Parenting: Mean Girls - It Starts Young

"The Playground Gets Even Tougher" By Pamela Paul talks about the alarming trend of mean behavior from girls as young as kindergarten. Girls are getting picked on for everything from the kinds of clothes they wear to the type of pencil case they carry. A new Harris survey of 1,144 parents nationwide says that 67 percent of parents of 3 to 7 year olds worry that their children will be bullied and these parents are significantly more likely to worry about their kids being bullied than parents of teenagers.

Although the article quotes many research studies, it is hard to tell if parents these days are simply more likely to react and worry to every infraction against their child, or if the bullying acts are actually on the rise. Either way, it appears girls, more so than boys are developing the mean behavior at an earlier age.

Some research suggests the reason might be because of the types of TV characters and stars our young children are emulating. One of the points that I found most alarming in the article was that the victims tend to be raised by parents who try to encourage their children to act "their age". Most surprisingly, the "mean girls" tend to be supported by their parents who are happy their kids are popular!

It seems hard to believe, but it was scary reading for me. Check out the article. I'm pretty fortunate that my kids haven't had any major problems, but I'm one of those parents who worry about my kids getting bullied.

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http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/10/fashion/10Cultural.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

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