It's My Life
Video Discussion Guide
Bullying isn’t always physical. What other ways do kids find to bully one another?
Calling names and teasing; deserting someone; making someone feel unwanted; trying to get control over someone
Which do you think is worse: physical bullying (hitting or shoving) or psychological bullying (teasing, being mean, etc.)?
What are some of the responses the kids use when dealing with bullies?
Ignore the bully; count to ten and get control of their emotions; walk away; tell someone about it; get an adult to confront the bully
Have you ever bullied someone? Why did you do it? How did it make you feel while you were doing it? Did you feel different later?
One girl in the video suggests that bullying is a part of “human nature.” Do you agree? Why or why not? What can you, or anyone, do to help solve the problem of bullying?
What ways do kids find to cheat on tests and quizzes?
Looking at a textbook; writing a “cheat sheet” on their hand or on paper; looking at another student’s test; talking to another student
The kids in the clip disagree on whether copying someone else’s homework counts as cheating. What do you think?
According to the kids in the video, why is cheating wrong?
It’s the same as stealing the answers; if you cheat you do not learn
In the clip, one student says that kids who cheat are really “cheating themselves.” What do you think this means? How can cheating lead to other problems?
One kid says that some people are tempted to cheat because it is “the easy way out.” Do you think this is true? Can you think of ways that cheating might actually be harder than studying?
The kids mention things you can do if a friend asks you to help him/her cheat. What are they?
Ignore the friend; tell him or her to study; tell him or her that you don’t want to get into trouble
What sorts of things make a student have a crush on someone?
Good looks; a nice personality; a good sense of humor; being good at sports; being independent; having common interests
What do the kids in the video say they do to express themselves to their crushes?
Flirt; sit near them; come right out and tell them; try to make it obvious without actually telling them
One boy in the clip says that boys don’t really get crushes, only girls do. Do you think this is true? Why or why not?
Which do you think is more painful: having a crush and never telling the person, or telling the person and being rejected? Why?
What do the kids in the clip do when someone has a crush on them but they do not feel the same way?
Tell the person that they are “just friends”; avoid the person in order to spare his her/feelings; just come right out and say that they don’t feel the same way
Dealing With Anger
What types of things make the kids in the video angry?
When a sibling bothers them; when they can’t do what they want or don’t get their way; when others won’t admit defeat; when they do more work that others; when they have to do things over
What sometimes makes the kids angry at themselves?
When they know they’ve done something wrong; when they freeze up in a test even though they studied; when they score low on tests because they didn’t study
According to the kids in the video, what can happen when someone doesn’t have an outlet for anger?
The anger becomes “bottled up”; it can make you act different; it can lead to even more anger; it can make you act out or take out your anger on other people
What are some of the ways the kids have found to release their anger?
Scream; write in a journal; listen to music; read or draw
Do you think you have a quick temper or does it take a lot to make you angry? What types of things make you the angriest? What things bother other people, but not you?
Can you think of constructive ways to let out anger that the kids in the video didn’t mention? What are some ways of letting out anger that aren’t positive or constructive?
Dealing With Death
How did the kids’ daily lives change after they lost their loved ones?
Some kids had to move in with the other parent after one parent died; some moved to a new neighborhood with a different cultural mix; they had to deal with going to a new school and trying to make new friends; they had to move in with grandparents
What did the kids see when they envisioned a future without their parent around?
Getting married without the parent there to see it
What emotional reactions did the kids have when their loved ones died?
Sadness; surprise; the need to be alone; the need to cry; the need to be strong in front of others
What helped the kids deal with their sadness and grief?
Thinking of the good times they spent with the person before he or she died; expressing feelings; crying or “letting it out”; talking to people; joining a counseling or grief group
How did the kids find group therapy helpful?
They saw that they were not alone; they shared their thoughts with others in the same situation; they could say things that they couldn’t say to family members
How did the death of a loved one change the kids’ views about their lives?
It made one child more careful about what he said to people in case he could not take it back; it made another more determined to live his life rather than put things off until later
How do you, or would you, deal with extreme grief? Are you the type of person to keep things inside or let them all out?
Dealing With Divorce
What types of problems did the kids face before their parents separated or divorced?
Their parents fought a lot; there was a lot of yelling in the house; one boy had a father who was using drugs
How did the kids' living situations change after the divorces?
The kids had to deal with seeing one parent a lot less often; they often talked with the parent by phone or got together only on weekends; they found themselves moving to a new home or moving between two homes
How did having parents that lived in separate homes make things difficult for the kids?
It was sometimes difficult making a schedule for visits; one girl had to carry her things from one house to another; friends often did not understand what was going on
In what ways did life improve after divorce?
One boy’s grades improved because his mother gave better advice than his father had
How do groups like Banana Splits help kids cope with divorce?
They can learn from talking to kids who have been through the same experiences; they can get advice from kids in the same situation; they can become friends with the group counselors or other group members
What do the kids like about the group therapy meetings?
They don’t have to talk if they don’t want to; they can listen to what others have to say; they can feel better by helping others; they can meet people they wouldn’t meet in their school or neighborhood and make friends with them
If your parents divorced; would you want to join a group like Banana Splits? What about the group would be most helpful? What would be least helpful?
Do you think that divorce is the worst thing that can happen to a kid; or is it sometimes worse for parents to stay married? Why? Can you think of specific examples of when parents should stay together; and when they should divorce?
What do the kids in the video list as causing their depression?
School problems; having something taken from them; rejection and other problems with crushes; loneliness; being betrayed by friends
Can you think of causes of depression that the students in the video did not list?
The kids list some differences between regular sadness and real depression. What are they?
Depression does not go away quickly but can stay for a long time; depression can change your attitude or personality; depression can make you feel like the whole world is against you; it can lead to a drop in school grades; it can make it hard to think clearly
Are you the type of person to keep quiet about being depressed, or would you probably tell someone about what you’re feeling? Which reaction would help you more? Why?
How would you react if you found out a friend were seriously depressed? Would you try to help? Would you talk to an adult about it? Why or why not?
What mental health resources are available for young people in your area? Would you know where to look for help if you or a friend were depressed?
What kinds of embarrassing moments do the kids in the video describe?
Farting in public; drooling; falling or tripping; goofing up in front of a crush; getting caught doing something silly on camera; being loud in public
What was your most embarrassing moment? How did you deal with it? How long did the embarrassment last?
What main piece of advice do the kids offer for coping with an embarrassing situation?
Try to laugh it off
Does the level of embarrassment depend on who is there to see what happened? Who are you most worried about being embarrassed in front of?
Gossip and Rumors
Why do people spread gossip and rumors?
To boost their own social status; to have something to talk about; to get attention; to try to be funny; for revenge
What strategies do the kids mention for dealing with gossip and rumors?
Don’t make it worse by spreading it to others; try to find out if it’s true; try to find out who started it and why; ignore it
Which of these strategies sounds the best to you? Why?
What’s the craziest rumor or piece of gossip that ever circulated in your school or group of friends? What did you think when you first heard it? Why do you think people spread it around?
Do you think spreading gossip and rumors can be a form of bullying? Why or why not?
What kinds of things made the kids worry about being home alone?
Fear of strangers; strange phone calls; frightening noises
What conflicts with sibs did the kids have when the parents weren’t around?
Arguments about who is in charge; fights over the TV
According to the kids, what are the advantages to being home without parents?
Feeling independent; doing their own thing; bending the rules; eating and watching what they want
Do you think it’s important for kids left home alone to have an emergency plan? Why or why not? What should be included in an emergency plan?
One boy mentioned that when he’s home alone, he’s not allowed to open the door for anyone. If you were a parent leaving a kid home alone, what rules would you make and why?
How old do you think a kid should be before a parent leaves him or her alone in the house? Why?
What do the siblings in the clip fight or argue about?
They fight because a sib is bothering or hitting them; they fight over who does what chores; they fight because a sib is being bossy; they fight over what to watch on TV
Do you think it’s normal for siblings to argue? What kids of fights are typical, and what kinds of fight might show that there is a serious problem?
Do you have siblings who you fight with? What are the fights usually about? How do things get resolved?
What role should parents play in sibling arguments? Should they try to help kids solve their disputes or just stay out of it? Why?
What kinds of things take up the kids’ time when they get home from school?
Chores; sports; homework; extra classes; music; dance; drama; religious instruction; appointments; youth organizations
What’s the good side to having such a full schedule of activities?
They’re happy with what they’re involved in; they don’t get bored
What’s the down side to it?
They feel overwhelmed or stressed out; they have no time for friends or other types of fun; they are busy all the time
How do the kids manage their time?
The write down assignments and commitments in a planner; they plan ahead for things coming up; they do homework in a particular order
One girl says that it’s important to keep some time that is not for scheduled activities. Do you agree? Why?
Do you prefer to spend most of your time in clubs and other activities; or do you like more free time to just do whatever? What would be a good balance for you?
Do you think that your school gives out too much work, just the right amount, or not enough? If you ran things, how much schoolwork would you give to kids?
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