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Cut to the Quick: The Consequences of Relational Aggression Among Our Sons & Daughters

bannyadrienne_hs2We’ve all heard “mean girl” stories and many of us probably have lived them. But the social rejection and humiliation kids inflict on each other is not unique to girls; in fact, this week’s Mom Enough guest cites evidence that relational aggression is equally common among boys and girls. Whatever the gender of the children involved, being on the receiving end can be devastating. And as wrong as it seems, there often are rewards for the perpetrators in terms of popularity and social status. As researcher Adrienne Banny attests, it will take a concerted effort by parents, teachers and other caring adults to turn around this very disturbing trend!


What has been your experience with relational aggression, either in your own life or that of your children? How did you deal with it? Based on what you heard in this week’s Mom Enough discussion, what could you do at home, school or in your community to help reduce relational aggression?


For more information on longitudinal studies of relational aggression at the U of M, click here.

For the Institute of Child Development at the U of M, click here.

For our ME show on bullying with Sticks and Stones author Emily Bazelon, click here.

For parenting resources from PACER, click here.

For Understanding the Threat of Bullying from Children’s Hospitals & Clinics of Minnesota, click here.

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  1. Mary Lynn on November 8, 2016

    Wow-going through this right now. Started with a boy getting a girl (who had a crush on him) to be RA to my daughter then it morphed to another girl manipulating another girl to do it too.

  2. Stacy on November 15, 2016

    Thank you for your comment, Mary Lynn! Dealing with relational aggression is heartbreaking. We added additional parenting resources above. Dr. Banny recommended reading the Children’s Hospitals & Clinics of Minnesota white paper on bullying, which includes information for parents on effective action, and also Emily Bazelon’s Sticks and Stones book.