In Parents, Understand Bullying

Girl Bullying: When Girls Bully

When Girls Bully

If you have a child, then you know how heartbreaking it can be when they have a problem and you are not exactly sure how to help them. Should you intervene? If so, how and when should you intervene? Should you let them try to work it out themselves? Learn about Girl Bullying Now!

Perhaps you have a daughter, a little “mini me” of yourself. Is she experiencing girl bullying? What would you do? As parents there are so many questions and too few answers. Girls bullying girls is on the rise and can sometimes be hard to recognize. In the past, bullying was typically something that was most common in boys. But not anymore.

Girls Bully Differently Than Boys

Girl bullying is very different from the way boys bully. Girls interact and bond differently than boys and the same goes for the way they bully. That is why it is hard to recognize and why sometimes adults are slow to react. Especially when there is no violence involved. Sometimes these acts of bullying are ignored and considered by some as normal social behavior. Or just a part of growing up.

Here are some things to look out for if you suspect girl bullying:

  • Girls will frequently use alienation or ostracism. They will do things that make the victim feel alienated or purposely left out of the group – like whispering to each other in front of the victim to intentionally make them feel left out
  • They are very deliberate and calculated with their bullying
  • They will spread vicious rumors sometimes of a physical or sexual nature
  • Verbal harassment is an extreme part of the bullying problem
  • They commonly form girl groups to gang up on the bullying victim as a form of showing that they are in control
  • Emotional violence is very common and comes from daily, repetitive verbal abuse
  • They frequently use anonymous phone calls, emails or other types of electronic messaging or social media to harass their bullying victim
  • Cruel jokes and pranks that are performed to embarrass or humiliate the victim
  • Name calling and mocking the victim in front of their peers
  • They will pretend to be their friend and then without reason turn against them
  • They will frequently encourage other girls to ignore the victim or to single them out just to pick on them
  • These girl bullies will sometimes form alliances with several different social groups to gain popularity and power

Girls Generally Bully In Groups

Girls almost always bully in groups. Girls are very socially inclined by nature and require a group of their friends around them in order to feel validated. Therefore a group of bullying girls is very common and unfortunately more powerful because the bullying is being done by more than one person.

This is what compounds female bullying. Because the victim is experiencing bullying from more than one person. So the damage to the victim, becomes a much greater emotional and hurtful experience because she feels that she is being overpowered by more than one person. Girls will often form groups to bully another girl because it makes them feel more powerful and in control. Oftentimes, a group that does what the bully tells them to do makes the bully feel more popular.

Girls are very emotional creatures and that is why they use emotional bullying as part of their tactics. Because that is what they know how to do best. They use words, jokes and pranks to verbally abuse their victim. They are very skilled in how to emotionally manipulate other girls.

Why Is It So Common For Adults To Ignore Female Bullying?

Girls are not usually violent when they bully. Which is why it quite frequently goes unnoticed by adults. With boys there is generally some sort of physical violence or acting out that is without a doubt an act of bullying. So adults are more quick to react. But with girls it is not as easy to recognize.

When you have a female bully, quite often it goes unnoticed. Since it is less obvious, adults don’t always know what they should do. They have to question if they are witnessing an act of bullying or just normal social behavior. When an adult does not react to an act of bullying, then the bullying victim doesn’t know how to ask for help.

The bullying victim feels that if the adult doesn’t think she is being bullying, or does not appear to see it as such, then the child feels like perhaps it is normal for such things to happen to them and they don’t know where they should turn for help or if they should even ask.

This is why it is extremely important for adults to realize that girls bullying girls is a real problem. They need to learn how to recognize the signs of girl bullying. Girls often form groups and have a circle of friends and there are social hierarchies. For this reason, it is hard for adults to recognize the signs of girl bullying. The subtle things such as exclusion, alienation, whispering, jokes and name calling. Adults are used to seeing these types of behaviors in girls; therefore, they see it as a normal part of growing up and as part of the normal formation of social groups. However, this is not always the case.

Once adults learn that female bullying is different from what they will see in boys bullying, the sooner we will be able to help these girls and to stop this female bullying epidemic. On the same note, it is still normal for girls to form groups and develop close bonds with each other. But it is when they begin to intentionally alienate and exclude other girls, it then becomes a form of bullying.

It is good for girls to have groups of friends. But when the purpose of that group is to make fun of other girls, make them feel inferior in some way or intentionally excludes them, that is another story. Girls often use these tactics to make themselves feel popular. However, adults need to recognize these things as a sign of girls bullying girls.

Why Do Good Kids Join In With A Group Of Bullying Girls?

Unfortunately, it is very common for good kids to join or go along with a group of girls that are being bullies even though they know better. The social pressure these girls go through is extreme in most cases. It is out of fear that these girls go along with a bully. They are afraid of being excluded from the group if they don’t participate and they fear being bullied themselves.

This is the same reason that girls will not speak up when they know that someone else is being bullied. Because it is easier for them to say nothing than it is for them to tell someone and bring the wrath upon themselves.

Sadly, when this happens, it seemingly gives more power to the bully because the bully now has the support of the group behind her. This makes the bullying victim feel like they don’t have any friends and that everyone is against them. And once again, it is the responsibility of the adults to recognize when this is happening so that it can be stopped. Additionally, the kids that may be unwitting members of the group don’t know how to get help if the adults see it happening and don’t react. How can these girls be expected to do the right thing when the adults aren’t leading by example.

Girls Bullying Boys

A girl bully does not just bully girls. Sometimes a girl bully will also bully boys. They will go about their bullying in much the same way as they would if they were bullying a girl. There are occasions where a girl bully will react violently when bullying a boy. However, it is much more common for them to use the same emotional tactics they are used to when bullying girls.

When a girl is bullying a boy they will usually exclude, alienate, exhibit verbal abuse and use every other form of emotional bullying that they use to bully a girl. In some cases, it makes the female bully feel even more powerful because she is bullying a boy.

A girl bullying a boy is just as damaging to the male bullying victim as it is to a female bullying victim. An adult who witnesses a girl bullying a boy, should address the situation just like they would any other bullying scenario by using a swift and direct response and applying the appropriate punishment.

When other children see that the adults take notice of what is happening and that they are addressing it, they will then feel more comfortable about approaching them to report inappropriate behavior on other occasions as well. Again, the adults need to lead by example and let these kids know that bullying will not be tolerated.

So Why Does A Girl Bully Start To Bully?

The art of bullying is not new. Researcher s have been studying kids and bullying for years. A girl bully develops primarily due to the fact that they are being rejected by their peers and they usually lack any type of meaningful relationships in their lives. Therefore, they learn to manipulate others in order to feel popular and powerful.

You will notice that the characteristics of most female bullies are jealousy, they feel that they are superior to others, they have a lack of self control and they lack empathy. They will generally have a hard time creating meaningful relationships well into their adulthood and have a hard time becoming successful in their careers.

Some researchers believe that girl bullying occurs due to the bullies lack of basic human needs such as: self acceptance, a feeling of belonging, self control and from not having a meaningful existence. This applies to adults as well. People need to have their basic needs met; otherwise, they will do whatever they feel is necessary in order to obtain those needs.

Bullies Are Often Mimicking What They See At Home

Girls who experience bullying at home often mimic that behavior at school or in other social situations. Sometimes this is just a cry for help. They act out because they don’t feel like they have any control over their lives so they bully others in an effort to feel like they are getting control over themselves.

If this is the case, the child should tell an adult about what is happening and about what they are feeling. This may very well help both the bully parent and the bully child. There are times when the adult may not realize they are bullying their child and by bringing it to their attention they are then able to correct their behaviors and prevent their child from becoming a bully as well. Intervention can stop this vicious cycle from continuing and growing.

Ignoring A Bully

Ignoring a bully will not make them stop. It doesn’t matter whether they are an adult or a child. A bully thrives on getting a reaction out of their victim. So ignoring a bully will not stop them, it will only make it worse. Because the bully will escalate their bullying behaviors until the victim does react.

However, if a child tells an adult that they are being bullied and then the child ignores the bully, sometimes this will stop them because they know that an adult is aware and is watching. But make sure the child knows how important it is to tell an adult or as many adults as possible about the situation before she starts to ignore the bully, otherwise the bully could get the upper hand and the bullying would continue and possibly escalate in intensity.

How To Stop Girl Bullying

Have a conversation with your child about recognizing bullying and educate them as to the proper ways to handle a bullying situation when it arises. Teach your child to have a high level of self confidence and how to display the proper attitude to help them through any situation.

Here are a few things you can teach your child to help stop a bullying situation as it is occurring:

  • Teach her the proper way to step in and confront the bully first by telling the bully to stop
  • Let her know that it is not ok to ignore it
  • Teach her that by not ignoring it she can help stop the abuse
  • Let her know that she should not be afraid of losing friendships or her social standing, because her self confidence and her personality will help her to properly address any situation that arises
  • Teach her that by being a bystander she is essentially condoning the behavior
  • Let her know that studies show that 50% of bullying situations will stop if just one person will stand their ground and say “stop it”. Because a bully doesn’t want to be challenged or their authority undermined. So when you stand up for the victim, you give the bully a choice. She can stop bullying or she can continue bullying. And 50% of the time she will stop
  • If she does not stop, then tell your child to find an adult immediately and report the situation before someone gets hurt or worse

How To Prevent Girl Bullying

Parents and teachers are becoming more and more aware of girls bullying girls and are now trying to focus on the proper ways to prevent it. But before prevention can begin, we need to get to the root of the problem. This can be done by providing counseling for these girl bullies. They need to be taught healthy communication skills in order to learn how to control their behaviors.

Here are a few things you can do to help prevent bullying:

  • Have a school wide anti-bullying program firmly in place and make sure that everyone is educated on it and using the anti-bullying measures that are being taught
  • Make sure the girl bully is getting counseling
  • Teach all children healthy communication skills. With the internet and all of the electronic ways of communicating in this current day and age, our children are desperately lacking proper communication skills
  • Talk to the bully about how their behavior hurts others. Many times the bully has no idea how hurtful they are being. They need to be taught the proper perspective
  • Adults must lead by example – don’t gossip about other people, treat everyone with respect, etc.
  • Teach children that they should treat everyone else they way they would want to be treated
  • Role play different bullying scenarios so children can recognize and learn what is and isn’t proper behavior and how to handle it when it occurs
  • Make sure children’s needs are being met. That means providing them with a means of acceptance and a sense of belonging
  • Teach children how to deal with their feeling and how to properly deal with anger

With girl bullying, or any bullying for that matter, awareness is the first step in prevention. We as adults need to learn to recognize the signs of girls bullying girls. Because it is different from boys bullying boys. The signs are very subtle and very hard to recognize. We need to learn what is and is not normal childhood behavior. If we can’t learn to recognize these subtle signs of girls bullying or if we choose to ignore it, then how can we ever expect to stop it?

It is our responsibility as adults to educate ourselves and to teach our children about bullying and its consequences. So do your homework, talk to counselors, teachers and any other officials you need to – whatever it takes to learn all you can about the subject of bullying. Prevention is the key and it all starts with you. Bullying is much easier to prevent than it is to stop it once it has started. In addition, once a child has been bullied, that scar will be with them for the rest of their lives. So take charge now and do the right thing!

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2 Comments

  • Karen Dew
    Apr 30, 2015 at 03:50 pm

    I know some educators that need to educate themselves on this subject matter and learn how to handle this bullying problem within the schools and STOP looking the other way!

  • Lisa Ramos
    May 03, 2016 at 11:59 pm

    Are girl bullies more likely to be victims of domestic violence and/or sexual assault or are they likely to perpetrate it themselves in which it backfires?

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