Sunday, September 25, 2011

Mean Girls AND Boys

Our school has a school-wide bullying prevention and intervention program. However, we still have major concerns with relational aggression or social emotional bullying. From kindergarten on we have girls who use relationships as weapons. Boys do it too but they generally don't start until grade 2. Another difference between boys and girls is that boys who engage in relational aggression tend to be liked but girls who engage in similar behavior are disliked by peers. The research also shows that staff often do not intervene in relational aggression or give well meaning but poor advice like, "If they don't want to be your friend just play with someone else." If a student is being bullied socially and emotionally it is just as painful as physical bullying and they need support. Today with cyber-bullying, attacking peers can be done anonymously and more frequently without being discovered. If a student is the target of relational aggression they need help processing the attack, dealing with their feelings, and coming up with a plan. Students need positive role models to learn relationship skills they can use when victimized by peers.

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