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Friendship and Other Weapons: Group Activities to Help Young Girls Aged 5-11 to Cope with Bullying 1st Edition

11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1849058759
ISBN-10: 184905875X
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Editorial Reviews


Creative, accessible, and well sequenced, "Friendship and Other Weapons" is a good example of a curriculum that is easy to implement and to customize for a group (even for older girls). Ideas for customizing a session are included. The parent involvement expecatation is an effective practice that affirms the family's investment in the group. The use of activities, processing, and journaling are clear indicators that this is a solid group work program (what the author called a "real friendship" group)... "Friendship and Other Weapons" is one of the best curriculums I have encountered. It embodies the value of the group to enable members help themselves and one anoher. I highly recomment this book for any level practitioner. I can see it working especially well in a school or community center. It is adaptable for younger girls or middle schoolers. -- Social Work with Groups Friendship and Other Weapons aims to help young girls cope with bullying... The book is based on thought-provoking discussions, engaging games, strength-discovering exercises, and confidence-boosting fun with hands-on activities. -- Leadership Focus Signe Whitson's book Friendship and Other Weapons is a comprehensive skill-based curriculum of activities designed to teach young girls how to be confident, and proud of who they are... Whitson's book goes a step further as she has developed many thoughtful and dynamic skill-based group activities that support young girls. -- Reclaiming Youth International Friendship and Other Weapons has a wealth of new activities that teach young girls how to navigate the dark side of friendship and stand up to bullying. With clear, simple instructions and powerful points to make about friendship and aggression, this curriculum is a must have for anyone working with young girls. I can't wait to try out some of the activities! -- Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls Want a proven way to help girls feel powerful enough to stand up to friendship bullies? This is it. The variety of activities reaches girls with different learning styles. The positive approach equips both parents and teachers with the tools they need to help girls assertively call out and reject friendship bullying. -- Nancy Gruver, Founder, New Moon Girls magazine and online community, Friendship and Other Weapons is a wonderful resource for educators, counseling professionals, parents, and group leaders who wish to address bullying and instil pro-social friendship skills in girls ages 5--11. I highly recommend it. -- Trudy Ludwig, best-selling author of My Secret Bully This book is a very practical guide to the forms that bullying can take, and how to prepare girls to recognise and resist it... Organised as a 12 - step programme for a group, it is also enlightening for parents: I found the 'bully ban' assertive statement suggestions very helpful. A great resource. -- Families Magazine What we liked about this book is that it not only gives a new perspective on bullying but also provides practical advice and coping strategies for parents of school-age girls. Moreover, if there are no group activities dedicated to bullying in your school or community, parents can adapt each activity for one-on-one discussion at home. -- Mums Like You Blog. I like this book a lot. It gives the adults plenty of ideas for next steps and it even has sample letters to send home so that parents can understand and can join in at home. It is an honest, open method to promote individuality and negate bad, biased attitudes. Well worth having on the school and youth club book shelves. -- Children's Webmag.

Book Description

Recognising and tackling bullying within female friendship groups

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Pub; 1 edition (November 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184905875X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849058759
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.4 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #691,726 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Signe Whitson is a licensed social worker, author, and educator with more than 14 years of experience working with children, teens, and families.

She presents customized professional and parent training workshops nationwide on topics related to girl bullying, anger in children, changing passive aggressive behavior, crisis intervention, and child and adolescent mental health.

In her articles, books, and training workshops, Signe provides down-to-earth, practical advice for navigating the daily challenges of living and working with children, tweens and teens. As a mother of two young daughters, Signe relates to parents on a personal level.

Signe is the Chief Operating Officer of the Life Space Crisis Intervention Institute, a nationally recognized, professional training and certification program for turning crisis situations into learning opportunities for children and youth with chronic patterns of self-defeating behaviors.

She is the author of three books, including:


Friendship & Other Weapons: Group Activities to Help Young Girls Ages 5-11 to Cope with Bullying


How to Be Angry: An Assertive Anger Expression Group Guide for Kids and Teens


The Angry Smile: The Psychology of Passive Aggressive Behavior in Families, Schools, and Workplaces, 2nd ed.

If you would like more information at any time, please e-mail Signe at, follow her on Twitter @SigneWhitson, read her articles on The Huffington Post or Psychology Today, or "Like" her on Facebook.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jim Natural, Ohiopyle PA on March 16, 2012
Format: Paperback
I have some experience working with kids. This book combines two of my favorite approaches--group process and experiential activities. What I think is most valuable to people who may not be familiar with those approaches or who would, perhaps, not list them as their "favorites" is that the book is written to provide help with two of the most confounding variables of both groupwork and experiential programming.

With groupwork, the persistent challenge is to present concepts in a way that the group believes these ideas were their own discovery. It doesn't work to say "Today in group we're going to learn about empathy" and then robotically march through the lesson plan. Guiding the discussion and keeping the final outcome in sight while making gentle steering corrections requires the facilitator to have skill and experience. The lessons are clear, well-structured and prescriptive enough that the facilitator who may not be confident with his/her own skills and experience level can deliver without stress (and thereby gain a little more confidence).

With experiential programming, the challenge is always to present activities in a sequential progression so that the group sees the relationship between the abstract concepts and the physical metaphors. The lessons are already sequentially designed. The hard part is already done.

Most importantly, though, the lessons and activities provided in Friendship and Other Weapons are designed to address the issue of "bullying" in the only way, in my opinion, that is effective--by replacing erroneous beliefs and selfish values (manifestations of a coercive and power-based culture) with empathy and tolerance in the hearts of individual young people. The book is a roadmap for individual kids to discover the joy of an open heart.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By kcholdin on November 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
I am a high school special education teacher with 25 years experience. I have been providing crisis intervention and prevention training to adults for 20 years. I am a Senior Life Space Crisis Intervention trainer. In other words, I'm highly trained. Right? Not exactly.

Three years ago, my 6-year-old came home from kindergarten and told me she was being bullied by a girl in her class; I had no idea what to do. Signe hadn't written this amazing book yet, so I did what any other good mother would do, I called the principal at my daughter's school and waited on the doorstep the next morning before school opened.

I am lucky that my daughter is in a very good school district, and this matter was handled well. But as I read Signe's book, Friendship and Other Weapons, I gained a whole new perspective about the inner-workings of young girls and their networks of "friendships," and the inner-workings of bullying disguised as friendship.

This book should be used to help young girls navigate the complex road of making new friends and to give them tools to help them stand up for themselves, and others, in positive, strength-based ways, in the face of bullies.

Signe has written a book that is easy to read, hard to put down, and a must for parents, educators and clinicians. Friendship and Other Weapons can be a part of raising girls who feel good about themselves. It's hard to say no to that!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Laurie Wallace Theisen on September 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
Signe Whitson has produced another invaluable resource, this one geared towards young girls and the communication skills they need to navigate the world of school-age friendships.

The book offers a 12-week small group experience that guides girls through all aspects of developing healthy friendships and recognizing the signs of unhealthy ones. Sessions progress through behaviors, root causes of that behavior, and ways that girls can effectively and assertively stand up for themselves. Again, as in her previous book, the author uses creative meaningful activities, and numerous role playing situations that allow girls to practice what they've learned.

This book explores so many relevant and important topics - social media, song lyrics, advertising imagery, and much more. Rather than simply giving girls a list of what to do and not do, the sessions give girls valuable tools for a variety of situations. The parent letters at the end of each chapter provide excellent communication, follow-up, and further enrichment activities.

As a parent of a young girl, I learned a great deal from this book about helping my daughter deal with ALL kinds of bullying and unhealthy friendships.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By E. Adams on March 5, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent resource for clinicians who are running groups for young girls. The focus of the book is unique given the targeted age-range and the specific targeting of friendships between young girls. The program and curriculum are easily adaptable to target various populations and group demographics. The activities are engaging for the participants and provide a structured way to have conversations about relational aggression with young girls. This is invaluable given that these dynamics begin young, and directly teaching this skills to a younger group of girls will have lasting impacts. I have used this curriculum in a school-based social skills group for typically developing children, and it has worked wonderfully. There is also information to provide to parents. I find that including parents in the process has been very helpful and only helps to encourage and generalize the impact of the overall program. A great resource and highly recommended.
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