'Mean Girls' Inspiration Author on Bullying: Golden Rule Not "Good Enough ... for the Complexity of the World We Live In"
'Queen Bees and Wannabes' writer Rosalind Wiseman talked to NBC's 'Dateline' about how kids can communicate and disagree effectively.
Rosalind Wiseman knows kids can be cruel.
The educator and author wrote Queen Bees and Wannabes, the best-selling nonfiction book that inspired Mean Girls. She's since written a similar book for boys called Masterminds & Wingmen, and she regularly speaks about bullying.
This Sunday night she talks about bullying and cliques on the final installment of Dateline's My Kid Would Never Do That series. Speaking with host Natalie Morales, she advises parents on how they can teach their kids to communicate and disagree effectively.
In the exclusive clip above, Wiseman says that giving kids Golden Rule-like advice such as, "Treat others like you'd want to be treated," doesn't really enable them to deal with reality.
"I think that those phrases are right. But they just aren't good enough for the difficulty of the worlds and the complexity of the world that we live in," Wiseman says. "I talk to a lot of kids about this. We don't often give children the skills that are actually needed for the complexity of their lives. And if we actually want to address these problems, we have to do it effectively."
She goes on to advise parents to teach their children the difference between disagreeing and putting someone down.
And she says that kids shouldn't ask a bully, "Why are you being so mean?" Instead, she tells kids, be concise and specific about what the bully is doing and say that you don't like it.
"This is not an hour conversation we're having with a bully," Wiseman says. "It is one or two sentences where we name what is happening that we don't like, so the bully knows that he or she is not getting away with it."
The fourth and final episode of this year's edition of My Kid Would Never Do That focuses on cyberbullying. The award-winning series uses hidden cameras to capture how kids behave in difficult situations when they think no one is watching. Experts then share their tips for how children can deal with these issues in real life.
The cyberbullying episode promises to "take a fresh spin on the hidden-camera test by turning the tables on the parents."
My Kid Would Never Do That airs Sunday at 8 p.m. on NBC.