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How we respond to life’s challenges says quite a bit about how we are as resilient human beings. If we take every slight, rude or unfriendly behavior as a slap against our personal integrity, chances are we might let that build up to a boiling point that won’t necessarily result in our best and tolerant response, or teach our children the proper way to deal with it. Life is full of rough edges and sometimes those edges simply need to be avoided or at least shrugged off. We’ve all heard, “It’s not the end of the world, so move on.” Indeed.

This morning’s LA Times had an essay that brought an interesting perspective on Life in the Age of Dissing. The article, Overusing the bully label, by Susan Eva Porter, an author, clinical social worker and school administrator, is worthy of your attention because it reflects upon what we’ve been talking about on these pages: judging and reacting to the continuous barrage of instant negative messages on our “smart” phones, the Internet and other media is probably one of the biggest challenges we face on a daily basis in already stressful world.

So what exactly is “dissing” and bullying?  Are we so infused with a sense of righteous indignation at the tiniest slight that we forget that life itself is not like the mythological times of Leave it to Beaver, where everyone wore a white shirt, spoke respectfully to each other and wisdom was dished out in sage homilies? As the article points out, how we respond to what we perceive as bullying can sometimes be overwrought angst that can create injurious labels that may not be true, such as deeming normal childhood acting out as bullying.

We’ve all heard of parents fighting at a child’s soccer or baseball game, sometimes with injurious and legal consequences, because they didn’t like the referee’s call or because an opposite team member called the child a name. (Sadly, the LA Times essay discusses parents allegedly attacking children who they felt had bullied their own children.) Which makes the most important factor to help our children navigate the shoals of Life in the Age of Dissing is to show them what is an appropriate response that teaches tolerance and resilience.  After all, it’s not the end of the world. Let us know what you think.

To schedule an appointment with Ben Novell, LMFT,  Janelle Novell, LMFT, RPT-S or any of our therapists, please call 951-252-9911.

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This website contains information about Novell and Novell’s mental health services, our therapists, how to access our services as well as general mental health information. The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for the advice of a mental health professional, diagnosis or treatment. Additionally, this website does not contain or represent a complete listing of all mental health services available or appropriate. Users of this website are strongly encouraged to call or see a mental health professional with any related questions.