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February 13, 2006 - 12:13 pm

Kudos to ema href=”http://www.child.com/child/”Child/a /emmagazine for having a small but worthwhile blurb about how to raise a nonviolent girl. The blurb mentions the work of James Garbarino, author of a href=”http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?link_code=as2path=ASIN/1594200750tag=wwwviolentkicomcamp=1789creative=9325″emSee Jane Hit : Why Girls Are Growing More Violent and What We Can Do About It/em,/aimg src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wwwviolentkicoml=as2o=1a=1594200750″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”" style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;”/a new book coming out this week. Girls are getting meaner and Garbarino, professor of psychology at Loyola University Chicago, says that “positive social changes are behind the emerging aggressiveness.” “Girls today are taught to communicate their feelings rather than bottle them up and feel victimized, and are encouraged to express themselves physically in sports. While these are positive developments, they can have negative side effects”, says Dr. Garbarino who offers these violence-prevention tips:br /br /blockquoteTreat girls equally. Research has shown that boys who are taught the boundaries of being physically aggressive are less violent. Through roughhousing and playing sports, parents can also teach girls ways to be aggressive that aren’t harmful to themselves or others. Explain to them that “it’s okay to be aggressive during soccer, but you can’t punch people in the nose or pull their hair. You have to follow the rules.” br /br /Develop character. Teach your child to identify her emotions and recognize how others feel. Remind her that while it’s okay to speak up for herself, it’s never okay to hurt others with words.br /br /Limit exposure to violence. Protect kids from the violence shown in the media. In recent years, TV shows and video games have been flooded with female action stars–which can send the wrong message./blockquotebr /br /Well, I don’t agree fully with all of these points–unlike Dr. Garbarino, I do not think it has been that positive a social change for girls to be told they are victims who have to communicate every feeling of displeasure. If you see yourself as a victim, it is easy to believe you cannot hurt others, even when you punch, hit and verbally abuse people. I think that some exposure to aggressive video games can be okay–but it would be best if the star is not seen as a hero who is cruel to others and rewarded. But, on a positive note, maybe parents and society will take heed from Garbarino’s book and quit it with the “You Go Girl” culture. Because, sometimes, convincing a girl that she is a victim and that her only recourse is to spit venom can backfire into her becoming a full-grown bully–or the next Maureen Dowd.

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