May 07, 2005

Mean Girls Start Young

I read this study last night but fell asleep before I could blog about it.


SALT LAKE CITY - 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.

I find so much of this to be so interesting. I have had the privilege of watching the children in my son's class play together and there are so many examples of this. Part of me is not surprised to read about some kids are better liked than others, but there is a part that is surprised that this behavior begins so early.

In my experience as a person and a father I have long thought that there really are innate differences between men and women and how we approach things.

Frankly I think that girls can be far meaner than boys. Boys are more physical in our approach, the bullying tends to be more of a threat of physical violence. Girls seem to be more manipulative, more devious, more likely to go after you mentally. And in my opinion that is a harsher punishment.

Just my two cents.

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