Little Girls Can Be Mean #Bullying #StopBullying

Little Girls Can Be MeanFor those of us who are females, it doesn’t take movies like Mean Girls to tell us that girls can be very cruel to one another. We know it because we have experienced it. No, girls aren’t out on the playground punching or kicking a weaker child (in most cases). Instead, they use words and other more passive forms of aggression, which are just as harmful to the emotional well-being as physical abuse is to the body. Most of the time, this problem is thought of as a middle school and high school age problem, and truthfully, that is where the bullying and mean-girl attitudes are fully evident. Unfortunately, many aggressive behaviors begin in the elementary school years and are allowed to develop unchecked until they are clearly seen. October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and I am happy to share a new book that addresses this important topic.

In Little Girls Can Be Mean: Four Steps to Bully-proof Girls in the Early Grades developmental psychologists Michelle Anthony, M.A., Ph.D. and Reyna Lindert, Ph.D. tackle the subjects of social cruelty, relational aggression, and bullying in elementary school. The authors have developed a four-step approach that can be easily applied to any situation that young girls and their parents, teachers, or counselors face. Drs. Anthony and Lindert introduce and discuss the four-step process, and then give real-life examples of applying the steps in common elementary school situations. The book also addresses why meanness happens, and what to do about it, whether your child is a target, bystander, or the mean girl. The entire book is extremely practical, and it includes many suggestions for dealing with current problems as well as preparing in advance for problems that are likely to arise. It is also full of tips specifically targeted to girls, parents, and teachers. One aspect I especially appreciated is the idea that we want to train our girls to be assertive (able to stand up for themselves and solve problems) without being aggressive. As female, a parent, and a former teacher, I know that this is a tough balance, and I can’t praise the suggestions in this book highly enough.

I have a little girl in kindergarten, and I must give this book a huge stamp of approval (and add it to the 5 Star Reads list at 5 Minutes for Books). Since I read the book at the beginning of last week, I have already seen the process work. My daughter came home upset one day and sadly said, “No one would sit with me on the bus.” As I used the four-steps suggested in Little Girls Can Be Mean, I discovered that no one was being intentionally mean to her, but she felt excluded because three of her friends were sitting together and there was no more room. We talked about possible solutions to her problem, with one being that she could use the situation as an opportunity to make a new friend. I was ecstatic when later in the week she told me, “Mom, I didn’t have anyone to play with on the playground today, but I thought about what you said about the bus and made a new friend. She is really nice!” This is a simple example of a situation in which my daughter had the tools she needed to solve a social problem.

Although she will face much more complex problems than this, the ideas in this book are useful and applicable to many social situations, and they give girls and parents tools to establish a foundation of communication and problem solving. Little Girls Can Be Mean isn’t going to take away the social challenges that girls face. It does, however, provide tools that girls and parents (or teachers) need for empowerment. I am so glad that I was able to read this book as my daughter begins her elementary school years, and I hope that all of you with young girls will find a copy of this book.

I am especially excited to offer one giveaway copy of Little Girls Can Be Mean: Four Steps to Bully-proof Girls in the Early Grades to one of you. Please leave a comment below if you are interested. We’ll announce the winner in this column on November 8.

Lauren is a wife, mother of two, and an avid reader. She blogs at Baseballs and Bows and is a contributor at 5 Minutes for Books. Although Lauren would love to protect her little girl from all bad experiences, she knows she can’t, and she is thankful to have tools to use in the growing-up process! Lauren thanks Media Masters Publicity for the review copy of this book.


  1. says

    I would love to win this book! I was bullied in middle school mostly – 5th and 6th grade – and I just gave birth to a daugther so this book would be really helpful to me!

  2. Corrie says

    I would love to have this book! My oldest daughter of 3 has found herself, not the target of bullying, but just mean girls that won’t let her play with them! Breaks my heart and I would love to be better equipped to help her through it!

  3. Jessica says

    I wish I would never have a need for this book, but I’m sure the time will come for my toddler daughter, and I want to help her through it.

  4. Linda M. says

    Hi, being a Meema to three little girls……I had three boys, so I’m in a learning stage………..I have already seen this. My son & I would love to have this book to equip our Babies with the tools they need. It sounds great to me!

  5. Raine says

    I would love to win this book! What a great giveaway. My daughter is almost 4 and we are already experiencing some situations where she feels left out or hurt by her friends. This would be a fantasictic resource to use.

  6. Amy says

    My friend and I were just talking about this the other day as she was seeing this happen with her daughter in kindergarten. I’d love to give this book to her.

  7. Maggie K says

    As a 59 yr old grand mother raising twins, a boy & girl who are 3, I need all the help I can get in this day & age! Would love to win this one!!

  8. jamie says

    Our family could really use this book my daughter has been targeted by her “so called” friends and I have had trouble explaining to her that these are not friends

  9. Carla Calloway says

    I wish we had a book like this when I was growing up. It would have helped me alot. If I win this I will pass it along to my step daughter who is mixed and gets teased because of it :(

  10. says

    I would love this book. I have a daughter in Kindergarten and I’ve already been a little taken aback by some of the little girl meanness I see.

  11. says

    I am very interested in this book. My 8 yr old daughter, just this morning, told me that at lunch yesterday she unloaded her lunch box and another little girl started to make fun of her for having a pink Princess thermos. Seriously? My daughter told me she was so embarrassed, and begged me to not send it with her anymore. At first I was devostated and angry. But then I sat down with her and explained to her that, that girl was being a bully. And that there is always going to be someone that does NOT like something about her (my daughter). So I told her, instead of letting it upset her, to just ignore the girl, and I instead prompted my daughter to be strong and proud of the things she likes. I encouraged her to stand up for her self and what she believes in by telling the little girl, next time, that it doesn’t matter what she thinks. My daughter perked up right away and just got very excited knowing that it’s okay to like something that others do not. Our little girls do not know that it’s okay to be different, it’s okay to stand up for what we like, it’s okay to tell a teacher about a bully and it’s okay to say “no, your not being nice” to another person when they hurt our feelings, as long as we are being nice too and not being a bully right back.

  12. Maureen says

    This sounds like a very informative book and I would love to win it! Thanks, Maureen (jnomaxx at hotmail dot com)

  13. says

    Wow, thank you so much for sharing this book. My boyfriend’s neice is dealing with a lot of mean girls at school and she’s only in the first grade! I am going to recommend this to her mom and hopefully I will get a chance to read it too. Thank you for sharing your story too, it’s heartwarming to know that she was able to make some new friends b/c of the suggestions in the book.

    Thank you for the contest!!

    inthehammockblog at gmail dot com

  14. Susan Kinzer says

    I would love to read this book! I have five daughters and yes there are many challenges from their friends and classmates. Thank you for this opportunity. :)

  15. says

    This book would be a much needed resource that I could sincerely use. We had an issue with bullying for over 6 months last year while my children were in preschool at Chesterbrook Academy (in Pembroke Pines). I’d appreciate a resource that could help me prepare my children. It’s something that concerns me on a daily basis.

  16. Jamie says

    OMG I could do with this book!
    My DD has some mean girls in her class at school. We are coming up to three years of her battling them in her own nice way. We have had some respite this year as her class has been a composite, but I am scared for next year as she will be back in a single class with only 4 other girls-the ring-leader, ring-leaders best friend, the girl who does as she is told by the ring leader and one other girl. I’m worried!

  17. Alison S. says

    This book sounds very timely because my husband and I were just talking about this topic the other day in relation to school options. Thanks for the review.

  18. says

    This sounds like such a great tool for those of us with little girls. I’d love to read this before my daughter reaches Kindergarten.

  19. Benita says

    This is such an important topic. I would love to read this book to my class and include a copy in my classroom library. Thanks so much for the possibility.


  20. Jessie says

    This looks like a book that is really needed these days! My daughter is in kindergarten and already she is experiencing bully issues. Times have changed a lot; at least I don’t remember having to deal with this type of thing until about 3rd grade!
    I would love to read this book to help figure out what to do/say when my daughter has these issues! Thanks for this opportunity.

  21. says

    Something I would definitely be interested in … my little girl is quite a ways from kindergarten but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.

  22. says

    As an elementary school teacher I’d love to have a copy of this. So much of what I do is helping children navigate friendships and difficulties, this seems like a valuable tool!

  23. katklaw777 says

    I did not realize that October was National Bullying Prevention Month,
    I am glad there is book that addresses this important topic, thanks.

  24. alison says

    I would love to read this book myself and then share it with my daughter’s preschool teacher. She and I have talked this year a lot about the girls forming cliches already this year. My daughter has come home so upset from Birthday parties due to girls being mean. I’m shocked it’s happening already, but I really want to be an informed parent.


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