John Donne, a poet once famously said "no man is an island entire of itself", and nowhere does his statement ring true more than when discussing friendship. Since we're toddlers up until we take our last breaths, friendship is an essential part of life. Our friends shape who we are, who we become, how we make sense of the world around us, and how we relate to others. Friendship is an important part of growing up, and the friends we have in school can have a dramatic impact on our development socially, emotionally, and indeed even academically. However, while friends can be a wonderful resource for students, navigating through friendships and peer relationships can also be detrimental in many ways. With our culture's obsession on fitting in, friendships can become a source of peer pressure and teasing, and can impede personal development during the formative years when one is in school. In her book, Queen Bees and Wannabes, Wiseman discusses these very issues, such as friendship, its importance and benefits, and more importantly, dealing with bullies and mean girls. Not only is this book helpful to teenage girls, but it is specifically geared towards parents and provides them with a plethora of helpful strategies on how to deal with their daughters and enhance their social lives.
Each chapter in this book is divided into several sections. They all start off with a thorough analysis and description of a specific characteristic of "girl world". Next, Wiseman includes a "check your baggage" section which challenges the parents to answer a few questions about their experiences when they were their daughter's age as this will help them understand their own biases and preconceptions. That section is followed by strategies and even example scripts for how to talk to your daughter, how to help her, how to reaffirm your relationship with her and how to give her the confidence she needs to solve her own problems. Wiseman especially stresses the importance of parents giving their children the support and tools they need to fight their own battles and make their own decisions, rather than try to solve their children’s problems for them. Since the chapters in this book discussed such various and diverse topics, for the purpose of this book review, I chose the chapter which touched on friendship, bullies and dealing with conflict.
Friendship is described as a voluntary association between two people who have a deep connection and share the responsibility for that relationship (Kostelnik, Gregory, Soderman & Whiren, 2012). Wiseman starts of the chapter by explaining that friendships in schools are bound to blossom. She discusses how with school being a social setting and a location where children spend most of their time, meeting people in school and conversing with them is inevitable. She then goes on to examine the different benefits of friendship. She states that having friends can increase your sense of belonging and purpose, boost your happiness, reduce stress as well as improve your self-worth (2009). This statement can be supported by an article which examined the effects of friendship in New Zealand. The participants who were between the ages of 12 to18 claimed that "hanging out with mates" was one of their main reasons for going to school and doing so had many advantages to it. Sure enough, this article concluded that those participants, who had friends and hung out with them at school, performed better academically, took on less stress and, felt that they were in a secure environment where they developed positive self concepts (Irwin, 2013). Kostelnik et al. (2012) also proved Wiseman's point by stating that children without friends are more likely to be troubled, victimized and feel lonely. They will also suffer academically and miss the chance to practice social skills which help us grow in life.
Next in the chapter, Wiseman (2009) discusses how even though there are some girls who can have a positive effect on others,...
References: Irwin, M. (2013). Hanging out with mates: Friendship quality and its effect on academic endeavours and social behaviours. Australian Journal of Education, 57(2), 141-156. doi:10.1177/0004944113485839
Klomek, A., Marrocco, F., Kleinman, M., Schonfeld, I. S., & Gould, M. (2007). Bullying, depression, and suicidality in adolescents. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 46(1), 40-49. doi:10.1097/01.chi.0000242237.84925.18
Kostelnik, M. J., Gregory, K., Soderman, A. K., & Whiren, A. P. (2012). Guiding Children’s Social Development and Learning (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth (Cengage Learning).
Pöyhönen, V., Juvonen, J., & Salmivalli, C. (2010). What does it take to stand up for the victim of bullying: The interplay between personal and social factors. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 56(2), 143-163. Retrieved from http://wsupress.wayne.edu
Tenenbaum, L., Varjas, K., Meyers, J., & Parris, L. (2011). Coping strategies and perceived effectiveness in fourth through eighth grade victims of bullying. School Psychology International, 32(3), 263-287. doi:10.1177/0143034311402309
Wiseman, R. (2009). Queen bees & wannabes: Helping your daughter survive cliques, gossip, boyfriends, and the new realities of girl world (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Three Rivers Press.
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