The Problem with the Mean-Girl Bullies
Bullying is an awful thing, and it can lead to serious consequences. I am almost certain that maybe you have experienced some sort of bullying when you were in school, whether if it was physical, or verbal. Unlike the past years when the bullying usually started in middle school, it seems that it starts way sooner now.
Scarlett is a kindergarten girl who has experienced the daunting effects of bullying. She has a minor learning ability and because of it she was the perfect target for bullying. The bully of the class was Lila, who started picking on her right away. She made fun of her because she could not read, because of the clothes she wore, and because she wasn’t pretty enough. Lila told her who she can play and who she can not play with. She was threatened to be beaten, and she was placed under lots of stress. It might seem like child play, like a rough way of playing, but the reality is that these kinds of experiences could affect a person for life.
Such events are not rare, in quite is very often for girls to bully other girls. The psychologists call the process mean-girl behavior, whereas the parents call it bullying, as that it what it is. Insults have existed for a very long time, the only thing that has changed about them, is the way in which they are addressed. Nowadays the most popular method of insulting one is through texts. It is not uncommon for little girls to form groups, and to exclude other girls from it for various reasons. Michelle Anthony, a psychologist and co-author of the new book “Little Girls Can Be Mean” stated that the process of exclusion is very common in kindergarten. She was shocked when her daughter was tricked by another girl to race down a slide which was stained with mud, in order to appear as if she has soiled her pants. She was shocked by the fact that girls of this young age can be so mean, and manipulative.
It seems that cyber-bullying is getting more and more popular in the case of the teenagers. Instead of making fun of one in front of a group, the insults are sent on social network websites such as Myspace and Facebook. The insults posted online leave their mark, and they do as much damage as the regular ones. Since the regular bullying is becoming rarer in the case of the teenagers, is becoming more and more popular in the case of the young children. It has been revealed that 47 percent from a group of 273 third graders in Massachusetts have been bullied at least once, 52 percent have been verbally abused, and 51 percent have been excluded from certain things. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stated that bullying starts from a very early age and that the situation needs to be solved from the base.
The government has created the “Stop Bullying Now!” program which is run by Capt. Stephanie Bryn, a Public Health Service officer. The program is aimed toward 5- to 8-year-old children, because bullying is getting more and more popular in kindergarten. Caroline Port is a little girl who suffered from bullying from the beginning of the first grade. Soon after she started the first grade she started to have nightmares, and to cry excessively. When her mother went to school to find out if there is a problem, Caroline’s teacher told her that she was excluded from many activities by her colleagues. Caroline was 7 years old, and she constantly told her mother that she hates herself for being disliked by all the girls from her class. The problem is that the teacher did not take any attitude; she simply just watched the torment Caroline was going through. She was treated in a horrible way, and she suffered because of it.
Some researchers have stated that the bullying might have not changed at all. They said that the rate at which these practices take place could be the same as decades ago, only that the awareness of the parents towards these incidents has modified in the last period of time. On the other hand, children might have developed sooner than before, and they might experience hormonal changes. Since they are at a very young age, they do not know how to handle the hormonal changes, and their immaturity shows up. Not too many researchers have studied the bullying process until the mid 1990s, and the researches have not been performed in the best manner.
Nicole Werner, a psychologist who studies bullying at Washington State University, stated that she is not aware of researches that indicate the fact that bullying has become more popular amongst the children of younger ages. However, she believes that it might be true, and she says that the media is responsible in a certain manner for it. The children have access to the internet and to television from a very young age, and because of it, they can become more violent. Tracy Vaillancourt, who specializes in children’s mental health and violence prevention at the University of Ottawa agrees. She said that the children usually imitate what they see, and when they see something violent on TV, and then they imitate it.
The shows which are broadcast on TV are very different than the ones which have been broadcast in the previous years. They no longer transmit sweet things, but all the themes are full of violence and of mean things. Nicole Martins, a professor of telecommunications at Indiana University, studied the effects of certain TV shows such as Hannah Montana and The Simple Life on young children. The boys were not affected by them, but the girls were. More and more little girls are maturing much faster than before, and they engage in numerous violent behaviors for various reasons. They constantly fight with other girls when they have a disagreement, no matter how minor it might be. Some of the girls get picked on because they do not have a mobile phone, or for wearing a certain type of clothing.
Rosalind Wiseman, the author of the anti-mean-girl bible, “Queen Bees and Wannabes” stated that there are many cases in which the girls who are excluded from certain activities are responsible for it, and in most of the cases their parents will take their side without properly analyzing the situation. Many experts say that the parents are often to blame, because they have not educated the children in the proper manner. Some have said that the bully girls often have a mean or aggressive manner, and the girls simply imitate what they see at home. She believes that it is very likely that the girls have total freedom at home, and they do not suffer repercussions for the things that they do. Many of these girls will hurt the other girls, and many of them will argue with the teachers. I should remind you that some of them have 6 or 7 years old, yet they have the attitude of a teenager.
There are some parents who seem to encourage the bullying and that is very bad, as the children might have troubles with authority in the future. The parents of the mean girls are proud by the fact that they are so popular, but they do not realize that in many of the cases, the other girls are hurt by their behavior. It seems that the bullying will remain with the girls for a very long time. They often recall the reasons for bullying from the first grade, and make sure that they will never do the same thing again. The principal of one school from Massachusetts remembers that there was one girl who wanted to quit school when she was in the first grade because her colleagues made fun of her because she did not have a Powerpuff Girls carrying case. Her parents could not afford buying one, and she had to suffer the mockeries and the abuse for a very long time.
It seems that money can be an issue, as the poor children are bullied very often. They can not afford this and that, and the other ones make fun of them. It is a very sad situation, but it is real and it needs to be stopped. Many have said that the job can not be done unless the parents get involved in the process as well. They should stop encouraging their girls to act as if they were older, because that is one of the reasons why bullying occurs as well. Most of the bullies act as if they are 14 or 15, when in reality they are 8 or 9. Their parents should tell them to act according to their age and that will get them to a good start.11