The What and The Why of Female Bullying


What It Is

Relational aggression (RA) is a term we use to describe hurting others through the manipulation of relationships. It’s a form of bullying that’s also known as emotional bullying, relationship bullying or (because girls are so good at it) female bullying. However, both boys and girls use RA.

What It Looks Like

Relational aggression takes place when the Bully finds a Target and uses gossip, lying, name calling, silent treatment and cyber bullying (or any number of what we call Friendship Weapons™) to hurt their feelings. Sometimes, Bystanders sees the hurtful behavior happening, and the Bully uses them to manipulate the situation further.

When It Starts

Emotional bullying can start as young as 2 1/2 years old. Left unchecked, it can:

  • Continue for weeks or months (especially for girls)
  • Peak in middle school (thanks to hormones)
  • Escalate into physical violence (especially for boys)
  • Cause immeasurable emotional pain

Why Girls Use It

The schools, parents and youth organizations we talk to often ask why girls are so good at relational aggression. Part of the answer is that girls are wired as natural connectors. Girls will go a long way for connections with their peers, even if those connections are negative.

Also, their brain center for emotional memory is larger than boys. By nature, they are more sensitive to relational cues and find it hard to let go of emotionally charged events!

As role models for girls, it’s so important to educate ourselves about emotional bullying and how our children experience it. By understanding how relational aggression serves the Bully and affects the Target and Bystanders, we can be better equipped to guide our kids through painful friendships and emotional bullying situations.

© 2011 A Way Through, LLC

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Female friendship experts Jane Balvanz and Blair Wagner publish A Way Through, LLC’s Guiding Girls ezine. If you’re ready to guide girls in grades K – 8 through painful friendships, get your FREE mini audio workshop and ongoing tips now at www.AWayThrough.com

Leave a Reply

Untitled Document When Girls Hurt Girls™ Parent Pack

Do you feel unequipped to help your daughter or students navigate painful friendships?

Finally, the instruction manual you need to help your Kindergarten – Grade 8 daughter or students find their way through painful friendships

Listen to the program introduction here.

When Girls Hurt Girls™ is a home practice guide for parents who want to help their hurting daughters, but don’t know where to start. It's also PERFECT for use in school or small group settings.

Through loving discussions and role-play exercises, your daughter or students will connect with their personal power and gain the confidence to resolve conflicts and attract the right kind of friendships to their lives.

REMEMBER: Works great for educators and group/team leaders too!  

Untitled Document

Do you need help in guiding your daughter through a difficult friendship situation?

Finally, 1-on-1 personalized help is available to assist you in guiding your daughter through her friendship problems now!

Introducing a new way to get support…

Our new Quick Assist program has been developed for parents who want help that’s tailored to their specific situation. Through no-nonsense strategy sessions, you will gain clarity on what to say to your daughter, what not to say, and how you can become a source of inspiration and support for her.

REMEMBER: Works great for educators and group/team leaders too!  
Click here
to learn more about the Quick Assist package.