Bullying can begin as early as preschool. Little girls as young as 5 report being miserable due to breakups and fights with peers. A new book Little Girls Can Be Mean aims to demystify the mean girl phenomenon and arm parents, teachers and young girls with the tools to tackle bullying and make school a safe and productive place.
As the mother of two girls--one about to enter kindergarten the other venturing into her first pre-school experience, I plan to take every step I can to make learning and school a joyous experience. But I know the day will come when a classmate will say something cruel or a "best friend" will cause heartache. Now is the time to open the lines of communication and let my girls know I am listening.
The authors call girl bullying "relational aggression" and state it can be just as damaging as physical aggression. Most bullying programs at schools target physical violence--but emotional violence is equally disturbing. Experiencing bullying "is affecting the ability of our girls to learn, participate, and lead even in elementary school." Parents can help girls avoid BEING bullies and BECOMING a bully thanks in part to the tips in this book. Here's my action plan:
- Encourage them to develop a passion outside of school. Sports, music, dance, art, language. Something that makes them feel competent, exceptional and strong.
- Facilitate friendships with many. While having a best friend is great, girls with a wide social circle will have a large group to surround and build them up if one friendship crumbles.
- Open the lines of communication. Talk about bullying early and often. Role play, come up with scenarios and generally let your girls know you are there to talk.
Similar to every other parenting and self-help book I've ever read, this one has a few simple points and then strives to drive them home with repetition and examples. The advice for identifying and resolving a problematic friendship is excellent. While the book is not flawless and yes a bit redundant, it should be on the shelf of every parent--it's that important to be armed with the facts.
Momtrends was not paid for this post. We did receive a review copy.