By Kristina Wright
Every mom has a story to tell about a mean girl she knew in school. Unfortunately, in our connected social-media-influenced culture, the mean girls are getting younger. To address the issue, Katie Hurley, a child and adolescent psychotherapist, has written No More Mean Girls. This book is a guide for parents of girls who are experiencing the struggle of what it means to be popular at an increasingly younger age.
No More Mean Girls
Addressed to the parents of girls aged three to 13, the book takes on the “mean girl culture.” Hurley alerts parents to the signs of relational aggression—behavior intended to harm someone by damaging or manipulating her relationship with others—in their daughters’ daily lives. She illustrates her advice with a variety of stories. These serve to demonstrate how girls relate to each other in elementary and middle school. The book also provides well-organized ways for them to develop a sense of identity, acquire resilience and autonomy, and improve their communication skills.
No More Mean Girls offers useful advice and hands-on solutions for parents. Parents learn to help their daughters build confidence and compassion while navigating the challenging world of peer groups and peer pressure. Hurley lays out the consequences for girls focused on living up to labels and seeking superficial approval from their peers. She shows parents how to help redirect that focus. Instead, parents can encourage girls to develop healthy friendships, build self-confidence, and create awareness of social responsibility.
Hurley calls her book “a call to action to empower young girls.” Her goal is to empower girls to work through their obstacles, work together, and build each other up. Ignoring the appeal of social hierarchies and resisting the urge to belong to a coveted group has never been easy. But it’s even harder for girls who haven’t yet learned to use their voices to stand up for themselves.
No More Mean Girls is a terrific jumping-off point for parents. Hurley addresses what it means to be authentic in a world of cliques and clicks.
Kristina Wright is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to Your Teen.