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“One of the best things you can do for your daughter is not to assume she or other girls are, by nature, over-dramatic, mean, or gossipy,” says Lyn Mikel Brown. Avoid ‘girls will be girls’ or ‘girls are so mean to each other’ messages.

Appreciate and support your daughter’s best impulses, praise her when she takes risks, especially if they involve going against the social tide, support her individuality, and downplay concerns about what other people think.

Encourage her to be friends with a wide spectrum of people (without forcing the issue), and always, always assume the best — so will she.” There’s a lot that’s cool about middle school.

While much is written about mean girls, it’s important for parents to realize how much fun this time can be socially for their daughters.

There are several possible explanations of why early dating may lead to other subsequent problematic behaviors.

Girls this age are thrilled that they are about to become teenagers.

“There is a whole cultural pulse that taps into what they are thinking and feeling, and (like it or not) it’s really irresistible,” notes Steiner-Adair.

In their very carefully conducted study Orpinas and colleagues followed the same group of 624 kids as they traveled from 6th grade to their senior year of high school.

I love these studies that follow the same group of kids over time.

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