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Category: confidence
  • When 80% of 10-year-old girls are afraid of being fat, here are ways parents can help girls develop a positive body image.

    "'I’m fat.' Those are just two little words, five letters in total, but coming from your daughter, they’re enough to make your heart totally sink. How could a girl who’s typically so kind and accepting of others be so disparaging of herself?" According to the Girl Scouts, 80% of 10-year-old girls are afraid of being fat because "they’re constantly surrounded by both subtle and direct messages that curvier or heavier girls aren’t as well liked, aren’t as likely to succeed in business, and in general, aren’t going to have as much fun or happiness in their lives." So what can parents do to counteract such widespread cultural messages? In an insightful article, Girl Scout Developmental Psychologist Andrea Bastiani Archibald offers parents several tips on how to respond when your daughter says she's fat and how to build her overall body positivity. Continue reading Continue reading

  • Girls' self-confidence often takes a big hit at puberty but these skills can help keep her confidence strong during the teen years.

    “A pre-teen girl is at a unique moment in her life, The spark that is her potential grows more intense, yet she'll have to fight against gender norms that threaten to diminish it," observes writer Rebecca Ruiz. "There are countless ways she'll feel pressured to hide or change her authentic self.” Rachel Simmons, an expert on girls' development and author of the new book, Enough As She Is, agrees: "Girls are at their fiercest and most authentic prior to puberty." While research has confirmed that girls' self-confidence often drops after puberty, Simmons asserts that there are many ways parents can help girls keep their confidence strong during the teen years. To that end, she recommends "seven skills to consider teaching your daughter by the time she turns 13" that will help your Mighty Girl feel prepared for the challenges ahead. Continue reading Continue reading

  • "Your kid doesn't just want to take risks. She needs to take risks."

    "Middle school gets a bad rap," says Michelle Icard, educator and author of Middle School Makeover: Improving the Way You and Your Child Experience the Middle School Years. "Middle school can be scary. But there is a lot to love about middle school, too. One of my favorites is that middle school can offer a buffet of new experiences." When kids start acting differently from the little kid you've known for so long however, whether it's wanting to dye their hair strange new colors, wearing only black, or hanging out with a new group of friends, many parents start to worry. Icard aims to set parents at ease, asserting that, while it may seem counterintuitive, one of the best way to keep your middle schooler out of trouble is to let them take risks — with a little guidance. “Who a child will become is not a foregone conclusion, and without trying a lot of new things, how can a young person truly know who she is?” Icard asks. "Becoming an independent adult, after all, requires a lot of bravery.... Your kid doesn’t just want to take risks. She needs to take risks." Continue reading Continue reading

  • "More often than not, bright girls believe that their abilities are innate and unchangeable."

    Parents of bright girls are often shocked to discover that their daughters can be quick to assume that they can't succeed at something new and challenging. "In my experience, smart and talented [girls and women] rarely realize that one of the toughest hurdles they'll have to overcome to be successful lies within. We judge our own abilities not only more harshly, but fundamentally differently, than men do," writes psychologist Heidi Grant Halvorson, the author of Nine Things Successful People Do Differently. "At the 5th grade level, girls routinely outperform boys in every subject, including math and science... [but] bright girls [are] much quicker to doubt their ability, to lose confidence, and to become less effective learners as a result." By understanding why bright girls question their capabilities, parents can find more effective ways to support their daughters, building their resilience and confidence so they can take on the world. Continue reading Continue reading

  • These are critical phrases girls can use when their contributions to a discussion are interrupted or discounted.

    There are ten words every girl should learn according to writer Soraya Chemaly — not vocabulary terms, but critical phrases they can use when their contributions to a discussion are interrupted or discounted. Practicing her three phrases — “Stop interrupting me," “I just said that," and "No explanation needed" — will help girls speak them in real life, and teach both boys and girls that it’s not socially acceptable to interrupt or ignore a female voice. Whether in the classroom, in the boardroom, or on the Senate floor, it's time for mighty girls and women to persist and ensure that their voices are heard. Continue reading Continue reading

  • "Emphasize that since catcalling itself is the opposite of polite, there’s no need to smile, laugh, or engage in conversation with the harasser."


    Catcalling and other forms of sexual harassment start much earlier than many people think: a study two years ago found that 1 in 10 girls have been catcalled before their 11th birthday and a recent study has found that 1 in 6 girls in elementary and secondary school have experienced sexual harassment. And while some people say that girls should just ignore catcalling, Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald, the Girl Scouts’ Developmental Psychologist, explains that it has detrimental effects on girls, often making them feel unsafe and ashamed of their bodies in public. Continue reading Continue reading

  • "The mean-girl thing is happening much sooner than everyone realizes."

    Parents often think that relational aggression — including social rejection, manipulation, and exclusionary cliques — starts in middle school. For writer Carol Kaufman's daughter, it started in the fourth grade, these types of bullying often start at even younger ages. "The mean-girl thing is happening much sooner than everyone realizes," her elementary school's counselor told her.

    Bullying in childhood can have a lasting impact, says Catherine Bagwell, a professor of psychology at Emory University who studies children’s social development: it is "associated with depression and anxiety and social withdrawal and low self-esteem and academic problems." So it's important to tackle the problem early on, whether your daughter is the one being targeted or excluded, the one leading the pack, or one of the bystanders who's not sure how to handle the situation. Continue reading Continue reading

  • Girls' confidence drops by 30% between the ages 8 and 14.


    "Now, more than ever, girls should be armed with confidence. They need to have faith in their phenomenal abilities, resist the need to please, fight back against intimidation from peers or adults, and stand up for others, and most importantly, themselves. Confident girls become confident women, and we want that status for our girls, who seem fearless and exuberant through most of elementary school, only to lose confidence at puberty. Boys and girls run neck and neck, confidence-wise, up to then, but when the estrogen-testosterone waves start flooding kids’ brains, all that changes. For girls, confidence takes a huge hit," write Katty Kay, Claire Shipman and JillEllyn Riley, in TIME. Continue reading Continue reading

  • A Mighty Girl's top picks of body image positive books for Mighty Girls of all ages!

    body-image-blog3-webIt doesn't take long living or working with girls to realize that body image can be a big problem — and that it can start sooner than you expect. Studies have shown that over 40% of 1st to 3rd grade girls want to be thinner and that girls' self-esteem peaks at the age of 9. Parents and educators often want to help the Mighty Girls in their lives develop a positive body image, but aren't sure where to start.

    Fortunately, there are a number of great books that show girls that every body is worth celebrating! From empowering picture books to thought-provoking middle grade and young adult books, these books provide a great starting point to discussions about self-esteem, body image, and self-confidence. We've also included a few books specifically for parents and educators, so that you can help teach girls that they are perfect just the way they are.

    Beyond the titles recommended below, you can discover more books for children and teens that address body image issues in our Body Image book section and more resources for parents and educators in our Body Image & Self-Esteem Parenting section. Continue reading Continue reading

  • brush-your-hair-medusa-squareBy Katherine Handcock, A Mighty Girl Communications Specialist

    Long or short, straight or curly, in ponytails, locs, or a ballerina bun -- there are so many wonderful ways Mighty Girls wear their hair! But hair can also be the source of body image insecurity for many girls as they wonder if their hair is too thick or too flat, the wrong color or the wrong texture. And, of course, even if she loves her hair, there’s always the battle when it comes time to pull out the brush and comb.

    In our new blog post, we're sharing stories about Mighty Girls and their hair. Whether they're celebrating their unique hair, wrestling to keep it under control, or donating it to a worthy cause, these Mighty Girls love their hair -- even if they find it a little challenging at times. They also come to recognize that, in the end, it's not the hair that matters: it's the head underneath!

    In Brush Your Hair, Medusa! by Joan Holub (age 1 - 3), Medusa refuses to take proper care of her long, curly hair, which gets knottier and dirtier with every moment. Her hair is so twisted and matted that, when her grandmother finally arrives, she’s frozen in surprise! Grandma knows the solution, though, and after a hairdresser bravely does battle with her locks, Medusa is sporting a brand new - short and easy to maintain - hairstyle.

    51m-n4bxg9l_1_[1]Most kids will be familiar with the story of Rapunzel, but that’s not the only flight of fancy with amazing hair! In Dalia’s Wondrous Hair / El cabello maravilloso de Dalia by Laura Lacamara (age 3 - 8), Dalia wakes up one morning to discover that her hair has grown “tall and thick as a Cuban royal palm tree.” When her mother wonders what Dalia will do with her wondrous hair, Dalia has an idea and starts plastering her hair with mud and leaves. The next morning, when she carefully unwraps her towering hair, it turns out that her hair has been protecting something very special! This imaginative bilingual picture book is sure to charm nature-loving Mighty Girls.

    For an equally fanciful story about hair — with a healthy dollop of humor! — check out Laurie Halse Anderson’s The Hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher Goes To School (age 4 - 8). As a baby, Zoe needed two strollers and two cribs: one for her, and one for her unruly hair. By the time she’s started school, her wild tresses are becoming a problem, deliberately flaunting the strict Ms. Trisk’s first grade classroom rules. Determined to tame Zoe’s hair, Ms. Trisk and Zoe’s parents try barrettes, braids, even duct tape but the hair always springs free. It will take some clever thinking and a willingness to compromise for Zoe — and her hair — to find the right balance between individuality and following the rules. Continue reading Continue reading

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