Nikki Giant and Rachel Beddoe, authors of new release Surviving Girlhood: Building Positive Relationships, Attitudes and Self-Esteem to Prevent Teenage Girl Bullying introduce Anti-Bullying Week 2012 and why encouraging young people to take a stand against bullying is as important as ever in today’s society.

November 19th – 23rd 2012 marks anti-bullying week in the UK and schools across the country will undertake activities to raise awareness of the affects of such behaviour and encourage young people to make a stand against bullying. 

Young people today have a very different experience growing up to those of a generation ago.  The continual growth and advancement in modern Interactive Technology provide young people with access to a wealth of information at the touch of a button.  The content of information they receive every day means innocence is taken away much younger and our children are forced to grow up with confusing messages. 

Gender stereotypes are prominent in our society and are reinforced in the media.  Pressure to conform to a particular image can leave many young people experiencing low self esteem, lack of self worth and confidence as they struggle to fit into the ‘norm’.  Failure to conform to gender stereotypes, or have the latest ‘look’, can lead to torment from peers. 

Girls, in particular, will experience pressure to behave, dress and act in distinct ways, often emulating celebrities.  Failure to conform can often leave a young girl isolated and rejected by her peers.  All too often young girls experience the duality of trying to fit in with their peers without losing their sense of self.  Girls also struggle with navigating their way through the double standards set by their peers, of being sexy but not sexually active. 

The theme set for anti-bullying week 2012 provides an opportunity for professionals to explore gender stereotypes and influences of the media.  We can encourage young people to discuss the effects of stereotyping, remove labels and be accepting of each others differences.  

Working with young people to enhance their self esteem and self respect can assist to raise emotionally healthy and socially adept young people who, in place of ridicule and put downs, will support and encourage others.

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