The Drama Years: Real Girls Talk About Surviving Middle School - Bullies, Brands, Body Image, and More

The Drama Years: Real Girls Talk About Surviving Middle School - Bullies, Brands, Body Image, and More

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by Haley Kilpatrick, Whitney Joiner
     
 

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Today’s middle school girls have it rough.

In a few short years, they go through an incredible number of biological and emotional changes, making this the most formative—and riskiest—time in their lives. Groups turn on each other, a trusted childhood friend can reveal secrets by sending a text message or updating a Facebook status, and deciding

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Overview

Today’s middle school girls have it rough.

In a few short years, they go through an incredible number of biological and emotional changes, making this the most formative—and riskiest—time in their lives. Groups turn on each other, a trusted childhood friend can reveal secrets by sending a text message or updating a Facebook status, and deciding where to sit in the cafeteria can be a daily struggle. As any tween will tell you, life for a middle school girl can be summed up in one word: drama.

Haley Kilpatrick’s own turbulent middle school experience inspired Girl Talk, a nonprofit organization in which high school mentors offer a “just been there” perspective to tween girls, helping them build self-esteem and develop leadership skills. Here, Haley delivers the definitive guidebook, packed with anecdotes from real girls around the country, who offer their insight into why her friends’ approval is suddenly vitally important, why she feels pressured to be perfect, why she’s no longer telling her parents everything, and what three vital things adults can offer to the girls in their lives to downplay the drama.

Filled with practical strategies from tweens and teen mentors to help adults understand what girls today are facing, The Drama Years is a must-read for anyone struggling to help girls navigate the often difficult transition into adolescence.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Kilpatrick began Girl Talk, a nonprofit peer-to-peer mentoring program that pairs high school girls with middle school girls in 2002 when she was 15 years old. The program swiftly grew from her Georgia high school to 43 states, six countries, and 40,000 members. This book is an outgrowth of the program and is based upon interviews as well as on the challenges she faced during her own “tween” years (ages 11 through 13 or grades six through eight). Though the author points out that she is neither a psychologist nor an academic (and therefore has chosen to skirt more serious issues such as eating disorders and addiction), she does provide sound advice that will help parents to support their tween daughters. Each chapter examines a particular issue (i.e., self-esteem, materialism, body image, love and relationships), and then offers guidance via “Try This” boxes. Kilpatrick’s overarching solution is to help the tween find an “anchor” activity (such as a sport or music), encourage her to give a helping hand (get her involved in volunteer work), and help her find an adoptive older sister (someone to talk to who’s been through similar experiences). With this practical guide to navigating the tumultuous tweens, Kilpatrick hopes to help downplay the drama, generate kindness, and break the “mean girl cycle” so prevalent in contemporary middle school culture. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
The Drama Years is a great overall primer for anyone with a young teen girl in her life. And the girls will love reading it too! I will highly recommend it to the parents, teachers, and girls I work with.”
—Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabes

The Drama Years is a wonderful, compassionate, and extremely helpful book. It is a must for any parent with a middle-school-age daughter. Haley Kilpatrick tells it exactly – word for word – as it is. She understands what they are going through, and she gives truly helpful and specific advice. The book is upbeat while at the same time it deals with all of the toughest issues that young teenage girls must face. All parents of young teen girls will love it.”
—Anthony E. Wolf, Ph.D., author of Get Out of My Life, But First Could You Drive Me & Cheryl to the Mall?

“Even the closest of parent-child relationships can benefit from this book. The more we listen, the more we help to raise a generation of self-empowered, confident women.”
—Lucy Danziger, SELF Magazine editor-in-chief and author of The Drop 10 Diet and The Nine Rooms of Happiness

The Drama Years is filled with heart-stirring stories, just-been-there advice from recent teens, and practical, actionable tips for parents. It's full of real girls talking about everything from stress and body image to love and materialism. Reading this book, I cringed in recognition of my own drama years, just wishing this book had been around back then and so grateful I'll have it as a guide for my own daughter.”
—Melissa Walker, cofounder of I Heart Daily and author of Small Town Sinners

“A must-read for any parent struggling to understand her tween daughter and all the ‘drama’ in her life. Haley Kilpatrick tells it from a girl's perspective with real solutions for grownups.”
—Chandra Turner, executive editor, Parents magazine

"Pre-teen years are so tough for girls, and adults often aren't sure how best to help. Thankfully, we have the middle school and high school girls who share their hearts and minds in these pages to guide us, telling parents exactly what will help them survive The Drama Years."
—Julie Foudy, former captain US Women's Soccer Team and Founder of Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy

Children's Literature - Joyce Rice
It is three years and three grades in the life of a female student but it can impact the rest of their lives in a more significant way than any other school experience. This is a how-to book for surviving middle school, written for girls between the ages of 12 and 14, as well as their parents. Advice for helping parents deal with the materialism that develops at this age, especially around brand recognition, may help to diffuse arguments when shopping for school clothes. Counselor comments are included concerning mother-daughter relationships and their importance on these young girls struggling to become young women. Author Kilpatrick struggled to get through the middle school years with her self-confidence and self-image intact. Her strongest supporters were her parents and a high school student who served as a mentor. Now, Haley is returning the favor as she serves as leader of "Girl Talk," a national non-profit organization in which high school mentors assist tween girls in maintaining a clear perspective through the middle school years, while building leadership skills and self-esteem. Thus, girls having made it through the maze that is middle school are prepared to return the favor by helping those who come behind them. Author Kilpatrick has interviewed girls from across the nation about their experiences with parents, peer relationships, academics, social networking, and body image. Each chapter includes sidelines from counselors, parents and high school mentors, offering an encouraging, supportive perspective. Appendices offer a wealth of resources, categorized by chapter, and a quick index. This is an excellent resource for every parent in starting a conversation with their middle school girl. It is also a reminder to these girls that there is a life beyond middle school. Every upper elementary and middle school media center should add this to their collection. Reviewer: Joyce Rice

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781451627916
Publisher:
Free Press
Publication date:
04/03/2012
Edition description:
Original
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
134,655
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Haley Kilpatrick started Girl Talk, a program to help middle school girls deal with the pressures and anxieties of being a young teen. Haley graduated from Kennesaw State University with her B.S. in communication. She travels the country speaking and motivating youth, teachers, and administrators on the importance of mentoring.
Whitney Joiner is a former features editor at Seventeen and has contributed to a number of newspapers and magazines, including Teen Vogue, Glamour, Redbook, The New York Times, TIME, and more.

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