When most people think of a bully, they imagine an older child beating lunch money out of a helpless kid on the playground. What they don’t imagine, however, is girls bullying other girls – which, in reality, accounts for more than half of all bullying cases. Some 41% of girls experience cyberbullying and around 20% of girls encounter bullying in real life.
Girls Bullying is Different from Boys Bullying
Much like the movies suggest, in the situations with girls from bullying others, the most common tactic involves shutting the victim out. Where boys typically resort to insults, and (in extreme cases) threats and violence, with girls bullying, the target becomes ostracized by an entire pack. Moreover, difficult as it is to combat boys bullying, its face-to-face nature lends itself to being discovered; with girls bullying, the issue frequently involves online interactions, which are far less noticeable.
Girls tend to prey on anything that doesn’t fit the norm, be it low self-esteem, poor body-image, having less money, or simply being new (along with any other possible “justification”, including lack of any reason at all). In some situations, girls that were friends one moment, end up bullying each other the next.
Breaking the Pattern
As a parent, it may be hard to stop girls bullying each other, regardless of whether your child is the bully, the victim, or – as is sometimes the case – a bit of both. However, there are steps to take. You must be available and supportive – if your daughter feels safe talking to you, she is more likely to approach you in case of a problem. Educate your children about treating others well – bullying is never the answer, no matter the supposed reason. Also, explain that it is important to get help as soon as bullying occurs; ignoring the issue only works on paper. If possible, get proof of the bullying and present it to the school administration, or, in case of threats, the authorities. And, most importantly, remind your daughter that, no matter what some bullies might say, she is special.
If the bullying situation gets out of hand, it may be time to consider professional help.