Safe, bravely free – how children find inner strength

We all want children who face life with courage. Who know how to deal with failures, difficulties and setbacks – are resilient. Children who know and use their strengths and accept their weaknesses. In everyday life there are countless opportunities to promote children’s self-esteem and self-confidence. Our new book gives a variety of impulses to help children find inner strength and resilience. It contains an extended collection of our best articles from the Swiss parent magazine Fritz + Franzi.

Click on the cover to go directly to the order form.

Materials for the book

I can not!

The little bear sits in despair in math class. He does not understand anything at all and does not want to get involved in learning anymore. Fortunately, his teacher Mr. Badger shows him how to tackle problems with a real fighter’s heart. You can watch the video together with your child and talk to him about how he feels while learning his problem subject, what thoughts go through his mind and what his fighter heart would have to say to give him new courage:

A little more optimism, please!

In the video we present the "What went well exercise" from Positive Psychology. It helps children, young people and adults to become more aware of pleasant aspects of everyday life, to savor positive feelings and to register how we can actively contribute to a contented life:

Facing fear with courage

In our little lesson on fear monsters, we explain what increases fears and how they can be alleviated. Our little beaver, who is afraid of his first presentation in class, learns to face his fears in small steps and develops a contingency plan for difficult situations:

Bullying – and everyone looks the other way!

The little rabbit is bullied by his class. The first part of the video can be used for bullying prevention by encouraging the children to put themselves in the place of the individual animals. You can find instructions here. In part two, we introduce a bullying intervention called the No Blame Approach:

How to make your child more independent: develop problem-solving skills

How can children learn to face problems and find solutions more and more independently? In the film, the little beaver and his family show how to develop ways out of difficult situations together in 5 simple steps:

If something is bothering you, write it down!

Expressive writing is a scientifically well-studied method for dealing with difficult feelings such as fear, anger, jealousy, sadness, or dejection. The beauty of it: all you need is a piece of paper and a pencil. Maybe your child will soon discover his or her love for journal writing too?

Cooperation instead of obedience: how to offer criticism in a constructive way

"I have already told you 100 times!" – Children must learn to deal with criticism. As parents, if we want our criticism not to hurt, to make a difference, and for kids to accept it, there are a few key points we can pay attention to:

Lead by example: Cultivate gratitude

With the help of short questions, we can promote good cooperation and an attitude of gratitude. For example:

  • What was most beautiful today?
  • What am I looking forward to most today??
  • Who did something small today that made me feel good?? What was that?

Mr. Dachs maintains a gratitude ritual with his class for this purpose:

My child can’t say no!

People have an innate need to join and belong to a group. It is not that adults are more robust to peer pressure than children and adolescents. The following videos powerfully demonstrate the power of conformity pressure. Note: The videos are taken from external places and partly contain advertising, from which we hereby expressly dissociate ourselves:

In Switzerland, ca. One child per class affected by bullying. This means: being systematically bullied by other children, usually an entire group.

For bullied children, school becomes a torment. They need to be constantly on guard and yet cannot escape their tormentors.

Assigning blame does not help with bullying. We all have to take responsibility and do our part – as a teacher, principal, but also as a parent or child. Instead of pointing fingers at parents who "don’t raise their children right" or complaining about the school system, we should ask ourselves: what can I do so that my child doesn’t become a perpetrator or follower? What can I do to make every child feel good in my class, at our school? What can I do if I find out that a child in my neighborhood or my child’s class is being picked on?

We would like to provide some information on these questions.

How you as a teacher or school can take action against bullying

Many teachers feel insecure when they learn that a child is being bullied. The situation is usually diffuse, the actors can hardly be proven anything, often it is testimony against testimony. Moreover, teachers who take action against the players often have their parents against them. The no-blame approach offers a way out. This solution-oriented procedure focuses on ending the bullying. In the process, the children are assigned a new role – that of supporter. The following film shows what this looks like:

We would also like to recommend the book and the two-day training for professionals on this topic.

How you as a teacher can address bullying preventively

You want to sensitize your class to the topic of bullying and prevent it from happening in the first place? To do this, it has proven effective to show a film to the class and discuss important questions. For example:

  • How does the bullied child feel?
  • Why do actors bully? What drives them?
  • Who could help?
  • What would the students do if another child is being bullied??

We have created the following short film for elementary school:

We have described how you can use the film in concrete terms here.

For older students, the film "Let’s fight it together" is suitable. We were also very impressed by the documentary "Bully", which is, however, only available in English.

What you can do as a parent of an affected child

Often parents do not even know that their child is being bullied. Children hide their problems for various reasons. Some are ashamed, others are afraid of being considered a tattletale. Often children are also afraid that parents will make the situation worse by reacting in the wrong way. A justified concern: in a study by Stefan Korn of the University of Munich, it was shown that, for example, a call to the parents of the actors usually makes the situation worse for the child.

You can learn how to react and what not to do in the article "My child is being bullied – now what??"

We present two particularly important points in two films.

1. Listen to your child without giving them rash advice, telling them how they should feel or react, or going over their head:

2. Involve your child in the problem-solving process. Often, children are better able than parents to assess which solutions are feasible and which are not:

Bullying must be resolved in the group in which it arises. Talk to the teacher, contact – if the teacher does not intervene – the school administration, the school social work, the school psychological service or the school administration.

They want to know how you can help children and young people to have confidence in themselves, to find their place in the group and to accept themselves as a valuable person? If so, we are happy to recommend our seminars and continuing education courses:

A brief description of all the days can be found below:

Further training days for professionals

On the way to a strong, healthy personality, children and adolescents have to master a whole range of developmental tasks. You need to get to know yourself and explore your strengths and weaknesses. They need to learn to find their place in a social group and make enriching friendships. You need to develop the ability to solve problems and not let setbacks throw you off track. And finally, they need adults who deal with them and help them to develop their own values, which enable them to live a content life. Children and adolescents who succeed in this develop a healthy self-confidence and self-esteem. How you can accompany children, adolescents and parents as a professional on this path, you will learn in our day training courses:

A yearly overview of all our continuing education days for professionals can be downloaded here.

Parents’ seminar "Resilient – a language course for inner strength in the family"

Are you tired of the eternal discussions with your child around school, household chores, gaming time& Co. sorry? Do you sometimes feel you can’t quite get through to your child and that you keep falling on deaf ears? Wish for more respect, harmony, appreciation and recognition in your everyday family life? And would you like to help your child gain inner strength and a healthy self-confidence and self-esteem? Then the parent seminar "Resilient" should be of great interest to you. Read more here.

You can find our annual program for parents here.

Our new film series "Together we are class" has been launched! Rabbit and beaver enter the third grade. In order for everyone to feel comfortable and learn well, class rules are first discussed:

Our new film series is designed to support you as a teacher in addressing important issues (rules, bullying, etc.).) to discuss with your students. For each film we write additional articles that deepen the content.

Read more about how you:

The series "Together we are great" is produced in cooperation with the Swiss parents’ magazine Fritz + Franzi.

Fabian, Stefanie and Nora

Discussions about bullying usually focus on the question of guilt. There is no more useless question than this one, and for several reasons:

First, when bullying occurs, it is usually not possible to assign clear blame. Bullying usually happens in a hidden way – on the playground, in the toilet, on the way to school. If the child concerned reports an incident, it is usually a case of testimony against testimony. The actors are usually covered up by other children. The teacher must now decide whom to believe. It is only natural that she is reluctant to give a punishment when she could not observe the act herself and hears different reports.

Secondly, the individual actions of the actors and followers are often not punishable by law. How to punish an eye roll? How to proceed if all children except one are invited to the birthday party? Should you punish every teasing that affects a particular child? Often, the individual actions against the affected child are not serious. They are therefore hardly bearable because they are frequently, over a longer period of time and systematically directed against a specific child. This child is made to understand through many actions, some of which are inconspicuous from the outside: You do not belong! We hate you and will make your life hell.

Third, the wrong people are often punished. It is relatively easy for skilled actors to subtly pick at the sore points of the child concerned until the child explodes and fights back. The teacher often only sees this violent reaction. If the child, who has been bullied for weeks, finally strikes, he or she has done something that the teacher feels must be punished. Explanations of the child concerned are often dismissed with the sentence "that’s no reason to hit right away".

Fourthly, the search for the culprits and their punishment often leads to the actors taking revenge on the victim after punishment. In addition they can fall back again on many Mobbing possibilities, which can be hardly uncovered or punished. Children know this and are therefore afraid to tell parents and teachers about their situation.

Fifth, the blame is very often seen in the child affected by bullying. In discussions with teachers and parents about bullying, the following devastating sentence is heard again and again: "He / she is not innocent of it either!" This sentence is so off base because it is often used as a rationale for not taking action.

It would not be problematic if the sentence is uttered as follows: "The child in question contributes to the bullying situation by his or her behavior. We must therefore start with the class and in addition help this child to change his behavior."

It becomes tragic when the child is expected to "work on himself" and handle the situation on his own. Strictly speaking, one could continue the sentence "He is not innocent of it…" in this case with "…and therefore this child deserves the bullying as a just punishment and not to expect any help from me."With this attitude the child is left alone in a situation, which it could master exclusively with determined assistance from the outside.

Because it is so difficult to identify culprits, the wrong people are often punished, and punishment can lead to retaliation, it is helpful to broaden the view and explore concepts that can help teachers resolve bullying situations without blame or punishment.

Resolving bullying – through empathy, taking responsibility, and a positive goal

It is only natural that we do not want to bear any guilt and go into a defensive position when accusations are made.

Bullying situations can be better resolved if we set a positive goal and require that:

Every child in the class feels comfortable and can learn well.

If there is bullying in a class, the goal should be to focus on this goal. In doing so, any person who is willing to take responsibility for this goal can be invited to cooperate and make a contribution. Whether it involves teachers, students, parents, principals, or school social workers. Regardless of whether or not they have been involved in any form of bullying so far.

While punishment is unlikely to make actors see their wrongdoing, working with stories, reports, and films about bullying can help children empathize with those affected and advocate for a good climate. Even if this does not succeed in reaching the "main offender", in many cases a change of thinking takes place in the class. The bullying can often be resolved by the followers and bystanders speaking out against the bullying, thereby depriving the perpetrator of the encouragement needed for further bullying.

The following film from Childnet is a good example of this:

After the film, it can be discussed with the class:

  • How Joe is doing and how he might respond (making it clear that Joe can get help but cannot fight back on his own!)
  • Why the other children behave in this way (Here, a distinction can be made between the actor "Kim" and the other children, who either join Kim or look away in shame.)
  • What individual children could do to help Joe (this point should take up the most space)

Bullying expert Christelle Schlapfer, who works with this approach in schools, avoids discussing the current bullying situation directly in class altogether. Instead, the children develop possible actions and solutions for the characters in the films and stories.

Resolving an acute bullying situation – with a support group

Using the well-known "No Blame Approach" also avoids blame and punishment. Instead, a support group is formed with part of the class. This is made up of equal parts actors and hangers-on, as well as children who are neutral or positive toward the child being bullied.

The teacher tells (after talking to the child involved and getting permission) that this child is not doing well and she, the teacher, needs the group’s help. The teacher concentrates fully on solving the problem and treats each child in the group with appreciation and goodwill. The actors in the group are not confronted with misconduct, but are told that their help is needed because they have a lot of influence in the class, are creative and the teacher trusts that they can contribute to a solution. Usually, in the course of the conversation, first the neutral children and then the followers can be won over to support the affected child. As a result, the actors lose support. This in turn increases the likelihood that they will also consider how they can contribute to a solution. The teacher emphasizes that helping in the support group is voluntary, but uses her relationship with the children to motivate them to empathize with the affected child and get involved in a positive way. Evaluation of this approach shows that this approach is much more effective than blaming, confrontation, and punishment. The German-language book on this concept by Heike Blum and Detlef Beck is grippingly written and can be read in an afternoon:

News: New film series for teachers

What can schools and individual teachers do to turn a class into a community in which every child feels comfortable and can learn well?? We are dedicating eight short films to this topic, which we are creating together with the Swiss parenting magazine "Fritz " Franzi".

Two of the films deal with the topic of bullying. They are designed to help teachers address the issue of bullying preventively in the classroom and resolve acute cases of bullying.

The films will gradually appear on this blog and Youtube. For each film, we will provide specific teaching materials to address the topics in the classroom.

We will be happy to inform you when a new film is released. To do so, simply sign up for our newsletter by entering your name (or a nickname) and an email address below. The first film will be released at the end of April – so it will be a little while before you hear from us:

Dear parents and teachers

In our latest short film on "What makes children strong", we present two exercises to make children aware of their strengths and to promote an optimistic attitude towards life.

The so-called "What went well – exercise" in the second part of the film comes from Positive Psychology and has been proven in studies to be highly effective in increasing well-being. It also indirectly strengthens self-confidence by making us aware of how we ourselves can actively ensure that more beautiful things happen to us in our lives.

In our parenting seminars and trainings, you will learn concrete ways to empower children.

Can you remember what it was like to spend a moment with your father or mother all by yourself? Without rush, without program? Just the two of you?

For most children this time is something very special. And for many parents, these are the most intense moments with their children – they are among those that are remembered the longest.

In our new film, we would like to give you some ideas on how to enjoy such special moments from time to time, even in stressful times and as parents of multiple children.

May we notify you when a new film is released? Simply enter your name (or a nickname) and an email address in the box below:

Hello! And welcome to the Beaver Blog! Here, a little beaver and the psychologist team Fabian Grolimund, Stefanie Rietzler and Nora Volker explain everything there is to know about self-confidence and self-esteem!

You will learn how your child discovers his or her strengths, makes friends, and learns to solve problems independently. We’ll also talk about the less enjoyable parts of life: feelings like fear and anger, failures, weaknesses, and frustration – and how a child can learn to cope and grow from them.

We record particularly important points that strengthen children in the long term in short films that we produce in cooperation with the Swiss parents’ magazine Fritz+Franzi and the Albert Koechling Foundation. In the following film you will learn, for example, that children gain self-confidence when they are given responsibility and can make a contribution:

In our parent seminars and continuing education courses, you can learn how to strengthen children in everyday life.

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