Talking about sexual bullying

Watch Video: Talking about sexual bullying by Dorothy Espelage, ...
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Talking about sexual bullying

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When I talk to parents about sexual bullying, it is not a topic that is often on their mind. Many parents and teachers feel uncomfortable talking to kids in anyway about their sexual identity or their sexual harassment that they might experience. I think there is a general uncomfortableness around the topic, but what parents and teachers need to realize is that teenagers are sexual beings. This is a time, especially during Middle School, where their hormone are going crazy. Kids are trying to figure out who they are attracted to, at the same time they are trying to figure out who they are. The challenge is, really, to have that conversation. Somehow, parents and teachers need to feel that, if they feel comfortable, they may raise some issues that wouldn't necessarily be there. I often say to parents and teachers that they should deal with their own uncomfortableness around sexual issues and recognize that you should be the ones that are having these conversations with kids; not the media or their peers. Addressing your own issues around sexual identity is very, very key.

Watch Video: Talking about sexual bullying by Dorothy Espelage, ...

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Dorothy Espelage

Professor of Child Development

Dorothy L. Espelage, PhD, is a Professor of Child Development in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  She is a University Scholar and has fellow status in Division 17 (Counseling Psychology) of the American Psychological Association.  She earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Indiana University in 1997. She has conducted research on bullying, homophobic teasing, sexual harassment, and dating violence for the last 18 years. As a result, she presents regularly at regional, national, and international conferences and is author on over 90 professional publications.  She is co-editor of four published books including Bullying in North American Schools: A Social-Ecological Perspective on Prevention and Intervention and International Handbook of Bullying published by Routledge. She is Associate Editor of the Journal of Counseling Psychology. She has presented thousands of workshops and in-service training seminars for teachers, administrators, counselors, and social workers across the U.S.  Her research focuses on translating empirical findings into prevention and intervention programming.  She is currently funded by the CDC for a randomized clinical trial of a bullying prevention program in 36 middle schools. She authored a 2011 White House Brief on bullying among LGBTQ youth and attended the White House Conference in 2011. She is also funded by National Science Foundation to develop better methods to assess bullying among adolescents and CDC and NIJ are funding a longitudinal study of predictors of bullying and dating violence among adolescents. Dr. Espelage has appeared on many television news and talk shows, including The Today Show; CNN; CBS Evening News; The Oprah Winfrey Show, Anderson, Anderson 360 and has been quoted in the national print press, including Time Magazine, USA Today, People, Boston Globe, and the Wall Street Journal. Her dedicated team of undergraduate and graduate students are committed to the dissemination of the research through various mechanisms.

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