Little Girls Can Be Mean: Four Steps to Bully-proof Girls in the Early Grades
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Little Girls Can Be Mean: Four Steps to Bully-proof Girls in the Early Grades

3.33 of 5 stars 3.33  ·  rating details  ·  327 ratings  ·  81 reviews
Worried about mean girls? Help your daughter respond and react to bullying where it starts---in elementary school

As experts in developmental psychology and each a mother of three, Dr. Michelle Anthony and Dr. Reyna Lindert began noticing an alarming pattern of social struggle among girls as young as five, including their own daughters. In today’s world, it is likely that y...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published August 17th 2010 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 2010)
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Erica
This book was ok. There were some good thoughts and ideas in it and there were also some things that bothered me.

Two things that bothered me were the suggestions that girls lie or manipulate the situation so as not to be embarrassed or feel left out. (Example: lying and saying you forgot it was crazy sock day to avoid being embarrassed your socks weren't exactly what you wanted. Or purposely changing the routine to make it not work with the outfit the other girls picked and you didn't like, for...more
LeeAnna
Having two daughters of my own I thought it would be wise to read this book. I know how mean girls can get and I was hoping for some useful stratagies for helping my second grader with her current friendships and friendships to come.

I found the scenario's in the book very realistic. I enjoyed the way that the author would show two sides of the same scenario from each of the girls involved in some cases. That made me pause and give some thought to how we as parents may overreact to our children w...more
Tiffany
This is a must read for anyone who loves a girl between the ages of kindergarden and 6th grade. It's not only informative, but helpful as well.

This book gives numerous solid and specific examples of how you can utilize their 4 step process to help your daughter navigate through her social life. The steps are Observe, Connect, Guide, and Support to Act. They focus on what your child can control vs. what they can't, and they empower her to participate with you in finding solutions to her problems....more
Melinda
I thought this book was fine, once I got past the ridiculous title. The basic framework (observe, connect, guide, support to act) was good, and I think I could certainly use it to help me be more mindful in my day-to-day interactions with my daughter now, before she's reached the age where the mean-girl stuff starts getting real. But the main weakness of the book for me was when the authors tried to make with the advice in terms of specific vocab girls could/should use in certain situations. Sug...more
Jennifer
I've been waiting for a book about relational aggression and younger girls ever since reading Queen Bees and Wanna Bees, a book I liked but couldn't use for the difficulties my younger daughters were experiencing. Most of the advice in this book is very practical. When you read it, you'll be like, "well, of course." But it's always good to have reminders because in all honesty, sometimes I know what to do but get too caught up with rushing us through the day to really focus on the girls. My favo...more
Amy
This book should be a must-read for anyone who has or works with little girls. It may not be the most brilliantly written book, but it gives a voice and a name for the subtle yet destructive ways girls bully each other. After reading it, I will never again dismiss a comment my girls make about what is going on within the social structure of school. I learned great strategies to help develop assertive, not aggressive, girls. It also gave me a better understanding of the need girls have to feel po...more
Julie
This book outlines a 4 step approach to helping your child dealing with problems, mostly social problems by guiding and empowering them. The steps are observe, connect, guide and support to act. These, as a general rule, are good things for any parent to do as they help their child grow, especially observing (paying attention to them) and connecting with them. I got a bit bored of reading the four steps being applied to many different scenarios with a lot of the same things being said over and o...more
Dolly
Nov 06, 2011 Dolly rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents and teachers of girls in grades K-6
I am the mother of two young girls and having grown up experiencing how mean girls can be (myself included, I'm afraid), I want to help our girls find ways to rise above this tendency, be assertive in their choices (versus passive or aggressive) and be resilient in the face of cruelty and exclusion.

I like that there are a lot of anecdotes (from both of the authors' own families as well as descriptive examples with other children.) And I like that the authors provide concrete steps that parents...more
G F
While this book had a lot of very good suggestions and techniques, and was certainly worth reading (if only due to the sheer lack of bully-related books for the elementary crowd), the authors made some truly baffling suggestions throughout. It really felt as though, for every four reasonable or good ideas there was one that was completely bonkers. The suggestion that you encourage a child to lie (when at this age they have no understanding of white or courtesy lies, let alone lies of self-preser...more
Angela
I saw this book at the library and picked it up. It had some good insight into things my daughter had experienced with her friends at school. I was not crazy about all of the solutions. In one instance it said that one option your child had was to lie. E.g. a child getting upset about sock day at school and worrying about not having the right socks. One of the options was to tell kids you forgot about sock day. "Oh its sock day?" I find this a cowardly method of teaching your kids to cope with c...more
Cynthia
Really meant for parents of younger aged girls who haven't or are just beginning to experience friendship issues. Lots of repitition, some good nuggets of advice but nothing I'm not already doing. Disappointing.
Jen Ryan
Technically, I didn't "read" this... I got about one chapter in and got so sick of the "tell them what you are going to tell them" formula, I gave up and sent it back to the library.
Erin
Apr 01, 2014 Erin rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
Some good points, but the driving home of the four points solution to solve every problem is not entirely realistic. It didn't help that the girls used as examples in this book are very emotionally mature and able to express themselves with just a little prodding from mom, even girls as young as five. I don't think it can be as simple as the authors suggest. Of course this four-step process needs to become a lifestyle of interaction with your daughter, and I respect the idea of keeping open comm...more
Jenna.porter
This book is definitely useful for anyone who has or works with little girls. Some reviewers have mentioned that they didn't feel the scenarios presented were realistic. While some of the stories do *seem* outlandish, I think they are spot-on and relatable. There is a lot of repetition in the book, and a lot of "you'll be able to handle all these situations by using the 4 step approach when you're done reading this book." I found myself scanning a lot, trying to get to the meat. Overall, though,...more
Megan
I really just skimmed this, maybe I will try again when my kids are a little older.

There are probably some good ideas in here. It really is just a couple of moms with two girls each and their experiences. That has value, but from the reviews, introduction, etc. I was expecting something a little more researched and with a larger pool of examples.

It did remind me I need to be better at what they call observing and connecting with my daughters and had some tips for that. Observing is watching wi...more
Shawna Hansen
I waited six months to get this audio book from the library. It was worth the wait. Learning how to identify mean girl behavior, which is extremely different and can be much more subtle than the typical "bully" behavior we all have been trained to recognize, is a strong skill to have as a mother. The emphasis in this book is on active listening to your child. Learn your child's behavior when she is happy and assertive. Observe signs of changes in your child's behavior when mean girl behavior is...more
Jennifer
I was interested in gaining some knowledge and perspective on this subject and the related topics of little girls' friendships and drama. During the spring of this year there was some girl drama involving my daughter (nothing like bullying, but 2 girls were fighting over who would get to play with my daughter and she was stuck in the middle of a bunch of conflict.) I figured any additional information and/or advice I have on this subject is no doubt going to be useful at some point in the future...more
Marianne (Mazziebee)
I thought this book was really useful and took away a lot of good information. The book confronts an ugly truth: as little girls, in their journey through childhood, are trying to figure out social rules and their place in the social structure, they end up getting hurt and hurting others. The book promotes developing a strong mother-daughter relationship, where mom observes, listens, guides and supports her daughter through social problems. (Reminded me of "How to Talk so Your Kids will Listen.....more
Michelle
Somewhere between 3-4 stars, actually. This might be one to own.

The premise is that we need to establish the kind of relationship where our children feel comfortable coming to us with their problems, knowing that we will take their concerns seriously and be supportive. Then, we help them to be objective and brainstorm together for solutions.

We need to teach girls to be assertive. So often girls (and women) are expected to be passive. Many of them are, but when pushed past their breaking point, t...more
Jenn
Aug 19, 2012 Jenn rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
I picked this one up after seeing it pinned on Pinterest. My girl is 8 and just started 3rd grade. So far, she's been pretty removed from the mean girl stuff. I've heard of it happening from other moms of her friends, but she seems to have escaped it so far. I know it can't be too far in coming, especially seeing who some of the girls in her class are this year.

This book has some great ideas about how to support your daughter and gently guide her in making good decisions. There are also good id...more
Kiki Marriott
I wish I had read this book a year or two ago, but it had not been published! I would say this is a must read for parents of girls (age 5-12). Boys get bullied by being punched and kicked but girls suffer a range of psychological abuse stemming from friendship dynamics gone sour.The scars of this can be terrible for the self-esteem of a young girl. The sad thing is that many parents and teachers think it's something we just have to put up with, because "girls are mean". We do now have a tool to...more
Kristen
It was ok. Examples were good, but it rambled and the set up for the points took longer than seemed necessary.
Melissa Meshach
offer some great suggestions about dealing with issues that may occur for our girls, but it did keep repeating itself
Beth
At the beginning, I was very skeptical. It smacked too much of self-help genre and seemed too prescriptive. I wanted helpful advice but not the feeling that I had to follow a strict regime of advice in order for the book to be have any positive impact.

I'm glad I stuck with it, though, as much of the advice turned out to be realistic, practicable and useful. The anecdotes about girls who are both the subject and object of all stripes of mean-girl-syndrome were interesting and helpful to both me...more
Andrea
Great suggestions for parents, teachers and girls. Appropriate for girls of all ages.
Joanne Gass
Essential reading for parents and grandparents of little girls.
Katie
This was an interesting book. Helena is this age and we always hear a lot at home. I don't think she experiences true bullying, but there are certainly friendship struggles that she also shares accountability for. This book basically reaffirmed that that these ages are tough ones for girls as they navigate through friendships. What I liked about the book was that it really normalized this developmental stage and experience. It was lacking, however, in really good tips for parents to help support...more
Kelly
I am so glad I read this book. I thought it had some practical advice and tools to use to help my daughters. The first 100 pages was a little slow reading and I skimmed through it, but I loved the case studies. I had horrible friends in grade school and after reading about the 4 steps parents can use, I felt like they would have helped me then. I'm glad I read this before my daughters have faced too difficult of social struggles and I feel more prepared for when they do face them. I will buy thi...more
Denise
I liked this book for the simple fact that it covered a lot of the situations I have been facing recently with my two elementary-school-age daughters. The suggestions are simple, easy to apply and comprehensive to a lot of different situations. I love that the authors have their own children to whom they are applying the concepts. I also like that a lot of the concepts help both the parents and the children improve communication - a great practice for the difficult tween and teen years which rea...more
Elizabeth
Mar 28, 2014 Elizabeth marked it as return-to-later
Left off p. 32
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Michelle Anthony, M.A., Ph.D. is a child development researcher and educator. She is a co-founder of Wide-Eyed Learning, LLC, which teaches parents and educators the Signing Smart approach to using ASL signs with hearing babies and toddlers. She lives with her husband and signing children in Centennial, Colorado.
More about Michelle Anthony...
Spiritual Parenting: An Awakening for Today's Families Signing Smart with Babies and Toddlers: A Parent's Strategy and Activity Guide Dreaming of More for the Next Generation My First Signs (Signing Smart) Little Girls Can Be Mean: Four Steps to Bully-proof Girls in the Early Grades

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