Rosalind Wiseman’s ParentMap Lecture

Last night I was able to attend Rosalind Wiseman’s lecture on Cliques, Bullies, and Social Hierarchies. First of all–wow. This woman is an incredible speaker with so much wisdom to share. You probably know Rosalind from her popular books Queenbees and Wannabes or Masterminds and Wingmen. If you’re not familiar with those books, check them out! I walked away last night with my head full of thoughts and energy.

 

I shared with staff this morning some of the things that stood out to me from her talk, and thought I would share it with you as well.

 

We have a credibility problem with kids. 

  • We need to be role models of for kids in standing up and speaking the truth, even when it’s uncomfortable or creates conflict. When kids see us ignore another parent who is acting disrespectfully at a soccer game, or tuning out inappropriate comments made by a group of teens, they are learning something from us. Is that what we want them to learn?
Responding to kid’s conflicts. 
  • If you hear the voice in your head that goes something like “Oh, well, I’m gonna go down to that school and I’m gonna…” you need to take a break–that’s not the place to parent from. Start with empathy and sincere thanks for child sharing this with you. Work with the child to help them make a plan for helping them feel better/work towards resolution (even if it means bringing in help). Keep the focus on your own child’s well-being and safety, not about the punishment of the other child who was in conflict with yours.
Gossip. 
  • Rosalind talked about how dangerous gossip is and how it can tear apart communities. Gossip affects our ability to have real, engaged conversations. She urged all the parents in the room to instead of ignoring, getting angry about, or continuing gossip about a student who has made poor choices to say: “Wow. That sounds really tough for that kid. What do you think we can do to help him?”
Three kinds of teasing
  • Bonding teasing: no one feels put down or bad
  • Annoying teasing: the teaser doesn’t realize the impact the teasing is making on the person being teased
  • Malicious teasing: teaser is picking on insecurities, is threatening to end the friendship, it is relentless & public
Boys vs. Girls
  • Don’t say “girls are difficult” and “boys are easy and simple.” Both boys and girls have important, complicated emotional lives.
  • Body image: We often think about the messages that girls are receiving about body image in the media, but what about boys? We give boys costumes of Batman with huge built-in muscles and six packs–what messages are we sending to boys?
These are just some of the helpful pieces of insight Rosalind offered. Check out her books or make a point to see her speak next time she’s in town!

 

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