Melbourne psychologist and bullying expert Evelyn Field believes parents can play a vital role in reducing or stopping bullying by helping their children develop social survival skills. Learn about how bullying varies from girls to boy.

Gender differences in bullying

  • Boys and girls bully equally and both can be targets. Boys bully boys and girls. Girls usually bully other girls, but can also bully boys.
  • Boys often use bullying tactics to make a reputation and girls often do so to protect their reputation.
  • Boys tend to be hunters who belong to large, hierarchical tribes. They typically bully openly and prefer physical bullying. They focus upon individual achievement and action, supported by their physical prowess. They are less interested in teasing, exclusion and indirect bullying.
  • Girls tend to be gatherers who socialise in smaller, intimate friendship groups. They typically prefer teasing or indirect, less physical bullying. They use verbal denigration, malicious gossip and exclusion as powerful weapons to manage, manipulate and protect their small group friendships.
  • Girls tend to be 'bitchy' or passive-aggressive, while boys tend to be 'macho' or aggressive. While males deny bullying, females hope others will intuitively sense it.
  • Bullies (and targets) of both sexes usually have poorly-developed assertive communication skills.

They use verbal denigration, malicious gossip and exclusion as powerful weapons. 

Read more tactics on blocking out bullies.

Bully Blocking by Evelyn Field, published by Finch Publishing, is $24.95. Source: Bully Blocking by Evelyn Field.

Discuss bullying behaviour with other parents in our Education forum.