Bullying has become an important issue in the United States in recent years. Tricia Chinn Campbell, formerly of Summit County and author of “Kai and the Magic Jacket,” a picture book to help parents address bullying from early childhood, has aligned with child psychologist Dr. Heather Gill to promote earlier bullying awareness, education and prevention.
Bullying awareness, which is observed throughout the month of October, is one step toward prevention. While researchers are now advocating training programs in elementary and middle schools, both author and psychologist are encouraging parents to address bullying with children as young as 4 years old with the objective of empowering them when confronted with it. Statistics show that 5 million American children enrolled in kindergarten through eighth grade have been affected by bullying.
“The media has recognized bullying as a national issue because it places importance on the emotional intelligence of our children,” Campbell stated in a news release. “Parents and teachers need to know that 4 years old is not too soon to discuss the issues and that there are tools to help them do so.”
While pregnant with her son, Chance, in 2007, Campbell wanted to develop a story featuring a half-Chinese, half-Anglo boy that would capture the imagination of all children, regardless of their ethnicity or cultural background.
“I spent nights teaching confidence and boundaries in response to my daughter being bullied as a 4 year old,” Gill stated. “The key to bullying prevention is to help your child find the words to set boundaries and to deliver words with confidence instead of fear or anger.”
Gill received her master’s in counseling from University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a doctorate from the University of Virginia. She also was an adjunct faculty member at Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland and Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge.
Campbell’s book, celebrating its first anniversary with Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, is a modern-day tale about a boy confronted with verbal bullying and the loss of personal power.