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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday Book Club: Little Girls Can Be Mean Chapters 3-4

Chapter 3
Think, Share, Do...Activity Bank Part I

Okay, not going to spend a ton of time discussing this chapter other than to say it has a lot of good ideas on how to connect with your daughter. One thing I really appreciated at the end of the chapter was the focus on being a good sport. I cannot stress the importance of this! This is not only a good all around skill to have in life but in a friendship it is essential. I pay close attention to this when I'm observing students. We work really hard on remembering that someones feelings mean more than your ability to win a game.

Chapter 4
Side by Side: Best Friends, Worst Enemies

I really relate to this chapter because of the issues I see between girls at my school. The authors talk about "best friend" relationships and their pitfalls. But most importantly, how to guide your daughter out of this pit. The four steps are put into action throughout the chapter. Lets dive in.

Page 79, 90 - Clubs: Okay, I take that word really seriously. Clubs = bullying in my world. I'll take it a step further. Clubs = "We're better than you." "I reject you." "You have no power." "Social rules don't apply to me."  "Now we can use this club to harass you." I think you get my point here. My first year at my elementary school I dealt with a first grade club. They called themselves "The Bratz." You know....those dolls with the huge attitude - The Bratz. Anyways, long story short...recess would end with girls sobbing as if someone had died (sorry to be dramatic but it was really out of control for awhile). Looking back I'm actually thankful for the whole situation - we obviously weren't doing much to PREVENT this sort of friendship toxicity. We now do LOTS of work in our friendship lessons about how clubs really don't have a place at our school. I wish you could see the looks on the students faces when I share the "no club" rule and why it exists. I even share the "Bratz" story and how it broke up friendships, caused hurt feelings, and no one could learn. They just soak up every work like sponges and want to team up with me to make our school a happy place. Of course, I had to learn all of this the hard way. I encourage you to do some prevention talk about clubs and what kids can do if one "pops" up. Word to the wise....if you find out about an unhealthy club. DO NOT FREAK OUT. Follow the authors advice! They are so right on in this area.

Page 85 - Identify the instigating factor: We have a teacher at our school who always says to her students, "Mistakes are opportunities for learning." We spend a lot of time getting solution focused with kids but don't forget it's often important to go back and figure out what sparked the problem. Doing that could eliminate a next time.

Page 87, 89 - Identify Allies: I love this strategy and it works great. Girls get so wrapped up with their one unhealthy friend they tend to forget there are others interested in having a friendship. I often ask girls to brainstorm a list of girls they would like to hang out with. When they make the list I encourage them to tell me why they chose those girls. What do they like about them? What do they admire about them? How would they rate their friendship skills? Creating a list of possible new friends can help her to let go and move on to someone who may be closer to her own friendship skill set. Or even someone who might help her grow. I call it - A Good Fit Friend. Putting together a play date in my office during recess or a lunch bunch is a way to help make this happen.

Page 88-92 - Assert Yourself: Oh wowee. The "I" message is such a beautiful thing. And yes, practice practice practice - role play role play role play! I start this in kindergarten. You may be thinking - a 5 year old can't do an "I" message. Oh yes they can! if you don't want girls to get in each others faces or talk so nasty to one another then start building "I" messages at an early age. Communication is everything. I plan on doing a WHOLE blog post on how I do this. It includes my good friend play dough.

Page 97 - Be on the look out for behavior signs: The authors give a SOLID list of behaviors to observe if you are suspecting your daughter may be having some issues. When you observe a pattern of these behaviors, it might be time to say, "Whoa, what's really going on here?" Enter the four steps!

Page 105 124 - Yo-Yo Friendships: Reading this story helped me as an adult feel validated that I have not been overreacting to the yo-yo friendships I witness. It's really hurtful stuff. The good news - there is a way out. The advice from the authors is invaluable. They define a yo-yo friendship as a relationship that is both loving and abusive. I see it all the time and we take steps to curb it. Page 114 - Take off the rose colored glasses: Letting kids know they are being manipulated is important. Part of being an adult means being a truth teller to kids. There's a gentle way to clue them in to this manipulative behavior. Page 118 - Find a way to separate the girls: Parents - we as educators are in full support of this. We are extremely invested in creating a positive chemistry in all classrooms. It is not a rare thing from year to year to put girls in different classrooms based on their yo-yo friendship problem. This is not a failure. Some kids just aren't a good-fit. It's important to find the right fit. Page 116 - Discuss the dangers of technology: This needs to be a priority with all of our kids. No need to explain why! Cell phones, facebook, youtube.....oh lord. Page 118 - Teaching girls to assert themselves without being aggressive back: This is where we need to spend more time. Especially for all of you who try and do the quick fixing. Most importantly, remember you are modeling this everyday through your own actions. Often times I have difficulty helping a child because the parent themselves is very aggressive. Yikes. Sorry - had to be said. Page 123 - Rumor Tip: I've photo copied this and already given it to a few parents and students! Love it.

See ya next week! PS. I emailed the winner of the book giveaway.


  1. I finally got the book from the library, but I'm still on Chapter 1. I am so excited to keep reading- these tips so far are really great. I teach kindergarten so I'm hoping to use a lot of the prevention tips.

  2. I also just got the book from my library. There was a long wait. I look forward to catching up and contributing to the book chat!