Just Be Nice!
HOW TO GET RID OF
Kimber Bishop-Yanke has spent the last 13 years teaching kids
how to stand up to bullies. The founder and president of
Detroit-based Girls Empowered, a business offering empowerment
programs to kids, says girls in the middle are a big problem.
They're involved in "social combat" trying to climb their school's
social hierarchy. Many are both the aggressor and the victim.
Girls today feel they can't be themselves because their friends
may not like them, and they try to please everyone - they'll even
step all over other girls to make sure they have friends,
The early starting point
How young is bullying starting with girls, and when
should parents begin talking to their daughters about
Bishop-Yanke: Research shows that relational
aggression - rumors, gossip, lying, excluding, unfriendly body
language - starts in preschool. Parents need to start talking early
about what acting mean and being kind look and sound like.
If your daughter is a victim, teach her to talk back to the
bully rather than slink away silently. Empower her with some
comebacks so she can stand up to the tough girls, such as: "If it
was a joke we'd both be laughing," or, "Why are you paying so much
attention to me?"
Kids should stand up for themselves three different times, and
if the meanness continues, get help from an adult.
The media is placing more of a spotlight on bullying,
and celebrities are getting involved. Why is bullying still a big
Bishop-Yanke: While there's a lot of press
about bullying, there's little actual training going on. Kids,
parents and schools need to have a common language and
understanding, a process in place and the skills to handle
bullying, relational aggression and mean-spirited behavior.
We need to stop using the word bullying unless it's truly a
bullying situation because people are calling everything bullying,
and everyone is becoming frozen as to what to do.
Take away "tattletale" term
What can girls do who are afraid to come forward when
they're bullied? What if mean girls threaten them?
"Adults and children misuse the term tattletale."
Bishop-Yanke: Adults and children misuse the
term tattletale. They need to be taught the difference between
tattling and reporting. We're asking that adults and schools stop
using the word tattletale.
Schools need to address the bully or Queen Bee without saying
the target reported them. They can say an adult heard them or other
children reported them. We have to increase the awareness that by
keeping silent, we give the bullies power.