RA- Relational Aggression in Girls

Relational Aggression, or RA, is a fancy term for girls using relationships to mistreat each other- (silent treatment, exclusion, isolation, rumors, cliques, I won't be your friend if, etc).

Girls love to act, so role playing is a popular method of teaching. Even simple role playing at your house with your daughter is good prep work, to help her feel a little more ready to face things she (or he) may be facing at school.

In Girls 101 workshops, we role play using the MEAN GIRL, the TARGET, and the BYSTANDERS. We also talk about the feelings of each, motives of each and OPTIONS for girls to use if they find themselves in any of those roles.

I like to challenge girls to be SHE-ROS and to come to the defense of themselves AND others when they see people being mean. The world needs more She-ros who are brave enough to stand up for something!

Here are some tactics that your daughter can use:

TARGETS- (the one targeted by mean girl)

No matter how much you have to fake, respond in confidence. You are less likely to get picked on if you appear confident. Even if you have to go around the corner and break down when she's gone.

Look her in the eye. If you're too scared for that, look at her nose or the top of her head. It'll look like you're looking her in the eye.

It's okay to remove yourself from the situation. A simple confident "that's not true" or "stop it" followed by leaving is fine.

Use humor to diffuse the situation, if you can.

BYSTANDERS- (the ones who are around and observing, whether you're involved or not)

All girls will be bystanders at some point, and they actually have a lot of power. Typically, bystanders are afraid to say anything to stop the meanness, because they know they could then become the target of meanness too. But better to be brave and be a she-ro.

I teach having EMPATHY for the Target . Put yourself in her shoes. Would you want someone to help you? Then be brave and do something about it. Easier said than done, right? Well there are a few ways you can do something, even if you're not feeling super brave. Here are a few ideas:

Simply say something to the MG. "Hey lay off" or "Hey that's not true" or "What are you doing? Leave her alone".

Body language- just go stand by the target. They won't feel alone and now MG is looking at two people instead of one.

Go up to target and say "Hey let's go to class" and walk off with them- just help them get out of the situation.

All you bystanders band together and just walk off, taking the target with you, leaving Mean Girl by herself.

If it's a really bad situation, or ongoing, tell an adult.

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