Understanding and Ending Bullying: Strategies for Parents, Professionals & Students

Kids who bully often master the art of blending in with the crowd, flying under an adult’s radar, and wreaking havoc in subtle ways. In fact, many socially aggressive kids actually top an adult’s “what-a-nice-kid” list and make their way into their victims’ inner circle before showing their true colors. Blink, and even the most astute observer may miss the child’s hostile actions the first few times around. While bullying tends to peak in the middle school years, it is clear that this power-based behavior has its roots as early as elementary school.  Too often, friendship is  the weapon of choice for covert but soul-crushing tactics like social exclusion, humiliation, and rumor-spreading.IMG_0302 (2)

Signe’s trainings, based on her books 8 Keys to End Bullying: Strategies for Parents and Professionals and Friendship & Other Weapons: Group Activities to Help Young Girls Cope with Bullying provide information, activity ideas, and clear-cut strategies for what adults can do to understand and change bullying in their schools, treatment programs, communities, and families.


41kO74Scq+LFor Professionals (Customizable half and full-day workshops)

Bullying among school-aged children is a widespread problem in the United States. If there was a one-size-fits-all solution to the problem, it would have been suggested and implemented long ago. Getting a handle on bullying is a complex challenge that leaves many educators, administrator, counselors, and youth care professionals feeling overwhelmed and helpless. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that “big” solutions are trumped each and every day by the small, powerful acts that trustworthy adults can use to signal to individual kids that their dignity is paramount and that their safety will be prioritized.  Signe’s workshops for professionals focus on the most important, impactful things that adults can do to confront and change bullying in schools, treatment programs, communities, and families.   Using video, discussion, role play, and many hands-on ideas and activities, Signe demonstrates the many ways that adults can play a role in changing the culture of bullying.


Click here for comments from training participants.


For Parents (90 minute and 2-hour presentations)

“To intervene or not to intervene?”  Parents often struggle with the question of when and how to help their children deal with troubling dynamics related to conflict and bullying.  As a mother of two young daughters, Signe relates to parents on a personal level, while sharing professional insights and research-based strategies about the most effective ways to end bullying.  In a time frame easily managed by busy parents, Signe shares:

  • Keys differences between rude, mean, and bullying behavior
  • Strategies for building social-emotional competence in kids, including building empathy and compassion as “antidotes” to bullying
  • Information and advice for cultivating digital citizenship and dealing with cyberbullying
  • Specific wording for stopping bullying whenever it is observed directly
  • How to listen so that young people will talk about bullying with parents


Elementary & Middle School Students (45-60 minutes)Friendship & Other Weapons cover

In these interactive presentations, students will participate in engaging games, strength-discovering exercises, and hands-on activities to learn important  skills for understanding and effectively managing bullying, including:

  • Recognizing the Red Flags of Relational Aggression
  • Becoming an Ally to Others Facing Bullying
  • Skills for STANding up to Bullying
  • Connecting with Healthy Friendships
  • Resolving Conflicts Assertively

By creating safe, open, and fun forums, participants of all ages can talk, listen, compare experiences, and gain new skills for confronting incidents of cruelty disguised among peers.

Assembly organizers can select from the topics above to create a unique, hands-on experience for students.


Middle & High School Students (60-90 minutes)

UnselfiesIn these interactive presentations, middle and high school students use brainstorming, role-play and discussion to focus on the issues most relevant to their age group and daily lives, including:

  • Using Technology and Social Media Ethically
  • Overcoming Obstacles to Standing Up for Peers who are Bullied
  • Connecting with Healthy Friendships
  • Resolving Peers Conflicts with Dignity


By creating safe, open, and fun forums, students can talk, listen, compare experiences, and gain new skills for confronting incidents of cruelty disguised among peers.


Assembly organizers can select from the topics above to create a unique, hands-on experience for students.


Mothers & Daughters (Customizable half and full-day workshops)

Parents often struggle with the question of, “Should I intervene in my daughter’s friendship problems?” The line between helicopter and hands-off parenting can get confusing, as adults waver between wanting to protect their daughters from any kind of hurt and believing that girl fighting is an inevitable rite of passage.484852_673637649349382_102559259_n

Mother-daughter seminars bring moms and girls together to address such topics as picking healthy friendships, standing up to bullying, and using social media wisely. Girls gain from learning how to talk about the nature of girl bullying and friendship challenges with their parents while Moms benefit from learning the red flags of relational aggression in today’s social media landscape. Mother-daughter workshops help open the lines of communication and foster trusting relationships between parents and children.


For more information about any of the workshops described above, independent use of the Friendship & Other Weapons curriculum, or to arrange a customized workshop in your area, please contact Signe at Signe@SigneWhitson.com

Recent Feedback from Participants:


–Things have been going so well since your visit. My lower school teachers have been following up with their students everyday on kindness activities and we have heard from several students and parents that there is a change here. Of course the important thing is to keep it going! Thank you again for all that you shared with us and for such a healthy path you’ve put us on.   Julie Schlossinger, Head of the Lower School, Vail Mountain School


–Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre would like to thank and acknowledge, Signe Whitson for the time she invested with us this past weekend. Along with Mark Freado, Signe  visited Windy Hill and spent time with 20 Youth from our P.A.Y.E Program. Her expertise and warm nature was welcomed and appreciated by all those she connected with. Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre is grateful for the care and compassion she has shown to our young people.     Blair St. Germaine, Program Support Coordinator, Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


–Signe is accommodating, helpful, and knowledgeable about bullying. She was able to answer questions and gave great feedback.


-Well prepared,practical, and useful information.  I feel infinitely more prepared to handle bullying issues in my classroom and in the hallways.


–I learned how important building positive relationships with students can be in preventing bullying.


–Now I have more tools and feel better prepared to help my students cope with bullying.


–I saw that the girls were understanding and getting into the program.  As a Girl Scout Troop Leader and a Service Unit Manager, I would strongly recommend the Book and Program to other Girl Scout Troops. It was very informative and it was at a level that the girls understood.


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