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  • Writer's pictureGail Weiner

Girl Power!

Bullying is a serious issue that affects countless children and teens. I recently had an enlightening conversation with a client about her young daughter who is being targeted by a class bully.

We started by bonding over the fact that we both faced bullying growing up. I mentioned how those experiences shaped us and taught us to be stronger. However, after talking for a while, we realized that brushing off bullying as something that makes you tougher is problematic. By normalizing bullying as something all kids go through, we allow the behavior to continue unchecked.

Here were two women, separated by over a decade in age, who had both endured bullying. And yet, my client's daughter, a whole generation younger, was still going through the same trauma. This cycle of bullying has to stop. We can't just sweep it under the rug anymore.

I asked my client what she wished the adults had done when she was bullied as a child. She shared how when her parents approached the vice principal about girls bullying her, he dismissed it as something he couldn't control and suggested she switch schools. What she had wanted was for that vice principal to call in the bullies and make it clear that their behavior would not be tolerated. She wished he had put together lessons on kindness and respect for those girls. Even if they had lashed out at first, at least a clear message would have been sent that bullying was unacceptable.

I suggested to my client that she request a meeting with the parent of the bully targeting her daughter. As women and mothers, we have an opportunity to break the cycle. For too long, society has pitted women against each other in competition. But those days are over - women should be allies, not enemies. We must teach the next generation of girls to build each other up.

Parents of bullies need to step up and address the issue head-on. Are you modeling disrespectful behavior that your children are mimicking? Make it clear at home that kindness and compassion are top priorities. If you find out your child is bullying others, take swift action to correct the behavior.

On the other side, parents of bullied kids should not let the situation continue unchecked either. Reach out to the school and the parents of the bullies and persist until real change happens. No child deserves to suffer bullying.

And for those currently facing bullying, please know you are not alone. There are so many of us who understand and want to help end this cycle for good. Together we can speak out against bullying and make it socially unacceptable. The time has come to say no more to bullying.

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