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

3.42  ·  Rating Details  ·  570 Ratings  ·  106 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
Paperback, 304 pages
Published August 17th 2010 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 2010)
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Jan 20, 2013 Erica rated it liked it
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
Mar 31, 2012 LeeAnna rated it liked it
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
Feb 07, 2011 Tiffany rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
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.
Jun 05, 2011 Melinda rated it liked it
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
Jun 16, 2011 Jennifer rated it really liked it
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
Feb 25, 2011 Amy rated it liked it
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
Oct 13, 2012 Julie rated it liked it
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
Nov 06, 2011 Dolly rated it liked it
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
Apr 05, 2012 Michelle rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, 2012
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
Jan 13, 2014 G F rated it liked it
Shelves: parenting
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
Nov 14, 2012 Angela rated it it was ok
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
Jul 12, 2015 Adysnewbox rated it liked it
I thought this was a solid if not amazing book, but it may have suffered in my esteem because I was on vacation while reading it, and didn't get the chance to sit down and really "dig into" the book as it deserved. I got this from the library, after having it recommended to me by a friend who has girls of a similar age as mine. My oldest daughter had a few rough patches during her fourth-grade school year, and I thought this book might offer some good tips or insights on how to help her navigate ...more
Sep 03, 2015 Brigid rated it it was amazing
I would encourage anyone who has interaction with children on a regular basis -- as a parent, teacher, coach, counselor, whatever -- to read this book. It may be written with girls in mind but the breakdown on handling peer-to-peer interactions can (and in my mind, should) apply to boys as well. It has information specifically noted to help teachers (or any adult who works with children that aren't their own kids) apply the message, as well as text for kids themselves.

The authors not only discus
Aug 13, 2013 Cynthia rated it it was ok
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
Jun 13, 2012 Jen Ryan rated it did not like it
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.
Apr 01, 2014 Erin rated it liked it
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
Mar 18, 2014 Jenna.porter rated it really liked it
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
Feb 07, 2016 Lisa rated it really liked it
I had marked this book as "to-read" thinking I had some years before I would need to read it. However, after a series of e-mails from my daughter's Kindergarten teacher regarding the "mean girl" things being said by her classmates, it made me feel that I needed to learn this sooner.

I found this book insightful and full of concrete applications for their 4-step system to discover, draw out, and address a problem your daughter or student may have within friendships or social interactions. I found
Carolyn Fitzpatrick
This was a speed read, since a lot of the advice was fairly intuitive. At the beginning, there is an excellent justification for defining bullying as social behavior in addition to "boys'" physically aggressive behavior. This book is NOT about running to the administration when your child (grades K-2) gets frozen out of a social group or has a friend suddenly turn against her. Discussing the situation with teachers is barely mentioned. Instead it teaches how to help children vocalize what happen ...more
Sep 07, 2015 Ilib4kids rated it it was ok
371.58 ANT
CD 371.58 ANT
My review: a very practical book. Human by nature is a social animal, want to be loved and be belonged are key struggles of social issues. Providing a warm,loving home environment, is the best protection to face this problem. Using "I statements" to be assertive, kind, standing for yourself.

4 Steps: Observe; connect; guide; support your girls to act
ages 4 - 12 (kindergarten to 6 grade)
My review: in Connect stage, try to feel your daughter's feeling is more important to pro
Lissa Notreallywolf
Nov 10, 2015 Lissa Notreallywolf rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 03, 2014 Sarah rated it liked it
This quote from the opening hits the nail on the head for me:

"Parents are surprised by the unexpected and complicated 'clique-y' issues that surface in early elementary school. ... To make matters worse, parents themselves feel ill-equipped to help their children."

- - - - - -

Now that I've read the book, I feel kinda underwhelmed. The 4-step approach does seem reasonable, but also hard to put into place. It's still not clear to me when I could counsel to ignore minor things and when to put a huge
Apr 24, 2012 Megan rated it it was ok
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
Shawna Hansen
Aug 03, 2013 Shawna Hansen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 07, 2013 Jennifer rated it really liked it
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)
May 09, 2013 Marianne (Mazziebee) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Jenny Hawley
Mar 24, 2016 Jenny Hawley rated it liked it
This book provided a lot of scenarios to consider that were realistic. It offered suggestions and advice of ways to handle them and help strengthen our girls. However, the reason I gave it 3 stars is I felt the conversations they modeled between parents and daughter were so contrived. I'd need a script in front of me as the way they suggested speaking was so awkward and phoney sounding. I guess it's difficult to write dialogue that could generically work for everyone, so maybe that was the issue ...more
Nov 09, 2014 Ana-Catrina rated it really liked it
Quick read and very helpful. I now feel prepared with specific things to say and/or do to help my daughters navigate the tricky waters of friendship. I like that it has short paragraphs specifically written for girls, so it helps start the conversation about The Four Steps.
Jan 04, 2015 Marcie rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, parenting
3 1/2 stars

**Written for parents and teachers

pros :
*defined, practical steps that parents can take to help guide our daughters/children as they deal with the relationship issues and conflicts they will inevitably face
*real life examples to show those steps in action
*emphasis on the parent-child relationship and helping parents pay attention to small cues to be aware of their children's social and emotional status, without hovering or rescuing

cons :
*a dense philosophical beginning, which lays
Aug 19, 2012 Jenn rated it really liked it
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
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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.
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“Gary Ladd’s Pathways Project is a long-term study of the various influences on children’s early and continuing educational progress. This longitudinal study of children from kindergarten through middle school examines aspects of family and school that affect children’s academic success. Results indicate that when children have difficulty with their peer group at school, they perform less well on measures of learning and achievement.9” 0 likes
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