Books · Wellness · Women

Rachel Simmons on bullying in girls and change strategies

Author Rachel Simmons at Alverno College Research Center for Women and Girls grand opening, April 8, 2010. Notes.

Change Strategy #1

Take psychological agression seriously. Be someone who gets it.

Use words of bullying, agression. If you don’t, girls start tolerating the behavior as ‘normal.’

Relational violations. Girls most likely to be hurt by someone they call their best friend.

It’s about how girls define intimacy. Also affects leadership ability. Behavior transfers to friends, to relationships to adult workplaces.

3 Types of Agression:

  • Social Agression – Hurtful gossip. Damages reputation (status indicator). Relationships are the core of girls’ psychological wellbeing.
  • Indirect Agression – ‘Just kiidding,’ ‘no offense,’ ‘lighten up.’ If I didn’t mean it, it didn’t happen. Intent does not equal the impact. Girls’ integrity is being challenged.
  • Relational Agression. ‘ If you don’t do what I want, you can’t be my friend anymore.’ Use of silent treatment. Use friendship as a weapon.

The 4th R is Relationships. Need to practice.

Many girls are afraid to tell the truth because the might lose the relationship.

Change Strategy 2:

Honor women and girls who are truth tellers.

Change Strategy 3:

Help girls access their authentic self.

  • Emotional intelligence – Many are emotionally illiterate.
  • Connection equals Resilience. Adolescent girls need to connect with us, not separation as boys do. Believe in her. Mentors, parents, give her a channel to switch to; also gives her a buffer.
  • Agency – Validate. I can create change. I have control over my life. Coach her, help her think for herself.

Psychological glass ceiling: Good Girls vs. Leaders

Resources to empower young girls and those with a girl in their life:

  • Rachel Simmons site
  • Books Odd Girl Out and The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence

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