Archive for Relational Aggression

Girls plus drama equals more drama! Girls often get stuck thinking obsessively about emotionally charged situations. That can be a problem, unless you can get girls to replace drama with other thoughts and move on.

With some adult guidance and diligence, this detachment from drama can be successful. It can even become a new, healthy friendship habit! A girl just needs to do three things:

  1. Notice when the drama replays in her head
  2. Let the drama go
  3. Point her mind in a different direction

One idea for detaching from drama is to give her a “Dramameter.” A simple counter clicker will work fine. Every time she notices herself thinking about the drama or replaying it in her head, she clicks it, pauses, takes a deep breath and imagines the problem floating away in a balloon. As the drama goes up, up, and away, she has to come up with a positive thought to take the place of the drama.

Detaching from drama, when learned at a young age, can empower girls to be happier and to enjoy healthier relationships throughout their lives. On December 6th, we’ll be talking more about this fresh approach and how we’re adding it to our When Girls Hurt Girls curriculum. We would love for you to join us! The live teleclass is free and the audio recording is $5. To learn more and register today, please click here!

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Just for You: Girl Drama Solutions

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Many girls in Grades 3-12 don’t know the difference between a Calmback™ and a Comeback. This lack of knowledge limits their ability to solve relationship problems.

That’s why we’re excited to bring you this teleclass, which will help your girls speak up for themselves in a calm, strong manner when faced with emotional bullying, a.k.a. girl drama or relational aggression.

Calmbacks™ vs. Comebacks – How to Teach Girls the Difference

Date: Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Time: 4:00 PM Central Time (5:00 PM Eastern Time)
Call Length: 30 minutes

Click here to register now!

Can’t make the call? Purchase the audio download of this call for only $5 when you click here.

The call is free when you join us live on October 18th.

Can’t make it live? No problem! You can get the recording and transcript for just $5.

We look forward to sharing with you.

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When you join GAPRA, you’ll have the opportunity to learn from 10 training calls and Q&As per year. You’ll also get to hear from our handpicked faculty members, including parenting expert Brenda Nixon, M.A., author and parent advocate Sue Scheff, and Internet security consultant Christopher Burgess. We’re excited to have them on board for our special faculty calls, and we’re working on securing additional faculty members to provide expertise and up-to-the-minute insights for you. For details about our faculty members to date, visit

If you want to learn even more about GAPRA, please join our GAPRA Informational calls. The informational and Q&A calls are the best way to find out everything you need to know about the valuable resources we’ve assembled for schools, youth organizations and all of their staff, parents and volunteers.

Join us for these free informational calls:

September 14 — “How to Affordably Equip Your Entire Community to Prevent Emotional Bullying with GAPRA Membership”

September 22 — Q&A about GAPRA

Click here to find out more and register today!

Get these calls and recordings free, and you will be one step closer to preventing relational aggression in your school or youth organization.


Learn About GAPRA 9/14 and 9/22!

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Hello, all! Blair and Jane here, it’s back to school for everyone, and it’s time to learn more about GAPRA, the Global Alliance for Preventing Relational Aggression.

Visit to read our news release about GAPRA on the Media page. We’re excited to share this free series of informational and Q&A calls about GAPRA in September, and we hope you’ll join us. The calls (and recordings) are free, and when you attend, we’ll let you know how to get a special bonus offer!

So register for that free call now by clicking here!

In Part 1, I covered ways of being with a grieving girl when her friendship ends.  In Part II, I show you a sample conversation to help you guide your daughter or student through her grief.  I’ve included a simple technique you can use anytime to help kids put difficult times into perspective.

For the purpose of simplicity, we enter the following conversation with the understanding steps have previously been taken to save this relationship.

Girl:  Grace won’t be my friend anymore.  It’s over for good.

Adult:  It seems final.  What’s that like for you? (reflection and question to gauge perspective)

Girl:  I can’t stand it!  I’m not going back to school!  I don’t have any friends.

Adult:  Without Grace, there’s no one else. (reflection)

Girl:  No!  No one like Grace!

Adult:  There’s no one like Grace. (reflection)  I wonder if there’s someone else who might turn out to be a good friend.  (planting seed)

Girl:  I want Grace!  I don’t want anyone else.

Adult:  Grace is your only choice (reflection), yet she doesn’t want to be friends with you (presenting problem).  I wonder what you’ll do. (prompting thinking)

Girl:  I don’t know! 

Adult:  I think I can help. First, let’s figure out how big this problem is.                  

(Draw a 1 – 10 scale).




Let’s make #1 the best thing that could ever happen to you.  What would that be?

Girl:  (She will decide but may need your prompting or brainstorming)

Adult:  OK, so that’s your #1.  Now, what’s the worst thing that could happen?

Girl:  (She will decide but may need your prompting or brainstorming)

(A typical answer is the death of a loved one.  If the girl were to say, “Grace not being my friend,” counter with other examples.  You could say, “Is that worse than our house burning down, us moving away, ________ dying, a natural disaster ruining our city, or Mom/Dad losing her/his job?”  Choose an example you know would impact her.                              

Adult: Let’s make that your #10.  Now where does losing Grace land on the scale?

(From this point on, you will know the gravity the girl rates her loss.  Whether it’s high, low, or in the middle, there is now a point of reference.  I’ll now take the conversation two different ways.)

When the Number is High

Adult:  You chose #7.  Losing Grace is hitting you pretty hard and must be causing you a lot of stress.  With that amount of stress, we’ll have to figure out things you can do right away to help your body stay healthy and cope with it.  When your body feels better, you probably will be able to deal with the loss of Grace’s friendship more effectively.  Let’s start with ways you can help your body and mind feel better fast, and then we can talk about strategies to help you through the loss of Grace and toward finding other friends.

(Immediate stress relief can come through exercise, journaling, drawing or other artwork, parental TLC, baths or showers, doing favorite things, etc.  Being gentle with oneself at this time increases opportunities to rationally think about the situation and come up alternative friendship ideas)

When the Number is Low

Adult:  You chose #3.  Even though losing Grace seems and feels big, you’ve shown both of us that it’s not as big as you first had thought.  What’s that like for you?

Child:  It still hurts.

Adult:  I’m sure it does, but I’m glad it’s not a high number.  A #3 shows me that you have the strength to get through it.  I know you can do it.  Would you like my help?

Understanding grief and your child’s reaction to it, will help you guide her through difficult times.  Teaching kids to understand, acknowledge, and respect the feelings that come with grief, is one of the greatest gifts you can EVER give a child.  The skills are useful throughout life, for they increase problem solving skills, healthy attitudes, and good mental health.



© 2011 A Way Through, LLC


WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Female friendship experts Jane Balvanz and Blair Wagner publish A Way Through, LLC’s Guiding Girls ezine. If you’re ready to guide girls in grades K – 8 through painful friendships, get your FREE mini audio workshop and ongoing tips now at


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Why Anti-bullying Programs Miss the Mark

As I direct my focus to a new school year about to begin, I reflect back on the past school year and the approaches I’ve seen schools take to address school bullying among their students and their staff.  The one that really misses the mark is starting an anti-bullying program.

It is common for us to see something we don’t like and to join an anti-[fill in the blank] campaign.  We talk about, write about, and complain about how bad it is.  Our focus is on resisting the thing we don’t like, in this case bullying.  We push against it.  And that’s the problem.

What We Resist Persists

There’s an old saying: What we resist persists. Put another way, when we are negative about an issue, we perpetuate or spread negativity.

When we jump on the anti-bullying bandwagon, our attention, energy and focus are on the negativity of bullying. From this place of negativity, we lack emotional access to positive solutions. The anti name has a persistent negative influence.

As an alternative to a dooms day attitude or an angry approach, a more effective option is to recognize the bullying we see.  Name itBe curious about it.  Look at it from several angles.  But don’t stay stuck there.

Once we’ve gotten clear on what we are seeing and where it is coming from, work to clarify what we DO want. We want better social skills, social competence, emotional intelligence, social intelligence, healthy friendships, a positive culture, a positive climate, and positive role models.

A Springboard to Create a Replacement of Bullying Behavior

This positive focus gives us a springboard to create what we want.

Once we know what we want in bullying prevention, our job is to provide structures, training, and ongoing support for our students and for our school staff – all based on a focus of creating what we want, not on stopping what we don’t want.

Let’s replace those anti-bullying posters (of kids bullying or being bullied) with posters representing healthy friendships and acts of kindness. Start social skills training early. Put forth positive examples, language and visuals everywhere to influence your students in a positive way!


© 2011 A Way Through, LLC

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Female friendship experts Jane Balvanz and Blair Wagner publish A Way Through, LLC’s Guiding Girls ezine. If you’re ready to guide girls in grades K – 8 through painful friendships, get your FREE mini audio workshop and ongoing tips now at

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A Way Through, LLC, has added another staff member to accommodate the growth of programs related to preventing relational aggression, a.k.a. emotional bullying.

Kylie Noecker has joined A Way Through as Project Coordinator. Noecker’s responsibilities include researching and coordinating projects such as certification, the continuing rollout of GAPRA, the Global Alliance for Preventing Relational Aggression, and strategic and business planning documentation. In 2010-2011, Noecker served as a marketing intern for A Way Through, handling various projects while she earned her degree in Communication Studies and minor in Business Administration from the University of Iowa. She graduated in May and began working with A Way Through in June.

“During my internship, I saw Blair and Jane’s dedication to finding solutions to dealing with relational aggression,” said Noecker. “Relational aggression is a huge issue — it’s a global problem. People are becoming more aware of relational aggression. I’m proud to be part of providing the tools and solutions to deal with it.”


About A Way Through, LLC

A Way Through, LLC, equips educators and parents to guide girls in grades K-8 through painful friendships. The company developed When Girls Hurt Girls®, an award-winning series of CDs, educational guides and other products, to empower girls to solve their own friendship problems. A Way Through also offers workshops for schools, youth organizations and others to help educators, parents and girls handle the difficult situations girls face with relational aggression. For details, see

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Did you ever consider the end to a friendship a death?  It is, you know.  It’s the death of a relationship, and the depth and longevity of the bond impacts the magnitude of grief.  When a friendship ends, especially through relational aggression, grief is compounded and complicated by feelings of betrayal.

It’s a hard enough situation for adults to navigate, so imagine how children and teenagers feel.  (It’s a problem if you can’t imagine it!)  Adults have had more life experience to gauge their own severity of loss and also have a fully developed brain (age 25 and up) to get through it.  Those adult assets – experience and maturity – are blessings if you understand these three things:

  1. Loss comes in different forms.
  2. Meeting a person where they are in their loss journey is important to healing.
  3. What a person feels is what they feel.

Let’s go deeper.

1. Loss comes in different forms.  It’s the end of something, be it temporary or permanent.  A permanent loss is the physical death of a person, place, or thing.  When a person or pet dies, their physical presence is no longer available to you.  The World Trade Center was permanently destroyed on September 11, 2001.  Even if it were rebuilt replicating the original, it wouldn’t be the same.  Natural disasters such as flooding, tsunamis, earthquakes, and tornados permanently alter geographic locations.

Another realm of loss is that it can be temporary or permanent, long-standing or brief.  Examples include the loss of:  identity, grounding, happiness, a dream or goal, status, belief in self or others, balance offset by a situational event, or relationship changes.

2. When you meet someone where they are emotionally, you must release your own personal expectations, judgments, hypotheses, and comparisons to listen empathically and fully.  Their problem or loss is about them unfettered by your stuff.  When you leave your stuff at the door, it allows you to meet the other person where THEY are.  That is the starting place.

3. Feelings are feelings.  They are neither right nor wrong; they just are.  I own my feeling and you own yours.  I also own the depth of my feelings, and so do you.  This, too, is neither right nor wrong.  It just is. Think back to when you were a child or teen.  Choose a situation where you felt devastated but find it trivial or humorous now.  Back then you felt what you felt, and no coaxing could help you feel differently.

Remember these points when your daughter is grieving the death of a friendship:
•Don’t tell her things aren’t as bad as she makes them out to be.
•Don’t give any “things could be so much worse” lectures.
•Don’t tell her how little or big her problem is.
•Don’t speak negatively about the other girl.
•Do tell her how you feel about the other girl’s part in the situation.
•Do listen empathically.
•Do try to determine the kind and extent of her loss.  In a friendship loss, she could lose her identity, feeling grounded, ability to focus, appetite, etc.  Guide her to determine whether her loss is permanent or if it could be temporary.  Watch for symptoms of depression.
•Do ask if she would like hear about some of your experiences and how you felt about them then and now.  Respect her answer.
•Do ask her what she needs to move forward.
•Do tell her you will be there for her to listen and to help.

In Part 2, I will illustrate how to have a helpful conversation with your daughter when she experiences the death of a friendship through emotional bullying.  I’ll also give you a quick and easy strategy that you can use ANYWHERE to help her put friendship problems or other experiences in perspective.

© 2011 A Way Through, LLC

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Female friendship experts Jane Balvanz and Blair Wagner publish A Way Through, LLC’s Guiding Girls ezine. If you’re ready to guide girls in grades K – 8 through painful friendships, get your FREE mini audio workshop and ongoing tips now at

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What Would You Do If a Girl Called You a Mean Name?

In a recent When Girls Hurt Girls® workshop, I asked the girls what they would do if they were called a mean name.  A second grade girl raised her hand and answered, “I’d call her a name back.” The revenge strategy is a typical response for girls that age.

Usually, an adult replies to such responses by telling girls, “Don’t do that.” But telling them not to seek revenge doesn’t teach them to do their own thinking.

Helping a Girl by Going Into Curiosity Mode

I recommend making the most of this teachable moment and going into curiosity (not judgmental) mode. The script goes something like this:

You: “So you’d call her a name in return. Hmm, that sounds like an interesting strategy. How would that make you feel?”
Girl: “It would make me feel good.”
You: “I can understand that.  So what do you think might happen next?”

Let’s pause here. Remember, the goal of the curiosity approach is to help the girl think through the consequences of her actions.

The conversation might continue something like this:

Girl: “She might cry, or she might call me the mean name again. She might call me another mean name, too.”
You: “Is that what you want to have happen?”
Girl: “No.”
You: “What do you want to have happen?”
Girl: “I want her to be nice to me.”

Helping Her Defuse the Situation

At this point, you can help guide the girl toward strategies that will help defuse the situation. Two of the best strategies are to ignore the name-calling and to speak up.

When girls ignore the name-calling, they take away the power of the name-calling by not reacting. Speaking up is another great strategy in this situation, because it empowers the target to take matters into her own hands and preserve her dignity as well as offer dignity to the other girl.

The target could respond to the bully with, “When you call me that, I don’t like it. I want you to call me by my name.”  Then, she should walk away.

With girls in second grade and younger, we translate the 3 Ds (Dignity for me, Dignity for you, Defuse the situation) into the 3 Okays: I feel okay, you feel okay and the problem works out okay. Revenge doesn’t achieve the 3 Okays in any bullying situation.

With your coaching, your girls will learn to think through the consequences of their actions. This will help them see that revenge is ineffective and not an okay strategy.

© 2011 A Way Through, LLC

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Female friendship experts Jane Balvanz and Blair Wagner publish A Way Through, LLC’s Guiding Girls ezine. If you’re ready to guide girls in grades K – 8 through painful friendships, get your FREE mini audio workshop and ongoing tips now at


Hey, everyone! It has been a whirlwind of activity as we launched the Global Alliance for Preventing Relational Aggression in June! We are so excited to share the free audio from the GAPRA Sneak Preview and Q&A calls. On these calls, we discussed what GAPRA is all about and answered questions we received from around the world!
People from California, Florida, Texas, Washington and many other states around the country sent in their questions. We even received a question from the Federated States of Micronesia! Here are some of the questions we covered:
• What is GAPRA?
• How do we join?
• What does it cost to join GAPRA?
• How will GAPRA help elementary schools?
• How will GAPRA help parents and teachers to work cooperatively?

It was really energizing to connect with others who share our passion for preventing relational aggression!  We received many comments like “I’m so psyched about this program!” We couldn’t agree more! If you’re involved in a school setting or youth organization, please take advantage of the free audio so you can learn more about GAPRA today!

Untitled Document When Girls Hurt Girls™ Parent Pack

Do you feel unequipped to help your daughter or students navigate painful friendships?

Finally, the instruction manual you need to help your Kindergarten – Grade 8 daughter or students find their way through painful friendships

Listen to the program introduction here.

When Girls Hurt Girls™ is a home practice guide for parents who want to help their hurting daughters, but don’t know where to start. It's also PERFECT for use in school or small group settings.

Through loving discussions and role-play exercises, your daughter or students will connect with their personal power and gain the confidence to resolve conflicts and attract the right kind of friendships to their lives.

REMEMBER: Works great for educators and group/team leaders too!  

Untitled Document

Do you need help in guiding your daughter through a difficult friendship situation?

Finally, 1-on-1 personalized help is available to assist you in guiding your daughter through her friendship problems now!

Introducing a new way to get support…

Our new Quick Assist program has been developed for parents who want help that’s tailored to their specific situation. Through no-nonsense strategy sessions, you will gain clarity on what to say to your daughter, what not to say, and how you can become a source of inspiration and support for her.

REMEMBER: Works great for educators and group/team leaders too!  
Click here
to learn more about the Quick Assist package.