Messages from the media, movies, and the Internet hit girls from all sides. Messages that say if you’re not skinny, if you’re not drop-dead gorgeous, if you don’t have a clear complexion, if you don’t wear expensive name-brand clothes, then you are a nobody. You’re scum between my toes.
How can grandmothers — and mothers — help girls grow up with a healthy understanding about their bodies, with a foundation of good values, and with the ability to weather the storms of adolescence?
Read Rachelle Christensen and Connie Sokol’s book, that’s what.
Christensen and Sokol wrote the book What Every Sixth Grader needs to Know: 10 Secrets to Connect Moms & Daughters. It is a great resource for mothers and daughters to turn to and to use as daughters enter the 6th grade and begin their journey toward womanhood.
Here are just a few of the 10 secrets covered in the book:
- Beauty and body image (wearing makeup, the low-down about zits, and worrying whether or not you’re pretty)
- Weight (the skinny about dieting at this age — sick pun intended here, folks)
- Puberty (when your period does or doesn’t start, development of breasts, mood swings)
- Boys (to date or not to date — that is the question)
- Friends (how to know if someone is a true friend and how to BE a true friend)
- Peer pressure (how peer pressure affects the desire to fit in with the popular kids)
While there are lots of cool things about this book, there are two in particular that I want to mention. First, every chapter has a “kidspeak” section. This is where actual girls give their perspective and advice on things that were discussed in the chapter. It’s by 6th grade girls for 6th grade girls. It’s like one peer talking to another.
That kidspeak section can hep 6th grade girls learn that they are not alone in what they are experiencing. They get the perspective from someone who is just like them, who is their same age, who is going through the same things. It’s comforting to know that you’re not alone.
The second cool thing is that there are “super sentences ” at the end of each chapter. Well, actually these aren’t true sentences because they aren’t complete. They are more sentence starters. They are partial sentences for girls to complete. They give girls an opportunity to think deeply and reflect on their feelings and thoughts and gives them a place to record those thoughts.
Here are just a smattering sample of those super sentences (so you can get an idea of what they are like).
- Beauty, inside and out, to me means _____________________.
- When someone makes me feel badly for being me, I can say __________.
- I can control my emotions by _________________.
- When friends disagree I can say _______________.
- One way I can share my feelings with my friends is to say, I feel ________ about ______.
When I read, I underlined things that stand out to me. Things that strike me as important. I want to share a few of those things here.
- Showing respect to your parents or other adults is important to being treated as a grown-up yourself.
- Your emotions are a part of you, and you can choose your response to them.
- he best way to find a true friend is to BE a true friend.
- Do not compare yourself with others. Simply do not!
- Weight is not something to worry about. Health is. Focus on feeling fit, strong, and healthy.
- Body changes are normal, so if you’re feeling anything different, that’s totally fine. You can ask your mother about anything.
- All good and healthy relationships go through growing pains. Arguing with your best friend is not abnormal. But how you argue is the key.
There are lots of other pearls of wisdom in the book but I’ll stop with those.
So here’s the deal, grandmothers. Do you have a granddaughter that is in the 6th grade? Or, one that is soon to be in the 6th grade? If so, give her a copy of this book. Or give her mom a copy of this book.
Help your granddaughter understand that it is important for her to establish the habit of talking about her feelings and experiences with her mother now. And how that habit will benefit her all throughout her growing up years — and beyond.
Support your granddaughter as she establishes her relationship with her mother so that when rocky times come (and they will) that she can work through them with her mother.
But what if your granddaughter and her mother have a strained relationship? Then buy the book for yourself and use it as a vehicle for discussion with your granddaughter.
Use it to build and strengthen your relationship with your granddaughter. (It’s important to build a good relationship with grandsons, too, but for right now I’m focusing on granddaughters.)
Talk, talk, talk WITH your granddaughters. Help them feel safe to express feelings and emotions with you. Allow them share their good times and their not so good times and to talk about whatever is on their minds.
What Every 6th Grader Needs to Know: 10 Secrets to Connect Moms & Daughters is an excellent tool for mothers and daughters to use to navigate the turbulent waters of adolescence. It provides a non-threatening way to broach all sorts of topics, questions, and feelings that besiege 6th grade girls. Using this books, mothers and daughters can strengthen their relationship and establish patterns for handling and overcoming problems facing girls of today.
You can get a copy of this book on Amazon for $9.99. And, for a limited time, the e-book is 99 cents. It’s the perfect time to grab your copy so that you and your daughter are all prepared as she enters the 6th grade!
(NOTE: I was given a free copy of this book to review. However, all opinions are my own.)