Want to raise a strong, confident girl? The secret is now in print by Katie Hurley. No More Mean Girls and is the must read for every parent and educator. It’s our best hope to turn #METOO into #NotMyDaughter! Thank you, Katie! Here’s to #GIRLPOWER!!

How do we raise a strong, confident girl?

“I don’t want to go to school,” Jenna told me. “All the girls hate me, so I’ll just sit by myself again while they laugh at me. I can’t take it anymore!” Peer cruelty is heartbreaking at any age, but Jenna was only seven years old.

Today’s childhood reveals a more troubling portrait for too many of our daughters-it can best be described as “mean, calculating and backstabbing.” Whether rural or urban, rich or poor, the “New American Girl” seems crueler and more aggressive. Parents know it, and they worry for their daughters. So how do we raise a strong, confident girl?

REALITY CHECK: A Harris survey of 1,144 parents nationwide found that almost 70 percent of parents of three- to seven-year-olds worry that their children will be bullied. What’s more, parents of preschoolers and grade-school-age children are significantly more likely to worry than parents of teenagers. And our qualms are justified. Girl cruelty seems to be starting at younger ages.

Mean girl behavior is commonly referred to by professionals as relational or social aggression, but by worried parents as bullying. The mean girl’s goal is to damage the victim’s social standing by intentionally manipulating how others view her. And her methods are cold and calculated-they can include deliberately isolating or excluding the victim, spreading vicious rumors or posting scandalous lies online, and creating situations to publicly humiliate her. And humiliate is what the mean girl does.

Loss of friendships and social standing is psychologically damaging and the isolation and harassment can be unbearable. Being taunted, shunned, or hearing cruel words or malicious gossip about yourself is emotionally traumatizing and can be every bit as damaging as physical abuse. Those slights in childhood are devastating, but their emotional scars can last a lifetime.

Childhood should be a precious time to forge friendships, develop a strong identity, acquire resilience, and learn to care about others. Instead, too many young girls hate school, experience stress, social anxiety and depression, dial down empathy, and fear forging friendships.

As much as we’d like to just will this problem away, the harsh girl scene is flourishing, and must be taken seriously. To not address the mean girl scene is far too damaging for our daughters’ well-being. So, what’s a parent to do? Well, you can stop wondering, because the answer to how to make “no more mean girls” a reality lies in your hands

Katie Hurley has given us a gift:  practical solutions that are culled from research to stop girl cruelty and help us raise a strong, confident girl. This book will help us produce emotionally-healthy, compassionate, strong daughters. I’m honored to write the foreword to No More Mean Girls.

I know Katie and value her work. She cares deeply about children. Katie is leading parenting expert who has spent most of her adult life studying child development; she has extensive experience working with children with learning differences and struggle with anxiety and low self-esteem. And she has real credentials: Katie is a child and adolescent psychotherapist, researcher and writer who has worked with girls as individuals, in groups and with their families. She even has a young daughter. If anyone can transform queen hornets into caring bees, it’s Katie Hurley.

No More Mean Girls is a veritable treasure chest of ways to help you help girls learn to love themselves, realize their talents, get along and empathize with others, find their inner courage, and lead a more successful and fulfilled lives. Her ideas are based sound child development theory and proven research, and designed to use with your daughter. The fact is, this may well be the only book you will need to raise great girls. Katie shows you how to empower young girls to work together for a brighter, better future. She guides you each step of the way as you help your daughter:

  • Develop the resilience, integrity, and empathy she’ll need to lead a good life.
  • Learn friendship-making strategies and skills to get along with others and build healthy relationships.
  • Cultivate social-emotional skills and find the courage to stand up for herself and others.
  • Stop aggression if she crosses the line to meanness and hurts those she cares about.
  • Acquire healthy self-esteem and strong integrity from the inside out.
  • Learn self-regulation, manage stress, and release negative energy and negative thoughts.
  • Develop assertive communication skills and a strong voice, and learn to saying no without guilt.
  • Find her passion, recognize her talents, and realize her power to make a difference in the world.

But that’s not all, Katie includes engaging stories about girls from her many years of practice who suffered from the mean girl scene, along with the solutions she offered their parents to turn their children’s lives around. And she provides a wealth of fun activities to do with your daughter, like making courage cards if she needs a little courage on the go, challenge sticks to encourage her to take healthy risks, confidence sheets to help her remember that she is capable of overcoming obstacles, coping cards to use when challenges are overwhelming, as well as so much more. She even provides “Parent Teacher Conference” boxes to help you pause and reflect on how to apply the strategies with your child.

But don’t stop when you’re done reading this book. Get on board with other moms. Hold discussions at your school. Bring in speakers. Suggest that parents read No More Mean Girls.  Do whatever it takes, but start talking about the mean girl scene and how to stop it together.

“Today’s girls have what they need to change the course of girlhood for generations to come,” Katie points out. “They can be the generation of girls that finally stands together as one and shouts, ‘Together, girls can!’”

Katie has given us the parenting road map to do just that. Let’s stand tall, speak out together, and help our girls become all they can be. Consistently using Katie’s ideas will help our daughters proceed through life with confidence and resilience-not only now but for the rest of their lives.

What a difference you will make!