Presentation on theme: "Relational Aggression What Parents Need to Know. Objectives What is relational aggression? What are the effects/warning signs of relational aggression?"— Presentation transcript:
What is Relational Aggression? “Emotional violence and bullying behaviors focused on damaging an individual’s social connections within the peer group.” – Dr. Nicki R. Crick
What is Relational Aggression? Two primary components: 1. Imbalance of power 2. Intent to harm
What is Relational Aggression? Two primary components: 1. Imbalance of power 2. Intent to harm Also, it can be a one time event or occur repeatedly.
What is Relational Aggression? “It’s A Girl Thing” Girls often grow up being taught it is much prettier to “be nice.” As a result, when girls are angry they often resort to covert or more indirect acts of aggression. Boys tend to express anger more overtly or in physical ways.
Types of Relational Aggression Covert – Indirect, hidden acts of aggression, social isolation, excluding. Physical / Overt – Direct, blatant acts of aggression, can be physical or verbal. Harm through damage or threat of damage to another’s physical well being.
Types of Relational Aggression Verbal – Obvious and hidden verbal acts such as threats, putdowns, and name calling. Reactive Relational – Defensive response to provocation with intent to retaliate Proactive Relational – Goal-directed social “games” such as encouraging the exclusion of someone else to elevate one’s own social status
Roles Played in Relational Aggression The Queen The Sidekick The Gossip The Floater The Bully The Bystanders The Wannabee The Target
Possible Effects of Relational Aggression Interrupted identity formation Poor self esteem Feelings of powerlessness Hopelessness Inability to trust Poor relational skills Loneliness/Isolation Anger Frustration Feelings of rejection Helplessness Depression Teen Pregnancy Substance abuse Self-injury Eating disorders Suicidal Ideation Delinquent behavior Homicidal ideation Poor academic performance Stress/anxiety Separation Anxiety ( Youthlight, Inc., 2010)
Warning Signs of Relational Aggression Unexplained bruises, scratches and cuts Damage to clothes and belongings Fear of going to school Crying before, during, and/or after school Difficulty sleeping Frequent upset stomach Lack of appetite and weight loss Depression and anxiety School grades dropping and incomplete school work Feeling isolated/alone Refusal to say what is wrong (from: Ken Rigby’s Bullying in Schools and What to Do about It, 1996.)
Suggestions for Parents Spend time with your child. Be available to listen and talk to your child about what is going on in their life. Explore your child’s value systems/beliefs about relationships: Is it okay to talk bad about someone and spread rumors? Is it okay to do nothing/watch when someone is being made fun of? Is it okay to boss somebody around? Is it okay to ignore a friend to be in the “popular group?”
Suggestions for Parents Hold your child responsible for negative or hurtful behavior, and help her understand consequences of her actions. Help your child develop a strong sense of identity through involvement in extra-curricular activities.
Suggestions for Parents Know your child’s friends. Teach your child about communication, such as the impact of body language or tone of voice when in conversation.
Suggestions for Parents Help your child see other points of view and develop empathy for others. Take time to ask, “Who did you help today?” When watching a TV show or movie involving bullying and relationships, explore different roles and perspectives.
Suggestions for Parents Closely monitor TV, computer activities, and music. Teach kindness and model this behavior. Be aware of your own aggressive behaviors in relationships.
Suggestions for Parents Be a positive role model. Actions speak louder than words. Try positive “gossips” at the dinner table by looking for the good in people.
If you become aware of relational aggression with your child (or another student): Validate the child’s feelings and concerns. Let the child know she made the right choice by letting you know. Ask the child how she tried to stop the behavior. Ask the child what she wants to do about the situation. Empower your child to be assertive. If your child is “in the middle,” encourage her to support the victim or at least not take part in the aggression.
Seeking Additional Help Inform the child that you plan to seek assistance. Include her in the meeting/conversation if possible. Report off-campus harassment/threats to the police if needed. Contact the child’s school counselor or school administrator to see how they can help. Do not advise the child to “fight back.” This could result in serious consequences, and does not typically solve the problem. Save texts or other messages that are harassing to show school staff/police.