What Adults Can Do About

Relational Aggression

     Recognize how serious this issue is for girls

•     Think about what you expose girls to, and lobby for more positive role models

•     Support books, movies, magazines, and television shows that offer constructive rather than destructive stories about girls

•     Help girls “plan ahead” for relational aggression. Talk about what she will do when her friends start to gossip, or she sees someone else being targeted

•     Have a toolkit of strategies for coping, not just one. Here’s an idea from Club Ophelia™ girls: Walk-Talk-Tell (walk away, talk things out, tell someone who can help)

•     Reward positive relationship skills when you see them: creative problem solving, leadership, and team building are all behaviors you want her to use

•     Discuss values and beliefs, using a hierarchy of “What would you do if your friends wanted you to?” (Would you…skip school…spread a rumor…drink…etc.)

•     Involve her in volunteer work where she can connect with diverse groups of people and feel appreciated

•     Role model tolerance and respect so she will too

•     You need to know what happens online—consider it a city you allow a girl to visit and find out where she’s been and what she did there

•     At all costs, keep girls connected—stigmatizing girls as bullies or victims decreases their chance of forming meaningful relationships with others

•     Never underestimate the power of relationships with adults who care