No Bullies Here Summer Mini-Series

goteamgirls

I was recently sitting with a small group of girls. When another girl came over and tried to join in, there was some taunting and general expression of discontent about her joining us. The little girl sat down, and after a few moments, I noticed her sitting hunched over, turning into herself, tears rolling her cheeks.

I thought {only for a moment} ::

This isn’t my place – it’s not my right to say anything about this.

My second thought was

If I don’t, who will?

And

Can I really let this opportunity to have an impact on a whole group of girls pass?

No. I absolutely cannot. 

It’s been said that it takes a village and I’m here to tell you that it really does. I told the girls that I needed to interrupt. I told them that what I had to say had nothing to do with what they were doing there, but it needed to be said. Plus, I told them, this issue is really big with me.

I told them they will have enough meanness in their lifetimes from outside sources, from other people, from their workplaces and unfortunately at school, that they do not have to be mean to each other. They need to look out for each other. They need to support each other. Even if they don’t know someone new to their group, or for whatever reason, don’t feel drawn to be friends with them, they don’t need to be unwelcoming, and they certainly don’t need to make negative comments to or about them. I told them to be kind, to be welcoming, or at the very least, just be quiet. I told them they are on Team Girls. To support each other just because they are girls. And although I really hope not, someday, they might need some girls to be supportive of them.

Go, Team Girls.

***

no bullies here

We’ve talked about bullying here before, and you can find a plethora of information on the internet. This is an injustice that just about every single person has experienced or witnessed, so it really can’t be addressed enough. Over the next couple of weeks, we will be hosting a summer mini-series to continue our discussion from October 2013 called,

No Bullies Here.

The following posts will be added to the series:

  • What Is Bullying and Why Bullies Do It
  • The Difference Between a Bully and a Leader
  • How To Parent A Bully
  • When A Bully Grows Up :: Adult Bullies
  • How To Stand Up To An Adult Bully

We hope you will join us and become a part of the solution.

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Signs of a Bad Boyfriend

signs of a bad boyfriend

 

Dear You;

I know your mom or dad or aunt or grandma might have told you these things already, but I want to reinforce this idea that you should never let anyone treat you badly. I want you to know what a healthy relationship is, and I want you to believe that you deserve nothing less.

So here it is.

Sometimes, we end up with a boyfriend who just isn’t cool.

And by cool, I don’t mean popular with his buds or your friends, I mean someone who isn’t good enough for you. It’s hard to tell, especially if you have a crush on him, and sometimes, boys only begin to show their ugly sides slowly and over time, so that before you know it, he’s just plain mean and hurtful to you.

Here are some clear and easy signs of a bad boyfriend:

1. He doesn’t treat you with respect. Respect is important in ALL relationships and should be equal and reciprocal. That means he listens to your thoughts, he cares about what you want to do and the things you like, he never makes you feel foolish or less than.

2. Your family {or friends} don’t like him. If he respects you, he will care about what your family thinks about him and work to impress them. If he’s rude or disrespectful, or treats you in a way that your family doesn’t like, he’s not being respectful to you… or to them.

3. He tries to control you. If your boyfriend tells you what to do, criticizes you about what you have said or done, tells you who you can spend time with.who you can talk with, where you can go, what you can do,  or when you need to be home, he is trying to exert power over you. This usually stems from his own insecurities, but no matter, this is not healthy for you, and can actually lead to more harmful treatment including physical abuse.

4. He lies about little, insignificant things. To you or to other people. If he lies to others, he’ll lie to you. If he lies about the little things, he lies about the big things. If he lies, you cannot trust him.

5. He discourages you from doing things you love. Your boyfriend should support and encourage you because he wants you to be happy. Anything less than that is not good enough for you.

6. Nothing is ever his fault. Even in his interactions with others, if he can’t accept responsibility when he is wrong, he will never be fair with you.

7. He’s selfish. If he is never willing to do the things you like to do, if he isn’t willing to compromise, if he puts his desires in front of yours, he is selfish. You deserve far better than this. Your boyfriend should put your desires at least equal to his.

8. He’s too busy to make time for you. Um… what’s the point then? Your boyfriend should be like any other good friend of yours, and he should definitely want to spend time with you. Be especially careful if he only makes time to make-out with you. A boyfriend who is a good friend would also make time to have fun with you doing things you both enjoy.

9. His relationships with other important people in life are bad. If he doesn’t get along with his siblings or his parents, if his teachers don’t like him, if he doesn’t have friends at school or from his neighborhood, he may be a difficult person or may not know how to treat others.

10. He treats you differently in public than he does in private. If he’s super nice to you when you are out with others, but mean and moody when it’s just the two of you, beware. He may be putting on a good front when out in public so that others think he’s a good guy. Your boyfriend should always treat you kindly.

 

A “bad” boyfriend can change the way you think about yourself long after he’s gone,  

and a relationship with someone like this often gets worse, not better. This goes for your girlfriends, too. Circle yourself with good people, friends and boyfriends who have the same values as you, who treat you kindly and make you feel loved. If you find yourself in a negative relationship and don’t know how to get out, talk to someone. If you feel that you can’t talk with your parents, go to another trusted adult, someone who has your best interest at heart.

Be brave. Remember that you deserve the best.

 

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T H R I V E, Day {30} :: The “Big Talk”

Welcome to T H R I V E , a 31 Days series on empowering your daughter to thrive through her teen years.

T H R I V E, Day {30} :: The "Big Talk" When my oldest was in sixth grade, I was aware she would have the Teen Living class at school soon.  The class would eventually cover the topic of sex. I have always had comfortable conversations with her about her body changes and social pressures and such, but I initially thought she was too young to have the “big talk” yet.

{Boy, was I wrong!}

I asked her to help make dinner, and while our hands and eyes we’re busy doing the task, I thought it would be a perfect time to ask her what she already knew about sex.  She calmly said, “Oh Mom, I already learned that in 3rd grade.”  My mind quickly shifted to thought that my second daughter (at the time) was in third grade probably learning about sex already and I was on the verge of missing the boat a second time.  Without thinking I poured out the question, “Third grade!…Should I be talking to your sister about this, too?”  My daughter shrugged her shoulders matter-of-factly and said, “I mean, I don’t know?…You’re the Mom.”

{Gulp!}

Yes, I am the Mom, and you and I should be talking about sex with our daughters.  They may not seem that comfortable at first, but in all honestly they want to know your values to develope their own.

Below is information and tips given by Dr. Phil on how to talk to your daughters and prevent teenage pregnancy that may empower you to make the “big talk” an ongoing two-way conversation with you and your daughter.

T H R I V E, Day {30} :: The "Big Talk"

How to Talk to Your Daughter about Sex

As your daughter develops into a young adult, she may start asking questions like “What’s a period?” “Where do babies come from?” and “What’s a condom?” Before she is misinformed by her peers, she needs to be given accurate information about sex from her parents, especially by her mother.

If having “the big talk” with your child makes you nervous, Dr. Phil offers the following advice:

It’s OK to feel embarrassed.
The hardest part in talking to your child about sex is getting started. “What you need to do first is get straight in your mind that ‘This is something I have to do,'” Dr. Phil says. It’s natural to feel embarrassed at first. Just work through the fear. If need be, have a sense of humor about it. “You can laugh about being nervous and say, ‘My mom never talked to me about this,'” Dr. Phil explains. Letting your daughter know that you’re a bit shy about the subject matter may help to let down her guard.

Start with the mechanics and be anatomically correct.
As your daughter develops secondary sexual characteristics, she may ask questions like “Why do I need a bra?” or “When will I get my period?” Dr. Phil says it’s a great idea to find a book that has anatomically correct drawings of the reproductive systems to illustrate what’s going on in her body. “Explain what happens when she has a period so she’s not freaked out when it happens,” Dr. Phil advises. “Let her know what to expect. Tell her how to be prepared for it, go through all of those things with her.” Use pictures to back up your facts.

Discuss sex in the context of a loving, mature relationship.
After you’ve discussed the mechanics with your child, hopefully in the same conversation, you need to talk about sex. “The important thing when you talk about sex is that you don’t say that this is anything other than healthy and normal,” Dr. Phil says. “But you need to explain that this is something that has to be framed in a relationship after you’ve grown up and there’s love and commitment and a history and an understanding that you have to be responsible with your body.” The main thing you want is for your daughter to come away from your discussion saying, ‘I now have some accurate information, and my mother has told me that I need to really respect and protect my body.'”

Discuss age-appropriate topics.
How much information is too much for your daughter to handle? If you’re unsure, use her questions as a barometer of what to talk about. “It would be very unusual for a 9-year-old to ask a question about orgasm,” Dr. Phil says. “So don’t go there at this point. You don’t want to give her information that she doesn’t have the constructs or the concepts to deal with. You can be very global and you can be very abstract about it at this point.” Ask for her questions, then come back and discuss it in a week. Remember to keep the lines of communication open.

Change the context of your talk.
If you sit your daughter down on the couch, look her squarely in the eye and say, “We need to talk about sex,” she may hit the floor. Try changing the context of your talk so it doesn’t seem so ominous. “Sometimes it’s easier if you’re driving down the street, where they can kind of look out the window,” Dr. Phil suggests. If you make the environment of your chat disarming, your daughter won’t feel quite put on the spot and so conspicuous.

The same-sex parent should have the discussion.
Although dads can be supportive of their daughters as they go through puberty and may want to be involved in the big talk, Dr. Phil says this is something that mothers should be primarily responsible for. “At this point, she is noticing the differences between guys and girls,” Dr. Phil explains, “and so she’s going to feel uncomfortable with [Dad] being there.” Your mate can be available for moral support, but moms should do the heavy lifting.

T H R I V E, Day {30} :: The "Big Talk"

Tips for Parents to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

1. Be Clear about Your Own Sexual Values
To help clarify your attitudes and values, ask yourself: What do you really think about teenagers being sexually active and becoming parents? Who is responsible for setting sexual limits in a relationship, and how is that done? Were you sexually active as a teenager, and how do you feel about that now? What do you think about encouraging teenagers to abstain from sex? What do you think about teenagers using contraception?

2. Talk with Your Children Early and Often about Sex and Be Specific
Kids have many questions about sex, and they often say that the source they’d most like to go to for answers is their parents. Start the conversation, and make sure that it is honest, open and respectful. If you can’t think of how to start the discussion, consider using situations shown on television or in movies as conversation starters. Tell kids candidly and confidently what you think and why you take these positions. If you’re not sure about some issues, tell them that, too. Make sure it’s a two-way conversation, not a one-way lecture. Ask them what they think and what they know so you can correct misconceptions. Tell them about love and sex, and what the difference is. And remember to talk about the reasons that kids find sex interesting and enticing; discussing only the “downside” of unplanned pregnancy and disease misses many of the issues on teenagers’ minds.

Kids need a lot of communication, guidance, and information about these issues, even if they sometimes don’t appear to be interested in what you have to say. And if you have regular conversations, you won’t worry so much about making a mistake or saying something not quite right, because you’ll always be able to talk again.

To learn the kinds of questions kids say they want to discuss, visit: The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.

3. Supervise and Monitor Your Children and Adolescents
Have an open, respectful family discussion to establish rules, curfews and standards of expected behavior. Make sure you know what your kids are doing when they get home from school and when they go out with friends. Supervising and monitoring your kids’ whereabouts doesn’t make you a nag; it makes you a parent.

4. Know Your Children’s Friends and Their Families
Friends have a strong influence on each other, so help your children become friends with kids whose families share your values. Some parents of teens even arrange to meet with the parents of their children’s friends to establish common rules and expectations. Welcome your children’s friends into your home and talk to them openly.

5. Discourage Early, Frequent and Steady Dating
Group activities among young people are acceptable, but allowing teens to begin steady, one-on-one dating much before age 16 can lead to trouble. Let your child know your strong feelings about this throughout childhood.

6. Take a Stand against Your Daughter Dating a Boy Significantly Older
And, don’t allow your son to develop an intense relationship with a girl much younger. The power differences between younger girls and older boys or men can lead girls into risky situations, including unwanted sex and sex with no protection.

7. Help Your Teen Have More Attractive Options for the Future Than Early Pregnancy and Parenthood
The chances that your children will delay sex, pregnancy and parenthood are significantly increased if their futures appears bright. This means helping them set meaningful goals for the future, talking to them about what it takes to make future plans come true, and helping them reach their goals.

8. Let Your Kids Know that You Value Education Highly
Encourage your children to take school seriously and to set high expectations about their school performance. School failure is often the first sign of trouble that can end in teenage parenthood. Be very attentive to your children’s progress in school, and intervene early if things aren’t going well.

9. Know what Your Kids are Watching, Listening to and Reading
The media are full of material that sends the wrong messages. It is important to talk with your children about what the media portray and what you think about it. Encourage your kids to think critically: ask them what they think about the programs they watch and the music they listen to. You will probably not be able to fully control what your children see and hear, but you can certainly make your views known and control your own home environment.

10. These Tips Work Best as Part of Close Relationships with Your Children from an Early Age
Strive for a relationship that is warm in tone, firm in discipline, and rich in communication, and one that emphasizes mutual trust and respect. It’s never too late to improve a relationship with a child or teenager. Don’t underestimate the great need that children feel — at all ages — for a close relationship with their parents and for their parents’ guidance, approval and support.

 

Information and tips copied entirely from DrPhil.com.  Photographs from Google images.

 31 days thrive

This is Day 30 of our 31 Days series  T h r i v e . You can find earlier posts here:

Day 1 ::  T H R I V E
Day 2 ::  Changes:: Her Body
Day 3 ::  Social Stresses
Day 4 ::  Coping With Peer Pressure
Day 5 :: Benefit of the Doubt
Day 6 :: And Then, This Is What He Said
Day 7 :: Self Assessment
Day 8 :: Breaking Bad
Day 9 :: Social Media Manners
Day 10 :: A Few Secrets to Make Her Late to Date
Day 11 :: Setting Meaningful Goals
Day 12 :: A Hundred Little Ways
Day 13 :: What About Boys?
Day 14 :: Helping Her Choose the Right College
Day 15 :: Be Ye Kind
Day 16 :: No Bullies Here
Day 17 :: What’s Really Going On With Our Girls?
Day 18 :: Girls Don’t Bully… Do They?
Day 19 :: Cyberbullying
Day 20 :: Cliques
Day 21 :: Dear Parents
Day 22 :: Bullying and The Witness
Day 23 :: It Gets Better
Day 24 :: Dress to {Empower}
Day 25 :: One More Thing…
Day 26 :: Make-Up: Less Is More
Day 27 :: When Did You Stop Thinking You Are Beautiful?
Day 28 :: If She Only Knew
Day 29 :: I Wish You Could See Yourself The Way I See You

PS:: Be sure to visit our Pinterest boards, and follow us there. We’ve been cultivating them to be another source of information and inspiration for you! You can find some easy and affordable spa treatment recipes on our BE beautiful {inside and out} board. For articles on bullying and bullying awareness, click on and follow our board, No Bullies Here.  For ideas on Activities to Try and Things to Do, click on the links and follow our boards.

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Girls & Social Media, part 2 :: Instagram

girls & social mediaOkay.

So I’ll be the first to admit it : I love Instagram.

As a photographer, I love seeing all the images lined up neatly, in a way that allows me to view them quickly. And with the ever-powerful hashtag, I can even search for specific pictures of types of images. I get great ideas for work and for my art there.

I also like seeing the people who are important to the important people in my life. 😉

And, one more thing. I like that my kid’s friends “follow” me, and then I can follow them back.

I see what goes on there, in Instagramland.

And, frankly, I’m a little worried.

I’m not sure all parents realize that Instagram, although it is an app, has all the same perils as other forms of social media, like Facebook and Twitter. It can be a place of bullying and intimidation. It can be a playground for the perverse. And there’s not a whole lot of ways to protect your young one from foul language, adult images, and adult content. Research shows that teens and tweens who use social media demonstrate narcissistic tendencies {hello, selfies}, are prone to anxiety and depression, and suffer in learning when compared with those who don’t. These young ones fail to understand body language, tone of voice and facial expressions, which can lead to strained and misunderstood relationships and poor work performance in the future. The inability to understand these forms of non-verbal communication also leads to poor emotional intelligence, or EI, especially in girls. Researchers agree EI is a better predictor of successful marriages, stronger friendships and even financial success.

And then there are those “like” and “follow” buttons, quantitative measurements your girls might be using to measure her worth. or compare her popularity to others. We parents often underestimate the power of the like in social media.

Lastly, we see drama when IRL arguments spill over onto IG, when controversial images or comments are posted, and when friends are excluded. Sometimes, unfortunately, girls {or Frenemies} intentionally post photos that they know an excluded friend will see.

And, yet.

Instagram can also be a place of encouragement and connection, a playground for artists, and a source of entertainment and inspiration. Girls report that they have more fun on Instagram than Facebook and Twitter, that it’s more instant, and they believe it’s safer because they join with a nickname. Parents also think it’s safer, and allow children on it before Facebook. It is also considered a place of self-expression, where everyone can learn to take photographs that evoke emotional responses, that play with colors and shapes and composition, and that share sites and images from around the world-places and things one would not otherwise be able to see.

So how do we give them room for connection, fun, friendship and self-expression, AND keep them safe?

Just like IRL {in real life}, we need to keep an eye on our littles and guide them as they use this and other forms of social media.

Set their accounts to “private”
-Turn off Geotag
-Follow your kids
-Take their phones daily and check their feed to see who they are following and what kind of images they are exposed to
-Teach them how to delete, block and report inappropriate images

-Practice face-to-face communication
-Set limits
-Encourage IRL interactions among peers

girls & social media

A must-read for parents: A Word About InstaGram on Life, As of Late

***

You and your daughters can follow PearlsforGirls on Instagram for daily encouragement in your IG feed, or hashtag your own photos #pfg_gege to be featured in our gallery.

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Harmless Joke or Cyberbullying?

Witness
(photos by Emily Kidd2012 on flickr)

April Fool’s Day is among us, and chances are you’re going to take part in some pranks.  For the most part, April Fool’s jokes are innocent and aren’t intended to hurt anyone.  Then, there is the kind of pranks that are played with harmful intentions.  These pranks are different.  They don’t just happen once a year.  It happens everyday.  Most likely, every child will face it in their lifetime.

Three girls at a sleepover decide to go on twitter.  They make up an account with a false identity.  They use it to harass their peers without anyone knowing who is behind it.  They tweet rumors, try to start twitter fights, and embarrass the victims. All of which is being  publicly viewed.  Some victims stand up for themselves and others don’t respond.  One of the girls starts to feel bad for what they are doing.  She tells the other two girls that they should stop. They laugh and say, “It’s just a harmless joke!” 

This is more than a harmless joke, it’s cyberbullying.

Girls are brutal
Cyberbullying is deliberately using social media (facebook, twitter, Instagram, etc) to communicate  false, embarrassing, or hostile information about or to another person.  There are many types of cyberbullying:

  • Gossip: Tweeting or posting rumors to damage someone’s reputation or relationships with friends.
  • Exclusion: Posting a picture on Instagram to purposely to show that you weren’t invited.
  • Harassment: Posting or sending rude messages directly, or sub-tweeting insults indirectly.
  • Outing or Trickery: Tricking someone to reveal secrets, embarrassing information or picture, which is then shared online.
  • Stalking or Threats: Posting or sending unwanted or intimidating messages

Talking
Cyberbullying has become more prevalent in recent years with the increase use of computers and smart phones.  It is easier than the old school yard or physical bullying.  Cyberbullying may not be able to cause physical injuries. but it leaves deep emotional scars. Over half the victims don’t tell their parents. Would you be able to recognize a victim of cyberbullying?

Some warning signs:

  • personality change, appearing sad, anxious, or moody
  • avoiding school or social activities
  • grades dropping
  • seems upset after being on the phone or computer
  • may seem aggravated
  • loss of sleep

For the victim and bystander, standing up for yourself or the victim is essential.  Tell a parent, teacher, or friend.  There are great resources to equip you to help stop cyberbullying.

Sometimes the bully doesn’t see what they are doing as bad.  So, before your next text, tweet, or picture posting…T.H.I.N.K.

True- is it true?

Honest/Harmless/Helpful- be honest why you are doing it, and could your words be harmful? heplful?

Important/Inspiring- is it really important? does it inspire?

Necessary- is it necessary?

Kind- is it kind?

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