Girlfights: Social Aggression Between Girls
Girlfights the phrase heard across the Internet as, #girlfights, #catfighs, or #bitchfights is a term commonly used in our culture. It describes two or more girls involved in scratching, punching, biting, kicking, hair pulling, clothes ripping, and other vicious ways girls hurt each other. Ever since Rachel Simmons published her book, Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls in 2002, the topic of social aggression between girls has gotten a lot of media attention. She was stunned at how differently boys and girls fight with one another. Boys tend to bully other boys they don’t know well or are perfect strangers. Girls, however, attack girls within their tightly knit group of friends. And this makes their aggressive acts towards one another harder to identify. Also, the emotional impact of a young girl being abused by her closest peers deepens the damage to the victims and the impact can be felt into adulthood.
Elgin police are investigating a video of a fight between teens that is going viral online. The mother of a teen injured in the fight said adults are responsible for her daughter’s brutal beating. Lawanna Smith, 13, remains hospitalized Thursday after doctors say she suffered a concussion and two seizures.
Girlfights: Types of Aggressive Behavior
There are several types of aggressive behavior but the two dominant types are physical and relational aggression.
- Physical aggression: Physical aggression includes hitting, kicking, punching, pulling, pushing and taking things away from others (Dodge, Coie, & Lynam, 2006).
- Relational Aggression:. Relational aggression, includes social exclusion, friendship withdrawal threats (e.g., “I won’t be your friend unless…”), giving the silent treatment and spreading malicious secrets, lies or gossip. Via apa.org
Relational aggression begins very early in a young girls life, typically between the ages of 3-5 years of age. A preschooler may intentional exclude their friends by saying things like, “You can’t come to my party.” or ” You can’t play with us.”. Even at this young age, the child’s intent is malicious. And, peer rejection during the preschool years is associated with a number of social and psychological problems in a little girl’s development.
Relational Aggression and Developmental Issues:
- Once a child is targeted by her friends as a victim she’ll have problems being accepted by school mates through out grammar school. throughout associated This is an issue during early childhood because a key developmental task is socialization and meeting new friends.
- Girls that are relationally aggressive are often disliked by others, and it is this peer rejection which in turn makes them an easier target for future victimization.
- Relational aggression in 3rd grade is associated with loneliness in 5th grade, which in turn predicts relational victimization in 6th grade . apa.org
Girlfights: Are we sending the wrong message?
Many parents and teachers minimize the power of little girls’ quarrels. For example, an adult’s advice to two battling five-year-old might be,“Walk away”, “Just ignore her” or “ Be kind to your friend ”. Adults may think they’re offering sound advice telling the child to get away from the conflict. However, it would be more productive to discuss, the details of the battle. Take the time to sit down and have a discussion with the children about what triggered the fight and more importantly, the potential emotional harm of mean-spirited disagreements between two five-year-old children.
We need to make it clear to young girls that what seems to be a mere quarrel with a playmate can be a damaging, hurtful action.
There isn’t a lot of research data on the inner workings of girls’ friendships. Researchers haven’t pinned down why girls, who unlike boys, show contempt and hostility to their inner circle of friends. It appears research studies have ignored or undervalued the distress experienced by girls, of all ages, by failing to understand the complexity of the term “Silly-squabbling” among friends. Three questions developmental psychologists are currently exploring are:
- Why is relational aggression more common among girls than among boys?
- Is this the way girls control each other?
- Why do boys fight with their fist and girls with their tongues?
Girlfights: Moms who don’t just talk the talk
The details are horrible enough: a Brooklyn student tormented by classroom bullies who beat her and cut off her hair. But the real shock is where the brutality took place: kindergarten. Jazmin Lovings is only 5 – but her mom and grandmother say she has endured months of anguish during a year when most children enjoy story time and snacks.
This video is a strong reminder of the damage that racism can cause emotionally, even to such a young child. Imagine having your child come home from school crying because someone didn’t want to be their friend because of the color of their skin? This upset mother adds, “A 4-year old is crying her eyes out.
AvaLynn suffered severe bruising and swelling after an alleged beating at kindergarten The five-year-old’s mother, Lacey Harris, has begun a social media campaign Police have said they will not begin an investigation because they do not believe a crime took place A Mississippi mother has launched an online campaign for justice after her little girl was allegedly severely beaten in a vicious playground attack last week.