Girls Just Wanna Be Mean
Girls Who Bully
If Your Child Is Being Bullied
According to Wiseman, many parents never learn the bullying is
going on. Their kids may simply become quiet or depressed or refuse to go to
school. Others think kids need to work these situations out for themselves.
Chesler suggests parents warn girls ahead of time that this
could happen -- and probably will. "Kids need to know this can break their
heart, but it isn't their fault, they didn't do anything wrong."
Jean Spaulding, MD, a professor of psychiatry at Duke
University in Durham, N.C., suggests parents talk with their daughters alone in
the car. "Ask about specific friends," she suggests. "'How's Molly
these days? What's Sarah up to?" See how the child reacts. If she says,
'Molly's mean,' Molly may be bullying your child."
If this happens, network with other parents, Spaulding urges.
Then, go to the school, the teacher, and the counselor to see if this can be
handled. Maybe role-playing in class. "Teachers cannot allow this to go
on," Spaulding says.
In Kelsey's case, she was crying in the bathroom and her
religion teacher came in, put an arm around her, and slipped a tightly folded
note into her hand. Later, she opened it: "The whole world is not against
you," it read, signed with a smiley face. "I still have that note,"
What if Your Daughter Is the Bully?
On the reverse, your child may be doing the bullying. Wiseman
also suggests keeping an ear open in the car. Some warning signs your child may
be relationally aggressive:
- Having a party and wanting to exclude certain kids.
- Negative comments, "She's lame."
- Gossiping about a girl who's not present. "Those
- A friend is no longer mentioned or calls.
"If a parent comes to you and says your child is being a
bully," Spaulding says, "check out the story at school before talking
to the child. Then say, 'They told me at school that you have been having
arguments with other girls. What's that all about?'" Most of these bullying
girls who do it for sport need counseling, Spaulding adds.
"It's a great chance to make an ethical point in a context
the child will understand," Wiseman says. "Don't you want to raise an