Depending on your teen experience, the word “popular” probably brings up a variety of strong emotions. Dread? Excitement? Shame? Pride? Anger? Dr. Mitch Prinstein (author of the book “Popular”) nailed it when he said, “Even as adults we all still remember exactly where we stood in that social hierarchy.” 

Why is this? Why does popularity matter SO much during the teen years? And how can we help our teen avoid the pitfalls? Listen this week to learn how to talk to YOUR daughter about popularity. 

  • What does popular even mean?
    • Likeability vs. Status
    • Prosocial popularity, Aggressive popularity, Bistrategic popularity
  • Why do we care so much about it?
    • Oxytocin and Dopamine
    • Why do mean kids become popular?
  • Does it even matter? 
    • Popularity Level can set you up as higher risk for struggles later on
    • Being well-liked as a teenager is linked to higher success as an adult
    • How we perceive ourselves as adults can stay with us throughout our life
    • Take-home message? Be so careful with yourself and others. 



  • Mitch Prinstein, PhD, The Modern Teen, “A Letter to TEens About the Science of Popularity” Psychology Today (excerpt from the book “Popular: Finding Happiness and Success in a World That Cares Too Much About the Wrong Kinds of Relationships”) 

  • Florida Atlantic University, “Three faces of teen popularity: Being feared, being loved, and being feared and loved” 2019. Science Daily, Original study found here

  • Deborah Farmer Kris, “Being Popular: Why it Consumes Teens and Continues to Affect Adults” KQED

  • Jane Parent, “Study Identifies Three Distinct Types of Popularity in Teens” Your Teen Mag