Students and Parents Participate in Bullying and Social Conflict Workshop

This week, nationally acclaimed author and presenter Carrie Goldman presented a workshop on bullying, social conflict and healthy practices to Parker’s 6th and 7th grade students, faculty, staff and parents. Topics included important distinctions between normal social conflict and bullying (in person and in the digital realm), teasing versus taunting, tattling versus necessary reporting and natural exclusion versus aggressive exclusion. Goldman also suggested skills to develop healthy solutions to social conflict; the steps students should take when in need of help due to bullying; ways kids can act as empowered allies instead of passive bystanders; cognitive and strategic techniques to respond to social pain; and tips on what to do when an imbalance in attraction develops in an existing friendship.

After the large gathering in the Heller Auditorium, Goldman met with parents to explore how to use empathy and emotional intelligence to raise kids who are better at resolving conflict and more resistant to bullying relationships; when to intervene as a parent and when to hang back; how to respond to misbehavior with restorative action; how to provide a “soft landing” when your child encounters social pain that you cannot change; and how to help students through social media addiction, misbehavior and online mistakes. 

The workshop was rooted in Goldman’s book 
Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear (2012), which received a National Parenting Publication Award and a Mom’s Choice Award. Goldman has written for The New York TimesCNNPsychology TodayHuffington Post and Brain Child Magazine. She has made appearances on NPR, BBC, MSNBC, CNN Headline News, Fox, HLN and HuffPost Live. Her latest children’s book, Jazzy’s Quest: Adopted and Amazing, was published in 2015. She received her B.S. from Northwestern University and her M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management. She is also an award-winning artist, and her oil paintings have been featured in galleries and juried shows across the country.
According to Intermediate and Middle School Head John Novick, Goldman’s workshop was particularly impactful for students. “Hours after the presentation, students were already referencing Ms. Goldman in the context of their own social interactions. She offered such practical skills for navigating the complexities of socialization for early adolescents. The kids were all in, as the definitions and ideas she shared gave them new insight into how to manage their social lives almost immediately. And her approach reinforced the work of Parker’s counselors and advisors, aimed at sustaining a safe and inclusive community for every child so that all can grow in healthy, positive and increasingly independent ways.” 
After April Recess, students and advisors will engage in small-group follow-up activities as an extension of Goldman's workshop. 
Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.