Middle school students feel pressure, or drama, from all angles.  Busy academic calendars, extracurricular activities, friend drama, and the added dimension of social media all falls on their shoulders.  It’s no surprise that teens need positive outlets and support from parents and friends to get them through the ‘drama years.’ 

Over the past two months, we have been following Haley Kilpatrick as she traveled across the nation to spread encouragement that not all is bad in middle school and a lot of good can come when you are surrounded by encouraging friends and supportive parents. 

Just recently, The New York Times included a column covering an essay contest where girls wrote about bullying during their teen years.  The essays are powerful and focus on one of the three dimensions in Haley’s book, which places emphasis on not only bullies but on brands and body image as well.

Throughout the tour, Haley discussed with teen girls the importance of expending energy in three areas to help build self-esteem and make middle school enjoyable and establish a strong foundation for high school:

  • Find a peer mentor you can turn to
  • Invest energy into an anchor activity that builds self-esteem outside of school
  • Give back to your hometown through community service

Haley not only gave teens valuable advice, she also spoke candidly to parents on what they could do to help their kids through the Drama Years.  She reminds Moms they have the power.  Moms should lead by example with their daughter and try and maintain an ‘attitude of gratitude’ in all they do in order to raise a generation of nicer girls.  Moms should model to their daughters how to be a good friend, encourage them to explore their own unique talents, and ‘walk the walk’ by not placing excessive emphasis on physical traits or materials items. 

Haley’s messaging through the course of the tour gave her the ability to talk face to face with girls and Moms on the pressure of the drama years. The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility knew a lot could be learned socially by polling our twitter followers.  We polled followers and asked them to share their advice, in hindsight, what they would tell themselves as a middle school student.  As we shuffled through the responses we couldn’t help but agree that with time comes wisdom:

The Drama Years: Real Girls Talk About Surviving Middle School – Bullies, Brands, Body Image, and More  book tour included parent and teen presentations that focused on the Drama Years when girls are in middle school and experiencing an incredible number of changes both physically and emotional.  Haley reached over 2500 tweens and parents on her tour and countless others through social media and earned media coverage through the Today show and local affiliates. 

To learn more about how to start a chapter visit www.desiretoinspire.org

We applaud the splash Haley made on the book tour and share in her vision that as more girls adopt into Girl Talk the ultimate result will be “a generation of nicer, kinder, community oriented, high school students, college students, women in the workforce and mothers who break this mean cycle.”