Posted by Barbara Gilmour on February 15, 2017
Now that we are part way into the New Year, let’s recap and re-emphasize the role that Cool Kind Kid® can play in our bullying crisis today. Let’s also revisit the power that the Cool Kind Kid Challenge can have in shaping kids’ lives so they don’t bully peers.
Cool Kind Kid is social skills training that helps kids reject bullying. We do that by teaching them acceptable ways of behaving. Since research beginning in 2008 is supporting social skills as the missing link in the bullying epidemic we have today, we are on the right page. Cool Kind Kid is fun and entertaining; two of the key ingredients necessary for engaging young children. We provide ways for kids to learn that 'kind is cool' and 'cool is kind.' As we redefine 'cool,' kids learn that kind, caring, and respectful behavior is cool, and that bullying is uncool.
Several years ago, when we conducted pilot studies with our elementary curriculum, the results were very favorable. In all sites where we observed the material in use, the kids were engaged, loved the music, enjoyed the lessons, and liked knowing the right thing to do in their social encounters. The one thing that stood out the most was the fact that the kids grasped the Cool Kind Kid Concept and began to challenge one another when they saw behavior that "wasn't what a Cool Kind Kid would say or do." We saw changed behavior as the kids began policing themselves, and holding themselves accountable to one another.
It seemed a natural progression to introduce the Cool Kind Kid Challenge. In this challenge, kids are asked: "Are you TOUGH enough to be KIND? "Are you COOL enough to be KIND?" This challenge can be used in the home, in the classroom, and other programs where kids congregate. We can ask, "Are you tough enough to stand up for a friend who is being bullied?" "Are you cool enough to tell someone that you won't post that mean comment?" "Are you tough enough to do the right thing, even when everyone else is doing something wrong?" “Are you cool enough to walk to school with a new kid in your neighborhood and introduce him to your friends?” Are you tough enough to get adult help for someone who is being bullied?”
I challenge all the parents, grandparents, and educators who are reading this to present this challenge to your kids, grandkids, and/or students. Ask them the two questions above: “Are you TOUGH enough to be KIND?” and “Are you COOL enough to be KIND?” Then ask them for examples where they can get their friends on board, embracing the Cool Kind Kid Challenge.
From the beginning, Cool Kind Kid's main character has been Totally Terrific Tanner, who is my grandson in real life. On Tuesday’s, check out Tanner’s Tuesday Tips on our Facebook page, where he talks to kids about social skills, anti-bullying and the Cool Kind Kid Challenge. One recent article we posted on Facebook was about teens in the UK who started a campaign to be Anti-Bullying Ambassadors. Tanner and I would like to get kids in the US on board with being Cool Kind Kid Challengers. Together we can make a difference in the bullying crisis we have. Together we can raise awareness of the need to equip kids with the tools needed to reject bullying, and to begin that at young ages. Together we can try to stop the bullying.