How to Get Your School Staff to Pull Together on Relational Aggression/Emotional Bullying


The Challenge of Time

Today’s educators are barraged with hoops to jump through, metrics to measure, and legislative requirements to follow.  They don’t have a lot of time to stop and address friendship problems between their female students.

That is problematic because girls who are struggling with their friendships are not girls who are able to learn.  Emotional bullying trumps math every time in a girl’s world.

Educators who are tuned into this reality want to help girls and often run into roadblocks within their schools.  They ask me, “how do you get your school staff to pull together on relational aggression when it can take up their time?”

Common Tools

Here are three quick and easy tools to give your school staff to enable them to effectively guide their girls through painful friendships and emotional bullying when time is tight…

Tool #1:  Common Language

Agree upon and teach common terms for dealing with relational aggression in your school.  For example, when I facilitate the When Girls Hurt Girls® staff training, I explain the difference between victim and target.  Victim is a mindset, a choice.  Target is factual, based on what happened to you.  Consistent use of these terms is important.

Give your staff the language to use on the types of Friendship Weapons™ girls use against each other.  Types like Bad Memory (forgetting on purpose), Silent Treatment, Taunting, etc.

Tool #2:  Common Strategies

Provide a common set of strategies to use with your girls.  I like the It’s Time to Choose™ clock in the When Girls Hurt Girls® program that gives girls twelve strategies laid out in the form of a clock (everything from ignore to speak up to keep it light).  It shows girls they always have a choice.  A tool like this clock provides a quick reference for educators to use when helping a girl see her options.

Tool #3:  Planning Worksheet

Distribute relational aggression planning worksheets to all educators who may be in a position to provide friendship guidance to a girl.  Having a simple, 1-page worksheet that lists the commonly agreed upon strategies in a girl-friendly graphic makes for consistent problem solving in your school.

The worksheet should be used by the girl to identify the type of friendship problem she is experiencing, the strategy she will use, and how what she will do on a continuing basis.

Independent Friendship Problem Solvers

When you have common language, common strategies, and a common planning worksheet in your school, everyone on your staff is on the same page.  They can quickly identify a relational aggression situation, help the girl select a strategy she’s comfortable with, and head her toward being an independent friendship problem solver.

© 2010 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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