Who'd have thought there'd be a reference to "Mean Girls" in a blog about LDS Young Women? Here it is.
Girls as bullies. Sad! What about Divine Nature and Individual Worth? And Integrity (saying we follow Christ and then doing it)?
How is it possible that "Daughters of our Heavenly Father' who pledge to 'stand as witnesses of God' have come to accept and act upon the 'value' of Bullying?
My cousin recently asked for suggestions to help her group of Young Women. They've got a vicious bullying virus. (Some of their mothers have it too!) Perhaps you've seen Young Women not treating each other in a loving Christ-like manner. Perhaps you've heard some unkind words. This is opposite of what should be happening. Young Women should feel lovingkindness and the gentle peace of the Spirit while they are at church. They should feel the fellowship of the Saints rather than despair, depression and isolation. What can be done?
Here are some suggestions:
Don't gossip amongst yourselves (leaders) about any young woman. Focus and talk about each young woman's uplifting qualities, her divine nature, her good choices, her integrity, her virtue, her wonderfulness. If these qualities are not easily apparent, pray for the pure love of Christ and the Holy Ghost will give you a full download on how the Lord sees her.
Pray for charity within your Young Women's group. Discuss ways Christ combatted bullying. Have the Young Women make lists of two or three divine qualities possessed by the other Young Women in their classes / group. Find ways to point out that all children of God have value of the greatest worth. And that our Father has no favorites. Have the Young Women have a group fast for charity, understanding and unity.
When there is bullying, stop the actions immediately. (Remember reproving betimes with sharpness : reproving in a timely manner, in a serious way. And involve the parents.) All bullying, even teasing, should be taken seriously. Parents should be immediately contacted and the issues should be discussed in a formal, loving yet upfront setting.
Here are some resources I found:
1. Check out last month's Friend magazine (September 2009) for excellent basic principles that you can apply in age-appropriate situations for Young Women:
2. In our ward we asked a licensed therapist to discuss ways to combat bullying. The therapist spent an evening with our Young Women discussing bullies and bullying. She taught us assertiveness techniques. We roll-played various ways we could assertively deal with bullying. (Where was this skill-building opportunity when I was a beehive in middle school?! )
3. Some links / books to check out:
a. link with some good books and good suggestions on bullying and on beating "Relational Aggression":
b. this book: (Odd Girl Out)
c. site by/from the US Department of Health and Human Services. wow.
This is just a small overview. Am sure some of you have been working with bullying for quite some time. Please share your experiences. What have you talked about? How did you talk about it? What worked with your Young Women? How have you implemented the teachings of the gospel into talking about bullying? (I loved the Friend's suggestion to use the Good Samaritan parable as an antidote to bullying by being a good neighbor...)
Can't wait to read your suggestions.