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Concernedaunt
Concernedaunt asks:
Q:

My niece is a "mean girl".   She is 17 and has been raised in a good, loving home.  Why is she like this?

In Topics: Bullying and teasing, Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Oct 20, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Thank you for contacting Education.com

Girls who bully others get a sense of power by attempting to control and manipulate their peers. To a certain extent, most girls at one time or another have participated in some sort of manipulative behavior such as gossip. Gossiping, cliques and secrets seem to be a part of most girls lives when they are teenagers. However, most girls mature out of this over time and learn how to control their emotions and develop a sense of empathy for others. The girls who don't seem to have any empathy and who seem to thrive on the attention they receive by hurting others, are what many now refer to as "mean girls."

Hopefully your niece will eventually find her true self not through bullying others, but by helping others. Parents need to continue to expect their children to participate in community service projects through their church or other organizations. Children of all ages need to have a good sense of self, and one of the best ways to learn that is through service to others. It is our job as parents to empower our children, and to not not lead our kids to believe that "it's all about them".

An excellent book which explores this "mean girl" phenomenon is "Relational Aggression" by Jamie Kupkovits. There is even a website which is dedicated to this subject: www.relationalaggression.com

If you or your family would like to speak with one of our counselors, please call or e-mail us. We are available 24 hours, 7 days a week for parents and teens. Take care and best wishes to you and your family!

Sincerely,
Cynthia, Counselor
Boys Town National Hotline
1-800-448-3000
hotline@boystown.org
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Additional Answers (4)

rkaiulani
rkaiulani writes:
Hi there,

Your niece is lucky to have such a caring aunt, and I'm glad you asked the question. Many, many girls participate in the cliques, gossip, and emotional bullying that characterize a "mean girl." It does not mean that your niece is bad, or that she will grow up to continue this behavior. Middle and high school represent a complex social landscape that forces students to assume roles and experiment with power and social interaction. Peer pressure and a desire to be perceived as popular or to feel powerful are motivators for this type of behavior.

If your niece is a bully and it behaving in an extremely hurtful manner towards others, she should be made to understand the severity of her actions. Depression, suicide, and lastly social issues can be the result of this behavior. Consult with her school's guidance counselor to figure out how best to put a stop to her behavior before it negatively impacts others.

Once students leave high school and graduate to a college environment, their social skills will have evolved and the new and much more friendly and accepting milieu of college will show them that bullying and socially domineering behavior is not only hurtful, it is socially unacceptable.

I hope this is helpful! Good luck to you and your niece.
> 60 days ago

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Haltnow
Haltnow writes:
there may be many reason or answers.  Try Causes of Bullying:

http://www.haltnow.ca/bullying/40-schoolyard-childhood/87-causes-of-bullying.html
> 60 days ago

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Karenmom
Karenmom writes:
It's great that you are such a caring Aunt and take interest in your niece.  You mention that she was raised in a good, loving home and then it seems that outside of the home, she receives lots of love from extended family, such as yourself.  

By reading your question, I feel like you are just seeking opinions of others to see if you can identify one with your niece's behavior.  

You mention that she is 17 and a "mean girl" without specifics, so is it possible that she is just rebelling a little bit?  

I've linked an article that I thought you might find interesting.

Hope this helps and I wish the best to you and your family!

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EdieRaether
EdieRaether , Teacher writes:
She is angry.  Someone needs to understand what is feeding her behavior.  Anger is usually rooted in hurt.   Good parents have children who perceive things in ways that hurt them....due to perception, not reality, but then one's perceptions are one's reality.  
Could a school counselor or professional counselor or therapist be of help?  She is hurting and hurting others so try to help professional help.
Edie
> 60 days ago

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