Phase 4 – Making requests 1) Share an observation – a neutral expression of what is affecting you2) Share your feeling – if this is appropriate. If not, simply name it to yourself3) State your need – share what this is about for you (value, wish, dream, want)4) Make a request – say what you are hoping for in a doable, concrete and present form
84 Interrupting a Trigger be curiousremember your intentionslow your speechbreatheask for a pause
85 Activity: Know thy “trigger” What does the trigger signal?____________________________________________________Why is that important?What does your trigger feel like in you?How can you use the trigger to your advantage?
86 ResourcesKids do well if they can – Ross Greene, child psychologist, author of “Lost at School”Every action is an attempt to fulfill a need – Marshall Rosenberg, author/founder of “Nonviolent communication” (NVC)Hold on to your kids – Gordon Neufeld, adolescent development specialist, author of “Hold on to your Kids”