Hi, I know……I have been gone for a week. Well, maybe more than a week. However, my mother came to visit me for mothers day and am just getting back in the swing of things.
Ah, a workshop on Relational Aggression. Again, many kudos to Susan Fee of the New Jersey shore area for getting this up and getting educated on this serious subject. She will be working with some local Girl Scouts in this. If there is a group that this problem exists in, its Girl Scouts. I know because for six weeks in the second grade, I was enrolled in the Brownie Troop and hated every bit of it. I never felt included and always felt isolated. Its that ole “you cannot play with us or be our friend”. I know….I know…..kids stuff. Well, this “kids stuff” really hurt and I begged to get out of it. FINALLY my mother gave in and let me quit. Who needed that crap?
Relational aggression is the “mean girls” and “girl on girl peer abuse”. It starts early folks. As young as preschool. This exclusion has always been considered “kids being kids” yet we wonder why in our society, the behavior of kids is bad and grows worse into adulthood? Well, if we would STOP ENABLING IT and start teaching early on that this behavior is hurtful and not acceptable then MAYBE we will start to see change. By saying this isolation is “kids stuff” is teaching these girls that its okay to exclude others and make them feel bad. Its okay to taunt others and make them feel bad.
I experienced relational aggression most of my life and still do. It still exists! Its not just in girls and tweens, its in grown women as well. I do a LOT of observing and see it alive and well in women and even men have their hands in it. They bring it to work and do things such as leaving others out of lunch invites, circulate emails and nasty notes and spread lies about others. Forming cliques is not uncommon either. You have your in-crowd and the hangers on who will do anything to become members of this elite group. They frequent message boards and use this by ignoring some members, going to pm’s to spread lies, always confront in mob mentalities…..its endless. What saddens me is that as adults they should know better yet this is all any of them really know. Some have been conditioned into being queen bees while others have fallen into the sidekick, banker and other dysfunctional social roles out there. They were never taught any different and now, they bring what they know to the world.
Its time to get serious about this girl on girl crime. The lies, cliques, in-crowds…..it needs to stop. Women, get an education……see what you can do about changing your own social roles out there if you have fallen into any of them. Get your daughters in these workshops so they learn early on the dangers in all of this. The formative years are crucial and we need to start educating. Kudos to Susan Fee for taking that step. Kudos to Tami McCandlish, Rachel Simmons, Dreamsinger and others out there who are working on this and trying to make a difference. Keep doing what you are doing!
As for the psychology in this, the scars can last a lifetime. The social anxiety, post traumatic stress, depression…..nothing saddens me more than to hear of a seven year old girl being diagnosed with clinical depression due to this horrific problem. It happens folks, I have lived it and continue to see it firsthand. Life is cruel, sure. Its hard and we are always going to have to face hurtles. However, with this, do we need to add to the stress that already exists out there? If you see this occurring in young girls, let them know its wrong to exclude others.
The steps in changing the world start with a random act of kindness. We can all make a difference one day at a time with this step. Something to think about….
Elizabeth Bennett is a Consultant and Author of Peer Abuse Know More! Bullying From A Psychological Perspective and resides in Los Angeles, California. To learn more, visit http://www.peerabuse.info