Queen Bees and Wannabes

Penni Russon and I both read Rosalind Wiseman's book back in about 2008 when we were preparing to write books for the Girlfriend Fiction series and were worried we'd forgotten what it was like to be a teenage girl. At that stage we had four daughters between us, aged from about 3 to 7.

Fast forward to today, and my daughters are 11 and 14, and the world of Queen Bees and Wannabes has taken on a new and vivid reality as my girls negotiate adolescence, friendships, burgeoning sexuality, school pressures, and all the rest of it. This books is crammed with illuminating information and food for thought for parents. The ultimate accolade must be that Ms 14 picked it up, skimmed through the 'Parties' chapter and said, 'Hm, there's some really good advice in here.' So I think I might leave it lying around for a while...

Wiseman has run workshops for teenagers for many years and she's seen and heard it all. She is refreshingly non-judgmental, but she is firm and wise, stressing the need to keep respectful communication alive, even when you feel like killing each other! Some of her advice must have stuck from all those years ago because I felt tentatively that I'm not doing such a bad job (so far...) One of her rules is to pick your battles; forget about fighting over hair and clothes, you'll never win, and she'll start sneaking around you. Once you've lost her trust and respect, it's all over. But a 'Loving Hard-Ass Parent' stands a chance of maintaining a connection when it really counts.

I'm very glad I bought this, though it was annoying that this edition (from the UK, though the text seems unchanged from the US version) is peppered with typos. Not just recommended reading for the mothers (and fathers) of teenage girls (and boys!) -- this is essential.

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