10 Teenager Tips from the Author Behind ‘Mean Girls’ - The Grace Tales

10 Teenager Tips from the Author Behind ‘Mean Girls’



Rosalind Wiseman is the author of multiple books, but perhaps none more famous than Queen Bees and Wannabees – the basis for the iconic film (and later stage musical) Mean Girls...

She’s also our guest on the podcast this week, and her years of in-depth research with teens made for some enlightening conversation. We don’t get much of that out of our teenagers, so here are our top ten takeaways from the episode.

Listen to the episode here


On the impact of social media on teenagers…

One of the things that adults really need to realize is that saying to a young person, “I was young once, I know what it’s like to be your age” – no, you don’t. You actually don’t know what it’s like.


On children’s lack of privacy…

Young people today don’t grow up with privacy, and that’s not necessarily because of what they’re doing, it’s what their parents are doing. So, when we have people who are putting their children’s pictures up since they were born, and everything the child does, they’re constantly posting, that is taking away a child’s right to have privacy.


On how we groom girls unknowingly…

By the time girls are five, they’re posing for pictures. The way they know how to pose for pictures is, they’ve seen it. So, we’re grooming them to, every time they see a phone, to get ready to take a picture.


On the ‘puberty timeline’…

Know that wherever your daughter is in the puberty timeline with her friends, that those are things that they’re looking at and processing with each other. So, if you have a daughter who’s going through puberty early and her best friend isn’t, then that’s going to be something that is a part of their friendship. It’s part of their dynamic.


On how to talk to girls about puberty…

Say, “Hey, bodies change and it can feel funny, and it’s okay to feel awkward. It’s okay to feel the feelings you’re having. Of course, I’m always here to talk to you about it. If you feel funny about it or it’s uncomfortable, you can draw me a picture of how you’re feeling or you can whisper to me that you’re having thoughts that you want to talk to me about, and then I’ll know that we need to really pay attention to that right now.”


On the responsibility of raising boys…

I’ve talked to plenty of girls who’ve just said, “Fine, I took a pic in my bra because the guy wouldn’t leave me alone.” So first of all, as mothers of boys, we need to be very clear by starting seventh grade at the latest, where we say to our sons – and it really should be coming from men and women – our family stands for treating ourselves and others with dignity.


On social media surveillance…

I’m not a fan of doing surveillance on children with social media. What I am about is graduated freedoms, and I think you sit down with them and you are really, really clear about tying in their behavior on social media with everything that they’re doing in life. There’s no difference.


On rejection and why it’s healthy…

Here’s one of the things that’s really painful, but really helpful. Sometimes other children have to reject your child, because it’s then a huge motivator for a child to realize, “Oh, these kids don’t like me because of the way I’m acting. Maybe I need to change my behavior.”


On parents stepping in to confront bullies…

It makes the parent feel better in the moment, but it actually does not help your child. In all the years I’ve been doing work, it never helps the target. It just usually makes her life worse, because what you’re doing is, you’re showing that she cannot handle anything on her own.


On the word dignity…

You can be in the presence of somebody that you don’t respect, but if you treat them with dignity, because that’s the bottom line…treating someone with dignity and treating someone with respect looks very similar, but it feels very different. It really transforms the way that you show up in relationships.


COMMENTS

Comments

comments