Summary and book reviews of Queen Bee Moms & Kingpin Dads by Rosalind Wiseman

Queen Bee Moms & Kingpin Dads

Coping with the Parents, Teachers, Coaches, and Counselors Who Can Rule -- or Ruin --Your Child's Life

By Rosalind Wiseman, Elizabeth Rapoport

Queen Bee Moms & Kingpin Dads
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  • Hardcover: Mar 2006,
    352 pages.
    Paperback: Feb 2007,
    352 pages.

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Book Summary

What happens to Queen Bees and Wannabes when they grow up?

Even the most well-adjusted moms and dads can experience peer pressure and conflicts with other adults that make them act like they're back in seventh grade. In Queen Bee Moms & Kingpin Dads, Rosalind Wiseman gives us the tools to handle difficult situations involving teachers and other parents with grace. Reassuring, funny, and unfailingly honest, Wiseman reveals:

  • Why PTA meetings and Back-to-School nights tap into parents' deepest insecurities.
  • How to recognize the archetypal moms and dads—from Caveman Dad to Hovercraft Mom.
  • How and when to step in and step out of your child's conflicts with other children, parents, teachers, or coaches.
  • How to interpret the code phrases other parents use to avoid (or provoke) confrontation.
  • Why too many well-meaning dads sit on the sidelines, and how vital it is that they step up to the plate.
  • What to do and say when the playing field becomes an arena for people to bully and dominate other kids and adults.
  • How to have respectful yet honest conversations with other parents about sex and drugs when your values are in conflict.
  • How the way you handle parties, risky behavior, and academic performance affects your child.
  • How unspoken assumptions about race, religion, and other hot-button subjects sabotage parents' ability to work together.

Queen Bee Moms & Kingpin Dads is filled with the kind of true stories that made Wiseman's New York Times bestselling book Queen Bees & Wannabes impossible to put down. There are tales of hardworking parents with whom any of us can identify, along with tales of outrageously bad parents—the kind we all have to reckon with. For instance, what do you do when parents donate a large sum of money to a school and their child is promptly transferred into the honors program–while your son with better grades doesn't make the cut? What about the mother who helps her daughter compose poison-pen e-mails to yours? And what do you say to the parent-coach who screams at your child when the team is losing? Wiseman offers practical advice on avoiding the most common parenting "land mines" and useful scripts to help you navigate difficult but necessary conversations.

Queen Bee Moms & Kingpin Dads is essential reading for parents today. It offers us the tools to become wiser, more relaxed parents – and the inspiration to speak out, act according to our values, show humility, and set the kind of example that will make a real difference in our children's lives.

Perfect Parent World, Land of Perpetual Judgment

"You couldn't pay me enough to go back to seventh grade."

People love to tell me this. Teachers, parents, counselors, principals, people on the street, people at parties--everywhere I go, people tell me that they shudder at the thought of waking up one day transported back to seventh grade. But when I tell them I'm writing a book on parents' social competition, their eyes grow wide with delight or dismay--and always with recognition. "Do I have a story for you," they say conspiratorially. Clearly, few of us have left seventh grade completely behind.

My goal in this book is to get you to do exactly what almost no one wants to do: Go back to seventh grade and understand how the lessons you learned as a child and adolescent affect the way you parent. And when I say "parent," I'm not just ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
Discussion Questions from Rosalind Wiseman:

  1. How do your own experiences as a child and teen impact your parenting now? How do these experiences impact your interaction with other children—especially if they are mean to your child?
  2. In your experience what types of moms and dads from the book have you encountered that you struggle with the most? How do you usually react to them?
  3. What are your feelings about Perfect Parent World? Do you think it impacts your community? Do you know of times when it has influenced your behavior?
  4. Have you had a "fern moment"? Did you ever convince yourself to come out and talk to the person?
  5. How relevant was Chapter 4, the filters chapter to...

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Reviews

BookBrowse

Wiseman's first book exposed the bitchy world of cliques and "queen-bee" teens - but here she goes further into the hive, to explore the psyches of the queen bee moms (and king-pin dads) who were once teenagers and who, more often than not, are busily nurturing the next generation of "queen-bees". Wiseman counsels parents to find a happy medium between being overprotective parents and frighteningly passive - offering advice on how parents should approach difficult situations with coaches, teachers and, of course, other parents.   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

Full Review Members Only (439 words).

Media Reviews
Library Journal - Linda Beck

A psychologist and mother, Wiseman does a magnificent job of cracking the code of "parentspeak" ..... Ours is a messy, get-ahead-now world. Wiseman makes sense of it. Highly recommended.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Wiseman wants to show people how to behave better; she even includes sample scripts for difficult situations. Her bottom line: parents have to model good behavior if they want to end up with good kids. And since we all live in the same communities, good kids are in everyone's best interest.

Author Blurb James Garbarino, Ph.D., author of See Jane Hit and Lost Boys
Rosalind Wiseman has a good ear and a good eye. She watches and listens to the every day talk of kids and adults and hears and sees below the surface to identify important underlying social realities. In Queen Bee Moms and Kingpin Dads she provides a road map for parents to help them negotiate the treacherous waters of adult peer culture on behalf of their children and their own peace of mind.

Author Blurb William Pollack, author of Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood
Wise yet practical and full of humor, Queen Bee Moms & Kingpin Dads is a must-read for parents who want to deal with the other adults in their children's lives with skill and compassion, rather than wrath and confusion. Rosalind Wiseman's thoughtful suggestions will spare parents endless conflicts and substitute creative interventions. This book forces us to look ourselves in the mirror and face both our strengths and weaknesses while inspiring us to act as strong yet empathic role models for our children in a much-too-pressured and competitive world.

Author Blurb Michael Gurian, author of The Minds of Boys and The Wonder of Girls
Queen Bee Moms and Kingpin Dads is honest and wise. As a father, I found the insights, stories and practical information in this book very powerful. As a professional, I found the book's basic premise to be profoundly important to the field of child development. Rosalind Wiseman asks nothing less of us than basic human civility.

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Beyond the Book

Some useful tips from Rosalind Wiseman (more at The Seattle Times):

  • If you have a problem with a parent, teacher etc, speak one-on-one first because challenging someone's authority in front of others is likely to backfire.
  • Avoid inflammatory words. E.g. trade "acknowledge" for "apologize."
  • Be wary of "advocates" - however strongly a parent may feel about his/her child's cause it doesn't warrant uncivil behavior.
  • Don't promise you won't get involved. It's usually best to give kids a chance to resolve issues on their own, but with adult support.
  • Step in if you see a pattern of unfairness or disrespect. But in most cases, let kids work out grades with teachers.
  • Gather information first. There ...

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