This month’s featured author is Rosalind Wiseman. She is an internationally recognized author and expert on children, parenting, social justice, and ethical leadership. She has written two amazing books, one about boys and one about girls, that help us to understand what our teens are thinking and what they are going through.
According to Wikipedia, Rosalind Wiseman was born in Washington D.C and went to college in Los Angeles where she received her degree in political science. She is also earned a second degree black belt in Tang Soo Do karate. Upon graduation, she moved back to Los Angeles where she started teaching martial arts to women. After hearing the young girls’ questions about social issues they faced, and watching them become empowered by martial arts, Wiseman was inspired to begin working in youth empowerment and leadership-building.
The conversations she had with the women she was teaching inspired her to write her to write one of her books on girls called Queen Bees Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boys, and the New Realities of Girl World. It is written as a guide to crack the “girl code” and understand the powerful roles that cliques play in shaping adolescent girls’ lives.
She put off writing Masterminds & Wingmen (the all about boys companion book) because she struggled with the idea that she may not be able to give as deep of an insight into how boys think, as she was able to do for Queen Bees Wannabes, but she tapped into her experience teaching boys and other things she has written to get this book out there. It is written to show us how things work in Boys World, a place where asking for help or showing emotional pain often feels impossible.
Is peer pressure different for different genders?
The answer to this question is yes. Society often puts different labels on kids depending on what their gender is. So, cliques are pressuring their peers to conform to what they see as their normal.
Girl Cliques to girls
Sometimes parents want their kids to just get through it and grow up. But their relationships with their friends can be very intense, confusing and frustrating. Most of it is based on their soaring hormones and emotions. So, they can be best friends in one moment and mad at each other the next. It is a hard road to navigate sometimes, but these friendships are important to help them become who they will become. Girls are safer and happier when they are looking out for one another. But when they start competing with and judging each other it weakens the relationships and make them feel isolated. This is the power that a clique can exert over someone.
Boy Cliques to boys
On the boy side of things, they are faced with many of the same social challenges that teen girls face, we parents and caring adults aren’t trained to see it because boy problems are deceivingly simple and they don’t always cry out for help like girls do. Teen boys pressure each other to outdo each other. “Bet you can’t throw the football 40 yards” or “bet you can’t jump those ramps on your scooter” because for them, it is about a pecking order to who is the best.
Mixed Cliques to other peers
Sometimes teen cliques will combine boys and girls and they will chose to pressure someone because they are different or see as weaker. This is a combination of how girls pressure others and how boys pressure others. The targets of this kind of pressure can feel like the whole school hates them and not just the peer group of their gender.
Then, we introduce teens that identify as different genders than what they were born as. This has led to cliques placing stronger pressure for these teens to conform to the one that they biologically are and not the one they chose to be. Sometimes the targets struggle with this peer pressure and some rise above it and show their classmates that they can be who they want to be.
What can we do?
Like we talked about last week, giving into peer pressure has its consequences. There are many books out there that talk about these consequences and how it changes the paths that teens find themselves on when they are in the process of coming-of-age. Reading these books can help us relate to what teens may be facing.
Rosalind Wiseman does a great job with both of these books to give us some great insight into what our teens are going through and what they are thinking. Sometimes I think we forget that we were once in our teens shoes and faced some of the same things they are. Sometimes our advice is just to push through it because that is what we did. It isn’t always the best way. We need to help them see their value and importance for who they are, despite the pressures they are facing.
Interested in learning more about Rosalind Wiseman or purchase a copy of one of her books? Here is a link to her website. Rosalind Wiseman She has a great website which even has a page called “Ask Ross” which is her way to be open for people to ask her questions that they may have about their teens. Why is it Ask Ross? Ross is her nickname.
Peer pressure and cliques
Teens deal with anxiety over navigating issues they face with little life experience to guide them. Cliques may be making them want to fit in so badly they make decisions that may not be the best for them. Or they are shunned by their peers because of a decision they make or the way that they are because it doesn’t match what the clique thinks is right. Whether we agree or not, we need to support them and help them navigate whatever consequences come from it. Whether they are the perpetrator or the target.
Reminding our teens to be kind to others and to reach out to those who seems to be isolated or alone is always good to do. We don’t know what someone else is facing, but we can let them know that someone cares.
So, make a plan this week to check in with your teen. Start creating that safe place for them to share what might be on their minds. Teen Mental Health Matters.
The Hard Way is about peer pressure
The Hard Way is the first book in The Way Series by Selma P. Verde. It is the story of Paul Jones and his navigating peer pressure to make choices. In the story, is peers challenge him to make a choice. The choice he makes helps him stay loyal to his friends, but it leads to big consequences. To find out what choice he makes, follow the link below and pick up your copy today!
And, for more information about peer pressure, click on this link to our focus on the subject. Mentoring A Dream – Peer Pressure