Date of Award

12-2005

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Education (M.Ed.)

Department

College of Education

Abstract

Relational aggression (RA) is rampant in our schools, especially in middle schools across America. The name-calling, rumors, exclusion, eye-rolling, and whispers work to undermine relationships between and amongst girls. Because RA is covert in nature, the behavior goes mostly unnoticed by the adults in these girl’s lives. Society conditions girls, from a very young age, to respond to aggressive behaviors by not being aggressive back; girls are supposed to be nice. The target of relational aggression is especially hurt by this behavior. She generally suffers from low self esteem and poor social skills, and when put up against a clique, she becomes even more defenseless.

This thesis project gives the School Guidance Counselor information and a group lesson to help targeted girls begin to regain some of the power lost through relational aggression. Focusing on building self-esteem and learning about who they are and what strengths they have is the foundation. Utilizing the entire school community and parents gives credibility to the target’s situation, and brings much needed awareness to the topic. Only then can we begin to eliminate relational aggression and make the schools a place of safe, fun learning.

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