It is important to distinguish between rude, mean, and bullying so that teachers, school administrators, police, youth workers, parents, and kids all know what to pay attention to and when to intervene.
Is it impossible to find sisterhood? I can answer an emphatic no after a lifetime of gathering loyal supporters, but I also recall moments in my life where I was abused by girls who called themselves my friends. And apparently I am not alone.
By the early school years, most youngsters have experienced unspoken -- but not unsubtle -- acts of social aggression that shake the carefully laid foundations of their self-image and beliefs about friendship.
While we all experience friend issues (and they don't go away when you hit adulthood!), for most girls, middle school is the time when the highs and lows of the friendship rollercoaster are most pronounced.
Believe me, I don't need you to tell me that my actions in the following situation were wrong. I know it. I chose it. That's right -- like most passive-aggressive people, I was aware of what I was doing and yes, I took a little pleasure in it.
Turns out that while sticks and stones can break your bones, words, too, can really hurt you. In honor of proving that out-of-date childhood adage incorrect, the week of Jan. 23-27 has been set aside as No Name-Calling Week in schools across the country.
Recently, I met with my four year-old's pre-school teacher for a scheduled school conference. After the niceties and pleasantries were exchanged, the teacher slid a report-card-like rating sheet across the desk.
"Taking a long view" is difficult for young people who, by their very nature, live in the here and now. Teaching kids to think about the future is a critical factor in helping them move past the torturous moments of the present.