Women who assert themselves at an early age and bully their classmates could be leaders in the making, according to a chartered psychologist. From Elizabeth 1’s fiery temper to Margaret Thatcher’s habit of ‘handbagging’ people who disagreed with her, many great leaders developed a tendency to bullying.
Suggestingthe young tyrants should be supported by adults rather than just punished, Dr Sam Littlemore said: ‘Alpha females tend to manipulate those around them through fear.’ However, they can learn to be nice and effective through being teamed with kinder leaders, who can help them use power in a less anti-social way. ‘Allow her to spend time with another girl who’s the head of a group who helps with parents’ evenings. Let the girl bully associate herself not necessarily with a good girl but a girl who has had strong leadership skills,’ said Dr Littlemore, who has advised hundreds of schools.
‘This way, the girl can learn to still be strong and influence people and that she can do it in a kinder way without getting into trouble all the time,’ Dr Littlemore, author of Girl Bullying: Do I Look Bothered, also said that alpha females should be exposed to bullying through characters such as Regina George from the film Mean Girls to help them understand the behaviour is unhelpful.
‘It’s not asking her to look at herself directly because that can be scary for many people. By doing that the bully will understand she can change her behaviour and that she has choice.’
Dr Littlemore said in Teach Primary magazine, ‘that a girl bully destroys her victims to show her power because she can. The children learn that it must be OK… because no one challenges her.’ But she said such children are often terrified inside. She emphasised while bullying girls should be given support from adults, there should also be sanctions to determine the behaviour.
Studies show two in three girls say they are bullied. I wonder whether Mrs Thatcher was a bully at school or could have been the victim of bullying. It is often those who experience early bullying, resort to adopting this kind of behaviour later on in life. It is often said that benevolent dictatorship can often achieve much greater results when applied in times of crisis or when the tenants of democracy prove an encumbrance to the detriment of a quick solution.
General Charles de Gaulle, who stabilised France after the chaos of the Second World War, is a prime example of what I would refer to as ‘a dictatorship to suit the times’. He saved France from disintegrating into a shambolic nation unable to govern its rebellious citizens even when the democratic process failed to harness the chaos that followed.
Could Mrs Thatcher have become the equivalent to Charles de Gaulle in similar circumstances is still being the question that historians need to make their unbiased judgements about.