Bullying is commonly defined as “negative actions – physical or verbal – that have hostile intent, are repeated over time, and involve a power differential between the bully and the victim,” which often take place in school or college communities (Pepler et al., 2006, p. 1). Overall, bullying is the way of interaction with others by expression of aggressiveness directly or indirectly. Despite the differences in its types, bullying always has a bad impact both on those who express aggressiveness and those who are victimized.
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Bullying can be recognized by such aspects as the power imbalance, bully’s intent to harm, victim’s distress, repetitiveness that causes the consolidation of the bully’s power (Pepler & Craig, 2000, p. 4). Even though bullying happens almost in each school worldwide, it shouldn’t be regarded as a normal part of children’s psychological development, and “should be considered a precursor of more serious aggressive behaviors” (Espelage, Jimerson, & Swearer, 2010, p. 2). Bullying occurs both among boys and girls. It was observed by many researchers that the boys’ behavior is “more visible,” but girls usually tend to express themselves indirectly and non-physically (Besag, 2006, p. 9).
Gossiping, social exclusion, verbal aggression, and friendship-manipulation often take place among girls. It is recognized that female bullying often includes “socially sophisticated strategies of aggression whereby the perpetrator can inflict harm on a target without being identified” (Leckie, 1998, p. 6). Emotional and psychological manipulation is more complex and less noticeable. That is why the girls’ bullying is often neglected by adults. Along with this, many teachers also reported that it is more difficult to address the quarrels that happen among girls rather than physical conflicts among boys.
The prevention and surcease of aggressive behaviors are essential for the creation of the wholesome environment in schools and the sound development of individuals. The positive results can be achieved by the implementation of the multiple educational programs, the increase in public awareness, and promotion of the values of the healthy relationships. “Mean Stinks” is exactly the program with the purpose of putting to an end girl-to-girl bullying in schools by the creation and dissemination of mantra statements. For example, “it’s rude to exclude,” “be nice behind someone’s back,” and “make this year drama-free: sign the Mean Stinks Pact with your friends” (Mean stinks posters, 2015).
For the decrease in the negative bullying impact on the community, first of all, it is necessary to raise awareness in schools and other educational institutions. The teachers must be provided with the relevant literature and training practices to understand the gender differences in behavior and the reasons for conflicts more profoundly. Knowledge is the key to successfully addressing the issue. It is very important to spread the concepts and values of the positive, nice, and healthy relationships in the youth community.
It is necessary to address the teenagers with the message about the importance of mutual respect and recognition of people’s differences. It is good to have psychological and group training where the students can learn and practice the skills of respectful peer interactions. The promotion of the positive image of friendliness is essential in the problem solving because it inspires the respectful and responsible attitude to the relationships. The educational programs are helpful because they assist in building the basis for the wholesome environment.
Bullying is the problem that most of the teenagers come across in their schools. As it was observed, the female expressions of aggressive behaviour are more complex and difficult to deal with. The raise of the public awareness regarding this issue is a crucial method that will help to prevent bullying and eventually put it to an end.
Besag, V. (2006). Understanding girls’ friendships, fights, and feuds: A practical approach to girls’ bullying. Berkshire, UK: Open University Press.
Espelage, D., Jimerson, S., & Swearer, S. (2010). Handbook of bullying in schools: An international perspective. New York, NY: Routledge.
Leckie, B. (1998). Girls, bullying behaviours and peer relationships: The double edged sword of exclusion and rejection. Web.
Mean stinks posters. (2015). Web.
Pepler, D. & Craig, W. (2000). Making a difference in bullying. Web.
Pepler, D., Craig, W., Connolly, J., Yuile, A., McMaster, L., & Jiang, D. (2006). A developmental perspective on bullying. Aggressive behavior, 32(4), 376-384. Web.