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Category: confidence
  • The seven essential body positive lessons every Mighty Girl should learn.

    One of the most freeing feelings in the world is loving yourself just as you are — but in a world where girls are constantly bombarded with messages about what their bodies should look like, raising them to be body positive can feel like an impossible task. A study by the Girl Scouts found that 80% of 10-year-old girls are afraid of getting fat, and other studies have found that 85% of women and 79% of girls have opted out of activities due to a lack of body confidence. With kids and teens being exposed to narrow standards of beauty in media, marketing, and online, many adults may wonder what they can do to turn the tide. Continue reading Continue reading

  • "We are so busy teaching girls to be likable that we forget to teach them that they have the right to be respected."

    Most parents talk to their children about their emotions, but there's one emotion that people often leave out when talking to girls: anger. "I don’t remember my parents or other adults ever talking to me about anger directly," observes Soraya Chemaly, author of Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women's Anger, "Sadness, yes. Envy, anxiety, guilt, check, check, check. But not anger.... While parents talk to girls about emotions more than they do to boys, anger is excluded." In fact, from an early age, parents, caregivers, and teachers expect girls to regulate their emotions more effectively than boys, teaching them that expressing "negative" emotions like anger is socially unacceptable. In this blog post, we'll explore why it's important to let girls be angry – and how to teach girls to channel their anger productively. Continue reading Continue reading

  • The authors of the bestselling confidence guide for girls share advice for parents on how to stop the steep drop in confidence common among tween girls.

    Katty Kay and Claire Shipman are on a mission: helping tween girls keep their confidence so they can be resilient, empowered adult women! As authors of The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance - What Women Should Know, they've helped millions of adult women understand how to build their own confidence, but they frequently heard from women who wanted to know how they could help their tween and teen daughters. Kay and Shipman worked with a polling firm to learn more about the issue and were shocked to discover that girls' confidence drops by 30% between the ages of 8 and 14. "Right until age 8, there's really no difference [between girls and boys] in confidence levels," Shipman says. "We were surprised at how quickly, how deep that drop is." Continue reading Continue reading

  • Caitlin Kirby wore a skirt made out of 17 rejection letters to her dissertation defense.

    At her dissertation defense last month, Caitlin Kirby wore a one-of-a-kind, handmade skirt — made out of 17 rejection letters that she had received over the last five years! The 28-year-old Michigan State University grad student, who has spent the last 4 1/2 years working towards her PhD in environmental science and policy, says that the rejection letters had come from other PhD programs, scholarships and academic journals. Kirby says that she created and wore the skirt "in the spirit of acknowledging & normalizing failure in the process," observing that “the dissertation presentation is in this narrative form, where … it looks like everything went smoothly in my process from start to finish. So I wanted something in my presentation that shows that really isn’t how it goes. There are a lot of roadblocks along the way." 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

  • 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 parenting 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

  • "The kids who are getting this process praise, strategy and taking on hard things and sticking to them, those are the kids who want the challenge."

    We all want to motivate Mighty Girls to be their best, but did you know that how you praise girls can make a big difference to their resilience and self-confidence? Stanford professor Dr. Carol Dweck, one of the world's leading researchers in the field of motivation and the author of the bestselling book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, has found that there is a strong praise paradox for girls: "Praise for intelligence or ability backfires," she asserts. By understanding why telling a girl things like "you're so smart" can actually make her less confident, and by finding more effective ways to praise girls instead, parents and teachers can help foster an attitude that keeps them striving for success — even when the going gets tough. 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

  • "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

  • 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," observe Katty Kay, Claire Shipman and JillEllyn Riley.  Continue reading Continue reading

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