Right.

Moreover, when you do say all those nice things, the best friend doesn't then go, "Oh great, thanks!" and pick up the phone and break up with her boyfriend. She does it when she is ready. And that's what I mean about working with your child as opposed to talking at her. A lot of parents struggle with it. You'll often see very assertive moms with daughters who they think, "Is this my child? Haven't I raised her better than this?" And I think a lot of parents fail to see that it takes time for kids to grow and to really internalize those lessons.

Have you noticed that often girls who are picked on don't become more empathetic but when their turn is over, they turn around and pick on other girls?

For sure. It's like the law of the jungle. The hardest thing in the world is to get somebody to stand up and say, "No, I am not going to tolerate this. I don't want you to treat this person in this way. I am not going to go along with this." It's the hardest thing in the world because a lot of girls relate conflicts with everyone abandoning them. If you stand up to somebody you're going to lose all your friends. They are not going to go do that. Nothing is worth that. And no amount of good parenting is going to make that an OK thing for a kid to do.

It's the million dollar question: How can you get a kid to stand up and put a stop to it. It's impossible because it's just how their social structure works. That's why I don't think that we're going to stop this behavior. But do I think we need to start educating kids about what's wrong with it? Yes. And to stop saying, "Oh, this is just how girls are," that it's a phase. It's not a phase. It lasts their whole lives. They behave like this as adults, we know. And it's inappropriate-it's an unhealthy way to express themselves.

The Columbine-type reaction to bullying seems to have gotten a lot of publicity. It doesn't sound like this is something that girls would plan. Schools are in terror that kids will plan some kind of retaliation or revenge.

There is an adage in local news, "If it bleeds, it leads." We value, as a culture, a certain kind of aggression as serious and deserving of attention and other kinds of aggression don't really count. So if somebody threatens to kill somebody or hits them, that's a problem. But if somebody destroys someone spiritually over a period of months and just bascially reduces that child to a pile of ash, well, that's just "how girls are."

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