Friday, November 5, 2010

FRIDAY: Little Girls Can Be Mean

Bullying is a huge, trendy topic these days, and the forms bullying takes are many - cyber-bullying, hazing and more "traditional" school yard bullying. This particular book focuses on what I would call "pre-bullying" in elementary-aged girls.

Talk to moms of girls or teachers with a good-sized group of girls and one word sure to come up is "drama." Girls use social systems to explore group dynamics and power in an almost instinctual way. They place their social group in a hierarchy based on the number of "bests" they use to describe their friends. ("Susie is my best friend, but Katie is my best-best friend.") One day a group of girls pals around without issue and the next they are in two factions or one girl is "out" while the others buzz around her, pointing and giggling.

The authors of this book propose a four-step system for parents and teachers  (and girls) to help girls negotiate this season in life and develop skills to confidentiality whether girl-dynamics. The four steps are Observe, Connect, Guide, and Support to Act and they are applied at varying levels with lots of activities and suggestions. 

I think the key thing I took from this as someone who spends time with elementary kids is that I have to engage with my students more on things I usually blow off as petty. I forget how huge those slights are when you are 9 and your peer group and fitting in are so important. I also like the authors' suggestions of ways to proactively work to cultivate confidence and compassion in girls at this stage of their development. I think this is a great resource for parents and teachers - great examples to walk through the four steps, great activities to try with your girls, great reminders of how important it is to truly connect with kids.

[I am an Amazon Associate. If you link to Amazon from one of my blogs and buy something, I will receive a small portion of the purchase price.]

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