A new study published in the American Sociological Review finds that kids who are the meanest (most aggressive) toward fellow classmates are ranked in the middle of the popularity scale; it appears to make no difference whether your child is most or least popular -- it's the kid in the middle of the social ladder that you have to worry about.
The study, conducted by conducted by Robert W. Faris, Assistant Professor of Sociology at University of California Davis, surveyed middle and high school students in North Carolina for several years. During monitoring, aggression rate was defined as the number of classmates a student had victimized in the past three months -- including physical and verbal abuse.
"The more kids crave popularity, the more aggressive they are," says Robert Faris. "Over time, individuals at the very bottom and those at the very top of a hierarchy become the least aggressive youth."
Why are the most popular kids (top 2 percent) less aggressive? Faris says they may be genuinely nicer, but it's more likely that once they've reached the top, they have nothing to gain by being mean to peers.
"Although girls and boys victimize other students at about the same rate, girls are victimized at higher rates, both by boys and (in true "Mean Girls" fashion) by other girls," according to MSNBC.com.
Are your kids dealing with mean boys/girls? Do you suspect your kids are mean? Check out some of momlogic's mean kid coverage ...