Bullying is becoming too common throughout school yards, work places and homes; more than half of school-aged children have experienced a form of bullying. Both boys and girls can be bullies and be bullied but the ways in which they conduct the harassment is different. To bully is to intentionally hurt another person, this can be in the forms of physical, verbal and social harassment.
Girl friendships are very special, especially those made on the school grounds; school friendships will be one of the closet friendships a girl will experience. Friendships are wonderful, supporting and encouraging, but sometimes girls choose to hang around with the wrong people causing them to feel sad, insignificant and miserable.
As girls we don't often put ourselves into other girl's shoes; how would you feel if girls were passing notes that you believed were about you?
Being excluded is a form of bullying, one none of us would like to experience. Girls usually don't bully physically and because there are no bruises evident it is often difficult to recognise a girl bully. Girls bully in many non-physical forms including silent treatment, exclusion, sarcasm, starting rumours, facial expressions and rude remarks and scrutiny about an individuals clothing, hair or style.
A group of girls are easily influenced by a 'ring leader' or 'popular girl' and will bully other girls to prove their worth to the ring leader. Girls often slowly manipulative via bullying and this is difficult to detect, especially if the victim is apart of the bully or bullies friendship groups. Teachers and parents can recongise if a girl is being bullied and has become isolated but if she is being bullied within her group it often goes undetected. Research has shown that girls would rather be apart of a friendship group of bullies than not to be in one at all or have to find new friends.
Cyber bullying is harassment using a mobile device such as the internet, mobile phone or another technology platform to bully other people. This is an appalling form of bullying because it can happen inside the home and outside of school, which affects a girl's ability to feel safe. The introduction of the Internet has made it easier for the bully to become undetected.
Bullies bully other people to feel better about themselves, girls who are bullied often bully others to release emotions that they receive when they are the victim; other girls bully because they see it as a way of gaining popularity or having 'fun'. This behaviour is learned through parents and televisions shows, this has unfortunately become the norm. Remember bullying is a sign of weakness rather than strength.
The act of bullying has long and short term affects. Short term affects can include significant decreases in schooling success due to taking more sick days and missing classes and girls can also stress and develop headaches, stomach pains and nausea.
It is hard for girls to overcome humiliation and in the long term bullying can impact a girl by affecting her future relationships and result in increased stages of low self esteem and lack of confidence, the consequences of this are depression, self harm and eating and anxiety disorders. What many bullies don't realise is they don't just affect the victim, they affect the victim's family, the victim's friends and all of their peers.
If you are being bullied talk to your school; choose a teacher who you feel comfortable around and inform them. If the bullying is occurring at school, the school will have a no-bullying policy and they can describe to the bully that the behaviour is not appropriate and organise punishment. Don't be afraid to tell an adult, especially your parents and teachers. Your parents probably will notice you acting different, when they ask what is wrong, tell them. Parents are the best listeners and they will work with you to fix the problems your experiencing. It is important to talk through any troubles, even if you decide to tell a real friend, you know, deep down, who your friends are, choose one and speak to her about it. Most girls have the same issues throughout school and if you take the first step to talk, she may have experienced something similar. Ensure you surround yourself with girls that are nice and who you share common interests with, don't put up with a group of friends who bully you.
Strategies for dealing with a bully:
Ignore- Ignoring a bully means they feel less empowered and often bullies will walk away if they don't receive any reaction. Anything that the bully does say, just ignore. Don't listen to them; although it's very hard not to listen, it is easier to walk away. If you know someone is a bully keep out of their way, don't stay in a group of friends if they continually bully you.
Imagine- If you are hurt by what the bully is doing or saying visualize the bully as a tiny ant with a silly t-shirt on or something similar, this will help you ignore the bully and it will be easier for you to walk away, unharmed.
Positive- Try to stay positive the whole time, think about what makes you happy and what your good points are; this will make you feel confident and less likely to be offended.
Talk- If you are bullied talk about it with your friends and family, explain your experience, as nearly everyone has experienced a form of bullying; talking in a group can be positive for everyone.
Friends- Surround yourself with loving friends and family. Remember your family and friends love you for who you are, who cares what one bully thinks? The bully is probably jealous of you!
For more information on bullying please see:www.girl.com.au/cyber-bullying-prevention-tips-for-teenagers.htmwww.girl.com.au/bullying-sexual-harrassment-in-the-workplace.htmwww.girl.com.au/bullyboss.htm