Girls and Their Frenemies“, by Linda Stade – This is a really great article to read to increase our knowledge of the challenges our World-Changing Kids might be facing.

The article gives 10 things that parents can do to help. These are my top 3 from this list:

1. Explicitly teach kindness, compassion and empathy.

“We know kids have the capacity for these qualities. They are often evident at home or with people of different ages, but they are not being engaged in their relationships with peers.”

Completing Acts of Kindness together as a family will teach your children kindness, compassion and empathy. By modelling this behaviour with your children you are showing them that you value kindness. They will then start to look for ways to be kind. It is simple and it really works.

You could start with our book, “Plant a Garden of Kindness, A Child’s Guide to Filling a Year with Weekly Acts of Kindness”, which you can purchase on our website.

2. Teach kids to be Upstanders

“These are people who stand up for victims. It’s been proven that if you can stand up to a bully for 8 seconds, they are likely to back down. Some kids are stronger than others. We need to make it cool to be strong and able to defend others.”

This is the first time I have heard the term “Upstanders” – I love it. You can teach your children this by reading books and talking about people who have done great things to stand up for victims. Again, if your children believe that you value being an Upstander, then they will want to demonstrate these characteristics. You could start with the story of Malala.

This gives me a great new idea! I am working on creating a weekly World-Changing Kids email newsletter. I think I will add an “Upstander of the Week” story. You can sign up for our newsletter at the footer of our website.

3. Create opportunities for children to meet lots of new people outside of school and get to know them well.

The author explains that in her experience, the kids who have genuine friendships “are usually involved in a lot of sport, have varied interests and are exposed to a lot of different people of varying ages. The focus is on participating and being involved.”

I think it is SO important to create opportunities for children to interact with friends of all ages – younger and older, from 0 to 99! And I would add that you need to create this in all types of activities – not just sports. You can do this by volunteering as a family in your community – at school events, at a local retirement home, at the community outdoor skating rink.

I remember as a kid, in grades 4 – 6, if I ever got annoyed with the way that my girl friends were acting at recess, I would go and play with my across the street neighbour and her friends – who were three grades younger than me! It would drive my friends crazy that they couldn’t get me to engage in their behaviour. It is important that we teach our children to be able to walk away – which is such a hard thing to do as a child.

To read the full article, you can click on this link: http://smceducationblog.tumblr.com/post/150629869120/girls-and-their-frenemies