Monday, April 5, 2010

Our Interview With Tween Parenting Guru Rosalind Wiseman

Rosalind Wiseman, tween parenting guru and author of "Queen Bees and Wannabes", "King Pin Dads and Queen Bee Moms", and "Boys, Girls and Hazardous Materials", is leading a parent-tween workshop Tuesday night in downtown DC. The workshop is part of a national Girl World Tour and promises to be an engaging and educational event. Tweens and their parents are invited to attend together. Ms. Wiseman has been in the news a great deal of late (the New York Times and CNN to name a few) commenting on recent cyber-bullying issues, teen suicides, and several other topics of concern to tween and teen parents.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Ms. Wiseman and chat about some of the hot button issues in tween parenting today:

MsTwixt: "What prompted the Girl World Tour? It's clearly more than just a book launch - was there anything in particular in your work that triggered running these workshops now?"

Rosalind Wiseman: "I have to admit that the Girl World Tour wasn't my idea. [Our team] who works with me, thought that it would be great to create a book tour around getting parents and daughters together in a positive way. [The] girls would get a copy of "Boys, Girls, and Other Hazardous Materials", the adults would get a copy of the revised Queen Bees, and we would all get together and learn from each other about what's going on in girls' lives, what they think about common challenges they have with their parents, and give the adults the opportunity to talk to their kids in a different way--while I facilitate all of it!
I have to say that it has been an amazing experience. Watching the girls talk to the adults, really talk about what's going on with them is incredible. I really feel that although I am providing a lot of information and strategies for the girls and the adults, the event is is so special because the participants make it so."

MT: "We've been reading a lot about cyber-bully (via SMS and Facebook mostly) - will your workshop cover that topic? What can parents and girls expect to learn about cyber-bullying at Tuesday's workshop?"

RW: "Yes, we will be talking about social networking and cyber-bullying in the workshop but it's woven into the presentation as a part-for both better and worse-- of the girls' lives. I really don't believe in teaching "cyber-bullying" the way it is often taught--as if it is apart and distinct from other aspects of girls' lives. So when we will talk about conflicts girls get into with their peers, social networking plays a part in that and I'll teach girls and parents who to navigate through those really tough experiences."

MT: "A common worry I hear from parents in DC is that we live in such a pressure-cooker city. We're concerned that while there are resource benefits to our geography, does it come at too high a cost for our girls? Your tour has brought you all around the country - do you notice any differences in the issues that girls face in urban (like DC) areas vs more rural/suburban areas? What are things urban parents can do to better ground our daughters?"

RW: "I grew up in DC and now raising a family here, I have to agree with you. I do think living here presents unique challenges. Compared to other communities I work in, commitment to your profession often seems to be valued more than commitment to one's family--even if people say differently. For example, people can work on childcare policy issues but spend so much time doing that that they are hard pressed to be there for their own kids after school. And it's not like I am immune to these problems--I find myself doing it too. So my hope is that the DC tour will be an opportunity for parents and girls to really come together and spend time with each in a way that is sometimes hard to carve out in the business of our everyday lives."

Tickets to the workshop (Tuesday, April 6th 7-9pm at Georgetown Day School's upper school campus at 4200 Davenport Street, NW) are still available on Rosalind's site. The cost is $40 per parent-daughter pair and includes: admission to the event, one copy of each of Rosalind’s latest books, and a gift bag.

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