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Category: parenting
  • How parents can encourage mixed-gender friendships and help kids question gender stereotypes.

    "Girl-boy friendships matter. They give kids a chance to explore themselves outside of constrictive gender scripts, and, ideally, question stereotypes," observes writer Elisa Strauss on CNN. "Girl-boy friendships can help undo some of these socialized gender constraints. When parents and teachers approve of these relationships, they are sending their children the message that it's not only okay to play with the another gender, but it is also okay to play like them."  Continue reading Continue reading

  • Too often girls and women view each other as competition or threats, rather than allies -- here's how to change that.

    Too often, girls and women are taught to think of other girls and women as competition or even threats, not as allies. In fact, Caroline Adams Miller, a positive psychology expert and the author of Getting Grit, says that when she asks female professionals if they feel like one of the biggest challenges they face isn't just how they are treated by men but also getting torn down by other women, "It’s not half the room raising their hands — it’s 100 percent of the women." When girls are empowered and confident, however, they can learn how to team up in ways that encourage and support one another, making it more likely that all of them will find success! Phyllis Fagell, a professional school counselor, spoke with a variety of experts for a recent Washington Post article to find out why girls are prone to see one another as competition — and how parents can encourage them to build empowering friendships that lift each other up instead. Continue reading Continue reading

  • A Mighty Girl's top picks of books for parents on raising a Mighty Girl from the toddler through the teen years.

    Parenting is always an adventure, but parenting a Mighty Girl can often seem particularly challenging: in a time when girls and their parents receive so many conflicting messages about what it is to be a girl, it's hard to know how to guide them to becoming confident, capable women. From the sexualization of increasingly younger girls to the new world of social media to old problems like bullying in the school yard, there are many challenges to growing up —  and parenting —  in today's world.

    A Mighty Girl created our Parenting Collection of over 200 books to provide resources for the parents in our community who want to know how to tackle issues specific to girls, whether they're toddlers or teens. To get you started exploring our collection, we've put together a list of some of our favorite resources for parents of Mighty Girls. These books are informative, interesting, and most importantly provide real-world advice for how to help your girl grow up Mighty. Continue reading Continue reading

  • 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

  • Many girls interviewed wanted more guidance on what to do if someone harasses them with requests for explicit photos.

    A recent study has shown just how common it is for teen boys to coerce or threaten girls into sending nude pictures: an analysis of 500 accounts from 12- to 18-year-old girls about negative experiences sexting found that two-thirds of them had been asked to provide explicit images — and that the requests often progressed from promises of affection to "anger displays, harassment and threats." In an article about the study for The New York Times, psychologist Lisa Damour writes, "Teenagers are drafted into a sexual culture that rests on a harmful premise: on the heterosexual field, boys typically play offense and girls play defense… Most schools and many parents already tell teenagers not to send sexualized selfies. But why don't we also tell adolescents to stop asking for nude photos from one another?"  Continue reading Continue reading

  • The top tips from experts on building girls' resilience to take on challenges and overcome setbacks.

    Call it what you will — grit, determination, a can-do attitude — but it all comes down to the same thing: being able to keep going in the face of challenge and even failure is a major component of a child's future success. "The ability to persist in the face of difficulty may be as essential to success as talent or intelligence,” says psychologist Lisa Damour, Ph.D., author of Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions Into Adulthood. Moreover, with research showing that girls are more likely to feel the need to be perfect and to struggle with confidence when they make even small mistakes, it's particularly important to raise resilient girls. As Rachel Simmons, author of Enough As She Is, explains: "What we want is for girls to have is the capacity to move through a setback without beating themselves up." Continue reading Continue reading

  • Experts offer tips for parents on building girls' confidence in math.

    “Why do smart people enjoy saying that they are bad at math?” laments Petra Bonfert-Taylor, a professor of engineering at Dartmouth College. “Few people would consider proudly announcing that they are bad at writing or reading.” After seeing one too many examples of adults “passing on [mathematical anxiety] like a virus,” Bonfert-Taylor has an important message for math-phobic parents and educators: “We are passing on from generation to generation the phobia for mathematics... [and] as a result, too many of us have lost the ability to examine a real-world problem, translate it into numbers, solve the problem and interpret the solution.” Continue reading Continue reading

  • "As her father, you have the power to make certain she knows your love is steadfast."

    While many parenting articles focused on girls' physical and sexual development are directed toward mothers, psychoanalyst Joyce McFadden asserts that fathers have an important role to play in supporting their daughters' healthy development at all ages. In particular, she says that fathers have a major influence in "three hugely important facets of how she'll see herself in the world throughout her life," specifically, in "her level of personal confidence, her body comfort and pride, and [her] expectations for the way she should be treated by boys and men." Continue reading Continue reading

  • Easy conversation starters to show Mighty Girls that you care about her mind, her feelings, and her fascinating self!

    'Tis the season for holiday gatherings, which means starting conversations with friends and family you don't see very often — including little girls. At such times, no matter how dedicated you are to girl empowerment, it's all too easy to fall into the stereotypical, appearance-based comments as a way to break the ice, especially with younger girls. After all, we've all spent years being taught by society that the best way to start a conversation with a little girl is to praise how pretty her dress is, how sparkly her nails are, or how cute she looks. However, with many girls developing body image concerns as early as 1st grade, it's time to move past a fixation on girls' appearances. And, of course, as we all know, girls have so much more to contribute to the conversation — all we have to do is ask! Continue reading Continue reading

  • "My daughter's body is actually hers, not mine."

    The many gatherings of family and friends during the holiday season give parents a special chance to teach their daughters an empowering lesson: you don't owe anyone your physical affection. "The ritual of demanding affection from children on cue is one of those tiny, everyday little lessons in which we teach children — especially girls — that they are to tailor their emotional responses to please others," observes blogger Kasey Edwards in a Daily Life op-ed. By letting kids decide whether to greet someone with a hug or a kiss, parents can teach the basics of consent and bodily autonomy as early as the toddler years. And, such lessons can have an impact for years to come as Girl Scouts' development psychologist Andrea Bastianai Archibald explains: "The notion of consent may seem very grown-up and like something that doesn’t pertain to children, but the lessons girls learn when they’re young about setting physical boundaries and expecting them to be respected last a lifetime." Continue reading Continue reading

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