Girl-Girl Violence...Mom's Are YOU Paying Attention?
By The Normal Male on March 30, 2010
Yet another horrific story of suicide has emerged from the teen world. Phoebe Prince, a 15 year-old transplant from Ireland, took her life in January inside her West Massachusetts home after 3 months of torment from her peers. The fallout? One precious life lost and 9 teens charged, two of which have been charged with statutory rape. The media has reported that following Prince’s death messages of tribute were posted on Facebook and others were taken off because of slander.
Of course the response from parents and educators is the same, “How could this have happened?” How could this have not happened? Children aren’t often known for being inventors, though they are spectacular in so many ways. No…children learn from those around them…and I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but many of their actions are learned from the action and inaction of adults. Bullying is a part, sadly, of the American way. Shoot…nobody thinks the Pilgrims weren’t bullies to the Native Americans…and that for sure is an understatement.
Corporations bully the government. The government bullies the people and small businesses. Husbands bully wives and vice versa. Educators are bullied by states and administrators. Students are bullied by educators who have to teach and interact from a position of tradition even if out-of-date and detrimental. Parents bully their children in the name of “respecting elders.” I cannot believe I am saying this, but bullying has become a Normal piece of good ole’ American pie. I would contend that it should not be Normal at all, but I am just not sure if the complete eradication would be bought by our people.
Bullying is about leverage, about position and power. It is used in times as a first “jab” or a call out to rustle feathers and scan the landscape. Many parents and caregivers hope that their young ones will stand up for themselves and fight back. Others hope that their children will be diplomatic, rise above and take the high road.
My question is this…for centuries males have been the overwhelming perpetrators of bullying…both boys and adult men. Has anyone noticed the uptick in the number of girls that are bullying their peers? How many more Datelines or 20/20’s or Primetimes do we have to watch to alert us to the epidemic of girl-girl bullying? It begs the question why? It also makes one wonder what women and primarily mothers think about the increase or at least perceptual increase…
Are mothers taking an active role in parenting to better gauge what is or is not going on in their daughters lives or are they burned out from having a lackadaisical husband, stereotypically speaking, who leaves the parenting to them? And why girls? We all, hopefully, have gained a better understanding of boys and the negative impact education and a lack of male role modeling has had on their growth and development…but what are girls upset about? I am sure the list is long and of great merit, but I want to know from mothers what it is today that has girls acting more like the hooligan boys we all hear and read about???
Are women and mothers going to take a stand to understand the daughters better? Heavens knows that if you figure something out please communicate your findings to the men in your lives. Maybe correcting he slippery slope just can’t be done. Maybe the advent of social media and real-time commentary within school limits prevents commendable behavior from taking center stage. Maybe we should look to adult women and their relationships.
I don’t know about you, but I can say with a certain degree of certainty that your daughters listen when you lambaste your female friends and coworkers for menial items and issues. They listen when you talk about their appearance, their weight, why they are married to that “loser” or how she could spend X dollars on that. A great deal of literature is emerging about adult female relationships in the workplace and we are finding the same results as we do in the education sector…females want other females to experience the same ills and hoops as they have endured and they will do whatever to maintain their achieved position even if at your demise.
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Rod Berger, PsyD
The Normal Male