Ann-Louise T. Lockhart, PsyD, ABPP, is a board-certified pediatric psychologist, parent coach, author, speaker, and owner the A new Day Pediatric Psychology, PLLC." data-inline-tooltip="true">Ann-Louise T. Lockhart, PsyD, ABPP

Ann-Louise T. Lockhart, PsyD, ABPP, is a board-certified pediatric psychologist, parent coach, author, speaker, and owner that A brand-new Day Pediatric Psychology, PLLC.

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Nothing is an ext painful for a young girl than being ostracized at institution or excluded native a party. In fact, sound social connections are vital for the healthy breakthrough of pre-teen and also teen girls.

But occasionally that need for social interaction is do more an overwhelming or painful by a covert type of bullying frequently known together "mean girl behavior." It's necessary that parents and also educators know how to determine when girls room using these median girl behaviors and also when to intervene before the bullying escalates.

What Is a average Girl?

In 2002, bullying expert Rosalind Wiseman wrote the book "Queen Bees and Wannabes," which lugged attention to the ways in i m sorry pre-teen and teen girls often tend to bully one another. In her book, Wiseman defined how some girls have the right to be bullied or enraged mercilessly by various other girls because that wearing the dorn outfit or for dating the not correct person.

She additionally highlighted exactly how some girls are branded v a call they cannot shake or pressured into conforming come a group or hazard being kicked out—all that which space subtle creates of bullying well-known as "mean girl behavior" or relational aggression.

Because median girl actions doesn"t constantly involve some of the more familiar and also stereotypical forms of bullying prefer name-calling or physics bullying, it at first wasn"t straightforward for parents and educators come identify. In fact, some world didn"t take into consideration this kind of actions bullying till the relax of Wiseman"s book.

Later, Wiseman"s book inspired the movie Mean Girls, which assisted emphasize that this often under-recognized kind of bullying is one issue. The movie also listed viewers through a dramatization of the ways in which part girls kind cliques, rise the society ladder, and also use relational aggressionto bully and control others.

Since then, numerous bullying professionals have offered the phrase "mean girls" as a means to identify relational aggression since the hatchet is more recognizable to the general public.

summary of Mean actions

When it comes to bullying, social researchers have discovered that commonly boys and also girls bully in different ways. For instance, boys tend to usage physical bullying an ext frequently when girls may tend to connect in relational aggression.

This is not to say the boys don't use mean actions to control situations and that girl are never physically aggressive. Both genders engage in all types of bullying, yet there are some gender differences in the means kids bully one another and also its impact.

In fact, one study discovered that it"s specifically important come be mindful of mean actions in girls because it often tends to negatively affect girls much more than the does boys. Additionally, they uncovered that girls that gossip, try to damage relationships, and exclude others show really low level of empathy and concern for others, and adjustment problems.

Meanwhile, gift bullied by a median girl (or boy) is akind of social torment that frequently exists there is no parents and also teachers also noticing. This mean habits may incorporate tactics like backbiting, ostracizing, rumor-spreading, and also manipulation, which can cause serious psychological damage to your targets. The an outcome often leaves those targeted feeling bewildered and also upset v no clear understanding of why they to be being victimized.

In addition to in-person bullying, "mean girls" also engage in cyberbullying. Lock target rather online making use of gossip, harassment,hurtful comments, and also even slut-shaming. Those who are being targeted or excluded likewise are pains when images of events and social tasks that they were left the end of room posted on society media. In the past, this info may no have constantly been on your radar.

Relational Aggression

There room a number of reasons why kids engage in relational aggression including everything from rise the social ladder come peer pressure. And also yet, adults frequently don"trecognize the this actions is even taking place because it easily flies under the radar. What"s more, part adults may think being average is no a far-ranging issue and also believe that suffering it will construct resilience.

But study has shown the effects of bullying have the right to be devastating and also long-lasting—even for mean girls. for instance, girl who space relationally aggressive might use control and manipulation to achieve what lock want, which can lead to long-term unhappiness and even depression.

Moreover, girl who use mean behavior tend to collection high standards for themselves and others. This trend towards perfectionism can also lead to addictive behaviors and even eating disorders.

What to Look for

To spot mean behavior, observe just how a girl interacts with other girls, and also pay attention to indications that reveal how she feels about herself. Girls who are hard on themselves may have actually a tendency to be just as tough on other people. Below are the peak six warning signs that a girl is engaging in average girl behavior.

struggles With Envy

When it comes to mean behavior, envy is regularly at the source of the issue. Even if it is it's clothes, looks, boyfriends, or also grades, girl who engage in mean actions are regularly willing to go to an excellent lengths to come out on top. This may incorporate attempting come ruin one more person's credibility or also hurting the person they space envious of.

For instance, girl who struggle with envy and mean actions may spread out rumors, boycott another girl’s parties, speak behind she back, or even take steps to damage her relationships and also grades. Overall, girls who use mean actions often battle to recognize anything good about other human being due come envy.


Mean girls are frequently overly came to with appearance. They may place a high priority on your clothing, your make-up, and also even your weight. Likewise, they may zero in ~ above these things in others, pointing out every little thing from acne and weight acquire to clothes choices and also hairstyles.

Mean girls may even withhold kindness and also friendship native anyone who does not accomplish their physics standards. These habits are sometimes urged by a feeling of insecurity—they may are afraid that if the world they surround themselves through are much less than perfect, human being will realize the they are less than perfect as well.


Even though they might not act like it, mean girls care a an excellent deal about what others think that them. They think about how every little thing looks to rather from wherein they live and also how they dress to what car they drive and also who castle date. If these points are less than desirable, they will discover a way to cover them up.

Mean girls have a solid desire to it is in popular and in fee at school. Your goal is come be at the optimal of the social ladder; and also they will periodically do something to obtain there, including using other people.

It is not unusual for a average girl to befriend someone based upon the belief that the person can assist them boost their status. Additionally, those who connect in mean habits tend come bully others who threaten their status.

For instance, if they perceive one more girl as a hazard to their condition or popularity, they may use relational aggression and also other mean habits to effort to eliminate the hazard she poses.

Troubles with Friendship

One surefire way educators and also parents can spot a average girl is to look at exactly how she relates to various other girls. If she is on regular basis in small skirmishes with various other girls or is surrounded by drama, there might be more to that than just normal conflict.

Mean girl are frequently labeled "frenemies" by their peers due to the fact that of their propensity to communicate in hurtful behaviors. In fact, even civilization they claim to it is in friends v may come to be targets. Girls that regularly interact in mean behavior may reason others to wonder what castle say when they"re no around. There is a tremendous absence of trust once it involves relating with girls who use mean behaviors.

Belonging come a Clique

Mean girls usually have actually an exclusive group of friends the they do whatever with. Once the team is established, it"s rare the they invite others to be component of your friend group. Consequently, your friend team may appear to outsiders like a clique simply since it is so tough for other people to be welcomed by the group.

Within cliques, there are usually unspoken rules or demands for being part of the group; lock may encompass physical facets like looks, hairstyles, or clothing choices.

problems With manage

Many mean girls demonstrate controlling behaviors. In your relationships, they often arise as the people in charge. Together a result, other girls follow your lead since they room afraid of being compelled out the the team or ending up being a target. Provided the an overwhelming position they uncover themselves in, part girls will perform anything to keep their condition within the team including coming to be bullies themselves.

To this girls, what others in the team think and also say is a priority come them. Castle are particularly concerned about what the leader says. Since these girls execute not speak up, castle are simply as guilty the mean habits as the leader that the group. They enable fear of shedding their condition in the group dictate their actions.

A Word from Verywell

Unfortunately, mean actions has come to be a pervasive part of middle school and high college for countless girls—and it can even continue into college and adulthood. Therefore it"s vital that educators and also parents determine mean behavior and address it head-on.

Expecting children to occupational it out is not reliable when it involves bullying behaviors. Remember: Bullying nearly always involves a strength imbalance. So, those on the receiving finish often feel powerless to make the bullying stop. They require your assistance in order to navigate this complicated experience—even once the bullying is minimal to mean behaviors.

Verywell household uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to assistance the facts within our articles. Read our editorial procedure to learn much more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

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