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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Book Club: Little Girls Can Be Mean - Chapter 5

Chapter 5
Going Along With The Gang

Love love love this chapter. As an educator, take a look at your classroom - have you ever broken down the social hierarchy of the groups? Sort of fascinating.....until one of the groups becomes unhealthy and downright mean. Fascinating just got replaced with NEMESIS! I'll never forget a second grade girl trying to "get in" to a group. But it was a mean girls group. They would treat her horribly (put-downs, mean looks, exclusion) at recess. YET, every recess she would still go back for more. Trying so badly to fit in with these girls. I couldn't understand it. This girl needed the four steps! I'm also curious as to how many educators would have called home in this situation and let the parent know not only is she being bullied - but she needs MAJOR support in finding a good-fit group or friend. And I think the authors would dig even deeper and say, "What's really going on here?" They also remind us in this chapter that all groups will go through social struggles at some point - so be prepared.

Page 126: Crazy Sock Day
This story was really empowering. The authors lay out what happens when you are not tuned into the four steps and the missed opportunities to build a confident daughter. If your child is obsessing about something - major flag. It's also okay to admit you might not know how to deal with it. So thankful for this book! Also like the note to educators at the bottom of page 131. We have to be careful to not to set kids up for social failure.

Page 133: Scale The Worry Down To Size
This is brilliant. Show them a new perspective around the difference between the small and big stuff. This can bring a lot of calm to the situation and will start decreasing the obsessing. Help them understand the difference between a real fear and a worry.

Page 136: Become a team: "But we are a team, and you and I will figure this out together."
Parents, your kids want to hear these words from you when the going gets rough.

Page 138: Carley's Story
When I first read her story I thought - now how in the heck is the mom going to solve this one!!?? The authors point out how important it is to help your children see the possibility of more than one interpretation of an event. This is CRITICAL advice, folks. Don't breeze past this story. I did a lot of highlighting on these pages. Love the activity at the bottom of page 144 called Visual Rumors. I plan on doing this activity with students.

Page 150: Playing Dare
It's pretty dang cool when kids stand up for themselves and make good decisions.

Page 157: Dialogue about power imbalances and bullying
Girls don't think friendship meanness is a big deal - and I sometimes worry we don't either. The authors give some encouraging advice and language to use to help our daughters understand it is something to pay attention to. Sometimes when I have this sort of talk with girls they get this SHOCKED look on their face like - my friends are not bullies!

Page 158: Giver her some personal power
The power of positive affirmations is HUGE. Start this before they hit pre-school. Saying it out loud is huge.

Page 162: Letting go of a friendship circle
The authors call this a group freeze out. So perfectly put. Leaving someone out on purpose is just as painfully equal to all other kinds of bullying behavior. The steps will help your daughter to decide - is it time to move on from this group and how to be okay with it.

Page 167: Cliques vs. Groups
Great awareness for educators. I actually teach the difference between these two things to the students. Hey, shouldn't they know too? Like I tell the kids, "I can't do it without you."

Page 173-174: Reflections on talking badly about your friend
Whoa! Huge wake up call for me as a counselor. When we get angry with one another it all of a sudden gets easy to start putting the other person down. We sort of feel justified. But this really just fuels a problem. This is not a conversation I've had with girls and am now encouraged to do so. I'm going to figure out how to turn this tip into a lesson/discussion/role play. I think I've been a bit too reactive to this type of behavior. Page 176-177 uses the word composure. How can we help our girls to keep their composure? Oh wow, loved all the advice in this chapter.


  1. Haven't made it to this chapter but I'm enjoying reading your thoughts before I get to the chapters. I think sometimes it can be intimidating to tell parents that their child is a victim of school meanness, but I think it's crucial to gain their support for so many reasons.

  2. just found you through No Time for Flashcards. So glad, too! Thank you for a wonderful, helpful resource!

  3. I know as a parent I can come back to some of these same issues over and over, in different contexts. My older daughter, now 10, is an excellent swimmer. She has qualified for the Junior Olympics in 3 events and is on the verge for several more. But one event—the 100 butterfly—has her by the scruff and won’t let go. She is just mentally defeated by this race. And in thinking about it recently, I think I have been missing the lesson learned by Amelia’s crazy socks.

    That is, I have been supporting her to believe in her heart that she can in fact swim that race in JO time, no problem, which I have no doubt that she can. But I realize now that I am emphasizing the wrong thing. I don’t think her real worry is about that race at all. I think it’s about so much more: her vulnerability around her abilities in general: What if I’m not as good as I think I am? What if I'm not as good as "they" think I am? What if I try and fail? What if this race proves to everyone that I’ve been lucky so far in swimming—hey, maybe in everything I do—and that I’m really not as capable as people think I am? Or if I am that capable, what other responsibilities come with that? Am I ready for those?

    Wow! That’s a lot to have on your mind right before a race, especially when you are only 10. And in this case, hearing you can swim the race is irrelevant. It not only doesn’t answer the questions related to the larger issues, it exaggerates them.

    Humble pie: I think I need to go back to step 1 with her and see where we get, going down a new path with better observations, and more connection.