Disclosure: I received a sample of this book to facilitate this book feature. No additional compensation was received and all opinions expressed are my own.

I’ve got an 11 year old daughter, and she just started middle school this year. It’s hard to believe she is growing up so fast. She’s got her own sense of style, her own likes and her own way of doing things. Truth be told, as much as I love her, we’ve always bumped heads. It’s not just because she’s a budding teenager; she’s always been this way. She was suspended FIVE TIMES in the first half of kindergarten!! But, we worked with her extensively over winter break and she came back to school renewed. She befriended the dean, and she really turned things around. It was a very simple thing that changed at school, that changed her whole experience in her charter school that year. They allowed her to get up and read in the corner quietly whenever she wanted to. She’d only do this for about 5 minutes or so before FOMO kicked in, and she would rejoin her classmates. Her attitude changed so much so that the kindergarten teacher, whom accidentally broke her foot earlier in the school-year thanks to my daughter, had fallen in love with her. In fact, she named her first-born my daughter’s name, and when we were moving up to Orlando, her former kindergarten teacher called her school to speak with her before she left. My daughter did pretty well for the year and half that she was at this school after kindergarten.

That is, until we moved and went to a different school. Things started turning for the worse when the school refused to adapt to my daughter’s desire to read at will. In fact, she got suspended for two days because she wanted to read during Math time. After that Spring semester, we put her in virtual school for a year and a half.

I spent a lot of time with her, helping her to do her lessons. She scored well, but she spent practically the whole day on the computer. It got to the point where our family life was deteriorating, so we put her back in public school. Fortunately, the leadership situation had changed in the school and my daughter adjusted much better to it this time around. In fact, her last quarter there, she made the Honor Roll, And now she’s in middle school and she’s adjusting to the very different schedules and teachers. Needless to say, her attitude has peeked out in full force every now and then.

I have always tried to find a way to understand her. Rather than call her defiant, I call her independent. Rather than call her stubborn, I call her strong-willed and determined. I feel like we need to re-frame how we speak to our kids, especially to our daughters. So much of our society teaches us to stay quiet, don’t challenge authority, focus on our looks rather than our intellect, etc. I’d rather have my daughter have an attitude with conviction, than one who secretly rebels, or worse yet, conforms. This girl knows what she wants. She fights to get what she wants, and she refuses to be bullied into doing everything someone else’s way. She’s the type that would not remain complacent in the face of injustice. She’s a fighter with a future; and I am proud I get to be along for the ride, no matter how bumpy.

I am telling you all of this as I wanted to set the stage for the basis of this post; an honest review of Brandi Riley’s mother-daughter journaling book, “Just Us Girls.” Now that my daughter is a pre-teen, she’s ready to begin writing down her thoughts and experiences. In fact, when the book arrived, she was excited to get started. The girl who loves to read at will, was looking forward to reading this book whenever she wanted to. And what’s even better for her was the thought that she could read my writing. Before delving into this book and beginning the journaling exercises, I had no idea how much she felt she didn’t know about me. I also didn’t know how little she felt I knew about her. In fact, I know a lot about her, but I don’t always discuss it all with her.

She’s always been the type to desire attention. She’ll entertain you, pose for pictures like a model, and even dance & sing. She’s in Chorus, and Theatre, and Latinos In Action; all classes that allow her to live in the limelight. My job has been to give her that attention so that she does not seek it out from somewhere else. And this book really allowed us to grow closer, as she saw my genuine interest in her.

The book starts off planning out things like when you will journal, how often you’ll journal, and how will you journal. It becomes a commitment to each other; a commitment that your daughter will take seriously. I learned this the hard way when I missed a journaling day as I was on a business trip and my daughter felt I should’ve brought the book with me. It becomes part of a routine; and in the case of this book, a routine that will last at least a year. We’ve had the book for a little more than a month, so we’ve really had a chance to delve into the first section. I really like the flexibility you can create, and how collaborative it is with your daughter. You each get a chance to have your voice heard, as well as ask questions of the other. It has been the perfect journal to break down some barriers and overcome some communication issues we’ve had. This book  has brought us closer and I look forward to continue to use it for the rest of the year that it covers.

About The Author

BRANDI RILEY is the creator of MamaKnowsItAll.com and the author of hundreds of parenting articles. In addition to writing for her own website, she contributes to BabyCenter and Scary Mommy. Brandi has been featured on Essence.com, The Root, and many other platforms.

Product details

  • Paperback: 186 pages
  • Publisher: Rockridge Press (August 27, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1641527587
  • ISBN-13: 978-1641527583
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
  • Price: $13.52 at this time of this post.

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