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