THE DRAMA YEARS:
Real Girls Talk About Surviving Middle School—Bullies, Brands, Body Image, and More
Haley Kilpatrick, the founder of Girl Talk, has provided an insightful look into the life of middle school girls with her new book The Drama Years. Haley uses her own experience as a once insecure pre-teen, along with commentary from many of the tweens involved in the Girl Talk program, to give parents and anyone who works with teen girls this invaluable guidebook.
About Girl Talk
“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.”
Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, Girl Talk is more than 40,000 participants strong, in forty-three states and in six countries around the world.
My Thoughts on the Book
With my nieces now 11 and 13 and going through some noticeable changes, and having only raised a boy, I was eager to read The Drama Years. This book offers several valuable thing. First it provides real insight into the challenges a tween girl faces, using anecdotes from real girls around the country. You also get Just-Been-There Advice from teen girls who have already experienced what the younger girls are facing. Probably most importantly, adults get practical strategies on how to better understand their tweens and help them navigate the difficult transition into adolescents.
A few of the many topics covered in the book include:
1. Self-Esteem, Self-Awareness, and Self-Respect
2. Handling everyday anxiety and stress.
3. Dealing with mean girls and frenemies. What it means to be a friend.
4. Love and Relationships.
The girl’s stories and quotes throughout the book are often funny, but sometimes heartbreaking. They provide real insight to what pre-teen girls are thinking and struggling with. As I read the book, I found myself recalling my own middle school experience and the struggles that I faced. I remember the drama and how everything seemed like a life or death situation back then.
“You don’t always need advice; you just want someone to listen to you or hear you out or hear your side.” — Kelly, thirteen, New Jersey
I have taken away some valuable advice from ‘The Drama Years’, such as the importance of helping the girls with time management. With so many activities and school projects, it’s easy for pre-teen girls to become overwhelmed. Creating a physical time line and prioritizing their time will not only alleviate stress they are feeling now, but will provide them with valuable tools they will use as adults.
“My friends have this need for drama. It’s like the oxygen that blows through their lungs. They can’t live without it.” — Tabitha, eleven, New York
Making the punishment fit the crime is more great advice. We don’t always realize how important it is for girls to fit in and how preventing them from attending an event or party could have social repercussions that we don’t see as important, but can be very damaging to them.
‘BFFs, Frenemies, and Mean Girls’ is one of the most important chapters in the book. It discusses not only the difficulties girls go through as friendships and alliances change, but how to deal with the ever increasing problem of cyber bullying.
“Sometimes I just want to go back to elementary school where everyone was friends and the biggest thing we fought over was sharing crayons.” — Courtney, twelve, New Jersey
After reading this book, I realize the value for girls to have an older teen they can trust and confide in. An older girl who understands and can give first hand advice. The Girl Talk program offers just that, but if there is not a chapter of Girl Talk near you perhaps an older sister or cousin could help your tween.
I highly recommend this book for parents or anyone who cares about young girls.
THE DRAMA YEARS: Real Girls Talk About Surviving Middle School—Bullies, Brands, Body Image, and More from Simon and Schuster is available in paperback for $16.00.
Disclosure: About A Mom received the product mentioned above to facilitate a review. No compensation was received. All thoughts are our own.