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Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence Hardcover – April 30, 2002

4.1 out of 5 stars 139 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Wiseman (Defending Ourselves: Prevention, Self-Defense, and Recovery from Rape), offers parents a guide to navigating the adolescent landscape. Acting as a liaison between "Girl World" and "Planet Parent," Wiseman helps parents understand their daughters' friendships, the power of cliques and the roles of girls within them (including Queen Bee, Sidekick, Torn Bystander, Messenger and Target). She outlines parenting styles (from "The Lock-Her-in-a-Closet Parent" to "The Loving-Hard-Ass Parent") and offers tips on talking to teens ("Don't use the slang your daughter uses"). The second half concentrates on boys, sex and drugs as well as what to do if your daughter needs professional help. Within each chapter, "Check Your Baggage" sections challenge parents to recognize their own biases and remember what it was like when they were teens; as well, Wiseman offers scripts for discussing difficult issues and advice on how to deal with them. The author also forthrightly addresses the issue of homosexuality. To wit, a "Homophobic Questionnaire" that turns the tables on parents with questions such as "What do you think caused your heterosexuality?" Wiseman's straightforward humor, sound advice and practical approach make this a must-read for anyone involved in the lives of teenage girls. Back matter offers extensive resource listings including fiction and nonfiction titles, movies and helpful organizations and their Web sites.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Forget the stereotypes of sugar and spice. Girls are mean, and as this book and a recent New York Times Magazine cover story indicate, their subtle, insidious style of bullying is rapidly garnering attention and concern. Wiseman, who founded a nonprofit company dedicated to empowering teens, calls on her extensive face-to-face research with teens in this book that exposes the social minefields of female adolescence and the deep scarring that can result. Wiseman also gives an excellent overview of the common patterns of aggressive teen girl behavior with an increased focus on a parent-teacher audience, offering valuable practical advice, including how to talk about hard issues like sexual harassment. She also offers admirable, groundbreaking insight into an all-too-common issue and will be invaluable to any adult struggling to help a girl get through her teens. Also suggest Sharon Lamb's revealing title The Secret Lives of Girls . Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; 1 edition (April 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609609459
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609609453
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (139 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #469,507 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on January 12, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I am a middle school guidance counselor and this is the best, most honest look at the world of our children I have ever read. Not only is it a VERY accurate portrayal of what "girl world" is all about, but Ms. Wiseman offers parents practical advice on how to handle delicate situations. I have purchased a couple of copies and have lent all of them out to parents who come to my office seeking help and advice. Readers who think this book is over the top are in denial. This book truly tells it like it is -- I witness this everyday at work and as a parent of two teenagers.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a truly remarkable book, extremely well-organized, inspirational, and full of real practical advice. Wiseman first details the different social roles girls play in adolescent 'societey' - what she calls "Girl World" - such as the Queen Bee, the Banker, the Target. Then she describes the different kind of social dilemmas these roles can cause. But - most importantly -she tells readers (presumably parents) WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT.
This is not just proscriptive advice, although there is a lot of that too (e.g., "how to tell if she's had a party while you were away"). One thing that really impressed me about Wiseman's approach is that she gives parents an entire way of approaching problems that they can share with their daughters.
In other words, she doesn't tell you what your rules should be (she leaves that to YOU, thank goodness), but she does tell you how to get your daughter to think about why you as a parent have created them and your family's values should mean to her.
A second thing that really impressed me about this book is that it is wholly non-judgmental: it does not divide girls into Good and Bad/Mean. If your daughter is a Queen Bee, Wiseman knows she has problems too, and she helps you figure out how to solve them.
For more conservative parents, it's worth mentioning that this non-judgmental approach extends to issues of sexual orientation, including homophobia and same-sex attraction. Other reviewers have been rather upset by this, but keep the problem in perspective: out of 288 pages, I counted 4-5 that discussed homophobia in boys and another 4-5 around issues of same-sex attraction. That doesn't seem out-of-proportion in a 200+ page book if something like 5-10% of our daughters are gay.
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Format: Paperback
This book is about the friendships and social circles of girls aged roughly 10-15, with most of the focus on the "cliques" they so famously form, describing the roles girls commonly play in the them (Queen Bee, etc). The author has extensive experience dealing with girls this age at her job and runs workshops for schools. It's a very hands on, practical account.

She argues that while girl's cliques may seem trivial or unimportant to adults, girls are actually learning how to interact with others socially at this age, and for better or for worse, how they behave and respect themselves as adults will often mirror how they fit in with their peers at this sensitive age.

This can be a touchy subject for some. I'm a teacher, and I love kids, and I like all of the ones I deal with, whether they fit as "Queen Bees", "Wannabes" "Floaters" or any other little label.

But still, I think as adults we tend to idealize kids, see the cute and innocent qualities, and tend to turn a bit of a blind eye to the politics between friends, and sometimes even to the attitudes of our students toward class outcasts. As adults, the way they behave can seem quaint, but for the kids themselves, grades 6-8 can be a hard time socially, and it doesn't make it any easier if teachers just turn a blind eye to it and shrug it off thinking "they'll grow out of it".

On the flipside, I think adults that had a hard time during these grades themselves tend to want to brush it aside as "that was then, now I'm all grown-up, and I realize how silly all that was, and one day my daughter/students will too". As nice as that feels to say as an adult, it might not be very helpful to a 12-year-old who'll have to deal with school as her reality for 6 more years.
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Format: Paperback
I am in my 20's, and a graduate of an Ivy League college. I state this fact hoping to give some validity to my opinion. I read this book when I was 20, and I cried at least twice during each chapter of "Queen Bees". Although in high school I hung with a non-conformist/alternative crowd, we were not immune to the petty fights and backstabbing that Wiseman attributes to typical teenage girl behavior. No matter how independent your daughter, she will be either the victim or perpetrator of such behavior. I know,this may shock you...but even your well-behaved, beautiful, intelligent, honor student is very mean, and she has (or will) engage in the cruel and vicious behavior Wiseman discusses in her book. It's NOT because you're bad parents, but as Wiseman says in her book, it's kill or be killed out there in "girl world". It's hard to imagine how cruel teenage girls can be, but there is no exaggeration in this book, I promise you. Even if all your daughter's friends seem lovely and mature, there is still a power struggle within the group, and your daughter may be stuck in the middle.

Please understand that this book IS what life is like for your teenage daughters. She is not the exception. Wiseman outlines various personality types of teenage girls, and even if your daughter is the diplomatic, friendly, and generous type, not all those around her are the same. You need to understand the world she lives in to understand anything about her. I wish my parents had read this book. Though they did a great job raising me, they could have saved all of us the emotional turmoil of those years.
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