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Girls Who Bully – Not Sugar And Spice

Girls have known this for a long time – boys aren’t the only ones who know how to bully.  But how many of you ever thought of reporting the girl who was cruel and demeaning to you at school?  Did you ever label it bullying in your mind?  You probably knew it was wrong, but just never knew what you were supposed to do with it  Thankfully, some schools around the nation are finally recognizing this truth.  Girl bullies are finally being pushed out of the shadows.

What’s Different About Girls Who Bully

Girls do bullying a little differently than boys do.  If you put the boy standard on girl behavior, you are going to miss about 90% of it.  Think social boundaries, subtle communication, exclusion, shunning, and the silent treatment.  Girls who bully aren’t usually out there shoving kids around threatening to steal their lunch money.  Instead, they do their cruel work almost entirely under the radar.

You can also spot a girl bully by how their parents tend to react if they are ever called out for being cruel or vindictive to others.  Kids are just being kids.  They’ll work it out themselves.  She was just kidding.  Your kid actually started this mess.  When parents defend the cruel behaviors of their bullying daughters, they allow the cycle to continue.  These girl bullies have a slim chance of turning their behavior and attitude in a positive direction.

When Your Child Tells You About Possible Bullying

When you hear from your child that a girl has been mean to them, keep asking questions.  It’s still possible that a child will say someone has “been mean” even if they are just having a simple disagreement.  When you hear the details, listen for signs of cruelty and taking advantage of a child’s weakness.

If you hear nothing suspicious, just keep your ear to the ground a little to be sure.  If you can have this child over in your presence, you can observe whether the kids truly work out their differences as equals or if you see signs of dominance, cruelty, or intimidation.  Again, it will probably not be obvious things like hitting or insults.  It could be as subtle as a look or working behind the scenes to pit friends against each other.

Dealing With Girl Bullies

The best defense for girl bullying?  Know your kids’ friends and classmates the best you can.  Get familiar with their teachers so you can communicate quickly if something suspicious comes up.  The quicker you can bring a bad situation into the light, the better.  Sadly, bullying often goes on for quite a while before a child ever says anything.

Please tell me your experiences with girl bullies, either from your childhood or with your kids.  Just having the discussion like this help us keep this important issue in the light.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography

Girls Who Bully – Not Sugar And Spice

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP is a practicing licensed mental health counselor in Nebraska.

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APA Reference
Krull, E. (2010). Girls Who Bully – Not Sugar And Spice. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 23, 2020, from


Last updated: 3 Sep 2010
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