This month, the Junior School was pleased to welcome Dr. Wendy Craig to speak to the parent community about how girls can build healthy relationships.
Dr. Craig, an Order of Canada recipient, is the co-founder and Scientific Director of Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network (PREVNet). Dr. Craig’s knowledge is extensive, given her decades in the field and through her research as a professor and Head of the Department of Psychology at Queen’s University.
Dr. Craig shared with parents her recent research on bullying and cyberbullying, and ways to coach girls when they experience relationship conflict. Her research has found that high-quality relationships with parents protect against negative outcomes, including physical injury, behavioural problems, bullying, being victimized, fighting, smoking, substance use, and drinking and driving. Positive relationships with parents are associated with positive outcomes including healthy weight, healthy eating, being physically active, high quality of life, mental health well-being, and academic achievement.
Dr. Craig’s key messages for parents were that, “relationships matter” and “you are actively always role modelling relationships.” She challenged parents to think about what their daughters are learning from them all the time, even based on observation alone.
During times of peer conflict, Dr. Craig suggested that parents support their daughters by keeping an open dialogue with the school and finding out about what actions can be taken to improve a situation.
Lastly, Dr. Craig presented two scenarios and asked parents to describe which skills they could use to encourage their daughters to work through any conflicts. These included controlling one’s own emotions, listening and acknowledging their daughter’s feelings, discussing the impact and consequences of actions, as well ensuring their daughter has someone else she can talk to as well, if needed.