Posts tagged relational aggression

Conversing about Kindness with Kids


Last week, this post on Conversing About Kindness with Kids caught my eye…and I vowed that February 1st would be the start date for my family to do as the author suggests and “think of one thing we can do each day to be kind to someone else.”  

Two years ago, my Chinese New Year-inspired proclamation that 2010 would be “The Year of Kindness” in our family rather than the Year of the Tiger, garnered groans and well-deserved accusations of cheesiness.  Ahh well…my kids are two years older now…and 730 days more accustomed to me talking about the importance of kindness.  I may well get groans again tomorrow…but no matter…I know that my kids are internalizing an important message.


In Friendship & Other Weapons, kids are engaged in fun activities around building values of kindness, empathy, compassion, and cooperation as a way of changing the culture of bullying in schools and helping kids cope effectively with relational aggression.


Check it out:

Friendship & Other Weapons featured in the Reclaiming Children & Youth Journal


Don’t just take my word for it; check out this new review of Friendship & Other Weapons, featured in the Reclaiming Children & Youth newsletter:

Teaching Our Daughters What it Really Means to be a Woman Friend


From the brilliant woman who, about a week or so ago, brought us the Don’t Carpe Diem article about how challenging it can be to “savor every moment” as parents of little ones…here is another inspired piece about Mommy Guilt…or more precisely, what a shame it is that women make each other feel guilty for their individual choices as parents.   An excerpt…


So, angry, debating ladies… here’s the thing. My daughter is watching me AND you to learn what it means to be a woman. And I’d like her to learn that a woman’s value is determined less by her career choices and more by how she treats other women, in particular, women who are different than she is. I’d like her to learn that her strength is defined by her honesty and her ability to exist in grey areas without succumbing to masking her insecurities with generalizations or accusations. And I’d like her to learn that the only way to be both graceful and powerful is to dance among the endless definitions of the word woman… and to refuse to organize women into categories, to view ideas in black and white, or to choose sides and come out swinging. Because being a woman is not that easy, and it’s not that hard.


So, maybe instead of tearing each other up, we could each admit that we’re a bit torn up about our choices, or lack thereof. And we could offer each other a shoulder or a hand. And then maybe our girls would see what it really means to be a woman.


Think this much is amazing and so, so right on?  Check out her full article here on the HuffingtonPost.

Spot-On Advice for Young Girls Pondering a “Friend Divorce”

If you’ve ever been in a situation where you need to find the right words to tell a young girl that what she’s about to do is wrong…then check out this column in Teen Vogue, written by Odd Girl Out author, Rachel Simmons.

If you read my blog, you know I’m a big fan of her work and her wisdom–and this is a perfect example of why. I love how Rachel is so honest and forthright in her advice to the girls–while never talking down to them and always maintaining respect for their experiences.

My fingers are crossed that when the time comes, I–and all of my Mom friends–will be able to advise my own daughters this well!

Six Girls Ask: Should We Dump Our Friend?

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…)

Social Combat in Schools: Bullying on Anderson Cooper 360


As part of his ongoing series this week on the subject of bullying, Anderson Cooper talks to sociologist Robert Faris and author Rachel Simmons about the concept of “social combat,” and the culture of victimization in schools. This is a really interesting clip, revealing which kids tend to be most involved in bullying and which ones tend to stay above the fray. Revealing.

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?

Dealing with Rumors, Gossip, and Reputations


Check out this great article by Rachel Simmons, as featured in Teen Vogue:  Simmons shares real life stories of ruined reputations and how girls can cope with social ostracism.

The article is jam-packed with pearls of wisdom, but this quote from one of the gossip-survivors just rings especially true:

Elsa realized that denying the rumors seemed to make them worse, so she decided  to confront them head-on. “The more I was like, ‘It happened. Get over it,’ the  more people would drop it. I think that when you don’t tell people things and  they know it, they become even more invested in figuring out what it is. If  you’re honest and up-front about it, it goes away.”

Read More

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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