May 2007 Newsletter
Audrey Nelson Ph.D, Inc

Smart Talk

The Roots of How Men and
Women “Do” Conflict

....If you are a girl, the playground isn’t a bully pulpit. If you are a boy bully you are not only accepted, but among the more popular kids in school. Hang on a minute. Does this sound like a double standard? A study at Purdue University by child-development expert Laura Hess shows that a marked sex difference exists when it comes to styles of handling conflict as early as elementary school. According to Hess “…woe to the girl who is overly aggressive…Our research shows that girls who are disruptive and aggressive are at a much greater risk of being rejected by their peers than are their male counterparts.” Boys are indeed more aggressive than girls. Drive by an elementary school playground and observe the boys throwing each other on the ground, grabbing and hitting each other.
....What do you see the girls doing? Playing cooperatively in groups. Boys also organize themselves into hierarchical groups more than girls do. There is always a designated leader and the rest are left to jockey for 2nd and 3 rd positions by acting tough and aggressive. When girls want to seek social justice on the playground they will act out by employing indirect aggression. For example a study by child psychologists Jessica Giles and Gail Heyman revealed when girls want to be mean to a boy “telling” was the modal response. This is a social action of retributive justice and a form of indirect aggression. Boys will demonstrate more direct aggression by attempting to physically hurt others. Girls employ what they have already learned and do well. They will use relational methods to damage the cohesion or intimacy goals of the group, especially if it is other girls! Boys are socialized to value status and seek victory. The training ground is often the playground where supervision by adults is not as intense as in the classroom. They are freer to express and test out the norms of dealing with conflict. From the playground to the workplace we see this scene played out.

*This will be a 3 Part Series (May,June and July newsletters) that will address how men and women handle conflict.

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"Where in the World is Audrey?"
The Power of Positive Discipline
Boulder County

Tuesday May 3, 2007
8:30 am -3:30 pm

The Art of Conscious Communication: A Talent for a Technological Age

Farm Credit Council Services
Wednesday May 16, 2007
7:30 am-3:30 pm
Pointe Hilton at Squaw Peak
7677 North 16th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85020

He Speaks, She Speaks: What Different Things They Say!

Colorado State Convention Business and Professional Women
Saturday May 19, 2007

Holiday Inn Lakewood

Other News
Mark your Calendars:
Audrey was just competitively selected to present “Go Home and Put on Some Clothes! Has Casual Friday Gone Over the Top? For the Staying Out of the Courtroom Track at the Colorado Society of Human Resource Management conference Sept 5 - 7, 2007 in Keystone.

in the "Balance" section - Audrey's feature article -
He says, she says: Communication between the sexes can be difficult
What People are saying about Audrey
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