Tis the season of outdoor recess at schools all across the country. This signals not only the coming of the spring season, but a much trickier season. If you have a daughter anywhere near adolescence you need to be prepared for the social challenges of... bee-season.
If you've ever dealt with the social swamp of teen and adolescent girls, you know that it can be a mind-bogglingly cruel time. Queen Bees and WannaBees. Those on the inside and those on the outside. Forewarned is forearmed. If you deal with adolescent girls run, don't walk, to the nearest library or bookstore. Find THE GIRLS by Amy Goldman Koss [copyright 2000, Dial Books for Young Readers.. a division of Penguin Books]. It has been around for awhile so you can probably find it used. Like many of Koss' books it has won numerous awards!
THE GIRLS opens with one member of a girl's clique discovering that she is suddenly out of favor and is being shut out by the group. Loyalties and friendships are tested as each girl decides what to do. The book is a quick read with short chapters, each from a different girl's viewpoint. Read it. Have your daughter read it. Read it together. Anything that will let you open a conversation about social circles, cliques, and loyalties. By discussing the choices that each "fictional" girl makes, your daughter can safely talk about those choices without feeling that you are personally confronting or questioning her life. Make it clear you are not interested in names, but talk about whether any of the girls in the book remind her of girls in her school. Let the conversation open up now and then as her mood and inclination allows. It is a wonderful chance for you to talk about the effects of what the book's characters choose to do. You can also suggest or discuss strategies the characters in the book could have tried that might have worked out better. Check out the book THE GIRLS and get a realistic view of the social jungle that is quite likely your daughters' social jungle. It makes Survivor look like Mr. Roger's Neighborhood!
P.S. Koss also wrote one about bullying, that I have ordered, but not yet received. I'll let you know when I've read it, but it, too, has won awards and high praise.
I am a lifelong educator, writer and author, a foster, bio, and adoptive parent, happy mom of five daughters, Grandma to six, Nana to four, and church and theater musician. Oh yes, and all-round optimistic, crazy lady.