Tuesday, October 29, 2013


People shouldn't make fun of people who have epilepsy. It's not right at all. They are just the same as everybody else but have a medical condition. Someone made fun of me junior year and they thought it was a disease but it's just a medical condition. I had my first seizure in 7th grade and I didn't even know what it was. Then I had another one in 8th grade. But in the summer of 2009, I got diagnosed with epilepsy.osed with epilepsy. Pretty soon I'll have epilepsy for 3 years. It's not fun being diagnosed with this but I still have to go through it though. People shouldn't judge people who have people who have epilepsy, it can really hurt their feelings. So just understand what they are going through and including me too. Thats why I'm doing my graduation pr Pretty soon I’ll have epilepsy for three years. It’s not fun being diagnosed with this, but I still have to go through it though. People shouldn’t judge people who have epilepsy. It can really hurt their feelings. So just understand what they are going through and including me too. That’s why I’m doing my graduation project on epilepsy.
Olivia, age 18

Monday, October 14, 2013

Bully Band-Aids

The emails are already coming in to my mailbox. School has been in session long enough for “relationship issues” to surface, and both parents and teachers are looking for help with bullying and relational aggression.

So often, the situation gets polarized into the victim, who receives support and sympathy AFTER the bullying has occurred. If the problem occurs on school time, the bully is often punished. Especially egregious situation might prompt a vigil, a t-shirt with a catchy slogan, a wrist band, or a school assembly program. These are what I call band aid approaches because they are one time programs that may increase awareness, but have little long term impact.

The National Association for School Psychologists offer an excellent resource for any adult who cares about children and their relationships. They describe important attributes to encourage in youth, and make the point that prevention is the most effective strategy.

That’s why relationship skills need to be started at a young age. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction describes the effectiveness of their developmentally based approach to bullying prevention, which offers programs to students from elementary school through middle school. While most of their content relates to aggression, even young children respond positively.

A focus on relationship skills is an important part of bullying prevention. The Polk School District in Michigan has developed an excellent resource for teaching relationship skills to students of all ages. Take a look and you’ll see that learning to communicate, making and keeping friends, and collaborating with others are abilities that not only reduce the likelihood of aggression but help children form relationships that help rather than hurt.

Not surprisingly, that’s what Club and Camp Ophelia (www.clubophelia.com) are all about, too!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Breaking Free Can Help You Love Your Life & Your Relationship With Others

Do you struggle to maintain your connections with female friends?
Does your TO-DO LIST have anything to do with what you really want to do?
You’re not alone! Most women struggle with confusion over their priorities and guidelines for living. That’s because we’re brought up with two different “Recipes For Living”:

1. One Recipe says to forget yourself and live for others.
2. The other Recipe says to be true to yourself and follow your dreams.

What do we do? We try to do BOTH, ending up with Mixed Recipes that lead to conflict, confusion and guilt. This blocks us from going after our goals with enthusiasm, confidence and joy!
Part of becoming a mature adult is evaluating your Childhood Recipe and making sure all your beliefs harmonize with reality and each other. This is the only way to BREAK FREE from the confusion that beckons others to bully you through dependency or guilt.

You can start breaking free by assessing your relationship with YOURSELF. Just click on “Quick Quiz” at www.YourRecipeForLivingCoach.com. Two books (www.Amazon.com) – I Never Knew I Had a Choice by Gerald Corey and my own This Is Your Life: No Apology Needed – provide powerful guides for arriving at a healthy Recipe For Living. You’ll be amazed at how your Revised Recipe releases you from unnecessary conflict, confusion and the control of others – so you can pursue your dreams and love living your life!

Submitted by,
Terry Jean Taylor
Terry Jean Taylor, Your Recipe For Living Coach, LLC
www.yourrecipeforlivingcoach.com, terry@yourrecipeforlivingcoach.com
"A healthy Recipe For Living is your most powerful asset...and your greatest charm."

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Tips for a drama-free school year

As summer comes to an end, it is normal for girls have mixed feelings about returning to school. While it is exciting to see friends again, some girls also worry about the relational aggression they encountered in previous years. Here are some tips for girls to avoid the “drama” and have successful friendships this school year!

1. Be nice and respectful to others! Sometimes it is as simple as the golden rule. If you are nice, you are more likely to have friends that are nice and respectful, too!

2. Spread the word! Demi Lovato and Secret™ have started a “Mean Stinks” campaign, to help girls who are affected by bullying. As a part of the campaign, girls everywhere are painting their pinky nails blue as a promise to have a ‘Drama-Free School Year’.


3. Talk to a trusted adult! If someone makes you feel uncomfortable or if you are unsure how to handle a friendship problem, talk to an adult you trust. Believe it or not, they will understand and they may have just the advice you need!

http://www.parentingscience.com/kids-make-friends.html (This is a link for your parents!)

4. Use your social media “smarts”! Do not post any opinions, gossip, or pictures on social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) that you would be embarrassed to have your parents, grandparents, or teachers see.


5. Choose your friends carefully! Take the time to make a list of qualities you are looking for in a friend (loyal, respectful, generous, etc.). If you find you are spending your time with girls who do not share the qualities you find most important, you may want look for a better fit!


Liza A. Kalloz, M.Ed.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Nurses in the Workplace: Nasty or Nice?

As an expert author who has written extensively about relational aggression (RA or nonphysical bullying), it wasn’t unusual for a workshop participant or audience member at one of my talks to comment on how much the concept applied to nurses. The expression “eat their young” was used more than once. Ouch.

Work on my two books about the topic (When Nurses Hurt Nurses, and Toxic Nursing) convince me that bad behaviors in the nursing workplace often are a result of circumstances rather than personalities. Nursing education doesn't include adequate training to Nurses aren’t educated to cope with the many demands of today’s complex work setting, and hospitals often overlook bullying because there are other more important problems to be confronted.

“RN RA” is bad for business, and has far reaching effects for both individuals and institutions. It’s no longer sufficient to accept the situation and watch our colleagues crash and burn. Be a nurse who makes a difference for your patients, your coworkers, and yourself! How can you take the first step?

My nursing education colleagues tell me there's too little time in the curriculum to educate nurses about bullying -- but when one professor used a story from my book to prompt a discussion, she told me: "We could have stayed there all night exchanging horror stories."  Although emotions can be tender, beginning a dialogue about past experiences can be the beginning of a healthy change.

Cheryl Dellasega, PhD

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

San Francisco California

One of the most admirable qualities an individual can have is the ability to be put in an unfortunate satiation and focus on the opportunity rather than the struggle. The Boys and Girls Club of San Francisco California, our fourth stop of the Mighty Fingers project, focuses on giving children from underprivileged homes and communities within the city the inspiration to make a better life for themselves.  When I asked these children my three questions all of their answers emphasized the determination they had to stay out of trouble and make a better future for themselves.  
            Any fun the girls had was at the club. At home their lives were “Work, school, stay safe.” Which usually involved staying inside their home. Roaming the streets was not a good idea because anyone who roamed the streets of their neighborhoods was “probably looking for trouble.”
            Many of the girls I talked to were inspired to stay out of trouble and make it through school with enough success to work their way out of their towns and move to a nicer place where crime is rare and people make an honest, safe living. When I asked the girls how they chose their friends the main answer was avoiding people who get in trouble
            “If I see a girl in school walking down the hallway and she is muggin’ looking at me bad I am gonna think she is mean and I am not gonna be friends with her,” said a girl from the Tenderloin in San Francisco, a portion of the city with very high crime rates.
            In the high crime areas of San Francisco that the girls were from, the friendship difficulties were more than just ‘who cheated on who.’ More serious disputes grew between once good friends, mainly because of gangs. In high school many girls and boys will join gangs, which encourage illicit activity and fights between friends.
            Though these unfortunate events happen and most probably always will, there are things being done to minimalize their occurrences, such as The Boys and Girls Club, which inspires children to be powerful by offering a kinship and a broadened education. All we need to do is show children the opportunity they have and so many of them will work harder and be exceptional kids as they strive to achieve success. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Experience using the What’s Your RA (Relational Aggression) Quotient? quiz written by Cheryl Dellasega

I am a recent graduate from the Counselor Education program at The College at Brockport State Univ. of NY. For the purpose of my Master’s Thesis research my study involved assessing the impact of group counseling on adolescent females that have been identified as instigators of relational aggression.
The study was a pre-test/post-test design, of which a group of 5 eighth grade female middle school students were invited to attend 8 group counseling sessions that lasted approximately 40 minutes, during the regular school day. Seven participants were interviewed to participate, a total of five students agreed to be a part of my study. Throughout the course of the study, I incorporated lessons from the workbook, Salvaging Sisterhood, written by Julia V. Taylor, designed to increase awareness about relational aggression and develop healthy conflict resolution skills.
Participants were administered the What is Your RA Quotient? quiz during the first group session. The surveys were completed anonymously; students were identified with a small symbol on the quiz which was kept in a locked cabinet for the duration of the study. At the conclusion of my study, the means of the pre and post surveys were calculated and a comparison was conducted through a Paired t-test. Now, I do not consider myself a statistical expert, however, I did find a decrease in Aggressive Behaviors, decrease in Bystander Behaviors that Support Aggression, a decrease in Behaviors Checked off by a Victim and an increase in Power Behaviors! Although results of the study did conclude a decrease in aggressive behaviors, the results were not significant; I suspect this is because of the small sample of group members.
During the course of the study, my group went from 5 to 4 participants, with one student suspended for the remainder of the school year as a result of Cyber-bullying. This was disappointing, however, a teachable moment for the rest of the girls. The school district takes cyber harassment and relational aggression very seriously. In order to reach a wider group of students, it is proposed that several groups taking place throughout the academic year would accomplish this. What is Your RA? quiz was a useful tool; I was able to measure the proposed outcome and my group counseling session, and I was fortunate to have found this instrument!

Michelle Jones, MSEd

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Cold Canada

The Mighty Fingers team recently traveled to Edmonton Canada, the third of fifteen projected locations on the project. Though I was unaccustomed to the icy temperatures, Edmonton had countless warming coffee shops to welcome any foreigner. Edmonton also had a vibrant art scene and plenty of enthusiastic girls who made the trip smooth and successful. I had a chance to interview a few local girls and ask them a few questions.
Because of the biting cold that lasts a good amount of the year, girls usually do
indoor activities so when I asked “What do you and your friends do for fun?” Most of them had answers like playing video games and listening to music with friends. One overwhelming obsession amongst most of the girls is the boy band, One Direction. One Direction is wildly popular everywhere modern pop exists but the young girls of Canada seem to be extra taken by the band.
            When we asked the girls for symbols that represent inspiration and passion, this Mighty Fingers location transformed from a project focusing on the power of girls to a giddy powwow discussing cute boys. Though I understand why girls are inspired by boys I wanted to encourage them to step away from that obsession for just a second and think about themselves and their own power. We discussed how a dedicated focus on their own talents could not only bring personal empowerment, but might also get them closer to some of those other “inspiring” elements they crave – like boy bands. For instance, a good writer could apply for press passes to concerts like One Direction and get a chance to interview the performers. It is not bad to spend time gossiping about boys and high school drama, but it is important to make sure that they are keeping tabs on their personal goals and putting in the time and work necessary to reach them .
            HOW and WHY a girl chooses friends offers a bit of insight on what she values, and how those values might guide her future. When I asked the girls how they choose their friends they all seemed to have similar responses that regarded things like clothes, personalities, and similar interests. In most first world countries this seems to be the case but each place has a little twist that offers originality. For Edmonton it was the lac of illegal substances. When I asked this question in the US, drugs and alcohol have been a prevalent influence. Many girls say they “stay away from the girls who do drugs” or some girls have even confessed to making sure they “hang out with the people who can throw a good party with drinks and weed” but nothing of that type was ever mentioned in Canada.
“I look at what she wears or I see if she is pretty.” Said a twelve-year-old girl. “If they like One Direction clothes I’ll be friends with them” A little excessive talk about boy bands and clothing is always better than drugs. “I like everyone, if they are nice to me, I will be nice to them” said another.
After hearing what brought the girls of Edmonton together I was interested to hear what usually caused friendship difficulties and drama.
“When my friends and I get in fights its always about boys or popularity,” said a high school girl. I know many high school girls that tend to get worked up over these things and hold grudges for a long time.
“If two girls like the same boy they will hate each other” said an Edmonton girl. There are little rules that all girls are expected to know and follow, the term that bounces around the high school hallways for these rules is “Girl Code.” If any of these strict rules are broken, girls are sure to start an uproar, which causes many girls to become enemies and many to form new friendships as they rally and take sides.
Canada seemed to be very similar in the youth social setup as the United Stares. No matter where you are, the high school fish pond can seem rather small. I’m looking forward to the Ocean of collage, and the professional world that follows.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Tips for mom's as summer approaches

As summer approaches, Mothers are often bombarded with questions about scheduling play-dates. Encouraging and supporting connections with friends over the summer is important, but many Mothers are surprised that this additional time with friends does not always bring girls closer. Here are some helpful summer tips:

1. When summer boredom sets in, coupled with missing school friends, social media can become a vehicle of misuse. Monitor and be aware of what forms of social media your daughter is using and take time to explore these sites together. http://www.parenting.com/gallery/social-media-monitoring-kids

2. Keep a journal . . . together! The concept is simple: Mother and daughter exchange the journal and each can write thoughts, worries, questions, or even encouragement. http://www.journalinghelps.com/Mother_Daughter_Journal.html

3. Your daughter is always watching! Model good friendship habits when you interact with your friends.

4. Make it a date! Once a week have a "date" with your daughter! Do something fun, just the two of you! This will be a great opportunity to talk about friendship issues your daughter may be facing. http://www.imom.com/mom-life/family-fun/8-great-dates-for-moms-and-daughters/

5. Hit the library! There are many excellent books for girls about friendship. Encourage your daughter to check out a book on friendship and have your own "book club" just the two of you or even with some of your daughter's friends. http://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/teen-friendship

Remember that your daughter needs the opportunity to experience struggles in friendship to grow, learn, and ultimately become confident in her friendships. Instead of dreading the summer drama this year, look forward to new opportunities to support your daughter!

Liza A. Kalloz, M.Ed.
School Counselor

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

My Alma Mater

Last year I was approached by my alma mater to be featured in The Messenger, their beautifully prepared magazine for students, staff, faculty, and alumni of the University of Delaware. You can read it online here:

Going to graduate school was challenging with young children, but many of us are doing it! Read Andrea-Zellner’s tips for “mamacademics.”

When my master’s degree was earned and the diploma hung on my wall, I found myself actually reflecting back fondly on the days when I packed my son’s belongings in a bag to take to the babysitter and then dashed off to Newark, Delaware!

Here are some fun facts about Delaware, including the confirmation that their state insect is the ladybug!

Cheryl Dellasega

Saturday, May 18, 2013


Cultures are so varied throughout the world in so many aspects but one huge variable that changes drastically is girls’ place in society and how they function with each other. On November 11th The Mighty Fingers Facing Change team arrived in Quetzaltenango Guatemala to get the project started. Throughout the four-day project I had the opportunity to ask them questions about friendships in their country. Based on their responses, Guatemala has many customs that seemed relatively relatable as a teenage girl from the US. They also had a few that seemed very foreign. The questions that were asked to each girl were:

1. What do you and your friends like to do for fun?
2. How do you choose who to be friends with?
3. When girls have relationship problems/friendship difficulties/drama in your  
     country, what is it most often about? 

When a fifteen-year-old girl was asked, “what do you and your friends do for fun?” she said that most everyone smokes and drinks as teenagers. Smoking and drinking is illegal under the age of 18 in Guatemala but the use of both is popular among minors.
            “I try to stay into good things, because many kids smoke and things like that.” The girl said. The “good things” she was referring to was mainly education. Children tend to have less of an opportunity to go to school in parts of Guatemala because of the high child labor rate. Many young girls are working full time as waitresses or selling goods on the streets to help support their families. Something like this makes going to school nearly impossible.
In regard to the question “how do you choose who to be friends with?” a girl
Said, “I see how they dress because I don’t like girls who dress too crazy.” As simple as a piece of clothing may seem it is used as a determining factor for friendships in many parts of the world. Generally girls who spend less time on their appearance have less friends. Even though many girls use appearance as their tool to choose friends in Guatemala there are many who also just want to be friends based on personality and similarities.
            One girl said, “I see how they act and express themselves.” When people grow up this seems to be the more common way to choose friends, so some girls are just one step ahead.
            The third question was, “When girls have relationship problems/friendship difficulties/drama in your country, what is it most often about?” Many girls agreed that the largest disagreement among Guatemalan youth girls was determining the “leader” of their group. Much of their culture is built on dominance. One person in each circle of the community must be at the top of their group.
            “When girls get in arguments it is usually because one is jealous.” A girl explained. Girls get jealous of the leader of their circle and will often try to rise above her. There is a quiet but constant battle among friends as they all try to be the best.
            Dominance, jealousy, friendships and struggle are all key factors in all communities, it’s just the way we handle these things that set us apart from each other. Studying these different cultures is incredibly interesting to me and I am excited to see more. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Angela Linton's (club O mentor) winning essay - The Soroptimist Violet Richardson Award

I serve as a mentor for elementary and middle school girls with Club Ophelia (http://www.clubophelia.com/home.php). Club Ophelia is a ten-week, nationally recognized program created by Dr. Cheryl Dellasega in which high school girls are trained to educate younger girls about relational aggression (RA) using stories that illustrate female bullying. Relational aggression is the use of relationships to hurt others. Girl to girl aggression most often occurs with words, expressions, and gestures, rather than physical actions. Some examples of RA are: gossiping, exclusion, manipulation, eye rolling, and teasing. Through instant messaging, e-mails, and website postings, the computer is another way the girls use RA to hurt each other. The program teaches the girls how to relate the information on relational aggression to their own lives by examining the relationships they have or want to develop, looking at what makes someone a friend, and discussing what qualities each girl brings into her relationship. This program is designed to provide girls with tools to build helpful, rather than hurtful relationships with other girls and be a better friend whether they are the aggressor (bully), the victim, or the bystander. Activities include arts and craft projects, role playing, and team building activities which encourage the girls to learn more about themselves and others. We remind the girls that there are always choices in any situation and are asked to identify alternatives they would feel comfortable using in bullying situations. At the end of the ten week program, the girls are asked to integrate what they have learned into their lives and think about how they could help another girl who is a victim or bully. Bullying is an epidemic in this country and young girls should not be fearful of their peers. My goal is to serve as a role model for younger girls in the community hoping that they can become confident and strong enough to help end bullying.

My initial inspiration for serving as a mentor was the ability to work with young girls to help shape them into great people, educate others, and to bring awareness to this crisis and to stop it. I was recognized by my teachers and guidance counselor for my leadership qualities and was asked to become involved with Club Ophelia. I have been a mentor for Club Ophelia since 2010, with the most recent sessions occurring for ten weeks each, beginning January 2012, May 2012, July 2012, and one at the present. The meetings allow the girls to have a safe place to discuss any issues they may be dealing with. The most difficult part of being a mentor is listening to the stories of these young girls, knowing that these relationship issues are occurring and often at times, steps are not taken to change the situation. The Club Ophelia participants learn the value of respect for themselves, and others, and all girls knew they were accepted and included throughout the activities. I would also like to think that the girls became better people with respect for others. This activity continues year-round with different age groups throughout the year.

I have acquired more patience and leadership skills by serving as a role model and volunteer for this program. I am proud of myself because I believe my service has made a difference in their lives and they will continue to practice and share what they have learned. Often, participants of Club Ophelia are asked to return as mentors when they are in high school. I hope one day the girls will remember seeing how much fun I had at the meetings and they will aspire to do the same. I enjoyed seeing the smiles and sense of accomplishment in the girls' faces each week. For other young girls, I would advocate to them to participate in volunteer activities that bring them joy and make a positive, lasting impression.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

YWCA Tribute to Women of Excellence

Have you ever felt really inspired by the power of women to network and connect? On Wednesday, March 21, I got the opportunity to witness the reverse of relational aggression (female bullying) ( http://www.cheryldellasega.com/ra.php). While my books have focused on negative fenake behaviors such as exclusion, gossip, ridicule, intimidation and manipulation, at the YWCA's 24th Tribute to Women of Excellence last week, I got to hear about some very powerful women who use their relational abilities to do things like mentor younger women, volunteer in community agencies, role model super skills for other women, run businesses, provide legal counsel, meet various needs of those who are underserved, and so much more. It was a thrill to be among those who were honored, and an experience that reminds me that there is a flip side to relational aggression--relational affection. Women helping women: that's what it's all about!

Cheryl Dellasega

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Mighty Fingers- Facing Change http://www.mightyfingersfacingchange.com/ is a two-part experiential art project designed to engage and inspire adolescent girls worldwide. Starting November 11th, 2012, a group of women, including me, will be traveling to fifteen to twenty locations around the world to create a collaborative piece of art with adolescent girls in effort to empower and unify them (maybe insert photo of Mighty Fingers here?). As we travel around the world during the next year, I will be writing about female friendships in different cultures around the world from a teenage girl perspective.
In preparation for the project launch on November 6th I met with a seventeen-year-old girl from Afghanistan who is studying in the United States.  We discussed everything; life and death, family and friends, war and peace. In regard to friendships I asked her these questions:

·      What do you and your friends like to do for fun?
·      How do you choose who to be friends with?
·      When girls have relationship problems/friendship difficulties/drama in your country, what is it most often about? 

After hearing her answers I thought about how drastically different they would from the average American girl, so I asked the same questions to a sixteen-year-old girl from New Jersey.

When the girl from Afghanistan was asked: “What do you and your friends like to do for fun?” she explained that there isn’t much socialization outside the family. Girls get sold off to a man once they go through puberty and they then become his property.
“When we are little we do normal things like swing and chase each other, but once girls reach puberty they don’t spend much time together.” Sometimes families will have parties and once everyone is gathered the girls and the boys separate and girls make conversation with each other until the party is over. Girls do not watch movies because it is uncomfortable or embarrassing to see women from other cultures who act so differently than they do.”
When I asked a teenaged girl from New Jersey what she does with her friends for fun she said: “We do whatever. We watch movies, walk around town, go get coffee.”

The question: “How do you choose who to be friends with?” was answered very differently by both girls as well. In Afghanistan, oftentimes girls do not choose their friends and will spend time with close families or relatives at parties but they do not really develop extremely close relationships outside of the family. “For many teenage girls in Afghanistan something to be proud of would be how rich your husband is,” the young woman I interviewed said.
Unlike Afghanistan, choosing new friends in the United States is very common among teenage girls.
“Friends come and go, they don’t always last too long so deciding to be friends with someone is not a huge deal,” the 16 year old girl from New Jersey explained. “I’ll be friends with anybody that I can relate to or has a good personality.”

In Afghanistan, girls do not have many girl-to-girl relationship problems because they are usually inside, with their husbands. Most relationship problems are between the husband and wife, and they are kept inside the family because telling people would be disrespectful to the family. When girls and women are being mistreated by their husbands and they try to seek help, people often find out about it and the problem gets worse.
If the girls or women are caught trying to get away from their husbands they are publically stoned to death. According to my source from Afghanistan, this system ends up causing many girls to choose suicide over living with the brutality in their marriage.
“It is common for girls to cover themselves in petrol and light themselves on fire,” she explained.
In the United States, most fights or drama between girls are about boys.
“It’s always about a boy,” my interviewee stated. “If one girl wants a boy and another girl does too they can never be friends.” Girls are also much more vocal about their difficulties In the United Sates, “There are never any secrets, things always gets out and it always causes a lot of drama.” she said.

Girls in the United States are vocal because they have the freedom to be. This was a freedom that was hard earned by the women who came before us. There are brave girls in Afghanistan fighting for these freedoms right now but it has to be done in a much more secretive manner to avoid death threats and persecution. The entire conversation was incredibly interesting and it made me look at my own life in a new light. It made me realize how lucky most girls from the United States are to be able to choose their own friends, their own husbands, and their own path in life.