No More Mean Girls: The Secret to Raising Strong, Confident, and Compassionate Girlsfrom TarcherPerigee/Penguin Random House. In this Queen Bees and Wannabes for the elementary and middle school set, child and adolescent psychotherapist Katie Hurley shows parents of young girls how to nip mean girl behavior in the bud. No More Mean Girls is a guide for parents to help their young daughters navigate tricky territories such as friendship building, creating an authentic self, standing up for themselves and others, and expressing themselves in a
In “No More Mean Girls” author Katie Hurley takes a closer look into the social lives of girls ranging in age from 3 to 13. Her realistic and honest outlook on what girls are dealing with today is practical and refreshing. Some points of hers truly stood out to me because of how much they resembled my childhood. I like the pullout boxes throughout the book providing tips to help parents stop and digest each point. One point that often comes up in the parent-teacher conferences is guilt. Whether it is the guilt a child feels saying no, the guilt a parent feels over past decisions, or guilt children feel as they watch their friends get bullied, all these feelings are extremely common and should not be ignored. Hurley accurately points out that the age of mean girls is dropping rapidly and is now present in elementary school, as opposed to strictly middle school. She addresses how often rumors are spread and why some girls do or do not see themselves’ as the “popular girl.” While it was heartbreaking to hear the school stories of some elementary school girls, Hurley inspires the audiences with the idea that “it never hurts to be kind”.
Additionally, she explores how it is actually beneficial to have a mixture of friendships, some close friends and some not so close friends so that girls have a wider social circle and they are not dependent upon one best friend. This is often hard for girls because once they find their “tribe” of friends it is almost impossible to leave.
The “perfect girl syndrome” for example, explains how even if children are not put in a high stress environment, they still feel the pressure and have a fear of not being good enough. Hurley also provides insight into how parents may unknowingly put pressure on girls by labeling them and therefore limiting their abilities. Even if phrases such as “you’re so smart, I know you’ll ace this test” seem positive, it often leaves girls uncertain of what will happen if they don’t ace the test. Hurley provides alternatives to help parents encourage their girls without putting extra pressure on them. These are just some of the various topics Hurley brings up. Others include anxiety, eating disorders, and teaching girls how to be leaders and find their voice. As a nineteen-year-old girl who was stuck in a mean friend group from 3rd-7th grade, I genuinely enjoyed reading this book and found multiple parts relatable and incredibly accurate. I would recommend this book to all parents in hopes that it will create an open relationship in which you and your daughter can work through the many social challenges she will face.