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The End of Bullying Begins with Me!

Any woman who can remember the exact words someone said years ago that made her feel small and weak knows the old adage “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is wrong. Words can hurt forever and “relational aggression” or hurting one another emotionally rather than physically through things like manipulation, exclusion, taunting, gossiping, cliques, cyber bullying, and toxic friendships can spread deep roots that influence our behavior decades later.

October is National Bullying Prevention month and Girl Scouts across the country are raising awareness of this issue and empowering girls to recognize when bullying occurs and to stand up for themselves and others. It doesn’t have to be like this!

So how do we help our girls navigate this maze of relationships and bully behaviors? How do we build a generation of girls who are willing to take a stand? The first step to stopping these behaviors is knowledge. Have your girls take these online quizzes: Test Your Bullying IQ and Test Your Relational Aggression IQ and then discuss with them their answers, reactions to the statistics, and what they think will make a difference in their school. Challenge them to be open, honest, and supportive with one another during the discussion.

Then seek out resources to help give girls (and parents) the tools that they need to take that stand. The Cadette Journey aMAZE: The Twists and Turns of Getting Along is a great resource for helping girls navigate friendships, social circles, and other bullying behaviors they may encounter. It has tips, tools, and resources for both girls and adults to help them become strong advocates for themselves and others. GSUSA has also created an additional resource for aMAZE called BFF: Be a Friend First that has been used very successfully in schools across our council and the nation. Check out these videos below to see what girls and school administrators are saying about BFF and its impact in their community.

For more information contact your regional Girl Scout office or attend our upcoming aMAZE! Journey Retreat November 7-9th, 2014 (see Ebiz for more details). Also PBS Parents has a great list of recommendations for Helping Middle Schoolers Navigate their Social Lives that can also be modified for younger girls because while these bullying behaviors are more prevalent in middle school, the beginnings of the “mean girl” behaviors can be seen in younger girls. Let’s help our girls be the generation that stands up to bullying!