What’s your biggest concern with your kids in middle school?

A current on-line survey says…”Parents say bullying is a greater concern than alcohol, while children themselves worry most about making the right friends”.

I’d say that both parents and their kids are on the same page with their concerns.  Because, the primary way kids make friends and keep friends is by being accepted by their peer group and that depends entirely upon on how others treat them.

Recently, the Today show posed the question, are ‘mean girls getting meaner’? http://www.today.com/moms/are-mean-girls-getting-meaner-teens-open-about-bullying-8C11417897

The resounding answer was yes, the reason given was that girls say mean things to ‘fit in’.  The advice to parents was to talk to your kids about their feelings and have lots of physical connections with them, like hugging.

While I agree with this advice, I also want to take it one step further by suggesting that kids need to be taught emotional literacy in order to cope with bullying, so they can make the right friends.

Emotional literacy is not just talking about your feelings it is learning how to DEAL with the way you feel in appropriate ways.

The fact is girls are mean because they feel ENVY and don’t know what to do about it. So teach your kids that ENVY is going to come whether they like it or not. It’s about wanting something that somebody else has and if you don’t know how to deal with it, you’ll automatically tear down someone else in order to build yourself up!

Once kids learn this fact, tell them to always compliment that someone who has something they’d like to have and then remember to compliment themselves later in order to improve their own self worth. This conversation you have with your kids is how you teach emotional literacy.

Teaching emotional literacy is a necessary step for your kids to understand themselves better. Once they understand their emotions and how to DEAL with they way they feel, it is easier for them to create positive behavior and find friends in all the right places.

Hope this helps, Dr. Ann

For more information on Emotional Literacy and how to teach your kids how to DEAL with the Way they feel, check out my emotional literacy program Pocket Full of Feelings @www.pocketfulloffeelings.com or email me to set up a private or group consultation @ drann@theparentingdoctor.com