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August 17th, 2009 by Dr. Phil

Helping Teenage Girls Survive Bullying

zEach week I get thousands of letters from you, and I’m always amazed how many of them are about girls who are being bullied by other girls. It’s a subject that almost never makes headlines in the news media. Occasionally, female bullying is fodder for such Hollywood teen comedies as Mean Girls. But the truth is that the girls in those movies are caricatures, created to get laughs more than anything else.

No one who writes me is kidding around. The stories I read from girls (or the parents of girls) who’ve been bullied range from heartbreaking to terrifying. That’s why I’m soon going to do a very important show on this topic. Here’s what I want to know: Are we at a point where girls bullying girls is getting as bad as — or even worse than — boys bullying boys?  And why is there such bullying in the first place? Is it hormonal? Psychological? Are girls that competitive? Is there some insecurity driving the bullying?

Let me hear from you, especially if you have your own bullying story. I’d love your input before we tape the show. If you agree, we might even use your story. Thanks.

239 Responses to “Helping Teenage Girls Survive Bullying”

  1. Carol says:

    My daughter is 17 and a junior in high school. Two girls who were her best friends until yesterday are being mean to her. They got mad at her for some reason and now are calling her names like “whore” on facebook. Also, on facebook are comments such as they hate my daughter and everybody hates her and that she doesn’t have any friends. My daughter is being met at school by friends because she doesn’t want to risk seeing these girls by herself.

    I have read the book “Queen Bees and Wannabees”. I told her to tell the girls today that she understands that they are mad at her and that they don’t want to be her friend anymore. But to please quit harassing her including calling her names on facebook … And if they don’t stop that she will tell the coach of the team they are on. It really hurts me as a mom. The first day of school is stressful enough without all this drama. It really hurts my daughter too. She even thought about quitting the team. They were her best friends until yesterday. I don’t know why these girls think that what they are doing is okay.

  2. Deb Webb says:

    Along with treating the harsh realities of bullying, it is also a must to treat the cause. Parents: it is your job to instill a sense of self worth into your children! I am a parent of three wonderful children and have been on both sides of the fence, so to speak. With each child I have learned different aspects of the whole social bit of school. Kids need to understand that everybody is different and those differences are what make life interesting. I have seen many parents tease their kids in hopes of changing their behavior. This is WRONG WRONG WRONG! If all of us parents remind our kids that they are beautiful people with a limitless future, just imagine how far future generations will advance!

  3. Louisa says:

    Hello Dr. Phil, I am Louisa and I am from Mexico. Here in Mexico bulling isn´t that bad, but every year it gets bigger and bigger, it can start on what you wear, on how you look, but it can affect your personality and who you are. I had a terrible expirience with bulling, and now I am very shy, I can´t talk in public, I am very reserved, and normally I rather to be alone in recess, than with people wich I know could definetley hurt me and my feelings. Girls are crazy, I think that hormones could be involve, once a girl punched me because I was friend of her boyfriend, but I think that they do it so they look cool with their friends. This is normally what they do they look at you, say something mean, may be hit you, and then they look at their friends look at them like looking for an approval, once her friends laugh, they laugh. I really hate it! I can not wait to see the show and learn what to do in those cases.
    Thank you Dr. Phil, you are amazing.
    Love, Louisa.

  4. So I think female bullying has gotten much worse in recent years. When I was in middle school bullying was starting a rumor about someone. But this bullying has gotten so much worse.
    There is a difference in boy and girls and how they bully.
    I think it is more socially acceptable for boys to get angry. Society expects boys to get angry, get in fights and work out their problems that way. When boys fight we just say, oh there just being boys.

    Girls on the other hand have been taught to put the smile on and bottle things up, look the other way, turn the other check, and to talk things out. Well if I am getting bullied the last thing I want to do is “talk it out” with the person bullying me. I think bullying is up, and it is up because of shows like mean girls. It is up because for so long teachers just said, “Well don’t listen to them,” or ” Well just don’t play with them,” girls did not learn to deal with bullying or anger issues. Now the bullying has escalated to a point where we have to do something. Girls are mean, I believe (and yes I am a woman) more mean than boys. We have ignored the issue for far to long, now it is at the point where we have to take notice. One girl, especially if they are popular can ruin another girls reputation by facebooking that Suzy Q is a slut, or easy, or ___. We have to teach our girls that yes you get mad just like boys and this is how you deal with anger. We also have to give schools and parents more choices and a safe place to go. That way girls will have more resources available to them, will have people behind their back, and have a safe place to go and know there will be no retaliation from the bullies. The bully on the other hand needs some major consequences. Way more than a slap on the wrist or an expulsion.

  5. Katharine Goodson says:

    Dear Dr.Phil, About 15 years ago when my son was in middle school, he was bullied unmercifully. He was made fun of, kicked and punched. (His science teacher once called him a dumbass in front of his class.) Tears were a daily thing for him, his brother and me. The day he came home with bruises on his ribs, I snapped. I made an appointment with the principal. When we told him what had been going on, he denied it was possible. We showed him the bruises. Then, I told him that if my son was harmed even a bit I would sue. (I had talked with a lawyer first. Also, I had read how the law in Texas promises “a safe learning enviornment”. Also, I had consulted with the special ed division of the TEA. All 3 promised to back 100%.) The principal backed down and said he would provide better supervision. The bullying lessened a good bit. The emotional scars still hurt. But, I’m grateful to say that, by the grace of God, today my son is a compassionate and gentle man I’m extremely proud of. Bless you and your son for trying to stop bullying. Please don’t give up. I’m praying for you all. Katharine

  6. TCarter says:

    I was tortured relentlessly as a child by other kids from about age 10 to 14. Man it was rough! I learned to deeply resent being who I was (this was reinforced at home) but felt completely powerless to do anything about it. I was so ashamed of who I was and hated the world in which I lived.

    I would certainly never condone the actions of teens involved in incidents like the horrific killings at Columbine, but I can say that I can identify with feeling completely overwhelmed, vulnerable and powerless, much the way I imagine kids who resort to such actions must feel.

    *Again, I am in NO way saying that killing sprees are a justifiable response to being bullied. I’m just saying that I understand what it’s like to feel like there is no recourse to the abuse how that abuse makes a person feel.

  7. BONNIE BODEN says:





  8. Rodney says:

    Most kids have been teased by a sibling or a friend at some point. And it’s not usually harmful when done in a playful, friendly, and mutual way, and both kids find it funny. But when teasing becomes hurtful, unkind, and constant, it crosses the line into bullying and needs to stop.

    Bullying is intentional tormenting in physical, verbal, or psychological ways. It can range from hitting, shoving, name-calling, threats, and mocking to extorting money and treasured possessions. Some kids bully by shunning others and spreading rumors about them. Others use email, chat rooms, instant messages, social networking websites, and text messages to taunt others or hurt their feelings.

    It’s important to take bullying seriously and not just brush it off as something that kids have to “tough out.” The effects can be serious and affect kids’ sense of self-worth and future relationships. In severe cases, bullying has contributed to tragedies, such as school shootings.

  9. Matamich says:

    I just finished reading comments on my 16 year old daughter’s blog from a girl who has been bullying her for over a year now, without valid reason. This girl is slightly older than my daughter and will be 18 in a few months which is considered adult where we live. Last year, my daughter’s ex boyfriend killed himself. Needless to say, she was devastated by this and went through every emotion possible with her group of friends, including the invevitable survivor’s guilt. Well, this “almost adult” girl who enjoys bullying writes that my daughter is responsible for the boy’s death, that everyone hates her, that this boy hated her and she goes on and on. Reading this both disgusts me and scares me. For now, I am keeping an eye on the situation and on my daughter’s reactions. I am not above printing the offensive comments and sending them to the girl’s mother or the police. I don’t understand such hatred and cruelty. I suppose this girl is very unhappy inside.

  10. Essie says:

    All the other commenters have made excellent points. I would just like to add a few ideas to the discussion.
    I don’t know if it is nature, or nurture, or hormones that cause a girl to become a bully. But I do know when the character trait emerges, a parent can either stomp it out or nurture it along, outright or inadvertently. We were told as kids that bullies were mean because people were mean to them. I don’t think that is true, I think that certain kids get off on the feeling of power and control they get. That’s part of the reason that kids who bully do it in crowds, they get off not just on making the victim feel like crap, but on controlling the crowd of bystanding children who do nothing or who go along with it for fear of retaliation.
    The other point I would like to make is that I feel strongly that we need to change the lexicon we use to describe these behaviors. Bullying is a good word. But I hear a lot of parents, teachers and other kids saying it is “just teasing” or, “making fun” or “picking on”. Those phrases imply that the fault is on both sides, as in the bully is at fault, and the victim is at fault as well for having their reaction. Teasing is telling my daughter I think her paper is pink when it is blue. Not screaming vile sexualized obscenities threatening harm. That is tormenting, taunting, and to the victim can feel outright abusive. It is an emotionally violent harassment. Since I was in school a hundred years ago, the girls have become more and more physically violent as well. It is an enormous and ugly problem!

  11. I taught several years at the high school level before retiring a few years ago. One of the major shocks I experienced was precisely this phenomenon of girl-bullying.

    I had the impression that the girls investing so much time and energy being hateful and sadistic were almost “contents under pressure,” about to blow. The school had many advanced offerings, including two magnet programs, as well as the International Baccalaureate degree program — all of which cultivated keen competition.

    They seem to have been raised to expect some sort of quota system to always be in play — i.e., girls/women have to fight to get their piece of the pie or risk that the pie will have been consumed before they had a chance to partake…

    Or, to thoroughly mix my metaphors, they’ve been led to expect a fight in the effort to break through the glass ceiling, and given their adopted belief in some sort of universal quota system for successful women, they absolutely expect other women to be their fiercest competition.

    It is a fine distinction, but I witnessed girls turning other girls into — not legitimate competitors — but, rather, status-hungry opponents.

    I’ve no explanation, though, for the remarkable mean-spiritedness and not infrequent physical violence that accompanies today’s girl-bullying. Even in situations that are quasi-eternal (fighting over boys comes to mind), the level of intensity I witnessed was shocking.

    Anyway… it seems to me that one of the things that has changed is a confusion about what it means to compete. At home and at school, I guess there’s been a failure to encourage healthy advancement as a good thing in-and-of itself and in its place we’ve inculcated these kids with ideas of violent opposition. In fact, I think that explains the look of surprised confusion I often saw on the girl-bullies’ faces — as in, Why don’t I feel fulfilled and “all better” now that I’ve taken out my opponent?

    It’s a scary commentary on those of us trying to steward a new generation. We are failing to model, failing to instill the kind of pride that needs no rival to be incomparable.

    I need coffee. This all sounds like gobbledy-gook.

    I can’t end this without saying, however, that every “kid” I taught was a good person, and if their behavior sometimes was out of whack, the reasons, on an individual basis, were not difficult to determine. Unfortunately, most often, those “reasons” were also nigh unto impossible to “correct.” I had amazing students who survived situations that would bring me to despair. Incest, domestic violence, holding down several jobs and caring for younger siblings, addictions, and even the struggle to always be the apple of an inflexible parent’s eye — I honor these children and their capacity to overcome, to keep going.

    The bullying *is* awful, and it needs to be addressed at home and at school — it’s the psychodrama they are acting out of the immense stressors in their lives.

    A double shot of espresso, coming up…

  12. When girls bully they are hatefully cruel. When boys bully it’s to show off or to feel superior. Girls do it to hurt someone more than they hurt. Girls aren’t satisfied unless the girl/girls they have targeted are destroyed. Not beaten, humiliated, or just socially ostracized. They must be so destroyed that they no longer appear in school or anywhere else the bully/bullies might see them. Boys eventually get bored, but girls are relentlessly, mercilessly unflagging in their dedication to the completion of their “enemy’s” ruination. Suicide or attempted suicide is an acceptable outcome to bullies. It doesn’t even make them think twice.

  13. Beth says:

    Hi Dr. Phil. My name is Beth and I am from Bloomington, Minnesota. I am currently completing my master’s degree in marriage and family therapy and one of my passions to pursue is bullying among peers. As an undergrad, my final paper for graduation was on bullying and the consequences of it.

    As for the question about whether or not I think bullying among girls has become as prevalent as bullying among boys, I would tend to say no. With all of the recent violence in schools and school shootings and threats of violence and retaliation, I think that we as a society are just becoming more aware of it among girls. Boys, at least in my experience and what I have observed tend to be more physical in their bullying. With girls, bullying is more verbal or demonstrated in physical taunting such as making faces or an obscene gesture. With the knowledge that has been gained after the fact from kids who have performed a violent act while at school, we have been made aware that, even in the case of boys, bullying starts with just saying something hurtful to another person and then escalates to something physical over time.

    With parents, teachers, and other people who work with kids get more involved with knowing about bullying and intervening more often than they did in the past, I’m pretty sure that for a while it will seem as though there has been a rise in instances of bullying when in fact it isn’t any different than it had been before.

  14. EM says:

    Its really simple girls are that competitve especially when over boys they like.
    Poor girl could have caught the eye if an guy another female likes.
    Bullying is almost always somehow guy related in teen girls.

  15. Lisa says:

    Dr. Phil….teenage girls are SO mean these days. They are not just bullying. They don’t just name call. They are downright CRUEL They make up horrific rumors about each other. My daughter is 13 she has a core group of girlfriends. I use the word friends looselly. One day they may be friends the next day they are spreading rumors that my daughter is gay or pregnant. They are mean to the point of cruelty. They steal each other’s friends back and forth. They lie to authority figures to get each other in trouble. It’s incredible. Not a day goes by that isn’t FULL of drama.

    From a 43 yr old mom who doesn’t remember it being this way when SHE was a teenager.

  16. Cassandra says:

    Dr. Phil, I thank you immensely for making this entry.

    Teenage girls these days, they just make me want to cry. They really do. I’m almost ashamed to be a girl sometimes, because it’s teenage girls (sometimes even YOUNG ADULTS) that give us a bad name.

    I have been bullied (mostly by boys, mind you) throughout my entire school years. I’ll admit I was never very outgoing, which I suppose is part of it, but no matter what, there was always someone bullying me. Girls made me feel stupid sometimes, and boys just mercilessly pick on me and completely enjoy it. I seriously would love to know how they were able to sleep at night knowing they make others feel bad to make them feel better. What the hell is up with that?! How downright mean and cruel do you have to be to make other people feel bad to boost your inflated ego?! I don’t understand it. Not at all.

    So basically, I never had an easy time in school. It was part of what made me hate it. The BULLIES. Mean girls, dumbass boys, it all comes together to create a place I call Hell. I try to ignore them, I try telling on them, but nothing has worked. I simply have just had it. I’m done with school now, and am in college (no problems there), but the memories still haunt me. I have been stupid a lot when I was bullied, especially when I would yell at them. Exactly what they wanted. I was so stupid for enabling them, and I can’t say that enough.

    To reiterate and answer your question, I have to say yes. Girls are getting bullied just as much, if not more, than boys. Physical beatings are actually becoming a thing of the past these days! More than half the time, when it comes to bullies who are mean girls, they are actually smarter to attack people emotionally as opposed to physically. The body heals from physical injuries, but emotional pain is not easily gone.

    It’s very, very sad. Bullies these days, girls and boys, are just downright cruel. I’m not a violent person at all, and I do not condone violence (unless it is self-defense), but those that have bullied me, I have never wanted to beat the crap out of someone more than I wanted to with them. And that really shames me to say that. It really does.

    Bullying is horrible. It’s wrong, and I do not know how kids get away with it. It makes me just want to cry. I’m a very sensitive person, and that only encourages them even more since sensitive people are easy targets. But, I am thankful that I have managed to survive as best as I could.

    Thank you for your time.

  17. Prefer Anonymous says:

    When I was in 6th grade (a very long time ago) I won a scholarship from the synagogue to a Jewish summer camp. My parents thought the purpose of camp was to learn to rough it, so they only bought me a few necessities. The other people in my cabin were all very rich Jewish girls whose parents were sending them food, hair supplies, etc. These girls bullied me and were very mean to me. Especially one girl in particular. The only positive outcome was that when I returned home and to school I started taking an interest in my appearance, since my mother never taught me about clothes, hair or make-up. Years later I met the girl who had bullied me. The was a friend of one of the girls in my suite in the college down. We said hello in a frosty manner, as you can imagine. But then I saw her as someone who wasn’t very attractive or interesting. But it wasn’t any different throughout life, the rich snobs of my ethnicity were still the same. I have been more Christian in recent years. The Presbyterian churches have nice youth programs and I am glad that teenagers can form friendships in the churches to avoid the horrible stuff that goes on in the schools. In Seattle they had the Dalai Lama participate in al all day meeting with a large number of students, with the focus on humanity and civility so that students would learn to treat each other better. When I teach college courses I make it clear that bullying is strictly against the rules in my class.

  18. MJ says:

    I had a group of friends in high school that I ran around with from 8th grade to the beginning of 10th grade. There was one girl in particular who had a pretty rough upbringing: her mom was a drug addict, she’d been in foster care for years, recently moved back in with a family member, was overweight, and had a cleft palate, and her self-esteem was in the toilet. She picked a girl in our group in 9th grade and bullied her until her family moved away.

    In 10th grade, she chose to pick on me. I stood up for myself, but the friends in the group sided with her. I had not one female friend in my sophmore class. Thankfully, I had a good home life, and plenty of guy friends, and some really good girl friends from other grades, so I survived the year, but it was tough.

    I think a LOT of it stemmed from insecurities, first of the girl who was the bully, and then fear from the other girls that she would turn on them if they stuck up for me. It’s sad and disappointing.

    However, I am now on friendly terms with the girl who bullied me. She grew up, met and married a good man who treats her right, and is raising a very sweet family. It’s amazing what getting out of high school can do for a person.

  19. Gabriella Nagy says:

    Hey Dr. Phil !

    I’m 15 years old ,and have a few things to share about girl-bullying . I go to a High School where lots of this goes on . First off, i think people should ALWAYS look at both sides of the story to find out what the issue is… lot’s of times the person getting bullied or caught up in “drama” is the person who starts the problem. Teenage girls love making fun of others to make themselves feel better. It’s an issue with their insecurities , honestly i think every girl has an issue with that deep inside.When you go to school nowadays , all that matters when you walk in is the way you look, act,dress,behave,who you hang out with,what your body size is,etc.. people constantly have their eye on you ! Many times with girls my age bullying comes in different ways,lately the bullying has become more popular in a very un-girl way … fistfighting. It gets pretty ugly let me tell you,there’s punching,kicking,scratching,hair-pulling everythingggg going on. There’s also the TERRIBLE rumor-spreading.. and when one person says something in a highschool it’s spreads like wildfire ! It can scar the person deeply because false impressions and rumors about someone usually can’t be cleared up in a fingersnap . Cyber-space has become another popular way of bullying eachother.. girls can say anything they want on there and people can post things for the world to see about you on facebook,myspace,twitter,etc. I would deffinitely say Girl-Bullying has grown very popular in this day and age and many-many people get hurt with words everyday that can ruin their lives,literally. I’ve witnessed many people start speaking negatively of themselves,becoming anti-social,having decreases in their grades and such because of bullying.It’s such a terrible things. Words really do hurt and scar one more than physical stuff.I’ve bullied,and been bullied. I know how everything works with these things. And girl bullying is way more nasty than guys in a fist fight. Plus,this happens to i’d say EVERY girl,whether they admit it or not. it’s true.It happens.

    Thanks for your time !

    btw,to answer another question, i believe Insecurity about many things has everything to do with girl-bullying ! The media affects us girls greatly on the way we should look,act,everthing. I believe this is the cause. You should survey 100 girls on what they think the cause is to girl-bullying.
    I would say your top results in answers would be : Insecurity,Jelousy,and they want to fit in.

  20. Crishelle says:

    I absolutely believe girls bullying girls is worse than boys bullying boys. When boys are doing the bullying it is mostly physical. Of course there is always emotion involved, but I’ll take a good butlicking anyday over a well constructed rumor or sly comment. Girls can be manipulative when they want to be. They know what gets to people, especially if they were once friends with that girl because we open up to each other so well. The bruises from a beating will generally heal in a fairly short amount of time; however, people can talk for a fairly long amount of time and reputations seem to travel. Also, the psychological scars, as you well know, can follow someone for a lifetime and leave them feeling broken and alone well into adulthood if not addressed fully. Also, I believe most of the time, girls take things to heart more. Even a little comment can leave us wondering for a long time after everyone has already thought about it. If you call a girl fat as a joke because you think she’s anything but fat she’s is going to find that one pound of fat on her body and think you must see it too and obsess over it. However, I think the worst part of all is how do you police the type of bullying girls can do. If a boy come home with a black eye, you ask him what happens because it’s obvious he has a black eye. But what when a girl comes home and isn’t quite herself. She can easily say she is just tired or doesn’t feel well if she doesn’t want to talk about it. Then it is didfficult to know where to begin on what is even wrong. Also, physical violence is easy to define. You say “don’t hit or touch anyone”. But be nice or don’t say mean things can be construed differently and worked around so that girls can say things to each other that someone else around may not even know that it is an insult, but the two or girls involved surely know….IN short, GIRLS ARE JUST SIMPLY MORE COMPLICATED. But did we really need a discussion to know that?

  21. Crishelle says:


  22. Vanessa Katz says:

    Dr. Phil,
    Bullying of my 13 year old daughter became so out of control here in Boca Raton, FL that I have taken her out of her middle school and am educating her at home instead. These girls use technology to the extreme and post horrible and untrue things about kids that change their life forever. We lost my husband last year and then I found breast cancer 3 months later. She has had so much adversity in her life these past 2 years but that was nothing compared to the bullying girls have done to her. She is afraid to go to her cheer gym without me because they have threatened to jump her. She can’t go to school for the same reason. Since I pulled her out of the school, the other girl is even getting worse and telling tales to everyone in school so that now she has not friends left at that school. I talked to her principal and she told me that she feels that the wrong kid won the fight to which I agreed. What happened to the “sugar and spice” in our little girls?

  23. brandi says:


  24. Kristy says:

    Hey Dr.Phil,
    I’m a 17 year old girl named Krisy from Canada, in my last year of high school. I know I am late replying to your blog post, but I just seen your show. It fits me perfectly because today I was bullied a lot at school. My life was amazing in my first year of high school. I had lots of friends and close to getting a boyfriend, it was the best yeat of my life so far. But in the summer of ‘08, people who i thought were my friends, used me for the wrong reasons. After that, everthing has been hell for me, and that was 2 years ago. Every single day people take me as a joke, they comment on my appearance, and call me stupid. They gang up on me a lot aswell. It’s so hard for me. Those people are different now, they don’t even seem like the same people anymore. It hurts me a lot because i get reminded everyday of what we used to be. They have said im ugly and stupid so much that i belive that myself now. I hate myself, im not good for anything, im a failure at school and at life. I’ve cried a lot about it, it makes me extremely sad. I don’t know what people want from me. My prom is in the spring and i dont know what im going to do. No one will be my date and i dont like that whole expereince anyway. I know i wouldnt have a good time there, but I have to go. I told a teacher about it, and she told the students how I feel, and that made it worse. They make fun of me because the teacher told them that im depressed about their actions. I dont know how im going to survive this year. I get so overwheled with sadness at times, and its constant. I just wanted to tell someone. So for whoever reads this, thank you for your time.

  25. Donna Ransom says:

    Our daughter, Emily, lost her hair because of an auto-immune disease at the beginning of her 8th grade year. Do we have an issue? Not really. Emily is now starting her l0th grade year – has a 4.2 gpa – is a Mayor top 100 teen but above all has the heart of a lion. She wants to strengthen girls self esteem. She has been given a huge hill to climb with being bald. She now has a wig and her appearance (which means very little) is fabulous. She has climbed that hill and stood at the top professing her triumph. She was given that mountain to climb for a reason – we are just trying to find out what that is. Could we use a little counseling – YES – but Emily would be an inspiration to less fortunate people. She has advise and inspiration to give. We know she got this illness for a reason. We just want the platform to tell the world “with or without hair we will succeed. ” Freckles or weight are just one more issue. Emily is gorgeous – completely popular – and SELF STRONG but alaways comes back to bald. Emily is so fun-funny-inspirational that I feel she has alot to give and would inspire the young little girls. She is completely bald but has so much confidence that she needs to share it. She is so strong and such a crusador for every one else. She has met young teens through the Mayors 100 teen and cries when she shares their struggles. She might cry but the empowerment that comes is consuming. She has met in the last two weeks,being a part of mayor 100 teens, a young blind teen who is exactly who she is. A perfect – smart human being. Emily is bald and he is blind but still cOMPLETLY PERFECT. I would love for her to be in the national spotlight on your show. She would show so many young little girls that you can be beautiful (but different) However, Emily would be so happy just to see a smile on a little one face.

  26. Maria Tresierra says:

    Two things that I think should be shared on this topic… one saying regarding bullying or confrontation that I think many GIRLS have heard, but that many don’t know about, which is “Boys beat each other up, girls give each other eating disorders.”
    Just that this saying EXISTS I think says a lot about the environment our girls are being brought up in.

    The other thing I wanted to mention is something my father, Julio, shared with me when I had to deal with a bully… words that stayed with me and are true of ANY bully of any age or gender: “Bullies are cowards who are strong with the weak and weak with the strong.”

    Thanks for a great show!

  27. buckeye says:

    Bullying is more common with girls, but believe me boys bully too. My grandson has been bullied because of his size, he is small for his age, and because he is part Spanish. So because of this he became angry. He was even bullied about his deceased father, who no one at school knew. So everytime someone said something about him, he would get very upset to the point of fighting at school. He was then put into an alternative school and that didn’t help. Now he is in cyber school and is doing much better. I am not advocating putting a child in cyber school everytime they are bullied, but boys can be bullied too. And it can go on for a long time. They don’t always fight and get it over with.

  28. sharlene says:

    I have bullied girls before and to be honest I don’t care if I hurt them you want to start s*** I’m not afraid to back down. I don’t have low self esteem and I don’t do it on a daily basis but if u need to put a girl in her place I don’t care if I make her cry. I would much rather have a girl cry than b a nice girl than have a stuck up b**** trying to b rude to me. I have been bullied but I don’t care about it anymore it comes and go boo hoo.

  29. Lori Andersen says:

    Girl World. Dr.Phil I am 50 years old and I was bullied in middle and high school. My dad taught me to fight and told me to take out the leader. I told her that her bullies might get me, but I would find her alone and pound the piss out of her if she didn’t call them off. It worked for me but that was the 1970’s. Now you can get shot. But I do agree that when you are being bullied you have to show confidence in yourself, take self defence classes. Sometimes you don’t have to fight. They just have to think you can. I think that all schools should have anti bullying groups that patrol the school grounds.

  30. Lori Andersen says:

    To add to the earlier comment. Girls are the most ruthless of bullies and it is true that you might get hurt, but rather than endure 4-6 yrs of this awful treatment. it might be better to kick some butt and get it over with. Guaranteed they will respect you. Now that is how it used to work. Now I would be tempted to hire my child a body guard to escourt them to school. I’ll bet if you had a sign up for anti bullying dept in schools there would be a lot of sign ups. You know The kids that are bullied sticking together. stand up for each other. We have a lot of this in Canada and we have had our share of children committing suicide. Our schools do the same thing of sticking their heads in the sand. But parents do not let this happen to your kids. When you do not get a response from the school, go to the media. DO NOT WAIT. Make your school be responsible. Principals have not choice if you barge in on them. Be forceful, go to the school boards. Make it happen. If you report it to the school on one day, only give them 1 day to respond. How important is your child to you. Do not let the schools Puh Puh you. The changes will only come if all the parents stand up and fight.

  31. Sue Ford says:

    Dr Phil:

    Thank you for your work on this show. I can tell you that my daughter was bullied all the way from early grade through High School. Almost every night she would cry and tell me what the girls said or did to her each day. We would say a prayer each time for the other girls and also for her strength to stand up to them. Many times she was forced to play on the other side of the play ground, sit by herself on the other side of the lunchroom and hang by herself to avoid the teasing. She chose to hang with the boys, as they really did want to be her friend. She is beautiful to look at and was from the day she was born … so I believe the other girls were just jealous.

    I can tell you now, that 10 years have passed, she is a strong, young woman, who graduated high school on the honor role and in National Honor society. She has earned a bachelors degree in nursing and is the most confident, beautiful, daughter and nurse that anyone could ask for. She lives 1200 miles from home and her ability to deal with all of this gave her the confidence to move away and prove she could become independent. Additionally, she is kind on the inside, which in the long road of life will serve her the best. I thank GOD we survived all those awful years!~

  32. Brenda says:

    This is so frustrating to see that legal recourse has not been put in place for victims.
    MASOCHIST …not BULLIES need to be CHARGED for their long term ILLEGAL behaviour before they progress into sexual preditors, theives, murders, male/femal abusers, elderly abursers, animal adusers, and self abusers. The list grows as long as it remains removed from begin given into the hands of the responsible SADISTS. Come on Dr. Phil make a move for real action. No one really got behind my torture and I eventually signed up for more. No one really got behind the mess in me and I started my own messes. Drugs abuse, anorexia, sucide. The “b******” never missed a beat, the adults never missed a beat. The pay checks arrived on a daily basis for everyone who attempted to help but at the end of the day nothing really changed. I looked in the mirror and tried that self talk stuff. Doesnt work if someone is punching you out. Spitting on you. Charg the masochist, put them in jail, for a taste of torture, and make them accountable. Charge the adults who sign up and agree to protect you but some how slip through the red tape. If a child has no choice in were they are educated, I didnt, then the school division or government should be held accountable…charged. How sad that really children are still pawns for adults who don’t have concrete solutions.
    When my child was being ABUSED in school the child resposible was addressed by ME. THINGS ended that day. She knows she can call me anytime for my support. Someone had to stand up for her because she went to her teacher who did…NOTHING.

  33. Leisha Inman says:

    I just want to thank you for so many things but especially talking about bullying! My son was a straight “A” student through 6th grade. Well, bullying but a STOP to that in the 7th grade!!! He was a skinny kid, that just intensified the flame! When this aired I had ,my now 19 year old, sit & listen to what you had to say about not letting it stay with you.I just pray that what you said will help him. I know this is still in his mind. He just stays in his room all the time. Any way, he stopped making those “A”’s. He tried college but didn’t really try & just quit. I Just wanted to thank you for what you do!!!!!

  34. Brenda says:

    I realize the above is very agressive Dr Phil but I also deal on a daly basis with young offenders, young people involved with gangs, addicts, street people, all of it. The one thing I know for sure is that if it’s not straight up and right now …the end result is worse for everyone. I also speak from personal experience Dr. Phil.I almost died from by using community systems, doctors, facilitators, not getting aggresive with me. I was allowed for too long to sit and ponder my own deadly behaviours until one day someone said no. The doors locked, the phone hung up, the money stopped, the words stopped, and I freaked out. I was caught in my own game. Anyone who is harming others or self, and getting any attention, is playing big time games. I promise you Dr. Phil that female bullies love the attention from boys, media, other girls. They are into drugs, and booze, enjoy forms of sex, something. That is it. Their home life is a mess in some way forsure. Classic little brats who may never change but if they dont ever have to face systems put in place for illegal behaviour they never have to look deeply at their own morals or laws the rest of society are held accountable too.

  35. Rene says:

    Girls grow up different than boys, we dont play competitive games. so boys are used to competition, but if another girl seems better than another, if becomes a quarrel. Also girls are more stressed to fit into the mold society wants them to be. Fat, ugly, gay, b****. Thats what girls say to others to bring THEMSELVES up. its sad…

  36. steve stevenson says:

    Dr Phill
    when i wanted to start the no bullies campaign in our local schools not one school official wanted to admit they had a problem in his or her school just like many today still refuse any gang problems. What a joke,.

    Dr phil your bully show is one that touches home with me and my family./ I remember bullying one kid in particle . I’m 35 now with 3 boys of my own, The kid I always picked on and bullied had no Idea that it was me crying on the inside and not satisfied myself. Today I have a no bullies logo and teach my kids that bullying is wrong. real men stick up for those who can not or will not defend themselves. I’m fortunate to have 3 confident athletic kids who know it’s morally wrong to harass or bully another child.

    my kids ages Stevie 12, Tylor 11 and Elijah 9. All of whom experienced minor bullying but with dads guidance and talks to boost confidence they turned it around and are now respected and friend kids are a re being teased. All three are extremely popular play football baseball soccer and basketball and all it takes is the hearts of one small child to start making a difference. The youngest of the 3 came home two years ago and said some girl was teasing him, All three are raised to take whatever a girl says or does and not permitted to retaliate. At no time. today he knows she just liked him.

    Middle schoolers can be just as harsh as high schoolers … Parents need to see the warnings get involved. Basically if you raise confident kids they will never be effected by a bully. teaching kids to communicate effectively and given tools to respond to bullying has turned the tables in there lives and classrooms.

    father. former bully and now advocate for those being bullied.

    PS when i wanted to start the no bullies campaign in our local schools not one school official wanted to admit they had a problem in his or her school just like many today still refuse any gang problems. What a joke,.

  37. Elly Powers says:

    I have to disagree with Jay, I don’t believe that having been physically abused in your youth that you will become a Bully when you get older. I believe that girls hating on other girls has been going on for a long time. Children learn what they live and not because of corpral punishment will they become bullies. Punishment is discipline and beatings are two different things. Lets take a look at the bully and ask what makes them do it? Low self esteem, failing grades, etc. We need to promote girls more! Bring out the positive, not the negative.

  38. Jodi says:

    As a mom of two small girls, ages 6 and 5, a teacher I know the effects of bullying; not only from seeing it first hand, but I was also bullied as a child in elementary school. I have a very rare bone condition and it made me a very easy target for bullying. I was called shatter bones, glass bones, igor and the hunchback of notre dame. I remember being the butt of many dare games, prank calls and tricks. I would come home almost every day and cry, knowing that my fellow classmates had no right to treat me in this manner. By the time I reached High School, I pursued my passion in music, and left the bullies in the dust. I remember one time in university, I ran into a classmate from my elementary days, this person happened to be a ring leader in my bullying. He came up to me, gave me a hug, and said “I am so sorry for bullying you when we were younger! I was dumb and didn’t know better. Will you please forgive me?” Amazing that I can still remember his words. I had moved passed what has done and said to me. I have never forgotten the pain that it caused me. I teach my students and my children to value the differences in each other. My own children will point out how their friends are bullying other children and they stand up to their friends, telling them NOT to treat others in that manner. Bullying is a big problem in schools right across North America. Thank you Dr. Phil for bringing this issue to light!

  39. Carol Weinstein-Mattingly says:

    Dr. Phil,
    Your show today reminded me of a number of years ago when my son, then in Middle School, began to be the target of bullies. He was a straight-A
    student and was labeled a nerd, called a fucking Jew Boy, and other terrible
    put-downs. After a conference with the so-called teachers and administration
    and realizing that nothing was going to change, I pulled him out and put him in
    a wonderful private school. I have never regretted a penny of that money. He
    is now at a top-rated university studying engineering. Take action. Nothing is
    too good for your children!

  40. Dr. Phil Fan says:

    Hi Dr. Phil, I was watching your show today (on girls bullying) and was pretty much in agreement with everything you were saying to that young girl until you got to the point where you started telling her that you are bullied everyday.
    Ahhh…I don’t think so Dr. Phil. What is happenning to you is based on your popularity (or lack there of) based on your tv show…you put yourself in the public eye. Not to mention you are a male adult with all the tools in place (and if not, definitely theavailable resources to make a difference) to deal with this criticism and gossip that you’ve opened yourself up to. This young girl is hormonal, just changing into a young woman, has little to no tools (does have a few resources) to deal with “real bullying” which is every day being bombarded by insults and physically threatened. It’s easy to say “don’t care, it’s not about you” but when your brain is not yet fully developed (frontal lobe: reasoning), and your hormones are flooding your body and you aren’t even aware yet of “who you are”….come on, seriously! “it’s not about you”? Give the girl some comprehensible tools that are aimed at a 14 yr old girl…please! You know it’s what you’re great at dude.

    Thanks very much for the show and the insights…I remember the age group well even though it feels like it was 100 yrs ago and i have nieces who are only a few yrs away from there now. Even though I’m in Canada, the problem is global and growing. Thanks for the tips.

    Vancouver, BC

  41. Laurie says:

    Dr Phil

    I am 43, educated and a mother. Professional and lovingly married 19 years. I too suffered severly bullying in grades 7-10. All you described today brought back painful memories. I now have an 10 year old daughter and I am really interested in this subject. For me, my daughter and neices! In a shameful, hidden response to my experience being bullied, my parents moved me to another school 45 kms away. The final straw was when the bullies had circulated a rumor that I had a sexually transmitted disease! The move helped but the effects left me afraid to stand out, and continue to the things I was good at (dance, drama, singing). I was a stand out acedemically as well as talented but it really dug into my self confidence and had me hide my light until university. My parents did a helpful thing as a last solution but it sent me message….hide and run.

    Years later one of the bullies accidently ran into me in a mall and wanted to apologize for her behaviour and how she contributed to the mob mentality. She approached me and when I saw her at first, it was the same emotional and physical response from the past! After all I had done and accomplished, I could still feel the emotional and psychological punch as she approached me. It took a great deal of courage for her to do that. I walked away feeling somewhat vindicated and acknowledgement that I did nothing wrong. I spent so many days in grade 7-10 alone, isolated and feeling really left out and wondering what I hade done so wrong. So, when she apologized it was final affirmation for me…NOTHING… I did nothing wrong. Thanks to a former bully for standing up and taking responsibility and saying sorry. It did help me a great deal.

    Keep it up Dr. Phil. We families need you. Support, guidance and discussion about these issues.

  42. alexandra keizer says:

    Dr Phil,
    This show will be so important, I am praying that girls watch this, on either side, bully or bullied. My little sister was a beautiful 16 year old junior in high school. She was a cheerleader and straight A student. She would drive to pick people up fromparties if they were unable to drive themselves home. One New Year’s Eve 2008 she commited suicide.
    She had all of her homework done and ready to go for classes, and plans for the night, but every day that she went to school she was told that she was disgusting, unlovable and unworthy of anything so had.
    I hope that this will change how even one girl treats another it is worth a million episodes of this show.
    Thank you,

  43. Cindi says:

    Dear Dr. Phil,
    My very first thought is… find out who these girls who bully are, and have THEM on the show! THEY are the sick ones. I believe it would make a world of difference to all involved.
    I hope and PRAY that this beautiful young girl Rebekka can really get it in her head that it is NOT about her! It’s about these girls who are insecure in themselves! In the end, they will be the ones who lose. Please Rebekka, if you are reading this, believe me. I wish you could know all I know, feel, and have been thru. I’ve been there too! And Dr. Phil is RIGHT… when we are secure in who WE are, then the rest of the world can go fly a kite. You are in my prayers, Rebekka! Don’t ever give up on who you are, because YOU are beautiful!!!

  44. Cathy says:

    I too was bullied by girls in high school and middle school. Mostly because my parents didn’t have money to dress in in the designer clothes other kids wore.
    I was so depressed all through school that I was scared how people would react to me when I got out of school. The bullies are so mean, you just want to die because you see no way of getting through it all. It wasn’t just the girls, it was the boys who hungout with them as well.
    Kids need to realize that they are damaging that persons life, self esteem and also the chance to get a good education. I hated going to school, I did survive it, but with what lasting effects. Alot.
    Parents need to teach their children to be good to people, it is so important.

  45. DEBORAH W KAYE says:

    I have to be honest w/you Dr. Phil, I rarely watch your show, but today I did & I cried.
    Rebekah is my Emma. Same age & just as beautiful. Emma is my granddaughter. This child has been bullied since kindergarten. Emma is tall & big boned. She hates herself & now that she is in high school, well it’s horrible. My son is in the military & they move alot. No matter were they move to, Emma is tormented by a mean bunch of girls & some boys. I have witnessed it myself on visits. I’ve seen her cry & tell us how much she hates herself & how ugly she is. When in fact, the child is beautiful. My daughter-in-law tells Emma everyday how beautiful she is. But you know when your 13 yrs old, you expect your family to tell you how great & beautiful you are. What you want is your friends approval. Growing up is painful. You start to see just how hateful the world can be. My wish for Emma and all the beautiful girls out there who are tormented everyday is to find that special friend. Dr. Phil I also wish you could have some kind of work shop for these kids, show them how to excel with the gifts they have inside of themselves. It’s ashame we can’t live some of the hard times for them….. But then they wouldn’t learn from life’s experience. My advise to my Emma, was that anyone who makes fun of another person is jealous. That Emma has something about her these girls admire & want to be like her. But a Bully would never tell you that. She excepted that theory, but for how long I don’t know.
    Thank you for bring this topic to everyone attention & I’m going to start watching your show! I loved it!

  46. madelaine says:

    I am replying to the young girl by the name of Sharlene.She sent a comment today oct.1 about how she was bullied but doesn’t let it bother her. Dr. Phil you need to contact this young lady because she clearly is in need of some help. Obviously you don’t like yourself at all and you are heading down a slippery slope. With your attitude i can see jail in your future, is that what you really want!!! You are probably a sweet smart young lady, but it doesn’t show through your comment.You know how it hurts to be bullied and yet you’re doing the exact same thing, shame on you.

  47. lbc says:

    dear, dr. phil i’m 27 now,but i was bullied for all my 4 years of high school.there were a group of people who thought i was some toy that they could joke around with.i know that i was bullied because i am smart,pretty. i tried to get help from my princable,but never got any help from them.i had ignore this group.i believe that i should of believed in myself.i couldn’t it was to late.it was hard to tell my parent’s.
    my teacher had to tell my parent’s,because she saw what was happening.the day i graduated it was the best day of my life.i didn’t have to face them again.now i’m happy and have a great life.i now that i am blessed.
    thank you dr. phil.

  48. Paralee says:

    HI, I would like to say that my little girl gets bullied by a boy on the bus. He waves his arm at her like she is a retard but it is actually a sign language that means I lost my purse so the next day he did it she just said did you lose your purse and the boy didn’t know what to say he quite right up. And myself was bullied since the first grade up to high school but i did not let that ruin my schooling. Just don’t dwell on for the rest of your life they are no longer around or since they have grown up they just say hi and they got to know me better and knew i was a good person. i find that helps is praying to God cause he always loves you for who you are. My 8 year old loves everyone rather they are handicapped, Black, white, and it doesn’t matter what they have or what they are wearing. Just remember that we are better than those bullys and if you can walk away from them. But don’t let them get you down because thats what they like to see, but don’t fail school because of them. You have to tell your self that you are a good person and that you are better than they are. Just know that alot of parents teach thier kids what they did back in thier days which should never be told to the children. IT’s just finding these parents and children and getting them corrected. The schools need to take the bulleys out until they will straighten up to come back in the building. Don’t show them that you are weak. Just remember that these bullys don’t have a very good structure life or family.
    People need to stop bulling other people around Life is to short to be treating family,friends and the people on the outside mean. We would have a better world if people didn’t judge others and was there to help others. It would be really nice to see peace between everyone things would be so much better for everyone. I just helped a family have peace because they were about to split apart and i knew what they where going through cause i have lost alot through my Life so i said It’s not worth losing your family even if you lose every thing else. Sometimes i do ask myself why did i go through these things. There are times i have to go through counsling but it costs to much money. This is a reply for everyone. I would like to tell you about my life i had but i would’nt want my family to see it.

  49. Paralee says:

    I would like to reply to Lori Andersons reply. Some parents will stand up to fight and theres some that won’t and thats why we have kids that bully, some learn it from home and others just think it’s cool. Its not cool. And the ones that thank they are cool, they are not cool. cool is being respectful, caring, giving and helping out others no matter who they are. Only we can change our lifes around no matter what we have been through and i know it is hard but take it one day at a time. Please People be kind to one another.

  50. Betsy says:

    Dr Phil:
    I am a middle school counselor, and was happy to see that you did a segment on girl bullying. I think that this is an issue that we as a country need to pay more attention to. I am doing a presentation on Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying in all of our PE/Health classes tomorrow and I have to say I was very shocked with the lack of support some of these families have been receiving from their schools administration. We have a policy that is strictly followed to deal with any form of bullying in our school. It is per our districts policy that all students have to be given information about bullying and the consequences that may come with any offense. I am outraged at the schools in the stories you highlighted in your episode, the lack of support they are giving the victims and also the power they keep reinforcing in the bullies. My heart goes out to all those victims of bullying. I wish that they were in my school so I could help them through this process and make sure they were getting the help and support needed.

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