RELATIONAL AGGRESSION?
So is it bullying or NOT???
 
This is always a tough question for most parents. Sometimes the lines between bullying and relational aggression is fuzzy, but for the most part, we can help you to understand this form of bullying. 
 
Relational Aggression is a non-physical form of bullying that usually is the act of "setting up" the victim to damage their reputation or social standing. Most often this is seen with our girls, not so much the boys and is therefore referred to as "girl bullying".  This will manifest itself in the form of exclusion, harrassment,  rumor spreading, picking on, betraying the friendship or confidentiality of a friend...you get the picture!
 
Here are some suggestions I have found work in small group settings when we are dealing with RA (relational aggression).:
 
Encourage your child to make good friendship choices. The more a girl is able to spend time with other girl peers, the better prepared they are to deal with girl drama. It will help them navigate the social scene and give them resources to pull from when they need it.
 
Be aware of how we interact with others (adults and children).  Children learn social skills from those around them. They are always watching! 
 
Always look for ways to bring up the positives in your child. This will give them confidence to handle situations involving RA.
 
Be empathetic. (not sympathetic, not pathetic...empathetic :) We talk about empathy as putting your self in someone else's shoes. Simply brushing it off and saying "don't let it bother you" doesn't give a child skills to handle these situations. Talk about what happened; tell a connection you or someone you know may have; help them come up with ways to handle the situation.
 
Only intervene when absolutely necessary. The added stress of us (as parents) being involved sometimes makes it worse.  Ask them to talk to a trusted adult, their teacher, their counselor at school. It is very important to keep the lines of communication open with the school staff that work with your child. Teachers, Counselors, Bus Drivers, Principals, etc. are all your childs support system at school. Only intervene when your red flags are coming up or things feel out of control.
 
Make it a point to talk regularly. Sometimes the communication about a situation may stop, but that doesn't mean the problem has as well. Check on their feelings and how things are going often.
 
Encourage your child to:
                                             participate in a sport, hobby, or activity that they enjoy.
                                             exercise regularly 
                                             avoid the situation when they can
                                             keep a journal
                                             ***talk to their counselor about ways they use with students dealing with this very thing!