Encroachment. That’s a football term, right? One team is offside and the referee throws the flag for a five yard penalty. That may be true, but in the world of bullying and relationships, it also has dramatic meaning, with penalties and consequences as well. Here is the definition: to take another’s possessions or rights gradually or stealthily, or to advance beyond proper or former limits. I have spoken about boundaries and limits before and how young children need to learn how to say, “Stop. Knock it off,” and slowly develop the courage to throw the flag and make the bully aware that they encroached on their space. As kids grow older, they enter into another world that involves boy/girl relationships and where problems with dating often occur. Our children need to learn at an early age that just because they like or are attracted to someone of the opposite/same sex, it doesn’t mean that they like or are attracted to them. A relationship between two parties grows out of a quality friendship first. For anyone to try and shoehorn themselves into a relationship that is unwanted is harassment, intimidation, and bullying. Teach your students now to throw the red flag if they believe someone is trying to encroach on their space.

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