Great Video to Teach Kids about the Permanency of Online Posts


In Friendship & Other Weapons, girls are given the opportunity to learn and talk about the role of social media in their lives and relationships.  This YouTube video is a great entre for teaching girls–and boys–about the permancy of what they post online–via Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, or even text.  “Once you post it, you lose control.”

Showing and discussing this video with kids is 99 seconds well-spent.

Not Just for Grown-Ups Anymore: Why Assertive Anger Expression Skills are Helpful for Kids & Teens


From the time they are toddlers, children are often coaxed by adults to hide their feelings of anger behind a social smile.  Worse yet, kids hear the explicit message, “Don’t be angry,” and are actively encouraged to deny this most basic of human emotions.  When they act out—either through the tantrums of their earliest years or the rebellion of their teenage ones—they are reprimanded for all of the behaviors that adults do not want them to use.


Rather that hammering away at all of the things kids should not do when it comes to expressing their anger, parents and caregivers can effect lasting change in their kids anger-inspired behaviors by teaching them specific skills for how to be (more…)

Girl Scouts Know How to Be Friends Indeed!


This morning, I had the GREAT honor and pleasure of doing a workshop for about 120 Girl Scouts and their moms (ages 5-11), based on some of the lessons and activities in Friendship & Other Weapons.  We focused on specific ways that the girls can become allies to someone who is being bullied both before, during, and after bullying situations.  In less than 10 minutes, the amazing girls came up with over 60 ways to be a friend to someone who is being bullied!  They also learned that:

It is never OK to do nothing about bullying!

Here are a few of the “How to Be a Friend” and “Stop Bullying” posters they left with me to share with you.  Please check the Bullying in Elementary School link to see more and to find out how to schedule a Friendship & Other Weapons workshop for your group of girls.


How Friendship & Other Weapons Came to Life


This morning, an interviewer asked me how the idea for Friendship & Other Weapons came to be.  Thought it was worth sharing with you as well…


My previous book, How to Be Angry, started with the fundamental premise that anger is OK; its 15-session curriculum is all about giving children, tweens and teens specific assertive skills to express their anger in constructive, relationship-building ways.  After writing the book, it became obvious to me that there is a large group of young people who are shut out from this basic presupposition that anger is a normal, natural human experience.   Millions of young girls in the United States grow up immersed in a social universe in which “being angry” is equated with “being bad” or, at best, not “being nice.”  (more…)

Bullyproofing – Four Steps to Build Your Daughter’s Personal Power


What happens when harmless spats over sharing toys are replaced by cruel cyber-rumors about liking boys? Will your daughter know what to do when pint-sized pushes evolve into painful tween shoves? When the simplicity of forming a friendship just by climbing the same jungle gym is replaced by the intricacy of scaling middle-school social ladders, how can you teach your daughter to stand up to bullies?

Better Than You by Trudy Ludwig

I first fell in love with Trudy Ludwig’s writing when I read My Secret Bully  It was the perfect Read & Discuss student activity to include in my own book, Friendship and Other Weapons: Group Activities to Help Young Girls Aged 5-11 to Cope With Bullying.  Since then, I’ve become a avid fan of Ludwig’s books for reading and sharing with kids–including my own daughters, ages 8 & 5.Yesterday afternoon, when our copy of her latest book,  Better Than You arrived, we all cozied up on the sofa, eager for another good read.  Indeed!  Both of my kids are all too familiar with the “Jake-type:” the kid who has an incessant need to one-up everyone else.  They both really related to the pufferfish analogy about kids who brag a lot and understood exactly what Ludwig means when she writes, “But when a kid acts like a pufferfish, he takes up so much space that he can also push friends away.”  Brilliant.  So simple, so clear, and so true.

As a Mom of kids who have been guilty of “puffing” a time or two themselves–particularly with each other–Better Than You was a great conversation starter and powerful reminder of how others perceive puffery and bragging.  This book is a must read for kids and a must-share for parents, teachers, counselors, and anyone living or working with kids.

Helping Kids Make Smart Choices for Expressing Anger


It’s one thing to write about helping kids make smart choices when it comes to expressing anger — it’s another thing to watch an emotional situation play out right before your eyes and hope that your own child will make a good decision! Last weekend, I took my daughter and her friend to a pizza-n-games type of place. For them, making time for the delicious pizza buffet is like “having” to eat their veggies before they can enjoy dessert; wobbly crane machines and spinning prize wheels are the true delight of the restaurant. (more…)

I Can Not Tell a Lie: When Role Modeling Backfires…


You Don’t Really Feel That Way, Part 2


A few weeks ago, I posted an article by a great professional, Blogger, and founder of Kidlutions, Wendy Young.  The article was called “You Don’t Really Feel That Way, Part 1.”  

Here, Wendy posts Part 2, a follow-up piece that talks about how to validate kids’ emotional experiences and drain off their intense emotions effectively.  I love what she has to say and how well she explains the approach.  “Drain Off” is my term, not Wendy’s.  Actually, it is a Life Space Crisis Intervention term, and marks the first stage of LSCI’s six stage process of helping kids with self-defeating behaviors develop insight into their patterns and improved relationships with helping adults.

I have followed Wendy’s blogs and articles for about a year now and find myself on the same page with her time after time.  This is no exception.  I hope you’ll check out her work and, if you like it, be sure to also check out, since our training coincides so well with the kinds of thigs she is writing.


Re-thinking the “Drama” Approach to Bullying


Please check out this is great, thought-provoking op-ed piece from the NY Times.  I whole-heartedly agree that with the authors that:

Interventions must focus on positive concepts like healthy relationships and digital citizenship rather than starting with the negative framing of bullying. The key is to help young people feel independently strong, confident and capable without first requiring them to see themselves as either an oppressed person or an oppressor.

It’s the social worker in me, I suppose; I am a strengths-perspective kinda girl.  In my new book, this is the approach I take.    While the book title Friendship & Other Weapons is used to convey to adult readers the nature of how girl bullying is acted out within relationships, girl participants will come to know their membership as part of a Real Friendships group.  As such, the solution-focused lessons, engaging group activities and relevant discussions will help girls cope with “drama” in honest, relationship-enhancing, self-affirming ways.

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