The Meaner Bully
This bully has been practicing her craft for many years and is now ready to exercise her bullying muscles. She's older. She's wiser — she knows how to avoid getting caught. She's meaner. And she'll choose her target carefully. She'll choose someone she knows won't fight back or tell because she can't risk losing her status as a top dog.
Molly rules the middle school. She decides what is cool and what is not. And she decides who is cool and who is not. Molly likes to pick on Gretchen. One day when the teacher was out in the hallway, Molly lifted up the bottom of Gretchen's skirt and said, “Ewwww … how gross! Hairy gorilla legs!” After that day, everyone called Gretchen gorilla legs. Gretchen shaved her legs, but it didn't stop the taunting.
Molly was thrilled to discover how easy it was to bestow a nasty nickname. Molly now gives all the undesirable girls unflattering nicknames. When one of Molly's victims tells on her, Molly feigns innocence and says, “I would never say such a thing! Poor girl! I'll see what I can do to help.” All of the other girls are terrified Molly will give them a hideous nickname, so they are all super nice to her — and Molly likes it that way.
Middle school may be rife with bullies, but kids don't seem to understand that it doesn't have to be that way. Middle school is when adolescents get secretive and they want to keep the life they have outside of the one they share with their parents private. An adolescent's main developmental task is to separate from her parents and become independent. Add to this the overwhelming need to fit in with her peers and be one of the gang, and you have a situation fraught with conflict.
Unfortunately, this developmental stage coincides with the peak of bullying, at 11 to 12 years of age. This means that bullies like Molly often get a free pass because no one is willing to tell on them for fear of being ostracized. The tragedy is that when no one tells, Molly is emboldened to keep bullying her peers, and sadly, Molly also won't get any help.