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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Author Rosalind Wiseman: A Momma who knows best



Anyone with a daughter between the ages of 8 and 14 might want to put this on their to-do list for Wednesday evening.

mom_wiseman.jpgRosalind Wiseman, a well-known author, mom and expert on teens and parenting, comes to Tampa for a night of major girl bonding to get mothers and daughters talking, laughing and connecting. You might know Wiseman from her best-selling book, Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends and Other Realities of Adolescence, which was the basis of the hit movie, Mean Girls.

Wiseman went back to the drawing board a few years ago to update the book and focus heavily on today’s technology, from sexting to Facebook. She rewrote about 70 percent of the book and even tweaked the subtitle to reflect the “New realities of Girl World.’’ It came out last October.

Tampa is Wiseman’s third of eight stops nationwide as part of Dove’s campaign, “Don’t Fret the Sweat,’’ which offers parents advice on how to deal with puberty, starting with that first embarrassing sign, sweat. The interactive workshops give moms and daughters a chance to talk about issues in a fun, non-threatening way. Wiseman hopes people leave with concrete ways for dealing with tough situations and have great conversations on the drive home.

In an interview from her home in Washington, D.C., here’s a summary of Wiseman’s thoughts on some common mother-daughter issues:

What’s the right age for Facebook?
Facebook has a minimum age requirement of 13, but everyone knows kids younger than that use the site. Wiseman uses this analogy: Your child turns 16 and you decide to give her a Ferrari. “It’s too easy to drive too fast and crash and burn. Anyone can abuse it.’’ She advises parents take their children through a “rigorous driver’s ed course’’ before letting them sign up for Facebook. Then monitor their account closely and make sure they are not changing privacy settings when you’re not looking.

How do I deal with my daughter hanging out with “bad seeds?’’
Rather than issue an ultimatum never to see the person again, Wiseman advises parents to focus on the negative actions, not the individual. Talk about the person’s specific behavior and be clear that you don’t support it.

What about cell phones?
Wiseman admits this is a tough one. Parents often give their children cell phones for safety reasons. But the reality is, the chances of a child needing a phone for an emergency are miniscule compared with the chances of a child getting into trouble with it. Instead, she recommends people get “family’’ cell phones that children can take to concerts and other large group events. Her sons, ages 7 and 9, have asked for phones “a million times’’ but, so far, don’t have them.

If you go
Rosalind Wiseman hosts a workshop for tween girls and their moms and a book signing from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesday at St. Mary’s Episcopal Day School, 2101 S Hubert Ave., Tampa. Tickets are available at the door for $40 for each mother/daughter pair and include two copies of her book and a goody bag. Fathers, aunts, big sisters or anyone with a tween girl in their life are welcome to attend. For tickets or information, call Inkwood Books at (813) 253-2638.

~ Susan Thurston, Times mom

[Photo: Rosalind Wiseman]

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[Last modified: Monday, October 4, 2010 9:57pm]


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