Girls Who Bully: What, When, Where, Why, and How

By EduGuide

Bullying is the most frequently occurring form of violence in American schools. Just about everyone has known girl bullies. The scenario is pretty much the same: A new girl comes to school on the first day and desperately tries to fit in, but the "popular group" immediately senses her insecurity and makes life miserable for her. They sit near her (but not with her) at lunch and talk just loudly enough for her to hear the cruel remarks they are saying about her hair, clothes, and weight. The new girl doesn't know what she did to make them dislike her, but she already hates this new school-and it's only the first day.

Many elementary through high school students experience many types of bullying and other social violence daily. Some bullying statistics show that as many as half of all children are bullied at some point in their school years, and at least ten percent are bullied regularly (see In addition, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, bullying is the biggest school problem for kids ages eight to fifteen, surpassing even alcohol, drugs, racism, and premarital sex.

What Is Teasing?

Teasing includes occasional peer conflict and is often unintentional. Kids who tease are willing to work together to resolve the conflict. Teasing is usually playful and friendly, and the kids involved are usually of the same social status, so there is no imbalance of power.

It is sometimes difficult to know if your child is exaggerating harmless teasing. To find out more about the differences between bullying and teasing, take EduGuide's quiz "Is this Teasing or Bullying?" .

What Is Bullying?

Most experts agree that bullying has the following characteristics:

Look for the following evidence if you suspect your daughter might be a victim of bullying:

Any one of these behaviors may not be cause for alarm, but several of them combined could signal that your daughter needs your help, so start asking her some questions. Left unchecked, girls who are bullied for a long time can suffer serious problems throughout their lives.

Why Do Girls Bully?

How Do Girls Bully?

Bullying by girls is usually sneakier and less physical than bullying by boys, although some girls do use physical violence to bully other girls. Other types of bullying include the following:

Who Are the Bullies? Who Are the Victims?

Parents often think they can spot the bullies easily, but that's not always true-especially with girls. Bullies come from all types of homes, ethnic and racial groups, and economic backgrounds. Even girls who are known as "good girls" can be part of a bullying pack. Girls who stand by quietly and go along with a bully simply build up the bully's power by making it seem that the bully has support all around her. This makes the victim feel as though everyone is against her, including the bully and all her friends.

Like bullies, victims come from all kinds of backgrounds. Victims of bullies often suffer from low self-esteem and may be self-conscious about their appearance. Many lack social skills and the ability to communicate well with other children or adults. Many victims are also sensitive and cry easily.

Outcomes of Bullying

Unfortunately, too many schools blame the victims and say victims bring it on themselves because they cry too easily or are too sensitive. In addition, bullies often warn their victims not to tell anyone "or else," which scares the victim into silence. Fear of the bullies and embarrassment from being bullied may keep victims from telling parents or teachers about the situation.

Victims of bullying can suffer serious longterm effects if the bullying persists. Here are just some of the possible consequences of bullying:


Irene Helen Zundel "Helping Your Child Cope with Teasing, Bullying, and Social Violence"