KindnessMattersWHAT IT IS:

Relational aggression is a form of bullying that mostly involves girls. In relational aggression, the aggressor uses the “group” as a weapon to damage another girl’s reputation, relationships, and social status. In relational aggression, socially skilled females manipulate others into committing various acts of psychological (social or emotional) aggression.

 

WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE:

  • Rumors and gossip – Facebook, Twitter, Instragram, Snapchat and other social media apps are a popular avenue for this
  • Exclusion from parties, lunch table, clubs
  • Verbal insults
  • Negative body language – mean looks, eye rolling, signs, turning away, pretending not to see someone
  • Alliance building – telling others not to associate with another person as a means of retaliation
  • Manipulative friendships
  • Ignoring someone

 

HOW IT HURTS:

  • Damages self-esteem
  • Distracts from learning and leads to poor school performance
  • Can cause emotional issues such as anxiety, depression, and eating disorders
  • Can cause difficulties in adult relationships
  • Can lead to suicide

 

WHAT TO DO:

  • Name it when it happens – don’t brush it off as “girls will be girls”
  • Talk about friendships and the importance of them for everyone
  • Encourage the expression of all feelings – both positive and negative
  • Foster self-esteem in girls by encouraging involvement in a variety of activities such as sports, clubs, church, music, art, and volunteer projects
  • Teach assertiveness
  • Do not tell the victim “just to ignore it”
  • Elicit help from others such as school counselors, deans, teachers, principals, therapists