Sexual harassment begins in the hallways of middle school

The Harvey Weinstein saga might hopefully shine a light on a problem much closer to home: the issue of teen girls being sexually harassed at school. Adolescent girls get groped primarily in the hallways and classrooms at school, but girls also experience guys grinding on them on the dance floor at mixers and any place where they are not supervised. Sexual harassment is so common that many girls I … [Read more...]

Bullies beware! Your words no longer hurt me

Julia, 10, came bounding into my office and shouted, “OMG, it worked!” Her energy screamed confidence and pride. This was a 180-degree switch from her visit with me two weeks prior, when she felt like a victim to the Queen Bee in her class. What had changed? She had learned and then utilized some skills to handle teasing and bullying in school. I worry that we are raising a generation of girls … [Read more...]

How to help girls bloom? Fix toxic school environments

When a flower doesn’t bloom you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower. Alexander Den Heijer Working with girls for over 30 years has taught me that they are not messed up, hormonally driven creatures with poor self-esteem; they are fine. It’s the toxic environments where they spend their time that is the real problem. Put a girl into a safe, nurturing, nonjudgmental environment … [Read more...]

Bullying: Focus on Prevention vs. Reactions

When it comes to school bullying, I think we've got it all wrong. 2 girls, one 13 and the other 14, were bullied so severely last fall that their parents obtained restraining orders against the assailants, who were fellow students at their schools. Their story was published in the St. Louis Post Dispatch newspaper on january 3rd, and I hope readers walked away not with a sense of fear but … [Read more...]

Girl Talk

I had the privilege of sitting down with 6 sixth grade girls recently to give them input into what we would cover with our upcoming Strong Girls Strong World Program with their class. I asked one question, and off they went. It was awesome! It reminded me of several things. Girls are hard-wired to connect, be in groups, avoid conflict and maintain social harmony, and to communicate. So it is … [Read more...]

Humiliating Bullies? Shame on You!

What to do with bullies? A recent article in the Huff Post Parents, read the whole story on the Huffington Post, reports on a dad who publicly shamed his son as a punishment for bullying kids at school. He had him stand on a busy street corner with a sign that read: I am a bully. Honk if you hate bullies. I don't agree with this approach. The psychologist Laurence Kohlberg gave us the 6 stages … [Read more...]