Real Girls Aren’t Perfect; Perfect Girls Aren’t Real15
I am printing one of these for each of my daughters’ bedroom mirrors and posting this one to share with you!
“Models are Made:” A Must See Video for Young Girls14
In my book, Friendship & Other Weapons, I dedicate a session to media literacy and empowerment–specifically, helping young girls look “behind the scenes” of today’s advertising industry, to understand some of the smoke & mirrors tricks that go into creating cover-girl looks. I suggest the Dove Evolution video as a great discussion piece that adults can use to educate and inform kids.
Here is a newer video that spells things out for kids (and adults) in a clear and compassionate way–I love the way this photographer explains all of the work that goes into creating a camera ready image…and that he cared enough about young girls’ self-esteem to create the video in the first place. Cheers to him!
Moms, watch this one with your daughters! I know I will be showing this in my Mother-Daughter workshops based on Friendship & Other Weapons when we talk about the media’s impact on young girls. This is the perfect clip for creating awareness about healthy body images, photoshopping, and self-esteem.
What Parents Can Do When Bullying is Downplayed at School342
In my conversations with parents of bullied children, an all-too-frequent recurring theme is that they say their reports to school are downplayed or downright ignored. I wrote this article for the HuffingtonPost in response. Please share with any parents you know who are struggling to help their kids cope with bullying.
FREE International Bully Prevention E-Zine MARCH Issue Now Available230
Check out the March issue of the International Bully Prevention E-Zine. This month’s free issue features great articles about what parents can do to help their kids cope with bullying and importance of role modeling by parents when it comes to raising kids who reject gossip and other forms of relational aggression. PLease check it out & pass it on.
Referee Much? Why Sibling Rivalry Is Good for Kids459
Some days, arguing comes as naturally to my kids as breathing! I take heart, knowing that there are lessons to be learned. Please read on and share this link if you, too, spend a lot of your parenthood hoping that all of this bickering will actually benefit your little ones down the line…
Girl Bully Meets Passive Aggressive Mom: Game On!536
When I co-wrote The Angry Smile, I did not intend it to be a How-To book. In fact, I know lots of ways to be assertive, direct, and emotionally honest with others. But let’s face it, sometimes a situation calls for a little passive aggressive behavior…
My 8-year old daughter has a frenemy. She has known this un-friend–and experienced the girl’s on-again, off-again spitefulness–since they were in pre-school together. The girl, in fact, is the subject of a previous article that I posted on Psychology Today back in 2010, entitled Sticks and Stones: A Little Girl’s First Experience with Bullying.
Things haven’t changed much with this girl over the last four years. At times she is delightful and I must credit her with having an uncanny knack for charming her peers and making them want to please her. Even in her mean girl moments, she is so subtle and innocent-seeming (her extra-small stature seems to play into this) that I understand fully how she gets her covertly cruel jabs in before her targets even realize that they have been mistreated.
Unlucky for her, I study girl bullying, so I’m on to it.
My daughter is too–sort of. On at least a dozen occasions this year, my third grader has come home from school with stories about how the frenemy mocked what she was wearing or teased her about something she had made in art. As a spirited young upstander, my daughter is even more impassioned when she describes how the frenemy relentlessly bullies a classmate with special needs–and covers it up with a sugarcoated “Just kidding!” if an adult should overhear.
Being the therapist that I am, I always try to turn these conversations into opportunities for empathy and teachable moments about coping with mean behavior, reaching out to the bullied, and seeking out kind friendships. So, yes, I am very conscientiously teaching my daughter all of the right things to do. And above-the-radar, I do my best to be a great role model of kindness and assertive behavior.
Anyone who never acts undignified should stop reading at this point. Seriously–if you are compelled to lecture for a bit of misbehavior, it’s time to click away. Believe me, I don’t need you to tell me that my actions in the following situation were wrong. I know it. I chose it. That’s right–like most passive aggressive people, I was aware of what I was doing and yes, I took a little pleasure in it. That’s why I am bothering to tell you; it’s part soul-cleansing confession, part funny-what-a-Mama-bear (or Papa bear)-will-do-to-avenge-her-young.
So, simply put, I took my daughter and her frenemy to see a movie yesterday. Before the film, I bought them each a box of candy–Skittles for my daughter and Sour Patch Kids for the un-friend. Both thanked me graciously. At the end of the movie, the frenemy approached me and said the roof of her mouth was “all scratched up” from the Sour Patch Kids.
Perhaps it’ll be harder for her to use her mouth to say mean things now.
What? At least I didn’t send her home with a box of super-sour Sweetarts to wash it all down.
Signe Whitson is the author of Friendship & Other Weapons: Group Activities to Help Young Girls Aged 5-11 to Cope with Bullying, in which she provides engaging activity and discussion ideas to help kids assertively (not passive aggressively!) respond to girl bullying. For more information, please visit www.signewhitson.com, Follow her on Twitter @SigneWhitson, or Like her on Facebook.
My BFF is a Total Nightmare: Great Advice from author Rachel Simmons791
On my “To Write” list is an article entitled “What to Do When Your Daughter’s Friend is a Mean Girl.” I have a classic example to tell and story to share…so hopefully I’ll sit down at some point and get the article written…but in the meantime, check out this great advice from Rachel Simmons on the same topic.
Is Your Child a Limit Tester? 3 Essential Steps for Closing Your Loopholes1722
The morning of School Picture Day, my nine-year old neighbor shocked her mother by picking out her own outfit (a mutual favorite), doing her own hair (bangs pulled back away from the eyes) and even selecting shoes that matched (a bonus, even though the school portrait wouldn’t account for this rarity.) On her way out to the bus, she called to her mom, “Is it okay if I bring a little lip gloss for the picture?”
Sometimes in our parenting lives, we look back on certain moments that seemed so innocent — so perfect even — and realize that ignorance truly is bliss.
When the school portrait proofs were sent home one week later, my Mama-friend could still hear the lip-gloss request in the back of her head, though all she could see in the photo proofs were the brightest (I never knew red could be a neon color) and biggest (I’m talking nose to chin) set of painted lips you have never seen in your entire life.
To read the rest of this story about limit testing, conflict and effective confrontation, please click here or on the link below to read it on its original home, the HuffingtonPost Parents section.
The Roots of Bullying Behavior0
“Be kind to unkind people; they often need it the most.”
I was reminded of this truism when Tony Shin sent me this infographic on cyberbullying. While most books, articles, and programs focus (righteously!) on the targets of bullying, his work examines the roots of bullying, calling this a predictable psychological behavior whose roots are usually planted in early childhood. An interesting perspective. What do you think?
Created by: OnlineCounselingDegrees.net
5 Ways to Parent a Perfectionist352
Do you have a little one who likes to “do things right…” or else just not do them at all? Check out my article on galtime.com for important tips on how to parent a perfectionist:
When I watch my seven-year old daughter agonize over handwriting homework and berate herself for missing one question on her 30-problem math test, I thank the gods of “good enough” that perfectionism was never my thing. And I ask those same gods for advice on how to help my child overcome her need to be flawless.
If you, too, are the parent of a perfectionist, here are some tips that I have found to be most effective:
1. Play up personal strengths and play down competitions
In school and at home, my daughter loves to win. My husband insists that this is a great quality and I know that in many ways, her desire for excellence will serve her well. Yet I also know that too much of a good thing can be rough, especially for young kids who hold themselves to impossibly high standards. When my daughter seems singularly focused on being the ‘best” reader in her class or getting the “highest” score in math, we try to re-focus her energies on achieving personal bests and celebrating individual accomplishments instead. She is visibly calmer and more confident when she attends to her own goals rather than comparing herself to others.