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14 Real Teenagers Who Are Better Literary Role Models Than Bella Swan And Edward Cullen

When English teacher Marjie Bowker brought author Ingrid Ricks ("Hippie Boy: A Girl's Story") in to mentor her class, she had no idea where their partnership would lead. Together they put together a curriculum that used Ricks' book to encourage students to claim their power by sharing their own personal stories (on subjects ranging from gang life to drug abuse to sexual identity) through narrative writing. The students were so enthused by the project that they turned their stories into a book called "We Are Absolutely Not Okay," which they hope will give other at-risk kids the opportunity to claim power in their own lives.



Parents respond to video of Britney Spears.

Parenting is hard for just about everyone. You're completely responsible for a small human that doesn't come with an instruction manual, and it's a case of trying to do the best you can with what you've got. Some people seem to think that celebrities should be infallible, so when Kevin Federline shared a video of Britney Spears being stern with her children there was always going to be negative feedback. But surprisingly, the video has, in fact, stirred up more support for the star and her parenting methods.

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Bullying is often modeled by parental behavior.

Bullies are made, not born. Bullying traits might be picked up in a variety of ways, but violence, aggression and cruelty are most certainly learned behaviors during a child’s development.

The book “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Child and Adolescent Psychology,” co-authored by psychiatrist Jack C. Westman M.D. and science writer Victoria Costello, lists five major factors that most often lead to bullying: physical punishment, watching aggressive behavior in adults, violent television, problems with processing emotions and undiagnosed mental illness.

The underlying theme in these causes? A lack of empathy. Bullies are often taught—whether directly or subversively—that dominance and control are more vital than compassion and understanding. This results in pain for not only the intended target, but for the oppressor themselves.

how to stop a bullyHurt people hurt people. Photo by yang miao on Unsplash

But just as it can be learned, bullying can be unlearned—through supportive friendships, trusted role models and maybe even professional help. People are always capable of change when given the necessary tools to do so.

Recently, a Reddit user asked former bullies (and former “mean girls,” for as we all know this is not necessarily a gender-specific phenomenon) to share what “finally brought a change.”

The answers were inspiring. They not only showed that yes, the adage is true, “hurt people hurt people,” but also that powerful transformation can happen simply by taking accountability. Many of these former bullies admitted to growing up in less-than-ideal environments and did not know any other way to cope. But eventually they were given fresh insight, and with that were better able to choose kindness.

The world might seem like a cold and uncaring place at times, but these 10 stories are a beautiful reminder that change is always possible.

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Photo by Anna Kolosyuk on Unsplash

Love is love.

Kids say the darnedest things, sure. But often they say the wisest things too.

Case in point—this viral video.

Hannah Lewis, a 32-year-old mom and LGBTQ advocate who goes by the name “Lesbimum” on TikTok and Instagram, shared a sweet exchange between her and a young boy after he asked if she had a boyfriend.

Their heartwarming conversation received nearly 2 million likes, and it really offers us all a glimpse into what the world can look like through the eyes of pure acceptance.

When approached with the question, Lewis chose to answer him plainly, rather than “hide who I am.”

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