Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Q: Can you help clarify the differences between boys and girls in the ways that they bully? Is it still bullying if there is no physical violence?



A: As you might notice, often there are difference between boys’ and girls’ bullying.

When interviewed about the subject, Carrie Goldman, the author of the book, Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear, explains that bullying comes about pretty equally between the genders, but it happens in different ways. Girls tend to do more of the “mean girl” syndrome. The bullying is more underhanded and veiled. There is taunting and verbal abuse. There are more rumors and exclusion. On the other hand, with boys, you see more of the physical bullying: hitting and using physical aggression to intimidate.

According to bullying researcher Dan Olweus, bullying is characterized by three factors whether the bully and victim are male or female:

  • It is repetitive (not a one-time event in the hall, but a regular ongoing problem).
  • It is unwanted (not two-way teasing where both parties are having fun, but instead a situation where someone is on the receiving end of taunts and aggression).
  • It takes place in the context of a power imbalance (a bigger kid against a smaller kid, or multiple kids against a single kid, or a kid with more social capital against a kid with less social capital).

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An acclaimed educator and social skills ​specialist​, Mrs. Rifka Schonfeld has served the Jewish community for close to thirty years. She founded and directs the widely acclaimed educational program, SOS, servicing all grade levels in secular as well as Hebrew studies. A kriah and reading specialist, she has given dynamic workshops and has set up reading labs in many schools. In addition, she offers evaluations G.E.D. preparation, social skills training and shidduch coaching, focusing on building self-esteem and self-awareness. She can be reached at 718-382-5437 or at [email protected].