When our daughter was in kindergarten, she experienced her first “mean girl” incident. Granted, this particular child was mean to everyone, but the handwriting was on the wall. A mom of older girls overheard some of the moms talking about what to do and suggested we read the book, Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman.
I loved the book and found the advice helpful over the years. There is a newer addition out now that addresses some of the things that have changed a bit since the original book was published in 2002. In my opinion, if you have a daughter you absolutely must read this book.
One of my favorite things about the book is that the author not only breaks down all of the possible roles a girl can take socially, but gives you clues to help you realize which role your daughter is filling. This book isn’t written just for the victims of mean girl behavior, but shows how everyone plays a role – some of which can hurt themselves and others.
Wiseman does a good job of encouraging parents to really look at behaviors and incidents and not assume their daughter is free of the Queen Bee syndrome. She doesn’t particularly cast blame on the parents, but gives them detailed advice on how to help their daughter, no matter what role she takes in her social world.
One of the most revealing parts is towards the beginning of the book when she begins explaining cliques and social groups. Wiseman often works in schools. She talks about beginning a discussion on the subject of cliques, when inevitably a relatively pretty girl raises her hand and talks about how their school has groups, but everyone accepts everyone else and no one is made to feel “less than”. Wiseman then separates the girls and has them write their truth, with the result that the one who spoke is often the “mean girl” and everyone else in the room thinks their school has all sorts of problems with cliques.
Wiseman covers lots of issues that plague girls from appearance, to technology, to boys and more. In each, she frames behaviors and the effect the girl’s position in the social hierarchy can have on her reaction to them. She doesn’t just present the problem, but gives lots of practical ideas of what to say or do in just about any situation your daughter could encounter over the years. She also has short paragraphs from various girls and their moms sprinkled throughout, giving a real world perspective to what she writes.
The only “negative” about this book is that as a Christian, I wish it had a Faith perspective included. I have learned over the years that behaviors are most often changed consistently when the “God piece” is attached to the more secular advice. Having said that, I can’t really think of anything in the book that I recall as going against anything in the Bible. I just wish it had that added layer of faith and scripture attached.
The book is much thicker than the original version I still have, but since I share it in my parenting workshops as a great resource, it’s currently packed. I am not really sure exactly how much or what specific things were added, but it does seem to contain quite a bit more information.
My bottom line on this book is what it has been for years. If you have a daughter of any age, read this book. This is thoughtful and helpful information you absolutely must know to help your daughter navigate her social life in our increasingly mean and unfiltered world.
A copy of this book was given to me for free in exchange for my honest review. An affiliate link is included for your convenience.