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Words Have Weight: How Parents and Schools Are Reinforcing Positive Messages for Students

As back-to-school season is in full swing, many parents, school teachers and administrators are finding creative ways to infuse their homes and classrooms with positive messages that foster a safe space for growing and learning and discourage bullying before it begins.

The current numbers are jarring: Approximately 25 percent of students in grades 6 through 12 experience bullying in some form, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In addition, 160,000 children stay home from school every day to avoid their tormentors.

It Starts at Home

Parents can help stop this cycle at home by being aware of the language they use when talking to their children and to each other. Words carry a lot of power and should be considered carefully, especially in times of discipline or stress.

Published research has shown that teens today are 40 percent less empathetic than they were 30 years ago, a symptom of the so-called “self-absorption epidemic.” This behavior can lead to poor academic performance, increased bullying behavior and the inability to cope when things go wrong. By enforcing an atmosphere of empathy at home, parents can teach their children that they are part of a bigger community that functions better when everyone pitches in together. recently compiled a list of 13 books parents can share with their children that tackle the issue of bullying head on. Whether their kids are being bullied -- or may be the aggressor -- these books help support school age children with tools to navigate these universal problems.

Confidence in the Classroom

Recognizing that many students may not always receive words of encouragement at home, academic professionals across the nation are ensuring that they do hear them in the classroom and hallways of their schools.

By observing the language they use to guide students through their curriculum, educators can make simple adjustments to steer the conversation into positive, uplifting messages that encourage and motivate students to want to do their best. This also helps to thwart bullying when all students are being treated equally.

One forward-thinking middle school in Alabama found a way to circumvent the sometimes mean-spirited messages found in a typical school by taking over the walls of the bathrooms -- replacing graffiti with paintings featuring inspirational quotes designed to build confidence, reinforce identity and increase self-worth.

Project Style strives to elevate confidence, self-esteem and self-worth in at-risk youth through interactive workshops and one-on-one mentoring throughout the school year. Find out how you can make a difference in a student’s life. We would love to have you share your own messages of encouragement and positivity.

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