Bullying is a serious problem in many schools–and it’s not just the traditionally masculine bullying you often think about, where the victim is shoved in a locker or threatened for their lunch money. Girl bullying, in particular, tends to be made up of words, rather than physical actions. With the increase in social media use among teens and tweens, that type of bullying has become inescapable. Forbes notes that women are the “worst kinds of bullies,” lying and gossiping in an effort to make themselves feel more powerful than their victims. In many cases, younger girls are following in the footsteps of these powerful women. With almost 40% of adolescent girls admitting that they’ve experienced cyberbullying, it’s obvious that this is a growing problem among many young people.
When Your Daughter is the Victim
When your daughter is the victim of the mean girls who take socially accepted behavior to an extreme, putting her down or convincing her that she’s “not as good” as they are for any reason, any parent would want to act. How do you handle it when your daughter is the victim of female bullying?
Encourage her to report it to the proper individuals. If the bullying is occurring at school, the teachers and administration need to know about it so that they can take steps to punish the behavior and prevent it from happening again. If online bullying is occurring off-campus, many schools still have policies in place against this behavior.
Open the lines of communication. Stopping the bullying process can take time, but it starts with open, honest communication. In some cases, a bully–particularly one who considers herself a friend of the victim–may need to be reminded that her behavior is hurtful. In other cases, those lines of communication may need to extend through school administration or the bully’s parents.
Teach your child how to respond to bullying appropriately. Responding with humor is one method for getting the bully off their case and redirecting the situation. Refusing to engage with the bully–virtually ignoring the behavior, especially online–is another way to take away the bully’s power.
Watching for Signs of Bullying
Depending on your child’s age, they may not be willing to tell you when bullying begins. By watching your child’s behavior, however, you can determine whether or not your child is having a problem that you need to deal with.
Monitor your child’s social media accounts and electronic devices. At this age, you need to be aware of what they are saying online and what is being said about them.
Note your child’s use of their electronic devices. A child who is suddenly retreating to spend time on their phone, tablet, or computer when before, they didn’t spend as much time with it, may be experiencing a problem.
Watch for signs of withdrawn or depressed behavior.
Pay attention to the way your child talks about their friends. If a certain friend is suddenly no longer mentioned or you hear a lot of “little things” about one individual that are starting to add up, it might be time to have a talk with your child.
Female bullying in school and out is becoming increasingly common. While you can’t always prevent your child from becoming the victim, you can give them the tools to successfully deal with the situation. Bullying should never be ignored in the hope that it will “get better” or, more likely, that the girls in question will move on to a new victim. Instead, respond effectively to give your child the confidence to know that they’ll be taken care of after an incident of bullying.
If you’re looking for a school that will respond quickly in the event of bullying, contact us today to learn more about finding a safe environment for your child to learn.