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Bullies and Mean Girls

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I had an opportunity to listen to a fantastic speaker, Rachel Simonns, talk about female friendships. Below are a few of the facts and tips I took away from this talk…

Bullying can be difficult to identify. Bullies are not the delinquent kids on the playground. They can often be the popular kids. The most psychologically aggressive kids are often the intelligent and polite kids that are able to put on a great show in front of adults. The sames skills that allow them to hurt their peers also allow them to manipulate adults.

Often the nasty behavior we see among girls is downplayed as “girls being girls”. Girls will often throw out catty remarks to embarrass other girls and then quickly take them back with a “just kidding” or “no offense” or “don’t be so sensitive” as a way to downplay their nasty comment.

TIPS for supporting your child in getting out of a toxic relationship:

  1. Teach your child that a true friend shows RESPECT for you. Friends that use your relationship as a way to control you and get you to do what they want are not being friends.
  2. Use EMPATHY when your child shares about a difficult situation with friends. Don’t downplay it and don’t try to fix it for them. LISTEN and then affirm their emotions… “I would feel sad too.” or “I am sorry this is happening.” Talk to your child about the “friend.” “What message is this person sending you about the kind of friend she is?” “What message are you sending?”
  3. EMPOWER your child to handle the situation. Do not start by trying to give advice but instead ask, “What do you want to do?” Try CIBO as a tool to help your child work through the process and then try to role play.
    Choices are… (list several)
    I choose…
    Because…
    Outcomes may be… (list several positive and negative) Help your child understand that sometimes the outcomes are not always going to be positive. When kids work through the process on their own and then choose which solution they want to use, they are empowered and they go into the situation realistically knowing that they may not get the perfect results.
  4. NJZ – No Joke Zone is another tool that friends and family members can use to show respect. We all have our own insecurities that are off limits. For one of us it may be our weight and for another it may be the size of their foot but the bottom line is that it is off limits for teasing. Teach one another to say NJZ when a friend is crossing that boundary and then simply drop the topic and move on to something else.

Rachel reminds us that technology is a privilege, not a right. Parents need to take back more control and like other things in our lives, we need to set boundaries and teach our kids moderation when it comes to phones and computers.

  1. Kids need to be respectful and polite when they are posting online. The internet has become the new “bathroom wall” where kids can post nasty comments about other kids.
  2. Kids should NEVER share passwords! Kids can feel pressured by their peers to share their password with their “best friend” which can backfire when that friend logs into their account and sends out emails from their account or on their Facebook page, etc.
  3. Our kids need to learn how to handle important conversations and not avoid them. We need to teach our kids to deal with their issues face to face and not via a text. It is to easy to write nasty comments through email when we do not have to see the reactions on someone’s face. “If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it!”
  4. For kids with cell phones, set time limits (ie: no phones at dinner or bed time or studying). Have kids turn their phones in to parents at night. They do not need them in their bedrooms while they are sleeping.
  5. It is OK to say NO to FACEBOOK. It is not meant for elementary and middle school kids. Facebook requires individuals to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account (and adults are not allowed to set up accounts for children under 13 either).

Rachel Simmons has written several books on girls and bullying and you can also find more information on her

I had an opportunity to listen to a fantastic speaker, Rachel Simonns, talk about female friendships. Below are a few of the facts and tips I took away from this talk…

Bullying can be difficult to identify. Bullies are not the delinquent kids on the playground. They can often be the popular kids. The most psychologically aggressive kids are often the intelligent and polite kids that are able to put on a great show in front of adults. The sames skills that allow them to hurt their peers also allow them to manipulate adults.

Often the nasty behavior we see among girls is downplayed as “girls being girls”. Girls will often throw out catty remarks to embarrass other girls and then quickly take them back with a “just kidding” or “no offense” or “don’t be so sensitive” as a way to downplay their nasty comment.

TIPS for supporting your child in getting out of a toxic relationship:

  1. Teach your child that a true friend shows RESPECT for you. Friends that use your relationship as a way to control you and get you to do what they want are not being friends.
  2. Use EMPATHY when your child shares about a difficult situation with friends. Don’t downplay it and don’t try to fix it for them. LISTEN and then affirm their emotions… “I would feel sad too.” or “I am sorry this is happening.” Talk to your child about the “friend.” “What message is this person sending you about the kind of friend she is?” “What message are you sending?”
  3. EMPOWER your child to handle the situation. Do not start by trying to give advice but instead ask, “What do you want to do?” Try CIBO as a tool to help your child work through the process and then try to role play.
    Choices are… (list several)
    I choose…
    Because…
    Outcomes may be… (list several positive and negative) Help your child understand that sometimes the outcomes are not always going to be positive. When kids work through the process on their own and then choose which solution they want to use, they are empowered and they go into the situation realistically knowing that they may not get the perfect results.
  4. NJZ – No Joke Zone is another tool that friends and family members can use to show respect. We all have our own insecurities that are off limits. For one of us it may be our weight and for another it may be the size of their foot but the bottom line is that it is off limits for teasing. Teach one another to say NJZ when a friend is crossing that boundary and then simply drop the topic and move on to something else.

Rachel reminds us that technology is a privilege, not a right. Parents need to take back more control and like other things in our lives, we need to set boundaries and teach our kids moderation when it comes to phones and computers.

  1. Kids need to be respectful and polite when they are posting online. The internet has become the new “bathroom wall” where kids can post nasty comments about other kids.
  2. Kids should NEVER share passwords! Kids can feel pressured by their peers to share their password with their “best friend” which can backfire when that friend logs into their account and sends out emails from their account or on their Facebook page, etc.
  3. Our kids need to learn how to handle important conversations and not avoid them. We need to teach our kids to deal with their issues face to face and not via a text. It is to easy to write nasty comments through email when we do not have to see the reactions on someone’s face. “If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it!”
  4. For kids with cell phones, set time limits (ie: no phones at dinner or bed time or studying). Have kids turn their phones in to parents at night. They do not need them in their bedrooms while they are sleeping.
  5. It is OK to say NO to FACEBOOK. It is not meant for elementary and middle school kids. Facebook requires individuals to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account (and adults are not allowed to set up accounts for children under 13 either). Click for more information on KIDS USING FACEBOOK and to anonymously report someone that is too young to be on Facebook.

Rachel Simmons has written several books on girls and bullying and you can also find more information at http://www.rachelsimmons.com/.

[AUTHOR: Rachel Simmons]

October 24, 2014

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