Relational Aggression encompasses behaviors that harm others by damaging, threatening to damage or manipulating one's relationships with his/her peers, or by injuring one's feelings of social acceptance. It is often referred to as covert bullying and is cruel and cunning. It includes exclusion, secrets, lies, gossip, taunting, name calling, teasing and alliance building. It is more prevalent in females than males.
Last March, I wrote that my daughter "E" was having trouble with school bullies. I am amazed at how mean kids are to each other. Name-calling and put downs seem to be common. As a parent, I teach my daughter to be polite, kind, respectful and compassionate.
On Monday, I picked E up from basketball practice. She was upset because she felt that girls were mean to her. There is a new girl in the class and E tried to be her friend. The resident mean girl "MG" whispered into the new girl's ear that E was a baby and is sensitive (we found this out later). Immediately, the new girl jumped on the MG bandwagon and began to pick on my daughter.
E tries to be friends with MG. E sat down next to MG but MG moved away. E asked her why she moved and MG told her it was because they were not friends. My daughter asked MG why they were not friends. E was promptly told that it was because she does not make fun of people. Seriously? I told E that I was proud of her for not making fun of people.
My daughter takes everything to heart. She wears her emotions on her sleeve. Everyone knows when she is upset because of her body language. How can I help her? When I tell her not to let things bother her so much she tells me that she can't change who she is.
She is right.
My message is for Mean Girls past, present and future...."Back Off!"