In our two books, The Roller-Coaster Years: Raising Your Child through the Maddening Yet Magical Middle School Years (Broadway Books) and Parenting 911: How Parents Can Safeguard and Rescue 10- to 15-Year-Olds (Broadway Books), we sketch how the clique-mobile runs over many young adolescents, shredding their self-image and confidence. Middle and high schools have evolved into a caste systems, labeling and segregating the student body into social straight jackets. Living in the cruel confines of such a system destroys in many subtle ways (and not so subtle ways -- remember Columbine?)
As adults we can think back to middle school and remember our own social struggles and humiliations. Do you have a social memory that you've suppressed? If so, let's hear it.
We are launching a national initiative called "It's Cool to Be Kind" to tackle the culture of cruelty and violence among our girls and boys. Let's begin a conversation that will be the beginning of the end of cruelty, indirect and direct aggression, and caste systems. Let's replace female "fight clubs" with a collective fight to encourage kindness.
~ Charlene C. Giannetti and Margaret Sagarese are the coauthors of the new Parenting 911: How Parents Can Safeguard and Rescue 10-to-15-Year-Olds.