When Friendship Is Used as a Weapon: Using Life Space Crisis Intervention Skills to Confront Bullying

By Whitson, Signe | Reclaiming Children and Youth, Fall 2012 | Go to article overview

When Friendship Is Used as a Weapon: Using Life Space Crisis Intervention Skills to Confront Bullying


Whitson, Signe, Reclaiming Children and Youth


Bullying has received international attention since the pioneering research over thirty years ago by Scandinavian psychologist Dan Olweus (1978). While prevention programs have proliferated, this article charts new ground by applying Life Space Crisis Intervention (LSCI) to bullying in an example involving young girls.

The problems kids cause are not the causes of their problems.

-Nicholas J. Long, founder, the LSCI Institute

From time to time in my conversations on the subject of girl bullying, a polite, yet skeptical person will ask me if I think that all of the recent media attention paid to bullying has caused professionals to cite incidents of bullying where perhaps only rudeness exists. I answer quite affirmatively that yes, indeed, "false positives" are a possible outcome of increased awareness, to which the inquirer usually nods a satisfied smile. "More often, however," I follow up quickly, "I find that genuine bullying underlies situations that adults mistakenly write off as harmless. That is what I am even more concerned about." Take, for example, the following real-life situation involving an easy-to-miss incident of girl bullying in a suburban U.S. elementary school.

What the Adults Saw

Third-graders Jada and Liza were swinging together on the playground during recess when their classmate, Riley, approached and asked if she could swing with them. They invited Riley to take the third swing, but just as Riley got going at full speed, the two girls brought their swings to abrupt stops and laughed together as they ran away from the swing set. Jada turned her head and shouted, "We're going over to the walking path, Riley. Have fun swinging."

Confused, Riley impulsively jumped from her swing, landing hard on the ground. She reached down, as if in pain, to rub her left ankle that buckled upon landing. Riley quickly got back up to her feet, however, and raced toward the walking path, to catch up with her classmates. When Jada and Liza noticed Riley approaching, they abruptly veered away from the walking path. Undeterred, Riley caught up to her classmates and said something to them, pointing to the walking path. Jada and Liza looked at each other and began to laugh again before continuing to walk away from Riley.

As soon as the girls turned their backs, Riley reached out and grabbed a hold of the long scarf wrapped around Liza's neck. With a quick yank, she physically turned Liza around to face her then grasped the second end of the scarf. Riley pulled both pieces of the scarf in opposite directions, effectively choking Liza. This lasted for under five seconds before Jada's screams for help caught a recess aide's attention and immediate intervention. Riley was quickly pulled away from Liza and marched to the office of the school's guidance counselor. Liza was shaken by Riley's actions but unharmed.

What the Adults Did Not See

Riley is a bright, but socially awkward eight-yearold girl. She longs to be friends with her classmates but often finds herself excluded from games and activities due to behaviors that her classmates find "quirky" and sometimes even "gross." Riley feels an intense degree of confusion, frustration, and humiliation over repeated incidents of peer exclusion and, on more than one occasion, has gotten into trouble at school for losing control of her emotions and lashing out verbally and/or physically at her peers.

Jada and Liza are best friends. They are in the same third-grade class as Riley. Both girls cite "being popular" as one of their biggest wishes. To Jada and Liza, Riley's predictable emotional outbursts are a source of amusement. The socially savvy girls have intuited that they can elicit over-the-top responses from Riley - effectively controlling her like a puppet - through subtle actions that school teachers and aides easily overlook or fail to notice. Jada and Liza understand from experience that although Riley will get into trouble for her outbursts, they will be able to remain blameless, safely tucked under the radar of school personnel. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

When Friendship Is Used as a Weapon: Using Life Space Crisis Intervention Skills to Confront Bullying
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.