Understanding Girls' Friendships, Fights and Feuds: A Practical Approach to Girls' Bullying

Understanding Girls' Friendships, Fights and Feuds: A Practical Approach to Girls' Bullying

Understanding Girls' Friendships, Fights and Feuds: A Practical Approach to Girls' Bullying

Understanding Girls' Friendships, Fights and Feuds: A Practical Approach to Girls' Bullying

Synopsis

Girls' bullying is more subtle and less physical than that perpetrated by boys; however, it can be just as powerful, and the emotional repercussions of bullying among girls can be more destructive and longer lasting than the effects of more obvious forms of bullying. Teachers report that quarrels between girls are far more time-consuming and difficult to resolve than the disputes of boys, yet not enough information is available to guide them on dealing with girls' fighting and unhappiness caused by their relationships with other girls, many of whom may have been their closest friends. Understanding Girls' Friendships, Fights and Feudsilluminates the issue of girls' bullying ndash; an issue that can cause a great deal of distress but which is sometimes ignored or dismissed by adults. Drawing on close observations of girls' behaviour, Val Besag provides an in-depth understanding of girls' bullying, exploring the mechanisms and language that girls use to entice some into their groups and exclude others. The book offers detailed practical advice for dealing with girls' bullying, which will help both students and teachers to understand and combat different kinds of bullying, as well as comprehensive guidance for preventing or reducing bullying activities among girls, including: Whole school approaches Programmes for developing emotional literacy and resilience Approaches for dealing with gangs Using methods such as art and drama Developing conflict resolution skills Student ndash; parent programmes Peer support programmes This is key reading for teachers, trainee teachers, educational psychologists and social workers, academics and researchers in the field, and others who have an interest in creating bully-free schools and societies.

Excerpt

It is only in recent years that we have considered seriously the concept of bullying. When I began my work on bullying in the early 1980s, many professionals denied that such a thing existed whereas others thought it a good learning experience. Statistics now inform us of the extent of the problem and we are gaining an understanding of the pervasive, long-term damage that bullying can cause. At last, we are looking at the more subtle social exchanges taking place among our young, such as the covert social interactions between girls that are equally as powerful as the more overt behaviours more usually employed by boys.

The widespread claim, that physical means of controlling peer relations are used more widely by boys than by girls, whereas covert means are preferred by girls, is made from a review of research carried out with extensive cohorts of young people. Clearly, there is a huge overlap in the behaviours used by both boys and girls as many young people draw on a wide repertoire of behaviour using both overt and covert means. However, this book addresses the behaviour of girls and is not, primarily, a study of boys as they are the focus of most existing work on bullying and behaviour in general. The behaviour of boys is more visible, and so more readily understood but the behaviour of girls remains a mystery to many of us.

The core of the book draws on information gained from a study made of young girls in an informal situation, chatting freely among themselves, over a period of 16 months. This is only part of the contents as the book incorporates information gained while working daily in schools of all types, over several decades, as a teacher and later as an educational psychologist. It brings together the content of extensive informal discussions held with individuals and groups of young people and adults throughout Britain, including those from some ethnic minority cultures, and also retrospective accounts given by adults. In addition, I have had the opportunity to work in many other countries and cultures, including parts of Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, America and Canada, so findings from observations and discussions held with students and adults in these countries are also incorporated. The book also includes current research findings from Britain, Ireland and some other European countries, Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada. The findings and hypotheses offered, compiled from an amalgam of research, are given with the intent of illuminating an area of behaviour that is causing a great deal of distress but of which we know little. I wrote this book in the spirit of triggering . . .

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