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Old 05-09-2005, 03:31 PM   #1
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Terrible twos?? or Have you been a victim of a MEAN GIRL?

Well, make that threes!!

Study: Meanness in Girls Can Start at 3

Fri May 6, 8:33 PM ET

Meanness in girls can start when they still are toddlers, a Brigham Young University study found. It found that girls as young as 3 or 4 will use manipulation and peer pressure to get what they want.

"It could range from leaving someone out to telling their friends not to play with someone to saying, 'I'm not going to invite you to my birthday party,'" said Craig Hart, study co-author and professor of marriage, family and human development at BYU. "Some kids are really adept at being mean and nasty."

They regularly exclude others and threaten to withdraw friendship when they don't get their way.

The "mean girls" are highly liked by some and strongly disliked by others. They are socially skilled and popular but can be manipulative and subversive if necessary. They are feared as well as respected.

The study is the first to link relational aggression and social status in preschoolers. It appears in the current issue of the journal Early Education and Development. David Nelson and Clyde Robinson of BYU are the other authors.

Researchers have long known that adolescents, particularly girls, engage in this sort of behavior, called relational aggression, to maintain their social status.

In fact, a number of books and movies have come out recently exploring this phenomenon, including the best-selling "Queen Bees and Wannabes" and the movie "Mean Girls."

"But it is striking that these aggressive strategies are already apparent ... in preschool," Nelson said. "Preschoolers appear to be more sophisticated in their knowledge of social behaviors than credit is typically given them."

Hart said other research has found that about 17 percent to 20 percent of preschool and school-age girls display such behavior. It also shows up in boys, but much less frequently.

"The typical mantra is that boys are more aggressive than girls, but in the last decade we've learned that girls can be just as aggressive as boys, just in different ways," he said.

The researchers asked 328 preschool children to rate their peers.

They asked which children were most likely to start fights, which were most popular and which were most physically aggressive_

The surveys found that even in preschool, a social hierarchy exists.

"You have popular kids, you have average kids, and you have kids (whom) others don't like to play with. Then there are some kids who just fly below the radar," Hart said.

Other research at BYU has shown that physically and relationally aggressive children are more likely to have parents who discipline with psychological control and manipulation, withdrawing love, avoiding eye contact and laying guilt trips on the kids.

"With relational aggression, we are early on in trying to tease apart these relationships," Hart said.

One thing researchers do know is that childhood slights can have lasting impacts.

Hart said the study may help teachers and parents key into relational aggression and the psychological and emotional trauma it can cause. Just as they do with physical aggression, adults need to monitor such behavior and help children recognize the harm it can cause.

"We've done studies showing that reasoning with children, not just one time but taking lots of opportunities to reason with them about how their behavior is affecting others, can help diminish it," Hart said.

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Old 05-09-2005, 03:32 PM   #2
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bah, mean girls. there are too many of them in my life

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Old 05-09-2005, 04:33 PM   #3
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some grow up to become internet trolls and moderate message boards.

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Old 05-09-2005, 04:47 PM   #4
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I knew a bunch of girls who acted like that in school. Particularly during my elementary school/middle school years. Some people I originally thought were friends turned out like them, too .

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Old 05-09-2005, 05:30 PM   #5
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i must admit that in preschool i was one of those mean girls...but something changed along the line (it was probably when i moved from TN to KY) and i ended up getting bullied alot. in first grade, honestly, i had no friends. and this one girl was the ultimate bi-otch to me every day in school. there's not much i miss about my childhood.
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Old 05-09-2005, 06:40 PM   #6
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Without being who we were we are not who we are.
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Old 05-10-2005, 03:18 AM   #7
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Originally posted by diamond
some grow up to become internet trolls and moderate message boards.

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Old 05-10-2005, 04:16 AM   #8
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I got bullied alot when I was a kid. Gosh, kids can be mean.
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Old 05-10-2005, 05:30 AM   #9
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Bullie girls are disgusting.
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Old 05-10-2005, 12:04 PM   #10
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yeah, i remember the mean girls in my school days.
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Old 05-10-2005, 12:35 PM   #11
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My wife lived in a girls dorm during high school. It was one of the most difficult times in her life due to all the mean girls.
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Old 05-10-2005, 12:46 PM   #12
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I was bullied by a mean girl in 10th grade who decided it was funny to make up a song about how white trash I was because I had to wear the same pair of jeans more than once a week. She and her spoiled, designer jeans wearing pack of little bitches (male and female) would sing it in 4th period every day without fail.

I changed schools the following year and strangly enough, my guidance counselor was the father of one of the boys in her pack. I made sure I told him how miserable those kids made me and that his son was one of the mean girl's blindest followers.
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Old 05-10-2005, 06:24 PM   #13
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I was the victim of Mean Girls, as well as male bullies. Seventh grade was the Year From Hell, as my entire class designated me the School Pariah. They spread rumors about me, called me names, threw things at me, vandalized my locker, you name it. Boys would beat me up and call me names.

In high school, I had to deal with other Mean Girls, too (boy bullies were there, but they were a smaller percentage). They'd whisper behind my back, then clammed up and acted all innocent when I turned to confront them. Snickers and giggles followed me everywhere. After dance class, I would find my gym locker vandalized and ink squirted through the vents and all over my clothes.

I just don't understand why these people do that. Does it really make them feel like big shots, picking on someone who has never harmed them? I never will understand that mindset.
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Old 05-10-2005, 07:25 PM   #14
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I have three little girls, ages from 6months to 5years. I see that kind of behavior alot. Mostly with thier friends to them. But when I see one of them try to act like a bully... someone is going to bed early!!!Haha
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Old 05-10-2005, 07:54 PM   #15
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My kindergarden years were pure HELL. Being a socially under-a-radar kid throughout the school was a blessing in comparison.

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