It’s all about connections: 12 ways to help your daughter develop healthy friendships and resist bullying
1.   Develop a positive, ongoing relationship with your daughter’s teachers and school administration before any difficult situations arise.
the Ophelia project

The Ophelia Project® contributed this article in partnership with American Girl’s “Stop the Bullying” campaign. The organization is a national nonprofit serving youth and adults who are affected by relational and other forms of aggression. Through school programs, educational workshops for adults who work with youth, and a nationally recognized speakers bureau, The Ophelia Project helps schools and communities create safe social climates.

For more information, visit

2.   Set a positive example at home: Model calm and caring ways to resolve conflict. Avoid gossiping. Apologize when you need to. Show your daughter how to be strong and assertive (how to get her needs met) without being aggressive (hurting others to meet her needs).
3.   Help your daughter develop friendships outside of school, such as through sports, religious groups, clubs, and even volunteer opportunities in your community.
4.   Set and enforce rules for how your daughter behaves online. Remind her that hurtful words expressed online can do just as much damage—or more—as words spoken face-to-face.
5.   Acknowledge your daughter’s strengths and individuality, and praise her when she chooses to be her own person rather than conform to what everyone else is doing.
6.   Help your daughter understand the difference between telling and tattling. Tattling is trying to get someone into trouble. Telling is trying to help someone who is being hurt, either physically or emotionally.
7.   Understand the link between relational aggression and physical health. Be on the lookout for uncharacteristic physical complaints, such as stomachaches, headaches, and difficulty sleeping.
8.   If your daughter comes to you to report aggression, try not to overreact. Stay calm and ask questions so that you can get all the relevant information about the situation.
9.   Ask your daughter what she needs from you and what you can do to help. Ask, "Do you want me to just listen, or do you want me to take action?"
10.   Role-play ways that your daughter can respond assertively to aggression, including words she can use and body language that conveys strength and confidence.
11.   Remind your daughter that, for the most part, she is in control of whom she spends time with. If a friend continues to behave in a way that makes your daughter feel uncomfortable, she can choose not to spend time with that person.


  If your daughter takes steps to end aggression and it continues, or if the aggression is severe, talk with her teachers or other school officials. Work together to protect your daughter and to make school a safer place for all students.