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August 20, 2006 - 5:32 am

Do you have a girl starting middle school this year? I do and so far, it has been a difficult first week. However, one book that has helped tremendously is a href=”http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?link_code=as2path=ASIN/158485877Xtag=wwwviolentkicomcamp=1789creative=9325″A Smart Girl’s Guide to Starting Middle School: Everything You Need to Know About Juggling More Homework, More Teachers, and More Friends (American Girl Library (Paperback))./aimg src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wwwviolentkicoml=as2o=1a=158485877X” width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”" style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” / My mother-in-law, who is a school librarian, dropped this book off last week prior to the opening of school and my daughter read over it and so did I. The book offers some great tips on how to navigate the world of middle school and as a psychologist, I must say, I was impressed. br /br /Rather than harping on “empowerment” and “girl power,” this nifty little book gives direct advice to eleven-year-old girls on how to control their emotions, learn math, and get along with others without taking everything personally. The beginning of the book starts with a quiz for your middle schooler asking her the question, “how do you deal?” If she answers all questions with an “A” answer, she is termed a “holdout” who tries to hang on to the way things used to be. New things tend to make this girl feel she is losing control. The author’s advice here is good: “And there is something you’ll always have control over: how you handle and react to things.” I sure wish the older “girls” a href=”http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2005/01/17/summers_remarks_on_women_draw_fire/”who got the vapors /awhen Larry Summers made a few remarks about women in math and science had learned this lesson earlier in life. Perhaps if these overly-reactive women had taken the advice from this little American Girl book, they might have made more leeway in the hard sciences. br /br /The American Girl book gives good advice about how to get help from your teacher with math problems, telling girls to be direct and exact with what kind of help they need. For example, asking the teacher when after class she might be available to help with positive and negative integers, instead of just stating that she can’t do math. Other advice has to do with how to make friends and whether or not to swim with the crowd or against it. The author uses rational decision-making techniques such as weighing the pros and cons of one’s actions. The advice given on how to deal with “tough times” with mean girls is priceless. The author seems to understand the bullying process and gives advice like, “Shrug it off. Look bored, avoid eye contact, and think to yourself, ‘Whatever’ or ‘I don’t care.’” She tells girls “not to let the bully know that she’s getting to you” and gives further steps to girls for what to do if the bullying is excessive.br /br /Overall, I highly recommend this book for your new middle school girl. If anyone has any other book reccomendations for parents of middle schoolers, or advice in general for girls in middle school, drop it in the comment section so that we can all learn something.

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