In light of recent high profile bullying incidents prompting the New Jersey legislature to enact stricter bullying laws, which took effect at the start of the new school year, the free lecture, “Don’t Mess with Me: The Connection between Self-Esteem and Bullying,” couldn’t be more timely.

On Wednesday, October 12, the non-profit parent organization, Children Having Individual Learning Differences (C.H.I.L.D), will host international motivational speaker and award-winning author Janet Pfeiffer to address the community on this critical topic. An NJEA Registered Provider specializing in bullying, anger management and conflict resolution, Pfeiffer will discuss the importance of self-esteem and how it impacts our lives from career choice to the selection of a mate. Pfeiffer will also examine the correlation between a child’s self worth and bullying as well as what can be done to help children build positive self-esteem.

According to Pfeiffer who has spoken at the United Nations and has been a frequent guest on CNN, NBC and CBS News, parents should start young. “I don’t think it’s ever too early to help children develop positive self-esteem.”

From an early age children derive their self worth from their relationship with their parents Pfeiffer noted. She stressed children need to know “how much they are loved and valued.”

And how do parents ensure their kids get the message? “By the amount of quality time we spend with them,” Pfeiffer stated. “That has major impact on children.”

As children get older and enter the school system, Pfeiffer acknowledged they become more aware of their peers and how they are treated by other children has a great impact on them. Self-esteem built on children’s ability “to see how competent they are and their strengths” can start to falter when they begin to measure themselves against peers, she noted. But she explained parents need to focus the child’s attention on his or her strengths.

“Everybody is gifted in different areas and has weaknesses in different areas. Look at areas of their life where they are unique and talented.”

This does not mean ignore their differences. Pfeiffer pointed out when children are comfortable with their differences, they can be “proud of who they are.”

Over the course of her nearly 20-year career, Pfeiffer has seen a rise in school interest in bullying seminars and programs, but she admitted, “I have a very different take on this than most people.” With all the new legislation, Pfeiffer believes the state is overburdening the schools. She asserts, “The solution lies with holding parents accountable.”

“If you raise children properly you don’t have problem with bullying.”

So parents this is your chance. The lecture starts at 7:00 p.m. in the Media Center of Verona High School, 151 Fairview Avenue.