In 1906, in order to sell his Square Deal, Republican president Teddy Roosevelt used what was called his bully pulpit to convince folks that projects like the National Parks program and consumer protection laws were good ideas. At the time, the term “bully” was an adjective meaning “top-notch,” as in “bully for you” meaning “great for you.”
The meaning of that word has certainly changed in 110 years! Whether it’s a schoolyard bully, a boss who’s a bully or even a parent, bullying (picking on and intimidating someone) is now a big problem. In the U.S., one in five children say they’ve been bullied. And according to the website StopBullying.gov, it has health repercussions for both the bully and the bullied.
Bullies tend to continue their violent and abusive behavior into adulthood (risking injury, incarceration and premature death), while bullied kids are more likely to become anxious, depressed, sad, lonely and develop poor eating and sleeping patterns.
To stop the spread of bullying, researchers at the University at Buffalo developed the Early Childhood Friendship Project. It teaches kids about bullying when they first start to develop aggressive behaviors -- ages 3 to 5. The program uses puppets, storytelling and other age-appropriate activities to help kids get excited about sharing and helping others. Teachers love it, and when the program is finalized, the researchers will send program information to qualified educators, free of charge.
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To let your school district and daycare center know about it, just Google “University of Buffalo ECFP.” If they like what they see, well, bully for you!
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.