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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday Book Club - Little Girls Can Be Mean: Chapters 7 and 8

Chapter 7 and 8
Think, Share, Do...Activity Bank for Part II
Using the Four Steps in Your Home, School, or Office

The parent/teacher's tips in this final chapter were just what I needed to read. Let me elaborate a little more on the ones I liked....

Page 232: Be a Fly on the Wall
This is something I do at recess. If you are an educator then you know some of the adults out there are just standing around wishing that darned bell would ring. But it's a good time for me to get to know my peeps without actually interacting with them. I like to see who is playing with who, what they are playing, and get close enough to hear the conversation. This is advice we give to adults at my school when we do recess training. It is a key part of preventing recess problems while connecting with the student population.

Page 233: Be a Safe Haven
The authors make a wonderful recommendation and this is such a great strategy to use to help girls get perspective. I've been doing this for years. When "stuff" is going down between girls sometimes my instinct tells me one or more need to stay in my office doing an alternative activity. You would not believe how it helps cool down a problem. It helps girls get away from whatever toxic thing is going on. Setting up play dates is also a wonderful solution. Keep in mind they are not staying in because they are losing a recess. I'm helping redirect their energy away from the temptation to getting sucked into something ugly.

Page 235: Bravery Book
LOVE this idea and I expand on the word bravery with students. We call it inner strength. Teaching what inner strength is can be really powerful for a student. Kids will report to me they were dealing with a frustrating situation and when I ask how they were able to deal with the issue they sometimes say, "Because of my inner strength."  They often point this out in books I read in which characters overcome difficult situations and feelings. I'm going to start doing bravery books but we'll call ours inner strength journals where we can explore traits like bravery, courage, integrity, etc.

Page 240: Erasing the Hurt/Words Leave a Hole
Oh wow this is a really neat tool to use with kids. I love anything that is visual and will bring out empathy and remorseful feelings in students. I've done a similar activity using a paper heart but I like this idea a little better. This allows them to actually write the words down that were used - and don't exactly go away. Can't wait to put this one into action.  

Page 248: Empowering Ostracized Girls
These are the girls I worry about most. I call them ghost girls. They are so perfect at making themselves invisible to the adults around them. Often times a situation will be going on and they come off as the silent standby. But really there is a lot going on there and empowerment would be an understatement for what they need. I'm still working on this one. It helps when I get parents onboard and now I can give them this book!!

Chapter 8 reminds me of my mother. Whenever I had a tough social situation going on she never freaked out. She was more of the devils advocate type. Always trying to help me see the other side while helping me figure out my own feelings and be a better friend to not just other girls but to myself. Obviously, she's left an admirable impression on me.

So maybe I'm too blunt here but if you think you're being a Freak Out parent over your child's social dilemmas then it's definitely time to do things differently. When we are freaking out, we think we're doing the right thing. Well, we're not and we usually freak out because we really don't know what else to do. I know this because it's happened to me. We're not teaching our daughters anything when we do this. I really encourage everyone to try the four steps. It's not an overnight process and will take some practice. But I'm already finding my whole perspective has changed and I'm a lot calmer when situations come my way. This is a MUST book for parents. freaking out. That was not one of the steps. Good luck and have fun connecting or maybe reconnecting with your daughter!

A very special thank you to author Michelle Anthony for her wise and empowering words in the comments section of each blog post.


  1. This post reminds me that I've been thinking more about my ambivalence with the word bully:
    •So many kids don’t naturally think of friendship struggles as bullying, so they remain isolated and alone, and don’t apply the skills they are learning in their bully-proofing programs.

    •Having parents and programs begin to use the word “bully” to describe the many aspects of friendship fights and social struggles isn’t perfect either:

    o Girls don’t WANT to think of their friends as bullies. Thus, they resist framing their experiences with friends that way, again leaving them without support and resources, and again meaning they don’t think to apply the skills they are learning in their bully-proofing programs.

    o Girls don’t want to think of THEMSELVES as bullies (or their actions as bullying) because their notion of bullies being “bad” is so ingrained. Thinking of themselves as bullies would thus require they think of themselves as bad, and shuts down the opportunities to see the issues as opportunities to better understand themselves as social beings, learning the best they can and making mistakes along the way.

    One thing for certain is...the kids in your school, Roxanne, are so lucky to have you helping them along the way to figuring it out!

  2. Hey, Roxanne, I have been enjoying this series a lot. I was interested in your mention of "recess training"-- I have been thinking about that a lot lately and thinking what a good idea it is (I'm a teacher who has to watch over recess and I often don't know what the best way to handle the conflicts that come up all the time.) I will definitely look into the book, but today at recess I got the idea to ask you-- do you have any digital-format handouts from the training that you would be willing to share with a stranger? If so, my email address is on my profile page on the blog linked to here (it's listed as "correo electrónico"-- at least the way it shows up to me, but maybe from the US it actually shows up as "email.")

    In any case, I really love your blog and have ordered several books on your recommendation!