Mean girls (and how to help your daughter deal with them)

Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse  January 23, 2009 06:43 AM

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We hear the word "bully" and tend to think of aggression, physical abuse, and hazing -- and we tend to think "boy." But girls can be bullies, too. They might not resort to fist fights after school, but the psychological warfare "mean girls" wage can have just as devastating an effect, leading to self esteem issues, anxiety, poor grades, drug use, depression, and eating disorders in young girls.

Over at the Silicon Valley Moms Blog, Joanna posted about attending a recent lecture by Rachel Simmons, the author of Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls and Stand Up! What Every Parent Needs to Know About Cyber Bullying (which you can download for free here).

"I remember feeling bullied and left out, and those feelings have a lasting impact on me," Joanna writes in her post. "To this day I feel some hostility when the names of some of those girls come up in conversation."

According to the National Crime Prevention Council, a typical girl who bullies is well-liked by parents and teachers, does well academically, and may even actually be friends with her victim. Instead of physical violence, "she spreads rumors, gossips, excludes others, shares secrets, and teases girls about their hair, weight, intelligence, and athletic ability," a NCPC report on girls and bullying points out. She often persuades other girls to join in the bullying and, because she's usually well-liked by adults and generally popular with other kids, adults tend not to realize that another child is being victimized.

It's tempting to give the bully's parents a piece of your mind or to try to protect your child by reprimanding the bully yourself -- I know I certainly wanted to when one of our older kids was being bullied in school. Parents also tend to tell their kids that the bully is "just jealous," which may be true, but isn't very helpful.

So, what should you do if your daughter is dealing with a bully? I'm not an expert, so I turned to a few people who are.

Simmons suggests that you don't over-emphasize, over-dramatize, or internalize the problem, and don't ask your daughter what she did to provoke the incident.

Michelle New at kidshealth.org suggests teaching kids to avoid the bully, "stand tall and be brave," feel good about themselves, and "get a buddy and be a buddy."

Carly Young at Lifescript.com suggests finding a positive role model, not trying too hard to be part of a group that doesn't accept you, and finding an activity or goal that gives you a bigger sense of purpose.

Have you or your child had to deal with a "mean girl" or with bullying in general? How did you handle the situation?

Lylah M. Alphonse is a Globe staff member and mom and stepmom to five kids. She writes about juggling career and parenthood at The 36-Hour Day and blogs at Write. Edit. Repeat. E-mail her at lalphonse@globe.com.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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60 comments so far...
  1. Wow, this is pretty much verbatim what my daughter experienced starting in 3rd grade and continuing a bit into 4th grade. Your description of the "bully" and how I felt like dealing with her is dead on. Fortunately, my daughter talked to me about this as soon as it started happening and were able to deal with it immediately.

    How did we handle it? We did a lot of role playing a lot, using what the 'bully' was saying and what my daughter could say in response. Yes, we discussed that the 'bully' was jealous and insecure and all the other things that you mention. However, the real thing that got my daughter past it was constant (and I mean daily for months) non confrontational responses by my daughter to the 'bully's' remarks. I also, thanks to Barbara Meltz's great advise, spoke with her teacher who was an extra set of eyes and ears in the classroom and on the playground.

    Believe me, it took all I had to not take matters into my own hands with both the 'bully' and her mother but I am so glad that I did not. My daughter learned that talking with her parents and dealing with the situation herself, worked out. She has learned to be cordial to the 'bully' in social and school situations but is not friends with her anymore and we are all much happier.

    Posted by AJ January 23, 09 08:03 AM
  1. Thanks for sharing your experience, AJ! Readers, here's a link to Barbara Meltz's article on young girls and bullies: http://www.boston.com/yourlife/home/articles/2004/01/15/shocking_but_true_even_6_year_old_girls_can_be_bullies/ I'm not sure if it's the same one AJ mentioned, but it's an eye-opening and helpful read. -- LMA

    Posted by LMA January 23, 09 11:21 AM
  1. I have a 9 year old in 3rd grade who is very sensative. There are alot of mean kids in 3rd grade. She doesn't understand why everyone can't be nice like she is. I told her there are some kids that are not nice and unfortunately there is nothing you can do about it. Her feelings get hut really easily and she will cry which makes it so much harder for her. She is learning that as long as she is nice to people the people that are worth having in her life will be. I am trying to tell her that not everyone will be her friend but that is okay. It's very tough.

    Posted by mom2kids January 23, 09 11:42 AM
  1. Don't worry, it only gets worse. I was the first girl to er, "blossom" in 6th grade or so, and you wouldn't believe the levels of hostility from both the girls and the boys. Well, the girls bullied me, the boys just harassed me constantly.

    Teach your daughters to smile and make a funny (preferably devastating) backhand comment when another girl tries to drive her out of a group. Humor is an excellent weapon, and sarcasm is even better, once you reach middle school. Send your girls to martial arts school for self esteem, discipline, and the ability to beat up the redneck girl who jumps her in gym class.


    Posted by muppetgirl January 23, 09 11:51 AM
  1. My 11yr old went through that with someone who used to be her friend. It started with verbal harassment then turned physical. She was punched in the arms and pushed against a student’s desk where she hit her head. Of course none of the teachers ever saw anything. It took some time before my daughter opened up and told me what was happening. I had noticed a change in her and knew something was going on. I spoke with the school counselor as well as the principal of the school. The counselor even mentioned that this bully was a ‘problem child’. I told them if it happened again to let her parents know that I will be pressing charges. They spoke with the girl and her parents and threatened suspension if she continued her bullying.

    Posted by RS617 January 23, 09 12:17 PM
  1. My daughter went through this with a bullying girl in her class. The girl was well known for her nasty behavior, and had chosen various victims during her time at school.

    My daughter asked her a couple of times to stop, and was laughed off. She asked the teacher and the principal to get involved, and that made matters worse. When the bully started passing rumors around school that my daughter was a lesbian, my daughter decided she had had enough. She decked the kid, and ended up breaking her nose. The girl never bullied another kid ever again.

    My daughter got suspended for a week, but she felt it was worth it as the teachers never bothered to get involved. The best way to stop a bully is to call their bluff, and to put them in their place.

    Posted by Margo Thompson January 23, 09 12:35 PM
  1. To Muppetgirl..."send your girls to martial arts school.." That's exactly what I did which came in handy when she turned 13. There was another situation and she was able to defend herself. It's hard enough this day and age for teenage girls. Having to deal with the cattiness of girls in cliques, the peer pressure, and still having to deal with bullies… I’ve dealt with teachers who didn’t want to get involved and have turned a blind eye. That’s why kids end up taking matters into their own hands. This is a serious situation in schools. I wish they’d do a better job at educating the students and teachers about this and implement anti-bullying initiatives.

    Posted by RS617 January 23, 09 01:06 PM
  1. First, I want to add that bullying can happen to adults too, so don't assume it won't happen again once your kids graduate from school - or that it won't happen to you. Here's some info on workplace bullying: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7599354.stm

    "Michelle New at kidshealth.org suggests teaching kids to avoid the bully, 'stand tall and be brave,' feel good about themselves, and 'get a buddy and be a buddy.'"

    Excellent advice! "Get a buddy and be a buddy" is much better than the antisocial "don't care what anyone else thinks" advice I heard so much of when I was a child.

    "They might not resort to fist fights after school"

    Not as often, maybe. Remember the after-school girl fights on the Orange Line a few years ago?

    "Don't worry, it only gets worse. I was the first girl to er, 'blossom' in 6th grade or so, and you wouldn't believe the levels of hostility from both the girls and the boys. Well, the girls bullied me, the boys just harassed me constantly."

    That's terrible! It's also why nobody should punish their daughter for having a "slutty" reputation. I heard that kids these days use the label "slut" for any girl they hate, even if she hasn't had her first kiss yet, even if she's been too rejected to have her first kiss for the same reasons the people calling her a slut hate her!

    "I told them if it happened again to let her parents know that I will be pressing charges."

    Good for you! Charges get pressed when adults suffer attacks like your daughter did, so why go easier on jerks attacking kids?

    "When the bully started passing rumors around school that my daughter was a lesbian, my daughter decided she had had enough. She decked the kid, and ended up breaking her nose. The girl never bullied another kid ever again."

    I'm glad that you didn't punish her for allegedly being lesbian and that she didn't have to resort to pregnancy to protect herself from gaybashing. Sadly, some other kids aren't so lucky: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/teens+higher+risk+pregnancy+study/1082366/story.html

    Posted by Leslie January 23, 09 01:28 PM
  1. I have a 4th grade boy who is new at his school who is the object of a mean girl at school. I am having a hard time trying to let him know how he can deal with it in an appropriate manner. He certainly can't retaliate in a physical way or he will be labeled as the abuser. My 6th grader, also a boy, has been punched by a girl at school, too. How does a boy get help without getting labeled as a wimp for having girls pick on him or as an abuser if they stand up to the girls?

    Hi, Mom of three, thanks for commenting. I wish I had more answers for you -- that's a tough situation. This article by Scholastic offers some tips for dealing with bullies that seem to be gender-neutral -- http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=1438 -- LMA

    Posted by Mom of three January 23, 09 01:34 PM
  1. I hate to say this but my daughter is 12 and has become a "mean girl"! This is only after enduring a year of torment and ridicule of her own by boys and girls that were supposedly her friends. We live in a predominately white town and my daughter is bi-racial, the evil things that they said to her were unthinkable. My daughter choose to laugh it off. I brought this to the attention of the principal and they handled it horribly and it backfired as they got the kids together to confront each other and she became a snitch. I don't like what's happened my daughter and I even went to "rachaels way" at the school and my daughter was very interested in being a part of it. We talk about things that happen and how she could handle it differently but I think parents shouldn't be so quick to judge the "mean girls"!

    Posted by ncb January 23, 09 01:39 PM
  1. Why does this article HAVE to be prefaced with an account of boy's behavior? The reality is, women/girls demonstrate almost equal levels of aggression as men/boys, but often deploy these actions in different ways. Domestic violence law criminalizes men upon accusation alone. Anyone familiar with the DV law knows that men are persecuted with today’s 0% tolerance policies. While these policies may help the actual victim of abuse, most often non-abusive men get swept into a system which is geared to vilify them. Female bullying is a reality. It is time to recognize that women/girls are abusive too, and that they carry these tendencies into adulthood, and now they often end up criminalizing the men in their life as a result.

    Thanks for commenting, pj1. This post isn't prefaced by an account of boy's behavior; I wrote that our perception is that bullies are boys when, in fact, girls can be bullies, too. So, I agree with you. I didn't go into the aspect of adult female bullying (given that this is a blog about child caring), but you make a very strong point. Thank you. -- LMA

    Posted by pj1 January 23, 09 01:42 PM
  1. "Odd Girl Out" is a fantastic book! I read it years ago when my girls were in 4th & 5th grades. I was able to point out to them what it said in the book on many occasions. We live in an affluent town with a very competitive school system where things are measured by appearances. My girls, while pretty, were not dressed in many of the "plastic's" styles. They were treated by the other girls very much the same ways as in the book. I was able to explain to them that most of those kids had low esteem and were trying to make themselves feel better by looking the way people wanted them to look and making others feel substandard. I pointed out to my girls that they were every bit as good as every other girl in the world and that they didn't even have to respond to the crap that was going on. I constantly explained to them that kids, and adults for that matter, grow and mature at different rates. They only have to make sure they are happy with themselves, and are not going to be liked by everyone. They also did not have to degrade others, and could be different by looking for the positives in others as we all have our own strengths and weaknesses. My girls are 18 & 19 now and each have a group of very close friends, a group of peole they are aquainted with and on good terms, and don't even bother with those who can't accept them for who they are. It's all about self acceptance, and self knowledge. They found their niches, I didn't.

    Posted by singledad January 23, 09 01:46 PM
  1. oh, wow. i was made fun of and bullied pretty much relentlessly from about 3rd grade on. i was the class nerd. it got slightly better in high school when i found a little group of friends and even better in college when i escaped my town and found a like-minded group of friends and people mostly grew out of the making fun of each other stage. the sad thing is, i see the same thing happening to my cousin who is now 13. the best thing to tell these kids is that life gets better when it is no longer a popularity contest and to focus on what makes them happy. (unless the abuse turns physical, in which case there has to be some kind of alteration of the situation.) me, i kept doing what i loved and viewed college as a ticket away from the kids that i grew up with that bullied me for all those years... and it worked out well.

    Posted by anon January 23, 09 02:29 PM
  1. My son is a sixth grader at the middle school (5th - 8th
    grades).

    He loves school and recently started telling me that he did not want to go
    to school. I immediately knew something was up. He told me after
    multiple questions that there was about 3 boys in class that would
    constantly put him down, call him names, and swear at him when the
    teachers weren't looking. Two of them had started to get physical by
    kneeing him in line at the cafeteria and hitting him in the back while in
    the hallway.

    He was fearful to tell me because he did not want me to say anything to
    his teachers or principal. He had in incident before where bullies were
    confronted by the teachers and he along with a few other kids were
    immediately blamed and called snitches by the kids making the situation
    worse.

    However, I decided that him telling me about what was going on was his way
    of telling me that he could not deal with the situation himself and needed
    help.

    I immediately contacted his teacher by email describing 3 - 4 incidents
    that he had told me about along with the kids involved. She called me the
    next day and was incredulous that this was happening right under her nose.
    She told me, however, that others had started to complain about the same
    kids and similar situations. I told her as well that I did not want my
    son to know that I was saying anything and that I was going to tell him I
    didn't. I didn't want him to have to lie to these other kids when
    confronted by them. She didn't think this would happen.

    The next the day I got a call from the principal that two of the boys were
    being moved out of the class. My son came home angry saying that he knew
    I said something. The one boy left in the class whispered to my son later
    in the day that if he found out that it was him who said something then he
    was going to get him. Again, I told my son I didn't and that others must
    have complained.

    I again immediately called the principal to tell him about the threat.

    Since then my son reports that the class is completely different. There
    is no swearing, name calling. The class is quiet. The boys who were
    moved do not bother him and one actually says hello in the hall. The
    third left in the class seems to have had the fear put into him to make
    him stop. My son said the other day -- "you know, if you did say
    something, thanks, because it really helped." I just told him that others
    must have.

    I am very pleased about how this situation turned out. The school was
    responsive, took immediate action, protected the kids who were speaking up
    with anonimity, brought parents into the situation, and were appreciative
    of my specific input.

    Posted by LMB January 23, 09 02:32 PM
  1. Our twin daughters have been enrolled for five years in a dance studio that is really supportive and I have to say the friendships and life skills they have developed there are more genuine and meaningful to them than anything they have in middle school. So I second the notion of getting kids involved in an activity outside of their regular school environment; our daughters have been able to see there is a much bigger world out there.

    Posted by Sewing Diva January 23, 09 02:52 PM
  1. As a teacher, I do try to watch out for these things. Unfortunately I cannot see everything that happens. I dont tolerate any harrassment in or out of my classroom. As a matter of fact, i dont have a zero tolerance, I have a negative tolerance to it. We had a situation with a male student in my classroom 2 years ago that was thankfully brought to my attention. Myself and one of the counselors pulled all 4 suspects into the counselors office and read them the riot act. I specifically said that I do not want to see them even talking with the aforementioned student. If I did, I would assume the worse. I kept a vigilant eye on it at all times during the rest of the year. There were no problems.

    Posted by High School Teacher January 23, 09 03:05 PM
  1. My first grade daughter was being bullied by one of her so-called "friends". Her friend would sometimes be nice, only to abruptly change gears and be mean to my daughter, even "excluding" her from play with other kids, who would follow the bully. My wife and I discussed the situation with the bully's parents, but the impression they left was that they were glad (even proud) that it was their daughter in charge. So, we told our daughter to find other friends and ignore the bully and whoever would follow her. My daughter did just that. One by one, the bully's other friends also left her and joined my daughter's circle of new friends, eventually leaving the bully virtually alone. And you know what? It was my daughter who invited her back into the group. Yes, the bully often tries to slip back into her old ways, but her bullying has been broken. After missing some birthday parties and after-school playdates, this bully and her parents now know who's NOT in charge!

    Posted by AF January 23, 09 03:06 PM
  1. I am a third grade teacher and our school is focusing on bullying this year. We consider bullying to be anything that is happening repeatedly. So calling someone a name once doesn't necessarily count, but doing it every day does. We document every instance of bullying, even if it just sounds like tattling. I have a "bully box" in the corner so kids can drop a note in there anonymously (or not), then I record those. If I see a pattern, I have a conference with the bully to discuss consequences both socially and in school (referral and suspension). If it happens again I meet with the parents. The hardest part is always trying to convince them their child is a bully! The documentation really helps. I would suggest to parents that their child keep a record, or you at least keep a record of EVERY time the child has bullied your child no matter how minor. Just like someone said with pressing charges, I would then ask the school to take action and suggest suspension of the student--just like if they had physically hurt someone. The key is to have a pattern of behaviors documented. Many of the suggestions ultimately go back to building self esteem and telling kids to brush it off, but we know that does nothing to stop the bullying. And as a teacher, I can sadly attest to the fact that sometimes a parent has to act up before I notice something or take action. There are just too many kids in a too frenzied day to really see or act on everything. Once I get a phone call or e-mail though, I'm on it asap.

    Posted by Aimee January 23, 09 03:25 PM
  1. I had a female friend who worked as a home companion for an elderly woman as a teen. She wanted a "real" job, so she found work at John Hancock in a large office. This young woman was a sweet person, very short and happened to have very large breasts. She told me that while she could deal with the men staring at her - that was just guys being stupid guys - it was the women who forced her to quit the job. Every time she walked by, women would lean over to each other, whisper and snigger at her. You need an article on "Mean Women" as well. These were grown "ladies."

    Posted by MarkB January 23, 09 03:43 PM
  1. I think the advice in the article is excellent. Unless there is physical abuse, don't "over-emphasize, over-dramatize, or internalize the problem". Also, help them find "true friends".

    The description of the bully could be my daughter in that she is smart, pretty, liked by adults, and since she is a young teen, insecure. The other trait she has is that she is good at organizing a group of girls. What often happens is that she and a group of girls will form a nice friendship. Then, other girls will want to join in but they don't really fit in with the group. These other girls can be very persistent and don't take kind hints. Should the original group be forced to take in new members? I agree they should not be mean, but neither should they be forced to be close friends with everyone who wants to join them.

    I'm also surprised, never being very pretty or overly popular, how mean people are to my daughter BECAUSE she is pretty, smart and popular. She has received far more snubs from other adults for being pretty than I ever recieved for being bookish and shy. Even in this comment stream, girls were called plastic.

    Mean is mean!

    Posted by Samiam January 23, 09 04:38 PM
  1. "the best thing to tell these kids is that life gets better when it is no longer a popularity contest..."

    When is that? Age 100? Even on factory floors and in nursing homes, most human beings are social and don't find every person equally likeable, whether for superficial reasons (like "being pretty" or "being ugly") or rational reasons (like listening well or constantly interrupting).

    "...and to focus on what makes them happy."

    I hope you'd accept that for many kids, focusing on what makes them happy would include focusing on having at least one friend instead of being too unpopular for even that.

    "Since then my son reports that the class is completely different. There
    is no swearing, name calling. The class is quiet. The boys who were
    moved do not bother him and one actually says hello in the hall. The
    third left in the class seems to have had the fear put into him to make
    him stop. My son said the other day -- 'you know, if you did say
    something, thanks, because it really helped.' I just told him that others must have.

    "I am very pleased about how this situation turned out. The school was
    responsive, took immediate action, protected the kids who were speaking up
    with anonimity, brought parents into the situation, and were appreciative
    of my specific input."

    I am very pleased too!

    "The description of the bully could be my daughter in that she is smart, pretty, liked by adults, and since she is a young teen, insecure. The other trait she has is that she is good at organizing a group of girls. What often happens is that she and a group of girls will form a nice friendship. Then, other girls will want to join in but they don't really fit in with the group. These other girls can be very persistent and don't take kind hints. Should the original group be forced to take in new members? I agree they should not be mean, but neither should they be forced to be close friends with everyone who wants to join them. "

    Also, no doubt when she's a bit older the "nice guys finish last!!!" crowd will criticize your daughter for not having sex with every guy who wants to have sex with her even if he doesn't really fit in with what she finds sexually attractive.

    You might find the info at these two links useful for later.

    This link includes stuff on people being very persistent and not taking kind hints:
    http://www.plausiblydeniable.com/opinion/gsf.html

    "...Geek Social Fallacy #1: Ostracizers Are Evil

    "GSF1 is one of the most common fallacies, and one of the most deeply held. Many geeks have had horrible, humiliating, and formative experiences with ostracism, and the notion of being on the other side of the transaction is repugnant to them.

    "In its non-pathological form, GSF1 is benign, and even commendable: it is long past time we all grew up and stopped with the junior high popularity games. However, in its pathological form, GSF1 prevents its carrier from participating in -- or tolerating -- the exclusion of anyone from anything, be it a party, a comic book store, or a web forum, and no matter how obnoxious, offensive, or aromatic the prospective excludee may be.

    "As a result, nearly every geek social group of significant size has at least one member that 80% of the members hate, and the remaining 20% merely tolerate. If GSF1 exists in sufficient concentration -- and it usually does -- it is impossible to expel a person who actively detracts from every social event. GSF1 protocol permits you not to invite someone you don't like to a given event, but if someone spills the beans and our hypothetical Cat Piss Man invites himself, there is no recourse. You must put up with him, or you will be an Evil Ostracizer and might as well go out for the football team.

    "This phenomenon has a number of unpleasant consequences. For one thing, it actively hinders the wider acceptance of geek-related activities: I don't *know* that RPGs and comics would be more popular if there were fewer trolls who smell of cheese hassling the new blood, but I'm sure it couldn't hurt. For another, when nothing smacking of social selectiveness can be discussed in public, people inevitably begin to organize activities in secret. These conspiracies often lead to more problems down the line, and the end result is as juvenile as anything a seventh-grader ever dreamed of..."

    This one includes stuff on the dating version of the problem: http://divalion.livejournal.com/163615.html

    "...Here is a classic example of a Nice Guy experience that I had in high school, which I think summarizes the issue. I was friends with a circle of about four guys who were all very tight with each other, all to varying degrees both nice guys and Nice Guys. Contrary to my more fluid physical boundaries now as a polyamorous adult, back then there was no gratuitous making out or any such thing lest anyone Get The Wrong Idea. One of the guys was someone I was close enough to, to consider one of my best friends. Another of the guys, the most recent addition to the group who was very quiet and who I probably knew the least (and knew me the least)-- in fact we didn't know each other well at all-- decided he had a huge crush on me. This did not prompt him to, say, talk to me more or anything, so I remained blissfully ignorant until I slowly began to piece together the cryptic comments, weird behavior, and snickers of those guy friends whenever I was around. I might have been trying to date someone else at the time, I can't recall, but either way I just wasn't interested romantically in this particular guy so I tried to ignore the signs and act like everything was normal. Eventually the other guys decided it was time to confront me with it and ask if I was going to go out with him, and the social pressure mounted, from them as well as a few female friends. Since there was no longer any chance of just ignoring the situation, I had to tell the guy that most awful of things, that I liked him well enough but 'not that way'.

    "I knew he would be hurt and feel rejected by that, and having been overlooked myself in the past I felt bad about it and tried to at least be gentle, figuring that was that, and he'd get over it. What I was not quite prepared for was that the entire group of guys-- including the one who liked me-- would be furious at me for it and promptly stop talking to me. I don't remember exactly how long the snit lasted, but it was quite a while before they would deign to talk to me again, and even then things were never quite the same.

    "I'm telling this not because I feel particularly scarred by it still but because it has some of the classic hallmarks of the Nice Guy experience, which I KNOW some of my chick friends reading this will be able to relate to only too well:

    "1) He fell 'totally in love' with me, as it was relayed to me, without having really gotten to know me at all and based mostly on surface attraction. (And although the romantic in me likes to believe that 'love at first sight' is possible, the true manifestation of that phenomenon is a *mutual* one IMO, and in any case it is quite reasonable to remind oneself that there is a difference between a swift and powerful attraction and actual love, and that one might wish to take some time to explore whether there is a point of convergence there before proceeding.)

    "2) The assumption was made, by all the guys including him, that because he was a Nice Guy, I was obligated to place that above any of his other qualities and to date him for it, regardless of whether or not we were otherwise compatible.

    "3) My feelings or desires did not seem to matter nor enter into the equation; he liked me, ergo, I must go out with him-- because who in her right mind would pass up a chance to date such a Nice Guy?

    "4) When his feelings were not returned, even with a rejection delivered as gently as possible out of consideration for those feelings, he and the other guys turned on me. All my good stuff turned to bad stuff and I was to be reviled..."


    "I'm also surprised, never being very pretty or overly popular, how mean people are to my daughter BECAUSE she is pretty, smart and popular. She has received far more snubs from other adults for being pretty than I ever recieved for being bookish and shy. Even in this comment stream, girls were called plastic."

    I wonder how many of her friends your daughter would need to dump in order to make herself unpopular enough for those complainers and stop appearing too neurotypical for them. Hmm...

    Posted by Leslie January 23, 09 06:01 PM
  1. As a teacher, I thought I might disagree with the"well liked by all" version of the mean girl. Girls I have known that are hyper-critical of others, which is at least one definition of the mean girl often have a hyper-critical parent, usually the mom (sorry moms!). I'm not sure if that helps people deal with them, but it is important to realize they like to put people down to boost their own low self-esteem. I still find it very annoying to have them in class.

    Posted by a January 23, 09 06:25 PM
  1. I lived this for 27 years and this is nothing more than abuse. We need to start to see this "bullying" for what it is: OUTRIGHT ABUSE!

    I am highly suspicious of a child or adult who is charasmatic, engaging, popular and basically adored by everyone. What people do not realize is that we are creating monsters by feeding into this behavior. Like DARE says: JUST SAY NO!

    Take Care,
    Elizabeth Bennett
    http://www.peerabuse.info

    Posted by Elizabeth Bennett January 23, 09 06:53 PM
  1. To all the parents who are outright admitting to going behind their children's backs to tell teachers, principals and other parents - you should be ashamed. Kids today are very unlikely to talk to their parents about serious problems because they fear criticism or interferance. This is exactly why!!! One parent above admits to still talking to her son's teacher and principal after he specifically asked her not to. It may have worked out for him for that brief time, but you just wait until the next time he has something to confess - - his thought process will be "I really need to tell someone this, I wish I could tell mom, but she'll turn around and tell someone else. Kids need to be able to trust their parents. When they ask you not to interfere its because they know what will happen to them in school. YOU have been out of school for years, and its not the same as it was when you were there. Please just listen to your children and be supportive, but when they ask you NOT TO TELL....DON'T

    Thanks for commenting, Crown. I appreciate your point of view, but I'm not sure I agree with it completely. Yes, kids need to be able to trust their parents, but it's a parent's job to do what's in the best interests of the child -- and the child doesn't always know what's best for him or herself. I think a lot depends on the age of the child and the individual situation... - LMA

    Posted by Crown January 23, 09 07:00 PM
  1. I am embarrassed to admit that in 6th grade, I was the "mean girl" to another girl in our class. Like the article mentions, as the "mean girl" I got good grades, volunteered for everything, was a class officer and cheerleading captain, and all-around do-gooder, people-pleaser to parents and teachers. My actions started out as genuine annoyance at and jealousy of the other girl over a specific indicent but quickly became much bigger than me and our original conflict once the rest of the class quickly got on board and backed me up. It was a huge (and somewhat frightening) power trip to have everyone dislike someone at my say-so, and especially at that age to have boys on my side. Everyone turned on her quickly, and my fear was that if I pulled the plug on this vendetta, would they turn on me too? Pathetic, isn't it?

    In my case, a teacher was aware of the situation and tried to intervene after almost the whole school year had gone by, but the knowledge that everyone knew what was going on and didn't say anything sent the message of approval by silence. The one action that no one took was to involve my parents, which would have shamed me tremendously and probably would have worked to get the problem solved. If anyone is dealing with a "mean girl" who is otherwise a "good girl" she is probably an insecure people-pleaser underneath the confident exterior and exposing her bad behavior to those whose approval she most seeks out (parents, teachers, a coach etc.) might work wonders to stop the behavior.
    I have actually never admitted this to anyone and hope this is helpful to the parents of someone being bullied or bullying.

    Posted by Jen January 23, 09 07:07 PM
  1. I've actually had to go on meds because of what my dear daughter is going through in fifth grade. She is very innocent and boy identified. She's had some girl friends through the years but mostly boy friends. She dresses like a boy and is also Asian (adopted) going to a predominantly white school. She's had two close girl friends in the past couple of years one of whom moved the other who turned on her. For the past few months she's had another close girl friend who suddenly turned on her this week and hit her at school. I haven't played it up much and have not over-dramatized it but it is eating me up inside to the point where I can't sleep and I'm really on edge. I'm feeling pretty helpless actually.

    Posted by Desperate Dad January 23, 09 07:49 PM
  1. "I lived this for 27 years and this is nothing more than abuse. We need to start to see this 'bullying' for what it is: OUTRIGHT ABUSE!"

    This is a very good point, and I wholeheartedly agree with it.

    "I am highly suspicious of a child or adult who is charasmatic, engaging, popular and basically adored by everyone."

    This is not a good point. Being charismatic, engaging, and popular is not a virtue but it is not a vice either. Your point here reminds me of Samiam's earlier point:

    "I'm also surprised, never being very pretty or overly popular, how mean people are to my daughter BECAUSE she is pretty, smart and popular. She has received far more snubs from other adults for being pretty than I ever recieved for being bookish and shy. Even in this comment stream, girls were called plastic."

    How much do you think Samiam's daughter should deface herself and play dumb? How many of her friends do you think she should reject? How much less engaging, charismatic, and popular must she become to stop being suspected of abuse?

    Also, your suspicion of popular people reminds me of Desperate Dad's point:

    "She's had two close girl friends in the past couple of years one of whom moved the other who turned on her. For the past few months she's had another close girl friend who suddenly turned on her this week and hit her at school."

    It's possible that the two girls who abused Desperate Dad's daughter made themselves *less* popular in the process (reducing the number of people who like them by at least two, the daughter and Desperate Dad himself, and not gaining the respect of anyone else).

    After all, do the math: a child who somehow manages to be liked by all the other children in school will (by definition!) be more popular than if he or she manages to be liked by only most other children at school and bullies the rest of them.

    Posted by Leslie January 24, 09 06:29 AM
  1. Bullying is a form of abuse, the aim of which is to steal the soul of the victim. It is systematic, like any other kind of sadism. Research has shown that anyone--teacher, student--friend-- can stop the bullying immediately by intervening, although they might have to do this more than once. Since the consequences of being bullied last a lifetime, you would think that a bullying incident would be seen as an emergency, but often the people around the victim are complicit. At the very fancy private school where my son went, I was told by his teacher that "the smaller ones are always bullied by other children, all the teachers agreed, and that was just how it was." I thereupon set out to bully teachers and administrators at the school, with great success.

    Posted by bobi January 24, 09 08:31 AM
  1. My son was kicked out of a Catholic School in Endicott, NY because of physical and mental abuse by a girls much larger than him. She was hitting him one day and kept badgering him until he made a threat (not used physical means) to keep her away. She gets to stay in school and get off scott-free while we had to scury to find educational services for our son. How fair is this? Enough is enough! Girls can be manipulative, and are usually taught this by their mothers, as a way to get what they want and to get away with everything.

    Posted by AngryDad January 24, 09 10:13 AM
  1. We have FREE downloads for parents to help them cope with bullying and cyberbullying and help prevent it happening to your kids. MARC is a no-cost resource out of Bridgewater State College for all parents. Go to our website and click on PARENTS (http://www.MARCcenter.org).

    Posted by Elizabeth K. Englander, Ph.D. January 24, 09 11:39 AM
  1. Desperate Dad,
    You made a promise that you would love and protect your daughter the day they put her in your arms! GET ON IT! This goes for all parents! If your child is being bullied at school it is your job to protect them! END OF STORY. Be an advocate for your child and stand up for them because NOONE ELSE WILL!! Life is hard enough as it is for kids today. These are their formative years and will shape the beings they will be for the REST OF THEIR LIVES.
    For the parent that suggested that you "don't say anything if your child asks you not to" I'm glad I'm not your child! What the hell do you think the kid is going to say?? Of course they are going to say that they always do, but if you rectify the problem FOR them, then it becomes a non-issue doesn't it? What parent takes
    orders from their child anyway? If it were sexual harassment, would the same rules apply?? I certainly hope not.
    Children are in school to learn. No child should have to feel afraid while going to school. Anyone see the movie "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle" when the nanny goes into the school yard on behalf of the child she's caring for and pulls the bullies arm behind his back and says if he doesn't leave the girl alone that she'll break his F*&^%$@! arm?? That will be me. If anyone screws with my kids while they are at school, watch out, cuz if your kid is the bully I'M GOING AFTER THEM!

    Posted by subie January 24, 09 08:32 PM
  1. I grew up in a family of all girls and my mother went out of her way to teach us to not be catty. It worked, and my sisters and I have never been "mean girls.". Howver, I am in nursing school now and the majority of the white women in my class are textbook mean girls. It's really sad to see grown women who can't feel good about themselves unless they undermine someone else's self-esteem. I don't understand why they are in the healing profession on the first place when they have such destructive personalities. I may not be cut out for a mostly female profession if it's full of insecure people.

    Posted by Student nurse January 24, 09 09:33 PM
  1. I grew up being bullied by parents,teachers,kids,coaches etc... I would agree we need to something regarding bullying. However, I long for the days when a swift smack in the face would often solve the problem(without the bull of having going thru legal manuevers 101, call me old). If the object of the bully is ever to get a little peace in this lifetime, there is only one thing the works, and that is YOU HAVE TO BULLY a BULLY. That's the only thing these aggressive predators understand. This goes for children as well as adults. You just have to stand up for yourself and stand on your own two feet

    Posted by Wolfenstein365 January 25, 09 11:14 AM
  1. Self defense in the form of extreme violence was my only way out of the cycle of being bullied. I was aquitted but I do not necessarily condone this route. What I did learn was that I could survive a beating and fight back. I would never want to be a teenager again.
    Kids are mean. There is a pecking order and even those that seem to be on top never truly feel that they are securely on top. This perpetuates a rythym of "stomp on eveyone else". Some of us get thick skin and most of us grow out of it.
    I do not have an answer only an observation of what we have all had to endure, even the bullies.


    Posted by Snydley January 25, 09 03:28 PM
  1. Yikes! Bring on the lynch mob! You cannot bully kids into behaving nicely!

    To Desperate Dad - having your child rejected by others is SOOOO painful! I know. But, it is a lot to expect other 10 year olds to teach your child social skills. It may help expose your daughter to situations where there are other age groups, or help her find her "tribe" by getting her into activites where she is successful, sports or music, or with kids she feels comfortable outside of school.

    Posted by Samiam January 25, 09 05:14 PM
  1. I was bullied in Junior High, by mostly girls. It was awful. The teachers didn't care. These kids were the rich kids, they could do what they wanted. I hated going to school. I skipped a few classes, until I got caught. I had to go back. I never told my parents, my mother would have gone to the Principal. It would have just got worse. I finally fought back. I beat up a girl & knocked another's books across the room. It got a little better once I got to High School. My niece is now going through the same thing as I did, she is miserable. My sister wants to go to the Principal. My niece doesn't want her to do that, same reason as mine. I think she should fight back like I did. Even if you get in trouble, you need to fight back or it will never end! Everyone needs to stand up for themselves.

    Posted by Laurie January 25, 09 05:31 PM
  1. 25 years later and I still hope that Bari Steinholtz, Erika Ozer and the rest of the SOB's that I went to grade school with would get run over by a bus!

    Posted by J. Jones January 25, 09 06:33 PM
  1. At Balance Educational Services, we teach students a “Bully Proofing Plan of Action.” It includes the following strategies when confronted by a bully(ies): Ignore, Walk Away, Assertively Say “Stop” and Walk Away, Go to a Trusted Adult. We detail all these skills in our book, How to Stop Bullying And Social Aggression: Elementary Grade Lessons and Activities That Teach Empathy, Friendship, And Respect (Corwin Press). These strategies empower targets to stop direct and indirect bullying, including cyber bullying.

    Each individual suggestion HAS to be accompanied with details and practice. For instance, ignoring means to continue to do what you were doing without commenting back, making faces or any response that could reinforce the bully. When choosing to walk away, it should be with head up, back straight, and a normal walking pace.

    When telling the bully to “Stop,” the victim has to express confidence through body language, eye contact, tone of voice and what (few) words to say. Chronic victims of bullying don’t usually have an assertive style of communication and therefore it needs to be practiced.

    For more bully prevention resources, got to http://www.balanceeducationalservices.com/resources.html

    Posted by Michael Dreiblatt January 25, 09 08:13 PM
  1. The school district we live in has a ZERO tolerance for bullying. My son is a freshman in high school; he is a quiet friendly kid that is slightly overweight, he has been bullied by 2 girls (so far) this year. He was very upset when the first girl verbally abused him in the hallways for about a week. I told him to ignore her, walk the other way and so on. Then she verbally attacked him about his weight and other things and he was very upset. I then contacted the school guidence counselor (who I went to school with) and explained what had happenend. Our school has a ZERO tolerance for bullying; and after working with the school for about a week she was transfered to the alternative school for students with behavior issues. I had found out that my son was only one of her several victims.
    The second time this year the other girl was sticking her nose in where it didn't belong; my son was doing his classwork on the computer and she went over to him and accused him of logging into other websites which he wasn't. He told her to leave him alone, then she started name calling, again he said go away leave me alone, then she started using the F-Bomb and other insults and then took pencils and erasers and threw them at him (the teacher was in the hall talking to another teacher); she was trying to get other kids to do the same. My son got up from his seat went over to her (as she is texting on her cell phone during class) and she was still calling him names using profanity, he took her cell phone and stepped on it until it broke. He called her a name back and left the classroom. They both got in trouble my son got 2 extented detentions and she got 2-days supsension and 10 days of extented detentions. I eventully found out that she has been a trouble maker for a long time but no one really stood up to her. She has not said one word to my son, and as word spread thru the school other kids were giving my son Hi Fives and one kid came up to him and said thanks. Since the begining of 2009 my son hasn't seen her and it is believed that she can no longer attend day school and she needs to finish in the night school program offered there.
    I am proud of my son for A) standing up for himself B) not dropping down to her level [not using profanity] C) not hitting her and D) walking out of the classroom (on his way to the office). He was shaken up for a few days but he knows he doesn't have put up with bullies.
    This could have been alot worse if it was the other way around. The bottom line is Some Girls are Outright Nasty, Self-Absorbed and carry a sense of Entitlement. By the way we never got a bill for the cell phone (lol) I think she got the message!

    Posted by South Shore Mom January 25, 09 09:24 PM
  1. Really, send your kid to martial arts school. I started at 12, continued through high school graduation. If nothing else, it really does help to know that you could break the mean person(s) face, even if you never do. Plus, it involves positive, structured and generally very polite interactions people of different genders and ages. Plus its very reassuring for everyone when they go away to college.

    Hopefully your child goes to a school that will support them if they try to get help with bulling. I once had a teacher flip out and punish some of the harrasers/bullies. They were so supprised that they actually stopped!

    Yes, thats years of being bullied, and one teacher who reacted with something other than "just ignore it".

    Admittedly after a certain point I ceased to be a goodey two shoes and started to verbally eviscerate mean girls. And put a boy who was harrasing me in a joint lock in the middle of the shop class floor. Ignoring it ofen doesn't solve anything. Publicly humiliating the culprit is far more effective. This can be subtly done with adult bullies. The humiliation that is, not the joint lock.

    Posted by Muppetgirl January 25, 09 10:49 PM
  1. I was bullied in by someone who I was a friend of in Kindergarten.She left Public School for a Catholic school but returned to the same public Middle school a few years later. Our English teacher was engaged to marry someone who was Polish American and the only two who were Polish American were us. The other girl had a crush on this teacher. She also wanted to be an actress when she grew up. Looking back now, I believe she didn't want to share the attention this teacher was giving to both of us because we were both Polish American .The other girl would lash out at me. I could do nothing about it..She was such a coward she wanted someone else to beat me up after school for her!
    I"ve since gone on to a sucessful career in the animation industry, but while at film school in California I saw adults acting like bullies.The competition was so great. I call it "Shark infested waters". I wanted to have very little to do with most of them after graduation. Now most work at Pixar creating films that they claim is about "relationships being the most important thing in life". Yeah, right!
    The character of "Roz" in Monsters ,Inc. is based on one of our classmates, that they callously immortalized on the big screen.
    After going through this as a child and seeing adults doing it I can't say I understand what can get people aware of the pain they inflict on others. And for what?


    Posted by AZ January 26, 09 04:57 AM
  1. It's very hard to deal with something that you don't know is going on. In the case of cyberbullying, one may not even know about the rumors that are being propagated, and because of "rules of etiquette," even previously-loyal friends are reluctant to take up the subject with the victim - but not reluctant to change their behavior towards them! Talk devastating, it's having your friends suddenly block you without warning or recourse. Communication is key! And yet people are so willing to believe rumors and not let the "perpetrator" (who is actually the victim) defend herself...

    The solution to this problem is to teach all girls, from an early age, to THINK FOR THEMSELVES and not to believe nasty rumors that don't make sense. And if they hear something, to always, always check it out before passing judgment and taking action. Only then will the bullies lose their power. Bullies can be very persuasive with fear (like the US government), which makes girls reluctant to be reasonable about the situation, but if someone hasn't done anything to hurt them, they're probably not a threat, no matter what the hearsay says, and they shouldn't be punished until proven guilty! (Or really, shouldn't be punished at all...it's not up to girls to exact revenge upon each other...that only begets more bullying.)

    Posted by Hurt_by_a_Cyberbully January 26, 09 08:31 AM
  1. Our daughter was bullied in the 3rd grade by supposed "friends"- called stupid, told to shut up, had slush kicked in her face on the playground, etc. non-stop. She eventually stopped participating in class, and was doing horribly academically. We scheduled a meeting with her teacher, the school counselor, the principle and a psychologist whom we had hired. The bullies were well-connected, smart, popular girls, but the teacher (a Godsend!) was onto them and supported our daughter. She and the psychologist pointed out that often girls exhibiting this behavior are simply mimicking their mothers' behavior (I have to agree). Although it was extremely painful, our daughter was made stronger by the experience and learned at a very young age to believe in herself and not worry so much about being popular, etc. Fortunately, the school was a private K-8 school, and she did not go to high school with most of those girls. She was an excellent student/athlete in high school, national honor society member, etc. She is now in college and doing extremely well socially, academically and athletically. I must admit, I still have a lot of hostility toward those girls and their parents to this day for the pain they caused my daughter. I'm ashamed to say that I take some pleasure in the fact that the vast majority of them did not excel in anything in high school and ended up being miserable socially after leaving their little private school kingdom and finding out that they were no longer the queen bees.

    Posted by Momofanicegirl January 26, 09 10:27 AM
  1. My daughter is in 4th grade and her so-called best friend has started turning on her. Her friend is very athletic and makes every team she tries out for. She and a couple of other "athletes" recently made up a rhyme about how bad my daughter is at basketball. It's very cruel. My daughter doesn't want me to do anything because (I think) she still believes there is hope for her and her friend. I have given her permission to stand up for herself "loud and clear". She is afraid to because she said teachers never believe that this girl could do anything wrong because she's so athletic and so good in school. Should I speak with the principal (her teacher is on leave indefinitely)?

    Posted by DownWithMeanGirls January 29, 09 11:21 PM
  1. Quite a bit of research shows that the "bystander" kids are key to reducing bullying. If the school can provide training to teach kids how not to provide the bully with an audience, it really helps all kids. It's very hard to end the culture in a school that allows bullying by dealing with one incident at a time. Much better to tackle the bigger picture.

    Posted by Tulip February 2, 09 06:13 PM
  1. My daughter is in 3rd grade. Her best friend turned on her about 4 months ago. Not only was this girl her best friend but she was practically a member of our family which makes it even harder for me and my wife. She has managed to intimidate many of my daughters other friends. They have told my daughter they still want to be friends but are scared of having her turn on them. She even has one friend who is now pretending to "hate" her just so she doesn't get abused. My daughter says she just sits off to the side during recess because nobody will play with her anymore. We tried talking to her friend a few months ago and didn't get anywhere. We've spoken with her parents to see if they knew what was going on. They've essentially told us to stay out of it and let the 3rd graders resolve it. My daughter is athletic and on a couple different sports teams (1 with her former best friend). We've now spoken with the girls teacher and she is going to speak with her and have other staff keep a closer eye. She are telling her to ignore it and just do other things but it is hard for her. Not only does she make fun of my daughter, but she makes fun of my wife as well. My daughter doesn't know we spoke to the teacher because we don't want her to have to lie to the former friend about it. The former friend even apologized last week played at our house Saturday. On Monday she is back to being a bully. She even lies to her parents about me and my wife. Only thing left is to go to the principal so they can start an investigation. Any other suggestions would be helpful.

    Posted by Bluehawk February 3, 09 06:12 PM
  1. Upon reading the article, I smiled. Because I can excatly relate the sentiments. I never experienced such mockery during school days, because I myself was the one who bullied them. Yes I admit, my classmates really hated me for being such a mean in the class. I remember during my high school, I teased and bullied a lot of my females classmates for wearing such lousy attires, a bad hair day, for wearing tiger socks, everything there is need to laugh about, everything that there is to be noticed i laughed it out....and the feeling of being the laughable stuffs makes me feel proud...but that was way way way back. I have matured!LOL

    Few years..we had a reunion, some of my classmates were so hesitant to approach me, because they're were thinking I didn' t change. Of course not, people do change, everything changes. ANd honestly It had an impact on me, because they tend to have the lasting impression that indeed I wasn't change. It's not nice to recall those stuffs, i mean the way they have remembered me wasn't the thing that I have to be proud of. Eventhough you want to explain that it was just for fun stuffs, but for them it wasn't because they were hurt and ridiculed. Soon after I became a Guidance Counselor, and there I imagine myself being called in the office for being mean. One thing I have really observed, when one person sees the opportunity to mean other classmates, they will mock you. SO be very careful. Never give them the opportunity to mock you, bullied you. Never gave them the chance to steal the moment from you of getting bullied. You must learn to strike back, I know it's hard to project that you are strong, then at least still project. People will never question on how strong or weak are you. They are just waiting for an opportunity to strike you. Next, ignore them. That is the best and safest way to do. They will just get tired. You don;t have to mind them, it just a waste of energy. Remember the law of attraction. When you feel bad...eventually everything will fall into its place badly. Focus on other things that will surely make your day than entertaining those bullies. If they won't do anything good on you, then why give a thought.

    Now I shall say, I had those moments because I saw an opportunity to strike them. But it didnt do anything good on me. But make sure if you enjoy being the bad guy, don't want to remain one forever. Learn to grow and help yourself to grow.

    Posted by manits February 6, 09 01:12 AM
  1. I relate and sympathize with you all. My 9 year old daughter has been bullied by the same "friend" for 3 years. We live in a small town, go to the same church, live in the same neighborhood, go to the same school, ride the same bus--we cannot excape her without moving out of town! This girl draws my child in just to get her close enough to allow her to think they are friends and then she purposely excludes her- e.g.- tells her the class applauds when she isn't there, whispers in front of her, tells her how many more cool friends she has, telling other friends not to sit with her at lunch or on the bus, telling her all about fun time with mutual friends when my child wasn't invited. This began in first grade and I was concerned that my child was contributing to it in some way, wanting to give the other child benefit of the doubt. It continued into second grade and I knew there was a problem. The other mom was in denial. The teacher was a childhood friend of the other mom, so she was no help. In third grade they were in different classrooms and Praise the Lord, my daughter had a wonderful year. This confirmed with me that it wasn't my child. They are back in the same class this year and it is starting all over again- triggered because my child recieved a grade wide honor for leadership. This doesn't just happend to the quiet children, my daughter is very friendly, academically gifted, athletic, and kind, We joke that she makes friends everywhere we go. The problem in stopping this problem is the difficulty in identifying the problem. Luckily, the prinicipal knew the number of problems this child had in 3rd grade, so she is on their "list". But, the mother is oblivious- this child plays vicitim very well and can strangely turn the situation completely around. Keep good notes and write down specifics on what the child did or said so that a pattern will develop and the behavior can be identified.

    Good luck and God Bless your child!


    wanting

    Posted by S Weaver March 28, 09 06:03 PM
  1. wow, this has been very helpful. My 11 year old daughter has been being bullied by her "friends" lately. The school doesn't seem to want to be helpful, they've got a playground about half an acre and act like they can't see what's going on. I think the bullying was started by one girl and the others joined in so as not to be victims. My daughter wouldn't even go to school today as she was so upset. ALL of her friends told her they hate her and that they were only her friends to get stuff from her. I am hoping that she will be ready to find nicer friends at school tomorrow,...

    Posted by MountainMama April 29, 09 02:26 PM
  1. THIS GETS WORSE WHEN YOU GROW OLDER! IT DOES NOT EVER GO AWAY!

    The only thing you can do is, if someone is doing this to you in the workplace, is file a complaint of workplace harassment. At a graduate school or college, talk to a dean of students.

    THIS WILL NOT END ONCE YOU GROW UP! So don't get your hopes up!

    Posted by Ana May 31, 09 03:58 PM
  1. mW4SI9 comment1 ,

    Posted by Erixxyou June 29, 09 05:36 AM
  1. I never fit in at school. At first I tried, but then eventually gave up because I could see that no matter what I did - conform or not conform - I would always be treated the same.

    I then learned a valuable lesson: people that disapprove of you for no good reason are just sad, pathetic losers, and it is possible not to take them seriously. There will always be someone out there that resents you no matter what you do. But you don't have to let them dominate your life, or define who you are.

    I supposed I should be ashamed for saying this, but I must confess that I hope some people will try to gang up on me so I could laugh at them for the doofuses I think they are.

    Posted by Orgasm August 25, 09 11:58 PM
  1. I went through this with my daughter at an early age. She's a shy cautious kid who was harassed from day one from a special needs kid with anger issues. I was proactive but some of the teachers are so oblivious!! I went to the principal and was helped for awhile until her list of "bullied" students was too long to keep track of. What you need to do is write a letter to the principal detailing the abuse and demanding your child not be in the same class as the bully. It works if it is IN WRITING. Legally, they have to help you; if not, take it higher. Stand firm and do what is right for your child. Hug him/her often and most of all listen to them when they speak. Help them make friends by letting them invite kids over. Join other clubs outside of school and rest assured the slowest ones now will later be fast. It's the truth.

    Posted by Cali October 6, 09 12:45 PM
  1. As someone mentioned in a previous entry, bullying goes on with adults too! And I don't think your grown children should have to take being pushed around, physically beaten or in any way punished by another adult. I feel that grown children should be taught how to use self defense devices that are safe and legal and to use them when necessary. A shot of pepper spray on a bully will put a stop to that once and for all. Be sure to obtain the right spray; there are a lot of them out there. If you are ever accosted on the street, in an office, or anywhere else, you always want to have as many advantages against the attacker as possible.

    Posted by robert dimond December 23, 09 11:31 AM
  1. Same thing has been happening to my 11 year old. Same girl for 3 years. There are times they seem to be friends but then the other girl just turns. Finally this year my daughter during a really bad time discussed this w/a male teacher & he observed. Luckily he noticed that my daughter was being treated very unfairly & I emailed him & told him that I was thrilled my daughter had trusted him enough to share this w/ him & that I was greatful for him helping. Right now the girl & my daughter are friends but I have tried to tell my daught to not put too much trust in thie litte girl (which is very hard for an 11 year to understand. She thinks everyone should be nice. We are also having issues w/ a couple girls on her allstar cheer team. They like to whesper & exclude her. The bad thing here is I am paying for this. I don't like paying to have my daughter bullied. After April this season is over & I plan to notreturn to this allstar team. The teachers have told me that my daughter is will likeed by most & she is good at cheerleading so I don't understand why she is victimized. She is very sensitive & vocal.

    Posted by km February 17, 10 09:56 AM
  1. I can very much relate to a lot of the posts here. My daughter is in new in school and in 3rd grade. She's already made a few good friends but there is one girl on the playground that calls her names and tries to turn others against her. It makes me feel hurt and angry to know that someone is being mean to my daughter. I have given her the advice to ignore this child because is is no fun to pick on someone that doesn't respond. Acting hurt or responding negatively to a bully gives them incentive to continue the behavior. If ignoring doesn't work, I will quickly contact the guidance counselor and Principal so they can intervene. If this doesn't work, expect Mom here to be the new playgound parent helper.
    Deb

    Posted by Deb April 27, 10 08:42 PM
  1. I know this post is long after the fact but I felt I had to speak out for the other parents (those of the bully). I just found out today that my daughter is in fact a "mean girl". I was approached by the school principal who shared this information with me by telling me about an email she had received from an undisclosed parent regarding my daughter. I won't act naive and say that I am shocked. I knew, because of my daughters own insecurities, that she had this behavior in her and as a middle school teacher I knew the "type". However, this was the first time that I had heard of her actually acting this way and learned of some of the things she was saying.
    In that regard I was shocked.
    I will not defend my daughter or her actions. I requested that she be dealt with fully at school and she will suffer the consequences at home as well. I truly believe that bullying is harassment and could have legal ramifications outside of the school grounds. My daughter will be made fully aware of this! In all I read above, I found little if anything in regards to the parents of bullies. I am ashamed of my daughter and her behavior and she will be writing formal apologies to EVERY person involved.
    I write this only to say, the parents of the "mean girl" may not at all be aware of the situation. If the table was turned, how would you want to be approached by the situation? I realize there are probably some moms out there who would defend their daughter's behaviors, but I am not one of them. Please know and understand that there is another set of parents on the other side of the situation. I am bewildered and at a loss on the situation. My other daughter was not like this in the slightest bit and it truly amazes me that two people can have the same parents and grow up in the same house with the same rules and be so totally opposite

    Posted by Mom on the other side October 5, 10 12:24 PM
  1. wow, amazing how what happens to us in jr. high is still so fresh and painful. I was also the kid picked on, bullied, and would do ANYTHING to be part of that popular crowd. It destroyed my self esteem and self worth and took me, oh about 30 years to recover. wow. I actually homeschooled my girls until 6th to give them a better sense of woh they were and save them some pain. However, my youngest in now in 8th grade and I'm watching the same pattern emerge. She runs with the "popular" girls, she's athelete, a good student, pretty etc. She's just like them except one thing: she doesn't have a mean bone in her body and they hate that. she has refused to follow the bitchiness and is now paying the price by being ostrasized and belittled. Yikes. We as her parents have an obligation as far as i am concerned to discreetly step in when we see our children's whol self worth go out the window. as her parents, we discreetly contacted her core teachers to have her seating arrangement changed, to give her some space from the clique, and went on her facebook and had her "hide" all the bitchies posts, (friend deleting them woud be too blatent). we'll see how this goes, it's a wild ride, aint it?

    Posted by e from Washington State October 22, 10 11:40 AM
  1. This will be a terrific web site, could you be interested in doing an interview regarding just how you developed it? If so e-mail me!

    Posted by seo January 31, 12 12:34 PM
  1. Hi my daughter is 7, shes in first grade. When she started this year, one of the girls in her class lives up the street in a nice house with a kids play house thats bigger then my house lol. I met the mom when she stopped by my house to see if my daughter and hers could start having play dates. Her mother said she had a friend who was being mean to her daughter and she wasn't going to be hanging around with her anymore. I felt bad of coarse and said ya of coarse she can. Well apparently her daughter started picking on mine and started telling my daughter that shes not going to let her go over her house and play anymore. The first inccident her daughter reached over the seat on the bus and smacked her on the top of her head. I immediately went with her mother to talk to the bus driver. I asked if that happend and the bus driver said yes , but then the mother interupted and said " oh did she just kinda tap her to get her attention , like this" motioning with her hand. Then the bus driver kinda gave the look like ya she couldve done that. It came off to me like she was trying to make an excuse for her daughter to save face. I was fine after and shrugged it off and gave her the benefit of the doubt. Her daughter then a week later pushed her off the seat on the bus. She started talking bad about her with other girls, and she just recently in gym class tried to shake the bench so my daughter would fall off. Now I know my kid isn't totally innocent no child is . They all have their moments but I know her to be more shy then anything . I've spoke to the bus driver and asked her to keep them separated. Ive also talked to the mother and she said that her daughter tells her that my daughter is the one picking on her because she is jealous of her daughter because of a boy in their class. Now I've seen how this girl acts with her parents when she doesn't like something they tell her, or she doesn't get her own way. She stomps off and crosses her arms. Now my daughter knows she doesn't act that way with me. I know parents always want to believe their children and I told my daughter that I believe her, but If I find out she lies to me , it will be harder to trust her on things. She understands that and honestly is a really shy and good kid . The bus driver did see the other girl hit her on the head and also deffinetly saw the incident of her pushing my daughter off the seat. This girls mother is also a volunteer in the class her daughter and mine are in. I talked to the teacher about keeping the two seperated and she said ya she would, but my daughter is still getting picked on. My daughter said she tried to tell the teacher and the teacher said " not now Im busy" ??? Like I honestly think that because she volunteers in the class that the teacher won't address this situation because her mother helps her. What can I do?? I can't volunteer I have 4 children and 1 on the way. As much as I'd love too, I don't have the time. I called to make an appointment with the principal. I just don't know if this will get resolved the mother is very friendly with everyone at the school and her daughter is obviously well liked because of it. I have such a headache from all of this. I also believe that the girl the mother was talking about that supposedly was bullying her child was probably another victim of her daughter being mean. PLEASE HELPPP. P.s one other thing...her daughter has told my daughter that there is a bad man that comes around at night and hes going to shoot through my daughters window. Shes says some pretty disturbing things, about how she wouldn't care if my daughter got hurt and went to the hospital??? what should I do.......

    Posted by FED UP June 11, 12 09:52 AM
 
60 comments so far...
  1. Wow, this is pretty much verbatim what my daughter experienced starting in 3rd grade and continuing a bit into 4th grade. Your description of the "bully" and how I felt like dealing with her is dead on. Fortunately, my daughter talked to me about this as soon as it started happening and were able to deal with it immediately.

    How did we handle it? We did a lot of role playing a lot, using what the 'bully' was saying and what my daughter could say in response. Yes, we discussed that the 'bully' was jealous and insecure and all the other things that you mention. However, the real thing that got my daughter past it was constant (and I mean daily for months) non confrontational responses by my daughter to the 'bully's' remarks. I also, thanks to Barbara Meltz's great advise, spoke with her teacher who was an extra set of eyes and ears in the classroom and on the playground.

    Believe me, it took all I had to not take matters into my own hands with both the 'bully' and her mother but I am so glad that I did not. My daughter learned that talking with her parents and dealing with the situation herself, worked out. She has learned to be cordial to the 'bully' in social and school situations but is not friends with her anymore and we are all much happier.

    Posted by AJ January 23, 09 08:03 AM
  1. Thanks for sharing your experience, AJ! Readers, here's a link to Barbara Meltz's article on young girls and bullies: http://www.boston.com/yourlife/home/articles/2004/01/15/shocking_but_true_even_6_year_old_girls_can_be_bullies/ I'm not sure if it's the same one AJ mentioned, but it's an eye-opening and helpful read. -- LMA

    Posted by LMA January 23, 09 11:21 AM
  1. I have a 9 year old in 3rd grade who is very sensative. There are alot of mean kids in 3rd grade. She doesn't understand why everyone can't be nice like she is. I told her there are some kids that are not nice and unfortunately there is nothing you can do about it. Her feelings get hut really easily and she will cry which makes it so much harder for her. She is learning that as long as she is nice to people the people that are worth having in her life will be. I am trying to tell her that not everyone will be her friend but that is okay. It's very tough.

    Posted by mom2kids January 23, 09 11:42 AM
  1. Don't worry, it only gets worse. I was the first girl to er, "blossom" in 6th grade or so, and you wouldn't believe the levels of hostility from both the girls and the boys. Well, the girls bullied me, the boys just harassed me constantly.

    Teach your daughters to smile and make a funny (preferably devastating) backhand comment when another girl tries to drive her out of a group. Humor is an excellent weapon, and sarcasm is even better, once you reach middle school. Send your girls to martial arts school for self esteem, discipline, and the ability to beat up the redneck girl who jumps her in gym class.


    Posted by muppetgirl January 23, 09 11:51 AM
  1. My 11yr old went through that with someone who used to be her friend. It started with verbal harassment then turned physical. She was punched in the arms and pushed against a student’s desk where she hit her head. Of course none of the teachers ever saw anything. It took some time before my daughter opened up and told me what was happening. I had noticed a change in her and knew something was going on. I spoke with the school counselor as well as the principal of the school. The counselor even mentioned that this bully was a ‘problem child’. I told them if it happened again to let her parents know that I will be pressing charges. They spoke with the girl and her parents and threatened suspension if she continued her bullying.

    Posted by RS617 January 23, 09 12:17 PM
  1. My daughter went through this with a bullying girl in her class. The girl was well known for her nasty behavior, and had chosen various victims during her time at school.

    My daughter asked her a couple of times to stop, and was laughed off. She asked the teacher and the principal to get involved, and that made matters worse. When the bully started passing rumors around school that my daughter was a lesbian, my daughter decided she had had enough. She decked the kid, and ended up breaking her nose. The girl never bullied another kid ever again.

    My daughter got suspended for a week, but she felt it was worth it as the teachers never bothered to get involved. The best way to stop a bully is to call their bluff, and to put them in their place.

    Posted by Margo Thompson January 23, 09 12:35 PM
  1. To Muppetgirl..."send your girls to martial arts school.." That's exactly what I did which came in handy when she turned 13. There was another situation and she was able to defend herself. It's hard enough this day and age for teenage girls. Having to deal with the cattiness of girls in cliques, the peer pressure, and still having to deal with bullies… I’ve dealt with teachers who didn’t want to get involved and have turned a blind eye. That’s why kids end up taking matters into their own hands. This is a serious situation in schools. I wish they’d do a better job at educating the students and teachers about this and implement anti-bullying initiatives.

    Posted by RS617 January 23, 09 01:06 PM
  1. First, I want to add that bullying can happen to adults too, so don't assume it won't happen again once your kids graduate from school - or that it won't happen to you. Here's some info on workplace bullying: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7599354.stm

    "Michelle New at kidshealth.org suggests teaching kids to avoid the bully, 'stand tall and be brave,' feel good about themselves, and 'get a buddy and be a buddy.'"

    Excellent advice! "Get a buddy and be a buddy" is much better than the antisocial "don't care what anyone else thinks" advice I heard so much of when I was a child.

    "They might not resort to fist fights after school"

    Not as often, maybe. Remember the after-school girl fights on the Orange Line a few years ago?

    "Don't worry, it only gets worse. I was the first girl to er, 'blossom' in 6th grade or so, and you wouldn't believe the levels of hostility from both the girls and the boys. Well, the girls bullied me, the boys just harassed me constantly."

    That's terrible! It's also why nobody should punish their daughter for having a "slutty" reputation. I heard that kids these days use the label "slut" for any girl they hate, even if she hasn't had her first kiss yet, even if she's been too rejected to have her first kiss for the same reasons the people calling her a slut hate her!

    "I told them if it happened again to let her parents know that I will be pressing charges."

    Good for you! Charges get pressed when adults suffer attacks like your daughter did, so why go easier on jerks attacking kids?

    "When the bully started passing rumors around school that my daughter was a lesbian, my daughter decided she had had enough. She decked the kid, and ended up breaking her nose. The girl never bullied another kid ever again."

    I'm glad that you didn't punish her for allegedly being lesbian and that she didn't have to resort to pregnancy to protect herself from gaybashing. Sadly, some other kids aren't so lucky: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/teens+higher+risk+pregnancy+study/1082366/story.html

    Posted by Leslie January 23, 09 01:28 PM
  1. I have a 4th grade boy who is new at his school who is the object of a mean girl at school. I am having a hard time trying to let him know how he can deal with it in an appropriate manner. He certainly can't retaliate in a physical way or he will be labeled as the abuser. My 6th grader, also a boy, has been punched by a girl at school, too. How does a boy get help without getting labeled as a wimp for having girls pick on him or as an abuser if they stand up to the girls?

    Hi, Mom of three, thanks for commenting. I wish I had more answers for you -- that's a tough situation. This article by Scholastic offers some tips for dealing with bullies that seem to be gender-neutral -- http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=1438 -- LMA

    Posted by Mom of three January 23, 09 01:34 PM
  1. I hate to say this but my daughter is 12 and has become a "mean girl"! This is only after enduring a year of torment and ridicule of her own by boys and girls that were supposedly her friends. We live in a predominately white town and my daughter is bi-racial, the evil things that they said to her were unthinkable. My daughter choose to laugh it off. I brought this to the attention of the principal and they handled it horribly and it backfired as they got the kids together to confront each other and she became a snitch. I don't like what's happened my daughter and I even went to "rachaels way" at the school and my daughter was very interested in being a part of it. We talk about things that happen and how she could handle it differently but I think parents shouldn't be so quick to judge the "mean girls"!

    Posted by ncb January 23, 09 01:39 PM
  1. Why does this article HAVE to be prefaced with an account of boy's behavior? The reality is, women/girls demonstrate almost equal levels of aggression as men/boys, but often deploy these actions in different ways. Domestic violence law criminalizes men upon accusation alone. Anyone familiar with the DV law knows that men are persecuted with today’s 0% tolerance policies. While these policies may help the actual victim of abuse, most often non-abusive men get swept into a system which is geared to vilify them. Female bullying is a reality. It is time to recognize that women/girls are abusive too, and that they carry these tendencies into adulthood, and now they often end up criminalizing the men in their life as a result.

    Thanks for commenting, pj1. This post isn't prefaced by an account of boy's behavior; I wrote that our perception is that bullies are boys when, in fact, girls can be bullies, too. So, I agree with you. I didn't go into the aspect of adult female bullying (given that this is a blog about child caring), but you make a very strong point. Thank you. -- LMA

    Posted by pj1 January 23, 09 01:42 PM
  1. "Odd Girl Out" is a fantastic book! I read it years ago when my girls were in 4th & 5th grades. I was able to point out to them what it said in the book on many occasions. We live in an affluent town with a very competitive school system where things are measured by appearances. My girls, while pretty, were not dressed in many of the "plastic's" styles. They were treated by the other girls very much the same ways as in the book. I was able to explain to them that most of those kids had low esteem and were trying to make themselves feel better by looking the way people wanted them to look and making others feel substandard. I pointed out to my girls that they were every bit as good as every other girl in the world and that they didn't even have to respond to the crap that was going on. I constantly explained to them that kids, and adults for that matter, grow and mature at different rates. They only have to make sure they are happy with themselves, and are not going to be liked by everyone. They also did not have to degrade others, and could be different by looking for the positives in others as we all have our own strengths and weaknesses. My girls are 18 & 19 now and each have a group of very close friends, a group of peole they are aquainted with and on good terms, and don't even bother with those who can't accept them for who they are. It's all about self acceptance, and self knowledge. They found their niches, I didn't.

    Posted by singledad January 23, 09 01:46 PM
  1. oh, wow. i was made fun of and bullied pretty much relentlessly from about 3rd grade on. i was the class nerd. it got slightly better in high school when i found a little group of friends and even better in college when i escaped my town and found a like-minded group of friends and people mostly grew out of the making fun of each other stage. the sad thing is, i see the same thing happening to my cousin who is now 13. the best thing to tell these kids is that life gets better when it is no longer a popularity contest and to focus on what makes them happy. (unless the abuse turns physical, in which case there has to be some kind of alteration of the situation.) me, i kept doing what i loved and viewed college as a ticket away from the kids that i grew up with that bullied me for all those years... and it worked out well.

    Posted by anon January 23, 09 02:29 PM
  1. My son is a sixth grader at the middle school (5th - 8th
    grades).

    He loves school and recently started telling me that he did not want to go
    to school. I immediately knew something was up. He told me after
    multiple questions that there was about 3 boys in class that would
    constantly put him down, call him names, and swear at him when the
    teachers weren't looking. Two of them had started to get physical by
    kneeing him in line at the cafeteria and hitting him in the back while in
    the hallway.

    He was fearful to tell me because he did not want me to say anything to
    his teachers or principal. He had in incident before where bullies were
    confronted by the teachers and he along with a few other kids were
    immediately blamed and called snitches by the kids making the situation
    worse.

    However, I decided that him telling me about what was going on was his way
    of telling me that he could not deal with the situation himself and needed
    help.

    I immediately contacted his teacher by email describing 3 - 4 incidents
    that he had told me about along with the kids involved. She called me the
    next day and was incredulous that this was happening right under her nose.
    She told me, however, that others had started to complain about the same
    kids and similar situations. I told her as well that I did not want my
    son to know that I was saying anything and that I was going to tell him I
    didn't. I didn't want him to have to lie to these other kids when
    confronted by them. She didn't think this would happen.

    The next the day I got a call from the principal that two of the boys were
    being moved out of the class. My son came home angry saying that he knew
    I said something. The one boy left in the class whispered to my son later
    in the day that if he found out that it was him who said something then he
    was going to get him. Again, I told my son I didn't and that others must
    have complained.

    I again immediately called the principal to tell him about the threat.

    Since then my son reports that the class is completely different. There
    is no swearing, name calling. The class is quiet. The boys who were
    moved do not bother him and one actually says hello in the hall. The
    third left in the class seems to have had the fear put into him to make
    him stop. My son said the other day -- "you know, if you did say
    something, thanks, because it really helped." I just told him that others
    must have.

    I am very pleased about how this situation turned out. The school was
    responsive, took immediate action, protected the kids who were speaking up
    with anonimity, brought parents into the situation, and were appreciative
    of my specific input.

    Posted by LMB January 23, 09 02:32 PM
  1. Our twin daughters have been enrolled for five years in a dance studio that is really supportive and I have to say the friendships and life skills they have developed there are more genuine and meaningful to them than anything they have in middle school. So I second the notion of getting kids involved in an activity outside of their regular school environment; our daughters have been able to see there is a much bigger world out there.

    Posted by Sewing Diva January 23, 09 02:52 PM
  1. As a teacher, I do try to watch out for these things. Unfortunately I cannot see everything that happens. I dont tolerate any harrassment in or out of my classroom. As a matter of fact, i dont have a zero tolerance, I have a negative tolerance to it. We had a situation with a male student in my classroom 2 years ago that was thankfully brought to my attention. Myself and one of the counselors pulled all 4 suspects into the counselors office and read them the riot act. I specifically said that I do not want to see them even talking with the aforementioned student. If I did, I would assume the worse. I kept a vigilant eye on it at all times during the rest of the year. There were no problems.

    Posted by High School Teacher January 23, 09 03:05 PM
  1. My first grade daughter was being bullied by one of her so-called "friends". Her friend would sometimes be nice, only to abruptly change gears and be mean to my daughter, even "excluding" her from play with other kids, who would follow the bully. My wife and I discussed the situation with the bully's parents, but the impression they left was that they were glad (even proud) that it was their daughter in charge. So, we told our daughter to find other friends and ignore the bully and whoever would follow her. My daughter did just that. One by one, the bully's other friends also left her and joined my daughter's circle of new friends, eventually leaving the bully virtually alone. And you know what? It was my daughter who invited her back into the group. Yes, the bully often tries to slip back into her old ways, but her bullying has been broken. After missing some birthday parties and after-school playdates, this bully and her parents now know who's NOT in charge!

    Posted by AF January 23, 09 03:06 PM
  1. I am a third grade teacher and our school is focusing on bullying this year. We consider bullying to be anything that is happening repeatedly. So calling someone a name once doesn't necessarily count, but doing it every day does. We document every instance of bullying, even if it just sounds like tattling. I have a "bully box" in the corner so kids can drop a note in there anonymously (or not), then I record those. If I see a pattern, I have a conference with the bully to discuss consequences both socially and in school (referral and suspension). If it happens again I meet with the parents. The hardest part is always trying to convince them their child is a bully! The documentation really helps. I would suggest to parents that their child keep a record, or you at least keep a record of EVERY time the child has bullied your child no matter how minor. Just like someone said with pressing charges, I would then ask the school to take action and suggest suspension of the student--just like if they had physically hurt someone. The key is to have a pattern of behaviors documented. Many of the suggestions ultimately go back to building self esteem and telling kids to brush it off, but we know that does nothing to stop the bullying. And as a teacher, I can sadly attest to the fact that sometimes a parent has to act up before I notice something or take action. There are just too many kids in a too frenzied day to really see or act on everything. Once I get a phone call or e-mail though, I'm on it asap.

    Posted by Aimee January 23, 09 03:25 PM
  1. I had a female friend who worked as a home companion for an elderly woman as a teen. She wanted a "real" job, so she found work at John Hancock in a large office. This young woman was a sweet person, very short and happened to have very large breasts. She told me that while she could deal with the men staring at her - that was just guys being stupid guys - it was the women who forced her to quit the job. Every time she walked by, women would lean over to each other, whisper and snigger at her. You need an article on "Mean Women" as well. These were grown "ladies."

    Posted by MarkB January 23, 09 03:43 PM
  1. I think the advice in the article is excellent. Unless there is physical abuse, don't "over-emphasize, over-dramatize, or internalize the problem". Also, help them find "true friends".

    The description of the bully could be my daughter in that she is smart, pretty, liked by adults, and since she is a young teen, insecure. The other trait she has is that she is good at organizing a group of girls. What often happens is that she and a group of girls will form a nice friendship. Then, other girls will want to join in but they don't really fit in with the group. These other girls can be very persistent and don't take kind hints. Should the original group be forced to take in new members? I agree they should not be mean, but neither should they be forced to be close friends with everyone who wants to join them.

    I'm also surprised, never being very pretty or overly popular, how mean people are to my daughter BECAUSE she is pretty, smart and popular. She has received far more snubs from other adults for being pretty than I ever recieved for being bookish and shy. Even in this comment stream, girls were called plastic.

    Mean is mean!

    Posted by Samiam January 23, 09 04:38 PM
  1. "the best thing to tell these kids is that life gets better when it is no longer a popularity contest..."

    When is that? Age 100? Even on factory floors and in nursing homes, most human beings are social and don't find every person equally likeable, whether for superficial reasons (like "being pretty" or "being ugly") or rational reasons (like listening well or constantly interrupting).

    "...and to focus on what makes them happy."

    I hope you'd accept that for many kids, focusing on what makes them happy would include focusing on having at least one friend instead of being too unpopular for even that.

    "Since then my son reports that the class is completely different. There
    is no swearing, name calling. The class is quiet. The boys who were
    moved do not bother him and one actually says hello in the hall. The
    third left in the class seems to have had the fear put into him to make
    him stop. My son said the other day -- 'you know, if you did say
    something, thanks, because it really helped.' I just told him that others must have.

    "I am very pleased about how this situation turned out. The school was
    responsive, took immediate action, protected the kids who were speaking up
    with anonimity, brought parents into the situation, and were appreciative
    of my specific input."

    I am very pleased too!

    "The description of the bully could be my daughter in that she is smart, pretty, liked by adults, and since she is a young teen, insecure. The other trait she has is that she is good at organizing a group of girls. What often happens is that she and a group of girls will form a nice friendship. Then, other girls will want to join in but they don't really fit in with the group. These other girls can be very persistent and don't take kind hints. Should the original group be forced to take in new members? I agree they should not be mean, but neither should they be forced to be close friends with everyone who wants to join them. "

    Also, no doubt when she's a bit older the "nice guys finish last!!!" crowd will criticize your daughter for not having sex with every guy who wants to have sex with her even if he doesn't really fit in with what she finds sexually attractive.

    You might find the info at these two links useful for later.

    This link includes stuff on people being very persistent and not taking kind hints:
    http://www.plausiblydeniable.com/opinion/gsf.html

    "...Geek Social Fallacy #1: Ostracizers Are Evil

    "GSF1 is one of the most common fallacies, and one of the most deeply held. Many geeks have had horrible, humiliating, and formative experiences with ostracism, and the notion of being on the other side of the transaction is repugnant to them.

    "In its non-pathological form, GSF1 is benign, and even commendable: it is long past time we all grew up and stopped with the junior high popularity games. However, in its pathological form, GSF1 prevents its carrier from participating in -- or tolerating -- the exclusion of anyone from anything, be it a party, a comic book store, or a web forum, and no matter how obnoxious, offensive, or aromatic the prospective excludee may be.

    "As a result, nearly every geek social group of significant size has at least one member that 80% of the members hate, and the remaining 20% merely tolerate. If GSF1 exists in sufficient concentration -- and it usually does -- it is impossible to expel a person who actively detracts from every social event. GSF1 protocol permits you not to invite someone you don't like to a given event, but if someone spills the beans and our hypothetical Cat Piss Man invites himself, there is no recourse. You must put up with him, or you will be an Evil Ostracizer and might as well go out for the football team.

    "This phenomenon has a number of unpleasant consequences. For one thing, it actively hinders the wider acceptance of geek-related activities: I don't *know* that RPGs and comics would be more popular if there were fewer trolls who smell of cheese hassling the new blood, but I'm sure it couldn't hurt. For another, when nothing smacking of social selectiveness can be discussed in public, people inevitably begin to organize activities in secret. These conspiracies often lead to more problems down the line, and the end result is as juvenile as anything a seventh-grader ever dreamed of..."

    This one includes stuff on the dating version of the problem: http://divalion.livejournal.com/163615.html

    "...Here is a classic example of a Nice Guy experience that I had in high school, which I think summarizes the issue. I was friends with a circle of about four guys who were all very tight with each other, all to varying degrees both nice guys and Nice Guys. Contrary to my more fluid physical boundaries now as a polyamorous adult, back then there was no gratuitous making out or any such thing lest anyone Get The Wrong Idea. One of the guys was someone I was close enough to, to consider one of my best friends. Another of the guys, the most recent addition to the group who was very quiet and who I probably knew the least (and knew me the least)-- in fact we didn't know each other well at all-- decided he had a huge crush on me. This did not prompt him to, say, talk to me more or anything, so I remained blissfully ignorant until I slowly began to piece together the cryptic comments, weird behavior, and snickers of those guy friends whenever I was around. I might have been trying to date someone else at the time, I can't recall, but either way I just wasn't interested romantically in this particular guy so I tried to ignore the signs and act like everything was normal. Eventually the other guys decided it was time to confront me with it and ask if I was going to go out with him, and the social pressure mounted, from them as well as a few female friends. Since there was no longer any chance of just ignoring the situation, I had to tell the guy that most awful of things, that I liked him well enough but 'not that way'.

    "I knew he would be hurt and feel rejected by that, and having been overlooked myself in the past I felt bad about it and tried to at least be gentle, figuring that was that, and he'd get over it. What I was not quite prepared for was that the entire group of guys-- including the one who liked me-- would be furious at me for it and promptly stop talking to me. I don't remember exactly how long the snit lasted, but it was quite a while before they would deign to talk to me again, and even then things were never quite the same.

    "I'm telling this not because I feel particularly scarred by it still but because it has some of the classic hallmarks of the Nice Guy experience, which I KNOW some of my chick friends reading this will be able to relate to only too well:

    "1) He fell 'totally in love' with me, as it was relayed to me, without having really gotten to know me at all and based mostly on surface attraction. (And although the romantic in me likes to believe that 'love at first sight' is possible, the true manifestation of that phenomenon is a *mutual* one IMO, and in any case it is quite reasonable to remind oneself that there is a difference between a swift and powerful attraction and actual love, and that one might wish to take some time to explore whether there is a point of convergence there before proceeding.)

    "2) The assumption was made, by all the guys including him, that because he was a Nice Guy, I was obligated to place that above any of his other qualities and to date him for it, regardless of whether or not we were otherwise compatible.

    "3) My feelings or desires did not seem to matter nor enter into the equation; he liked me, ergo, I must go out with him-- because who in her right mind would pass up a chance to date such a Nice Guy?

    "4) When his feelings were not returned, even with a rejection delivered as gently as possible out of consideration for those feelings, he and the other guys turned on me. All my good stuff turned to bad stuff and I was to be reviled..."


    "I'm also surprised, never being very pretty or overly popular, how mean people are to my daughter BECAUSE she is pretty, smart and popular. She has received far more snubs from other adults for being pretty than I ever recieved for being bookish and shy. Even in this comment stream, girls were called plastic."

    I wonder how many of her friends your daughter would need to dump in order to make herself unpopular enough for those complainers and stop appearing too neurotypical for them. Hmm...

    Posted by Leslie January 23, 09 06:01 PM
  1. As a teacher, I thought I might disagree with the"well liked by all" version of the mean girl. Girls I have known that are hyper-critical of others, which is at least one definition of the mean girl often have a hyper-critical parent, usually the mom (sorry moms!). I'm not sure if that helps people deal with them, but it is important to realize they like to put people down to boost their own low self-esteem. I still find it very annoying to have them in class.

    Posted by a January 23, 09 06:25 PM
  1. I lived this for 27 years and this is nothing more than abuse. We need to start to see this "bullying" for what it is: OUTRIGHT ABUSE!

    I am highly suspicious of a child or adult who is charasmatic, engaging, popular and basically adored by everyone. What people do not realize is that we are creating monsters by feeding into this behavior. Like DARE says: JUST SAY NO!

    Take Care,
    Elizabeth Bennett
    http://www.peerabuse.info

    Posted by Elizabeth Bennett January 23, 09 06:53 PM
  1. To all the parents who are outright admitting to going behind their children's backs to tell teachers, principals and other parents - you should be ashamed. Kids today are very unlikely to talk to their parents about serious problems because they fear criticism or interferance. This is exactly why!!! One parent above admits to still talking to her son's teacher and principal after he specifically asked her not to. It may have worked out for him for that brief time, but you just wait until the next time he has something to confess - - his thought process will be "I really need to tell someone this, I wish I could tell mom, but she'll turn around and tell someone else. Kids need to be able to trust their parents. When they ask you not to interfere its because they know what will happen to them in school. YOU have been out of school for years, and its not the same as it was when you were there. Please just listen to your children and be supportive, but when they ask you NOT TO TELL....DON'T

    Thanks for commenting, Crown. I appreciate your point of view, but I'm not sure I agree with it completely. Yes, kids need to be able to trust their parents, but it's a parent's job to do what's in the best interests of the child -- and the child doesn't always know what's best for him or herself. I think a lot depends on the age of the child and the individual situation... - LMA

    Posted by Crown January 23, 09 07:00 PM
  1. I am embarrassed to admit that in 6th grade, I was the "mean girl" to another girl in our class. Like the article mentions, as the "mean girl" I got good grades, volunteered for everything, was a class officer and cheerleading captain, and all-around do-gooder, people-pleaser to parents and teachers. My actions started out as genuine annoyance at and jealousy of the other girl over a specific indicent but quickly became much bigger than me and our original conflict once the rest of the class quickly got on board and backed me up. It was a huge (and somewhat frightening) power trip to have everyone dislike someone at my say-so, and especially at that age to have boys on my side. Everyone turned on her quickly, and my fear was that if I pulled the plug on this vendetta, would they turn on me too? Pathetic, isn't it?

    In my case, a teacher was aware of the situation and tried to intervene after almost the whole school year had gone by, but the knowledge that everyone knew what was going on and didn't say anything sent the message of approval by silence. The one action that no one took was to involve my parents, which would have shamed me tremendously and probably would have worked to get the problem solved. If anyone is dealing with a "mean girl" who is otherwise a "good girl" she is probably an insecure people-pleaser underneath the confident exterior and exposing her bad behavior to those whose approval she most seeks out (parents, teachers, a coach etc.) might work wonders to stop the behavior.
    I have actually never admitted this to anyone and hope this is helpful to the parents of someone being bullied or bullying.

    Posted by Jen January 23, 09 07:07 PM
  1. I've actually had to go on meds because of what my dear daughter is going through in fifth grade. She is very innocent and boy identified. She's had some girl friends through the years but mostly boy friends. She dresses like a boy and is also Asian (adopted) going to a predominantly white school. She's had two close girl friends in the past couple of years one of whom moved the other who turned on her. For the past few months she's had another close girl friend who suddenly turned on her this week and hit her at school. I haven't played it up much and have not over-dramatized it but it is eating me up inside to the point where I can't sleep and I'm really on edge. I'm feeling pretty helpless actually.

    Posted by Desperate Dad January 23, 09 07:49 PM
  1. "I lived this for 27 years and this is nothing more than abuse. We need to start to see this 'bullying' for what it is: OUTRIGHT ABUSE!"

    This is a very good point, and I wholeheartedly agree with it.

    "I am highly suspicious of a child or adult who is charasmatic, engaging, popular and basically adored by everyone."

    This is not a good point. Being charismatic, engaging, and popular is not a virtue but it is not a vice either. Your point here reminds me of Samiam's earlier point:

    "I'm also surprised, never being very pretty or overly popular, how mean people are to my daughter BECAUSE she is pretty, smart and popular. She has received far more snubs from other adults for being pretty than I ever recieved for being bookish and shy. Even in this comment stream, girls were called plastic."

    How much do you think Samiam's daughter should deface herself and play dumb? How many of her friends do you think she should reject? How much less engaging, charismatic, and popular must she become to stop being suspected of abuse?

    Also, your suspicion of popular people reminds me of Desperate Dad's point:

    "She's had two close girl friends in the past couple of years one of whom moved the other who turned on her. For the past few months she's had another close girl friend who suddenly turned on her this week and hit her at school."

    It's possible that the two girls who abused Desperate Dad's daughter made themselves *less* popular in the process (reducing the number of people who like them by at least two, the daughter and Desperate Dad himself, and not gaining the respect of anyone else).

    After all, do the math: a child who somehow manages to be liked by all the other children in school will (by definition!) be more popular than if he or she manages to be liked by only most other children at school and bullies the rest of them.

    Posted by Leslie January 24, 09 06:29 AM
  1. Bullying is a form of abuse, the aim of which is to steal the soul of the victim. It is systematic, like any other kind of sadism. Research has shown that anyone--teacher, student--friend-- can stop the bullying immediately by intervening, although they might have to do this more than once. Since the consequences of being bullied last a lifetime, you would think that a bullying incident would be seen as an emergency, but often the people around the victim are complicit. At the very fancy private school where my son went, I was told by his teacher that "the smaller ones are always bullied by other children, all the teachers agreed, and that was just how it was." I thereupon set out to bully teachers and administrators at the school, with great success.

    Posted by bobi January 24, 09 08:31 AM
  1. My son was kicked out of a Catholic School in Endicott, NY because of physical and mental abuse by a girls much larger than him. She was hitting him one day and kept badgering him until he made a threat (not used physical means) to keep her away. She gets to stay in school and get off scott-free while we had to scury to find educational services for our son. How fair is this? Enough is enough! Girls can be manipulative, and are usually taught this by their mothers, as a way to get what they want and to get away with everything.

    Posted by AngryDad January 24, 09 10:13 AM
  1. We have FREE downloads for parents to help them cope with bullying and cyberbullying and help prevent it happening to your kids. MARC is a no-cost resource out of Bridgewater State College for all parents. Go to our website and click on PARENTS (http://www.MARCcenter.org).

    Posted by Elizabeth K. Englander, Ph.D. January 24, 09 11:39 AM
  1. Desperate Dad,
    You made a promise that you would love and protect your daughter the day they put her in your arms! GET ON IT! This goes for all parents! If your child is being bullied at school it is your job to protect them! END OF STORY. Be an advocate for your child and stand up for them because NOONE ELSE WILL!! Life is hard enough as it is for kids today. These are their formative years and will shape the beings they will be for the REST OF THEIR LIVES.
    For the parent that suggested that you "don't say anything if your child asks you not to" I'm glad I'm not your child! What the hell do you think the kid is going to say?? Of course they are going to say that they always do, but if you rectify the problem FOR them, then it becomes a non-issue doesn't it? What parent takes
    orders from their child anyway? If it were sexual harassment, would the same rules apply?? I certainly hope not.
    Children are in school to learn. No child should have to feel afraid while going to school. Anyone see the movie "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle" when the nanny goes into the school yard on behalf of the child she's caring for and pulls the bullies arm behind his back and says if he doesn't leave the girl alone that she'll break his F*&^%$@! arm?? That will be me. If anyone screws with my kids while they are at school, watch out, cuz if your kid is the bully I'M GOING AFTER THEM!

    Posted by subie January 24, 09 08:32 PM
  1. I grew up in a family of all girls and my mother went out of her way to teach us to not be catty. It worked, and my sisters and I have never been "mean girls.". Howver, I am in nursing school now and the majority of the white women in my class are textbook mean girls. It's really sad to see grown women who can't feel good about themselves unless they undermine someone else's self-esteem. I don't understand why they are in the healing profession on the first place when they have such destructive personalities. I may not be cut out for a mostly female profession if it's full of insecure people.

    Posted by Student nurse January 24, 09 09:33 PM
  1. I grew up being bullied by parents,teachers,kids,coaches etc... I would agree we need to something regarding bullying. However, I long for the days when a swift smack in the face would often solve the problem(without the bull of having going thru legal manuevers 101, call me old). If the object of the bully is ever to get a little peace in this lifetime, there is only one thing the works, and that is YOU HAVE TO BULLY a BULLY. That's the only thing these aggressive predators understand. This goes for children as well as adults. You just have to stand up for yourself and stand on your own two feet

    Posted by Wolfenstein365 January 25, 09 11:14 AM
  1. Self defense in the form of extreme violence was my only way out of the cycle of being bullied. I was aquitted but I do not necessarily condone this route. What I did learn was that I could survive a beating and fight back. I would never want to be a teenager again.
    Kids are mean. There is a pecking order and even those that seem to be on top never truly feel that they are securely on top. This perpetuates a rythym of "stomp on eveyone else". Some of us get thick skin and most of us grow out of it.
    I do not have an answer only an observation of what we have all had to endure, even the bullies.


    Posted by Snydley January 25, 09 03:28 PM
  1. Yikes! Bring on the lynch mob! You cannot bully kids into behaving nicely!

    To Desperate Dad - having your child rejected by others is SOOOO painful! I know. But, it is a lot to expect other 10 year olds to teach your child social skills. It may help expose your daughter to situations where there are other age groups, or help her find her "tribe" by getting her into activites where she is successful, sports or music, or with kids she feels comfortable outside of school.

    Posted by Samiam January 25, 09 05:14 PM
  1. I was bullied in Junior High, by mostly girls. It was awful. The teachers didn't care. These kids were the rich kids, they could do what they wanted. I hated going to school. I skipped a few classes, until I got caught. I had to go back. I never told my parents, my mother would have gone to the Principal. It would have just got worse. I finally fought back. I beat up a girl & knocked another's books across the room. It got a little better once I got to High School. My niece is now going through the same thing as I did, she is miserable. My sister wants to go to the Principal. My niece doesn't want her to do that, same reason as mine. I think she should fight back like I did. Even if you get in trouble, you need to fight back or it will never end! Everyone needs to stand up for themselves.

    Posted by Laurie January 25, 09 05:31 PM
  1. 25 years later and I still hope that Bari Steinholtz, Erika Ozer and the rest of the SOB's that I went to grade school with would get run over by a bus!

    Posted by J. Jones January 25, 09 06:33 PM
  1. At Balance Educational Services, we teach students a “Bully Proofing Plan of Action.” It includes the following strategies when confronted by a bully(ies): Ignore, Walk Away, Assertively Say “Stop” and Walk Away, Go to a Trusted Adult. We detail all these skills in our book, How to Stop Bullying And Social Aggression: Elementary Grade Lessons and Activities That Teach Empathy, Friendship, And Respect (Corwin Press). These strategies empower targets to stop direct and indirect bullying, including cyber bullying.

    Each individual suggestion HAS to be accompanied with details and practice. For instance, ignoring means to continue to do what you were doing without commenting back, making faces or any response that could reinforce the bully. When choosing to walk away, it should be with head up, back straight, and a normal walking pace.

    When telling the bully to “Stop,” the victim has to express confidence through body language, eye contact, tone of voice and what (few) words to say. Chronic victims of bullying don’t usually have an assertive style of communication and therefore it needs to be practiced.

    For more bully prevention resources, got to http://www.balanceeducationalservices.com/resources.html

    Posted by Michael Dreiblatt January 25, 09 08:13 PM
  1. The school district we live in has a ZERO tolerance for bullying. My son is a freshman in high school; he is a quiet friendly kid that is slightly overweight, he has been bullied by 2 girls (so far) this year. He was very upset when the first girl verbally abused him in the hallways for about a week. I told him to ignore her, walk the other way and so on. Then she verbally attacked him about his weight and other things and he was very upset. I then contacted the school guidence counselor (who I went to school with) and explained what had happenend. Our school has a ZERO tolerance for bullying; and after working with the school for about a week she was transfered to the alternative school for students with behavior issues. I had found out that my son was only one of her several victims.
    The second time this year the other girl was sticking her nose in where it didn't belong; my son was doing his classwork on the computer and she went over to him and accused him of logging into other websites which he wasn't. He told her to leave him alone, then she started name calling, again he said go away leave me alone, then she started using the F-Bomb and other insults and then took pencils and erasers and threw them at him (the teacher was in the hall talking to another teacher); she was trying to get other kids to do the same. My son got up from his seat went over to her (as she is texting on her cell phone during class) and she was still calling him names using profanity, he took her cell phone and stepped on it until it broke. He called her a name back and left the classroom. They both got in trouble my son got 2 extented detentions and she got 2-days supsension and 10 days of extented detentions. I eventully found out that she has been a trouble maker for a long time but no one really stood up to her. She has not said one word to my son, and as word spread thru the school other kids were giving my son Hi Fives and one kid came up to him and said thanks. Since the begining of 2009 my son hasn't seen her and it is believed that she can no longer attend day school and she needs to finish in the night school program offered there.
    I am proud of my son for A) standing up for himself B) not dropping down to her level [not using profanity] C) not hitting her and D) walking out of the classroom (on his way to the office). He was shaken up for a few days but he knows he doesn't have put up with bullies.
    This could have been alot worse if it was the other way around. The bottom line is Some Girls are Outright Nasty, Self-Absorbed and carry a sense of Entitlement. By the way we never got a bill for the cell phone (lol) I think she got the message!

    Posted by South Shore Mom January 25, 09 09:24 PM
  1. Really, send your kid to martial arts school. I started at 12, continued through high school graduation. If nothing else, it really does help to know that you could break the mean person(s) face, even if you never do. Plus, it involves positive, structured and generally very polite interactions people of different genders and ages. Plus its very reassuring for everyone when they go away to college.

    Hopefully your child goes to a school that will support them if they try to get help with bulling. I once had a teacher flip out and punish some of the harrasers/bullies. They were so supprised that they actually stopped!

    Yes, thats years of being bullied, and one teacher who reacted with something other than "just ignore it".

    Admittedly after a certain point I ceased to be a goodey two shoes and started to verbally eviscerate mean girls. And put a boy who was harrasing me in a joint lock in the middle of the shop class floor. Ignoring it ofen doesn't solve anything. Publicly humiliating the culprit is far more effective. This can be subtly done with adult bullies. The humiliation that is, not the joint lock.

    Posted by Muppetgirl January 25, 09 10:49 PM
  1. I was bullied in by someone who I was a friend of in Kindergarten.She left Public School for a Catholic school but returned to the same public Middle school a few years later. Our English teacher was engaged to marry someone who was Polish American and the only two who were Polish American were us. The other girl had a crush on this teacher. She also wanted to be an actress when she grew up. Looking back now, I believe she didn't want to share the attention this teacher was giving to both of us because we were both Polish American .The other girl would lash out at me. I could do nothing about it..She was such a coward she wanted someone else to beat me up after school for her!
    I"ve since gone on to a sucessful career in the animation industry, but while at film school in California I saw adults acting like bullies.The competition was so great. I call it "Shark infested waters". I wanted to have very little to do with most of them after graduation. Now most work at Pixar creating films that they claim is about "relationships being the most important thing in life". Yeah, right!
    The character of "Roz" in Monsters ,Inc. is based on one of our classmates, that they callously immortalized on the big screen.
    After going through this as a child and seeing adults doing it I can't say I understand what can get people aware of the pain they inflict on others. And for what?


    Posted by AZ January 26, 09 04:57 AM
  1. It's very hard to deal with something that you don't know is going on. In the case of cyberbullying, one may not even know about the rumors that are being propagated, and because of "rules of etiquette," even previously-loyal friends are reluctant to take up the subject with the victim - but not reluctant to change their behavior towards them! Talk devastating, it's having your friends suddenly block you without warning or recourse. Communication is key! And yet people are so willing to believe rumors and not let the "perpetrator" (who is actually the victim) defend herself...

    The solution to this problem is to teach all girls, from an early age, to THINK FOR THEMSELVES and not to believe nasty rumors that don't make sense. And if they hear something, to always, always check it out before passing judgment and taking action. Only then will the bullies lose their power. Bullies can be very persuasive with fear (like the US government), which makes girls reluctant to be reasonable about the situation, but if someone hasn't done anything to hurt them, they're probably not a threat, no matter what the hearsay says, and they shouldn't be punished until proven guilty! (Or really, shouldn't be punished at all...it's not up to girls to exact revenge upon each other...that only begets more bullying.)

    Posted by Hurt_by_a_Cyberbully January 26, 09 08:31 AM
  1. Our daughter was bullied in the 3rd grade by supposed "friends"- called stupid, told to shut up, had slush kicked in her face on the playground, etc. non-stop. She eventually stopped participating in class, and was doing horribly academically. We scheduled a meeting with her teacher, the school counselor, the principle and a psychologist whom we had hired. The bullies were well-connected, smart, popular girls, but the teacher (a Godsend!) was onto them and supported our daughter. She and the psychologist pointed out that often girls exhibiting this behavior are simply mimicking their mothers' behavior (I have to agree). Although it was extremely painful, our daughter was made stronger by the experience and learned at a very young age to believe in herself and not worry so much about being popular, etc. Fortunately, the school was a private K-8 school, and she did not go to high school with most of those girls. She was an excellent student/athlete in high school, national honor society member, etc. She is now in college and doing extremely well socially, academically and athletically. I must admit, I still have a lot of hostility toward those girls and their parents to this day for the pain they caused my daughter. I'm ashamed to say that I take some pleasure in the fact that the vast majority of them did not excel in anything in high school and ended up being miserable socially after leaving their little private school kingdom and finding out that they were no longer the queen bees.

    Posted by Momofanicegirl January 26, 09 10:27 AM
  1. My daughter is in 4th grade and her so-called best friend has started turning on her. Her friend is very athletic and makes every team she tries out for. She and a couple of other "athletes" recently made up a rhyme about how bad my daughter is at basketball. It's very cruel. My daughter doesn't want me to do anything because (I think) she still believes there is hope for her and her friend. I have given her permission to stand up for herself "loud and clear". She is afraid to because she said teachers never believe that this girl could do anything wrong because she's so athletic and so good in school. Should I speak with the principal (her teacher is on leave indefinitely)?

    Posted by DownWithMeanGirls January 29, 09 11:21 PM
  1. Quite a bit of research shows that the "bystander" kids are key to reducing bullying. If the school can provide training to teach kids how not to provide the bully with an audience, it really helps all kids. It's very hard to end the culture in a school that allows bullying by dealing with one incident at a time. Much better to tackle the bigger picture.

    Posted by Tulip February 2, 09 06:13 PM
  1. My daughter is in 3rd grade. Her best friend turned on her about 4 months ago. Not only was this girl her best friend but she was practically a member of our family which makes it even harder for me and my wife. She has managed to intimidate many of my daughters other friends. They have told my daughter they still want to be friends but are scared of having her turn on them. She even has one friend who is now pretending to "hate" her just so she doesn't get abused. My daughter says she just sits off to the side during recess because nobody will play with her anymore. We tried talking to her friend a few months ago and didn't get anywhere. We've spoken with her parents to see if they knew what was going on. They've essentially told us to stay out of it and let the 3rd graders resolve it. My daughter is athletic and on a couple different sports teams (1 with her former best friend). We've now spoken with the girls teacher and she is going to speak with her and have other staff keep a closer eye. She are telling her to ignore it and just do other things but it is hard for her. Not only does she make fun of my daughter, but she makes fun of my wife as well. My daughter doesn't know we spoke to the teacher because we don't want her to have to lie to the former friend about it. The former friend even apologized last week played at our house Saturday. On Monday she is back to being a bully. She even lies to her parents about me and my wife. Only thing left is to go to the principal so they can start an investigation. Any other suggestions would be helpful.

    Posted by Bluehawk February 3, 09 06:12 PM
  1. Upon reading the article, I smiled. Because I can excatly relate the sentiments. I never experienced such mockery during school days, because I myself was the one who bullied them. Yes I admit, my classmates really hated me for being such a mean in the class. I remember during my high school, I teased and bullied a lot of my females classmates for wearing such lousy attires, a bad hair day, for wearing tiger socks, everything there is need to laugh about, everything that there is to be noticed i laughed it out....and the feeling of being the laughable stuffs makes me feel proud...but that was way way way back. I have matured!LOL

    Few years..we had a reunion, some of my classmates were so hesitant to approach me, because they're were thinking I didn' t change. Of course not, people do change, everything changes. ANd honestly It had an impact on me, because they tend to have the lasting impression that indeed I wasn't change. It's not nice to recall those stuffs, i mean the way they have remembered me wasn't the thing that I have to be proud of. Eventhough you want to explain that it was just for fun stuffs, but for them it wasn't because they were hurt and ridiculed. Soon after I became a Guidance Counselor, and there I imagine myself being called in the office for being mean. One thing I have really observed, when one person sees the opportunity to mean other classmates, they will mock you. SO be very careful. Never give them the opportunity to mock you, bullied you. Never gave them the chance to steal the moment from you of getting bullied. You must learn to strike back, I know it's hard to project that you are strong, then at least still project. People will never question on how strong or weak are you. They are just waiting for an opportunity to strike you. Next, ignore them. That is the best and safest way to do. They will just get tired. You don;t have to mind them, it just a waste of energy. Remember the law of attraction. When you feel bad...eventually everything will fall into its place badly. Focus on other things that will surely make your day than entertaining those bullies. If they won't do anything good on you, then why give a thought.

    Now I shall say, I had those moments because I saw an opportunity to strike them. But it didnt do anything good on me. But make sure if you enjoy being the bad guy, don't want to remain one forever. Learn to grow and help yourself to grow.

    Posted by manits February 6, 09 01:12 AM
  1. I relate and sympathize with you all. My 9 year old daughter has been bullied by the same "friend" for 3 years. We live in a small town, go to the same church, live in the same neighborhood, go to the same school, ride the same bus--we cannot excape her without moving out of town! This girl draws my child in just to get her close enough to allow her to think they are friends and then she purposely excludes her- e.g.- tells her the class applauds when she isn't there, whispers in front of her, tells her how many more cool friends she has, telling other friends not to sit with her at lunch or on the bus, telling her all about fun time with mutual friends when my child wasn't invited. This began in first grade and I was concerned that my child was contributing to it in some way, wanting to give the other child benefit of the doubt. It continued into second grade and I knew there was a problem. The other mom was in denial. The teacher was a childhood friend of the other mom, so she was no help. In third grade they were in different classrooms and Praise the Lord, my daughter had a wonderful year. This confirmed with me that it wasn't my child. They are back in the same class this year and it is starting all over again- triggered because my child recieved a grade wide honor for leadership. This doesn't just happend to the quiet children, my daughter is very friendly, academically gifted, athletic, and kind, We joke that she makes friends everywhere we go. The problem in stopping this problem is the difficulty in identifying the problem. Luckily, the prinicipal knew the number of problems this child had in 3rd grade, so she is on their "list". But, the mother is oblivious- this child plays vicitim very well and can strangely turn the situation completely around. Keep good notes and write down specifics on what the child did or said so that a pattern will develop and the behavior can be identified.

    Good luck and God Bless your child!


    wanting

    Posted by S Weaver March 28, 09 06:03 PM
  1. wow, this has been very helpful. My 11 year old daughter has been being bullied by her "friends" lately. The school doesn't seem to want to be helpful, they've got a playground about half an acre and act like they can't see what's going on. I think the bullying was started by one girl and the others joined in so as not to be victims. My daughter wouldn't even go to school today as she was so upset. ALL of her friends told her they hate her and that they were only her friends to get stuff from her. I am hoping that she will be ready to find nicer friends at school tomorrow,...

    Posted by MountainMama April 29, 09 02:26 PM
  1. THIS GETS WORSE WHEN YOU GROW OLDER! IT DOES NOT EVER GO AWAY!

    The only thing you can do is, if someone is doing this to you in the workplace, is file a complaint of workplace harassment. At a graduate school or college, talk to a dean of students.

    THIS WILL NOT END ONCE YOU GROW UP! So don't get your hopes up!

    Posted by Ana May 31, 09 03:58 PM
  1. mW4SI9 comment1 ,

    Posted by Erixxyou June 29, 09 05:36 AM
  1. I never fit in at school. At first I tried, but then eventually gave up because I could see that no matter what I did - conform or not conform - I would always be treated the same.

    I then learned a valuable lesson: people that disapprove of you for no good reason are just sad, pathetic losers, and it is possible not to take them seriously. There will always be someone out there that resents you no matter what you do. But you don't have to let them dominate your life, or define who you are.

    I supposed I should be ashamed for saying this, but I must confess that I hope some people will try to gang up on me so I could laugh at them for the doofuses I think they are.

    Posted by Orgasm August 25, 09 11:58 PM
  1. I went through this with my daughter at an early age. She's a shy cautious kid who was harassed from day one from a special needs kid with anger issues. I was proactive but some of the teachers are so oblivious!! I went to the principal and was helped for awhile until her list of "bullied" students was too long to keep track of. What you need to do is write a letter to the principal detailing the abuse and demanding your child not be in the same class as the bully. It works if it is IN WRITING. Legally, they have to help you; if not, take it higher. Stand firm and do what is right for your child. Hug him/her often and most of all listen to them when they speak. Help them make friends by letting them invite kids over. Join other clubs outside of school and rest assured the slowest ones now will later be fast. It's the truth.

    Posted by Cali October 6, 09 12:45 PM
  1. As someone mentioned in a previous entry, bullying goes on with adults too! And I don't think your grown children should have to take being pushed around, physically beaten or in any way punished by another adult. I feel that grown children should be taught how to use self defense devices that are safe and legal and to use them when necessary. A shot of pepper spray on a bully will put a stop to that once and for all. Be sure to obtain the right spray; there are a lot of them out there. If you are ever accosted on the street, in an office, or anywhere else, you always want to have as many advantages against the attacker as possible.

    Posted by robert dimond December 23, 09 11:31 AM
  1. Same thing has been happening to my 11 year old. Same girl for 3 years. There are times they seem to be friends but then the other girl just turns. Finally this year my daughter during a really bad time discussed this w/a male teacher & he observed. Luckily he noticed that my daughter was being treated very unfairly & I emailed him & told him that I was thrilled my daughter had trusted him enough to share this w/ him & that I was greatful for him helping. Right now the girl & my daughter are friends but I have tried to tell my daught to not put too much trust in thie litte girl (which is very hard for an 11 year to understand. She thinks everyone should be nice. We are also having issues w/ a couple girls on her allstar cheer team. They like to whesper & exclude her. The bad thing here is I am paying for this. I don't like paying to have my daughter bullied. After April this season is over & I plan to notreturn to this allstar team. The teachers have told me that my daughter is will likeed by most & she is good at cheerleading so I don't understand why she is victimized. She is very sensitive & vocal.

    Posted by km February 17, 10 09:56 AM
  1. I can very much relate to a lot of the posts here. My daughter is in new in school and in 3rd grade. She's already made a few good friends but there is one girl on the playground that calls her names and tries to turn others against her. It makes me feel hurt and angry to know that someone is being mean to my daughter. I have given her the advice to ignore this child because is is no fun to pick on someone that doesn't respond. Acting hurt or responding negatively to a bully gives them incentive to continue the behavior. If ignoring doesn't work, I will quickly contact the guidance counselor and Principal so they can intervene. If this doesn't work, expect Mom here to be the new playgound parent helper.
    Deb

    Posted by Deb April 27, 10 08:42 PM
  1. I know this post is long after the fact but I felt I had to speak out for the other parents (those of the bully). I just found out today that my daughter is in fact a "mean girl". I was approached by the school principal who shared this information with me by telling me about an email she had received from an undisclosed parent regarding my daughter. I won't act naive and say that I am shocked. I knew, because of my daughters own insecurities, that she had this behavior in her and as a middle school teacher I knew the "type". However, this was the first time that I had heard of her actually acting this way and learned of some of the things she was saying.
    In that regard I was shocked.
    I will not defend my daughter or her actions. I requested that she be dealt with fully at school and she will suffer the consequences at home as well. I truly believe that bullying is harassment and could have legal ramifications outside of the school grounds. My daughter will be made fully aware of this! In all I read above, I found little if anything in regards to the parents of bullies. I am ashamed of my daughter and her behavior and she will be writing formal apologies to EVERY person involved.
    I write this only to say, the parents of the "mean girl" may not at all be aware of the situation. If the table was turned, how would you want to be approached by the situation? I realize there are probably some moms out there who would defend their daughter's behaviors, but I am not one of them. Please know and understand that there is another set of parents on the other side of the situation. I am bewildered and at a loss on the situation. My other daughter was not like this in the slightest bit and it truly amazes me that two people can have the same parents and grow up in the same house with the same rules and be so totally opposite

    Posted by Mom on the other side October 5, 10 12:24 PM
  1. wow, amazing how what happens to us in jr. high is still so fresh and painful. I was also the kid picked on, bullied, and would do ANYTHING to be part of that popular crowd. It destroyed my self esteem and self worth and took me, oh about 30 years to recover. wow. I actually homeschooled my girls until 6th to give them a better sense of woh they were and save them some pain. However, my youngest in now in 8th grade and I'm watching the same pattern emerge. She runs with the "popular" girls, she's athelete, a good student, pretty etc. She's just like them except one thing: she doesn't have a mean bone in her body and they hate that. she has refused to follow the bitchiness and is now paying the price by being ostrasized and belittled. Yikes. We as her parents have an obligation as far as i am concerned to discreetly step in when we see our children's whol self worth go out the window. as her parents, we discreetly contacted her core teachers to have her seating arrangement changed, to give her some space from the clique, and went on her facebook and had her "hide" all the bitchies posts, (friend deleting them woud be too blatent). we'll see how this goes, it's a wild ride, aint it?

    Posted by e from Washington State October 22, 10 11:40 AM
  1. This will be a terrific web site, could you be interested in doing an interview regarding just how you developed it? If so e-mail me!

    Posted by seo January 31, 12 12:34 PM
  1. Hi my daughter is 7, shes in first grade. When she started this year, one of the girls in her class lives up the street in a nice house with a kids play house thats bigger then my house lol. I met the mom when she stopped by my house to see if my daughter and hers could start having play dates. Her mother said she had a friend who was being mean to her daughter and she wasn't going to be hanging around with her anymore. I felt bad of coarse and said ya of coarse she can. Well apparently her daughter started picking on mine and started telling my daughter that shes not going to let her go over her house and play anymore. The first inccident her daughter reached over the seat on the bus and smacked her on the top of her head. I immediately went with her mother to talk to the bus driver. I asked if that happend and the bus driver said yes , but then the mother interupted and said " oh did she just kinda tap her to get her attention , like this" motioning with her hand. Then the bus driver kinda gave the look like ya she couldve done that. It came off to me like she was trying to make an excuse for her daughter to save face. I was fine after and shrugged it off and gave her the benefit of the doubt. Her daughter then a week later pushed her off the seat on the bus. She started talking bad about her with other girls, and she just recently in gym class tried to shake the bench so my daughter would fall off. Now I know my kid isn't totally innocent no child is . They all have their moments but I know her to be more shy then anything . I've spoke to the bus driver and asked her to keep them separated. Ive also talked to the mother and she said that her daughter tells her that my daughter is the one picking on her because she is jealous of her daughter because of a boy in their class. Now I've seen how this girl acts with her parents when she doesn't like something they tell her, or she doesn't get her own way. She stomps off and crosses her arms. Now my daughter knows she doesn't act that way with me. I know parents always want to believe their children and I told my daughter that I believe her, but If I find out she lies to me , it will be harder to trust her on things. She understands that and honestly is a really shy and good kid . The bus driver did see the other girl hit her on the head and also deffinetly saw the incident of her pushing my daughter off the seat. This girls mother is also a volunteer in the class her daughter and mine are in. I talked to the teacher about keeping the two seperated and she said ya she would, but my daughter is still getting picked on. My daughter said she tried to tell the teacher and the teacher said " not now Im busy" ??? Like I honestly think that because she volunteers in the class that the teacher won't address this situation because her mother helps her. What can I do?? I can't volunteer I have 4 children and 1 on the way. As much as I'd love too, I don't have the time. I called to make an appointment with the principal. I just don't know if this will get resolved the mother is very friendly with everyone at the school and her daughter is obviously well liked because of it. I have such a headache from all of this. I also believe that the girl the mother was talking about that supposedly was bullying her child was probably another victim of her daughter being mean. PLEASE HELPPP. P.s one other thing...her daughter has told my daughter that there is a bad man that comes around at night and hes going to shoot through my daughters window. Shes says some pretty disturbing things, about how she wouldn't care if my daughter got hurt and went to the hospital??? what should I do.......

    Posted by FED UP June 11, 12 09:52 AM
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Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.

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