How to foster positive relationships and self-love for youth in the digital age

The teenage years can be a time of confusion and stress for many adolescents. And when you add social media to the mix, small conflicts can cause big drama. 

As teens navigate their way through the ups and downs of adolescence, they often face challenges that test their relationships with family, friends, romantic partners and even themselves. While it’s normal for teens to experience some conflict and disagreements, it’s important that they learn how to communicate effectively and resolve conflicts in a healthy way.

“By teaching and modeling these essential skills, we can help them develop positive relationships with others and promote self-love and self-respect,” says Rasheda Kamaria Williams, chief empowering officer and founder of Empowered Flower Girl, a social enterprise on a mission to transform the way young people relate to one another and themselves. 

Healthy relationships and self-love in the digital age

The internet, social media, and texting have become a huge part of teenage relationships. While these technologies can be used to connect teens with their friends and help them stay in touch, they can also be used to spread rumors, bully others, and engage in other negative behaviors. 

A recent Pew Research Center survey on teens and cyberbullying revealed that nearly half of all U.S. teens have been bullied or harassed online. Additionally, adolescent girls across the country are facing record levels of violence, sadness and despair, according to new survey data from the CDC.

So, how can you guide the teens in your life in developing self-love and positive relationships (on and offline)? Here are some tips:

1. Talk about what positive relationships look like.

 Discuss what healthy, supportive and positive relationships look like and ask young people for examples of each. Help them understand that these types of relationships are built on trust, respect and communication.

2. Encourage them to love themselves first.

Self-love is so important! Help the teens you work with understand that they need to love and accept themselves before they can truly love someone else. It can be difficult for some when they’re bombarded with messages telling them that they’re not enough. 

One way to help teens learn to love themselves is by using affirmations.Some examples of affirmations that teens can use to promote self-love include:

  • “I am worthy of love and respect.”
  • “I am allowed to make mistakes.”
  • “I am capable of great things.”
  • “I am valuable just as I am.”

3. Teach them how to communicate effectively.

Effective communication is essential in any relationship, whether it’s with a friend, family member or romantic partner. Engage teens in activities that encourage them to express their thoughts and feelings in a clear and respectful way. 

4. Model healthy relationships.

Show teens what positive relationships look like by modeling healthy behavior in your own relationships. Let them see you respecting others, communicating effectively and being kind and loving towards yourself and others.

Teaching teens about healthy relationships and self-love can be a difficult task but it is an important one as they transition from adolescence to adulthood. You can make an impact by keeping the lines of communication open and being a positive role model. 

Empowered Flower Girl offers a number of workshops and activities that encourage positive and healthy relationships. From cyberbullying prevention to empathy and self-esteem building, our workshops help young people break down barriers and build authentic connections. Learn more at

How to “Mess” Up Your Summer in 5 Steps (2020 edition)

With so much drama and chaos happening in our world from the fallout of COVID-19 to civil unrest, I had to revisit a topic I blogged about a few years ago. And now with EVERYONE and their mama online … literally (your grandma and great grandma are trying to figure out Zoom) social media engagement is at an all-time high. 

And that means more opportunities to engage with people – some of whom you may want to avoid. 

In 2017, I published “How to Eff Up Your Summer in 5 Steps.” Pardon my crassness but I had to be direct given the climate at the time. 

The blog was mostly aimed at young people from middle schoolers to college students. But let’s face it, many adults are involved in online drama. 

Fast forward to June 2020, we’re witnessing many states open back up just as summer starts to sizzle. Here’s our chance to make summer great again. 

But countless media reports have already shown: people are messing it up before it truly begins. 

From posting inappropriate, offensive and down right mean comments to participating in ridiculous online challenges for likes, there are some surefire ways to have an effed up summer break. Don’t be that kid or grown up.

So are you ready? Here is the 2020 list:

5. Get in a Twitter fight with a celebrity … or a president. We all love to voice our opinions about celebrities who do wild and obnoxious things, have bad hair days or overuse photoshop. But resist getting into a battle with celebrities, politicians or anyone who has a fanbase as dedicated as Beyonce. They sting. And they will come for you, boo. 

4. Put your friends or family on blast via social media – any platform. Sure, best friends can disappoint us and sometimes our siblings can do jerky things. But, there is a better way to bring this to their attention. Instead of posting a shady status update, pick up the phone, send an email or schedule a Zoom meeting. Just kidding on the Zoom meeting. But you really should talk it out. 

3. Post incriminating pics or videos on Instagram or TikTok. This is one of the best ways to kiss your summer internship, college acceptance or job security good-bye. Even if everyone else is doing it, DO NOT post pics of drug use, private parts or illegal activity.

2. Make racist or homophobic posts and comments. This one should be obvious but in the wake of what’s happened in the U.S. over the past month, apparently it isn’t. People are losing their jobs and livelihoods. Think before you post, seriously. I always say, “what’s in my head doesn’t have to be said.” Making racist and homopobic comments is rude (first of all) and also mean. If you want to stay employed either change your thinking or don’t post your thoughts. 

1. Do something productive. Of course this doesn’t follow the format of the other tips because you actually SHOULD engage in activities that inspire you and those around you. Kindness is the key to a kick-butt summer. Volunteer or advocate for a worthy cause, get a summer job or learn a new skill. Staying occupied will keep you out of trouble and give you a confidence boost.

So in conclusion, don’t be a jerk online, stay off the Internet when you’re in a crappy mood and overall, think before you Tweet or Snap or whatever you do. 

Hope your summer is fiya. 

Does New Anti-Sexting Legislation Criminalize Kids?

Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R.1761, also known as the “Protecting Against Child Exploitation Act of 2017,” which builds on current law that makes teen-to-teen sexting a crime.

This new legislation supposedly aims to close “loopholes” in current child pornography legislation. But a recent article revealed that the bill could have teens facing 15 years for trying to sext. Second-time offenders would be fined and imprisoned for up to 50 years.

While it is important to protect our children from predators and those seeking to exploit them, it is also important that we communicate with children the consequences of sharing inappropriate or sexual content. Criminalizing them isn’t the answer.

While the legislation was supported by many in congress, it was opposed by dozens of others, including Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), ranking member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime. Lee, in the article, called the bill “deadly and counterproductive,” and commented during a House debate over the issue, “While the bill is well intended, it is overbroad in scope and will punish the very people it indicates it is designed to protect: our children…”

Learn more about the legislation here.

Is It Teasing, Bullying or Something Else? Experts Across the Country Make the Distinction

In an effort to help parents and caregivers identify and address bullying, WedMD recently published the feature “What Does Bullying Look Like?”

Patricia Agatston, Ph.D., International Bullying Prevention Association president, and others across the country, offered their expertise in defining what is and what isn’t bullying and what can be done to identify and support children who’ve been impacted by it.  Read the full feature here.

Agatston, a national cyberbullying, will be among the speakers at the Michigan Bullying Prevention Conference, scheduled October 1, 2016, in Royal Oak, Michigan.

Registration for the full-day event is $25 and includes breakfast and lunch. The conference will be preceded by a FREE social media workshop for parents.  Karuna Nain, Facebook global safety manager, will present “Navigating the Social World with Your Teens — Insights from Facebook,” on Thursday, September 29. Visit the Michigan conference website for details.


How to eff up your summer in 5 simple steps

By Rasheda Kamaria

Don't be these girls, grounded and miserable for the summer.
Don’t be like these girls, grounded and miserable for the summer.

School’s almost out for the summer and Empowered Flower Girl wants you to make the most of it. But countless media reports have shown that some of you will mess it up even before it begins. From posting inappropriate pics to starting drama online, there are some surefire ways to have an effed up summer break. Don’t be that kid.

5. Cyberstalk your ex. As tempting as it may be to check your ex’s Instagram daily for new likes and comments from admirers, you should probably focus on something else – like yourself. Spare yourself the heartache.

4.Get in a Twitter fight with a celebrity. We all love to voice our opinions about celebrities who do crazy things, have wardrobe malfunctions or make fashion missteps. But resist getting into a battle with a famous person – especially Beyonce. The Beehive stings.

3.Put your BFF on blast via Facebook. Sure, best friends can disappoint us or even do jerky things from time to time. But, there is a better way to bring this to their attention rather than posting a shady status update. Pick up the phone, send an email or IM him or her and ask for your old friend back!

2.Post incriminating pics on Instagram. This is one of the best ways to kiss your potential summer internship or college acceptance good-bye. Even if everyone else is doing it, DO NOT post pics of drug or alcohol use, private parts or illegal activity online.

1.Do something productive. I know. This doesn’t follow the format of the other tips because you actually SHOULD engage in productive activities. Volunteer for a worthy cause, get a summer job or learn a new skill. Keeping yourself occupied will keep you out of trouble and give you a confidence boost.

You’re welcome.

Rasheda Kamaria is a mentor turned social entrepreneur on a mission to transform the way young people relate to one another. She is a communications professional and founder/chief empowering officer for Empowered Flower Girl. A survivor of bullying, Rasheda was featured in the May 2011 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine in the article “Being Bullied Changed My Life.” Visit

PARENTING: Tips for stomping out bullying and digital harassment

We often receive emails, IMs and phone calls from parents and grandparents concerned about their child’s wellbeing in school. Often the child has reported being harassed or bullied. We commend parents for taking the first step toward a resolution.

There are numerous resources available to prevent and address conflict. One of my personal favorites is the Stomp Out Bullying organization.

Is your child being cyberbullied? Is she or he experiencing conflicts in school? Here’s how you can help.

Get more tips at

Be supportive of your child. Parents may be tempted to tell their kids to toughen up, that names never hurt anybody, yet – cyber attacks can harm a child easily and have a long lasting effect. Millions of cyber accomplices can help target or humiliate your child. That emotional pain is very serious and very real. Do not ignore it.

Alert the school and guidance counselor to watch out for in-school bullying and see how your child is handling things. It is important that you give your child love, support, nurturing and security. Children have committed suicide after having been cyberbullied. Take it seriously.

Did you know?
*Girls were about twice as likely as boys to be victims and perpetrators of cyberbullying.
*Of those students who had been cyberbullied relatively frequently (at least twice in the last couple of months):
*62% said that they had been cyberbullied by another student at school, and 46% had been cyberbullied by a friend.

Empowered Flower Girl encourages a shade-free summer

New campaign aimed at eliminating cyberbullying and relational aggression

No Shade Just SmilesWhether you call it “drama,” “beef,” or “throwing shade,” online conflict via social media is impacting the way young people communicate and relate to one another. Tension in and out of the classroom is being fueled by Facebook fallouts and Yik Yak attacks.

Empowered Flower Girl (EFG) advises youth and parents alike to monitor online interactions and behavior.

Results from a recent Wayne State University study found that 54 percent of youth were involved in online abuse.

This summer, Empowered Flower Girl is encouraging kindness and working to thwart meanness with its “No Shade. Just Smiles.” campaign.

“Parents and teens play a vital role in eliminating cyberbullying,” said Rasheda Kamaria, EFG chief empowering officer and founder. “If you’re experiencing conflict with someone, avoid sending mean text messages and posting shade-filled status updates. Have a conversation with that person if possible or if the situation is serious, seek help from a mediator.”

When there is a threat of violence or if a crime has been committed, call 9-1-1.

Seeking solutions to cyberbullying, drama, relational aggression or other social/communication challenges among teens in your school or community? Empowered Flower Girl offers engaging workshops, programs and content that tackle these issues.

For more information, visit Join the conversation with #NoShadeJustSmiles. “We want teens to break the internet with positivity,” Kamaria said.

Teens: Keep it classy online

Empowered Flower Girl helps parents navigate social media with Social Secrets workshop
Empowered Flower Girl helps parents navigate social media with Social Secrets workshop

I often wonder do teens truly understand the impact of their social interactions. In particular, how their online activities and interactions affect their chances of getting into college, hired for internships and scholarships.

With today’s competitive job market, teens should be conscious of their digital footprint. We’re not trying to thwart freedom of expression and opinion, but we encourage young people to think before they tweet.

Some corporations and even college admissions staff are turning to social networking to evaluate and recruit employees and students.

From posting expletive-filled rants and inappropriate photos to retweeting explicit lyrics from popular songs, we’ve seen it all.

As parents, aunts, uncles, mentors and educators we must have conversations with our school-aged relatives and students about how they’re using social media.

We encourage youth to use social media for good and as a learning tool. But we also have an obligation to help them become responsible, conscious social citizens.

Chica Chat: Inspiring Sisterhood promotes empowering friendships

Participants in the Youth on the Edge of Greatness (YOE) summer program on Detroit’s eastside experienced Empowered Flower Girl’s upgraded Chica Chat workshop “Inspiring Sisterhood.” Approximately 24 girls participated in the Chica Chat, which was offer in conjuntion with YOE’s Girl Talk session. The group of 8-14 year olds explored friendships, frenemies, cyberbullying and stereotyping while learning problem-solving techniques and new ways to relate and communicate with others.

The Chica Chat: Inspiring Sisterhood workshop will be offered again on Aug. 16, 2014 as part of the I Feel Good: Mind, Body and Soul women’s conference at Wayne State University. For more information, visit the event website.

Proactive Parenting: Help Your Children Avoid Social Media Pitfalls

Shocked Mother and Texting TeenagerOMG! – It’s the reaction many parents have after discovering their child’s social media profiles for the first time. No matter if they’re honors students or academically challenged, many teens are tempted to engage in risky or inappropriate online communication that may be harmful to their virtual and real-life reputation.

Parents should be aware of their children’s social interactions and take action when necessary.

“We advise parents to be proactive about their children’s activities on and offline,” said Rasheda Kamaria, chief empowering officer and founder of Empowered Flower Girl LLC. “Be a role model and set the example instead of being your child’s BFF when it comes to navigating the social world.”


Because many children and adults alike are unknowingly putting themselves at risk as targets of online predators. Others may be hindering their chances for jobs, internships and even college admissions.

According to a 2013 nationwide survey conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder, more than 43 percent of hiring managers who research candidates via social media said they found information that caused them not to hire a candidate. The same is true for several U.S. colleges and universities.

A Kaplan-commissioned survey last year found that 31 percent of college admissions officers had visited an applicant’s personal social media page to learn more about them. Significantly, for those trying to get into college, 30 percent of admissions officers revealed they discovered information online that negatively affected an applicant’s prospects.

Here are a few tips for parents to help their children (and even themselves) avoid social sharing pitfalls:

• Have a conversation with your child about his/her social media interactions. You’d be surprised what they may share.
• Model appropriate online etiquette. Be careful what you post and share online as many children mimic their parent’s behavior.
• Set boundaries and inform your child of potential dangers online. The FBI offers valuable tips relating to cyber safety on its website.
• Unplug. Schedule dedicated family time minus media of any kind.

This summer, Empowered Flower Girl will launch a series of proactive parenting workshops. “Social Secrets: What Parents Should Know. What Teens Don’t Want Them To” is the first of the interactive workshops that will be offered. For more information, call 248-629-0334 or email