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Tag: parenting
  • Sex-abuse prevention educators say teaching kids accurate terms for their private parts is an important part of protecting them from abuse.

    Most kids probably know words like knee, stomach, and eye, or even more specialized terms like muscle, intestines, or brain. So why it is often surprising to hear a young child use a term such as vulva rather than a cutesy euphemism? Many experts — including sex abuse prevention educators — argue that there are plenty of good reasons to teach young children accurate terminology for their genitals rather than colloquialisms.

    As Laura Palumbo, a prevention specialist with the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, points out, “teaching children anatomically correct terms, age-appropriately, promotes positive body image, self confidence, and parent-child communication; discourages perpetrators; and, in the event of abuse, helps children and adults navigate the disclosure and forensic interview process." However, people who use these terms often get pushback: everything from parents filing complaints against teachers to politicians getting banned from their state house floor. In The Atlantic, writer Catherine Buni talked to front-line educators as well as psychology researchers to hear why anatomical terminology is important for kids to learn from a young age. 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

  • 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

  • "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

  • 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 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 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. 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 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

  • "This type of bullying is marked by crimes of omission... yet the pain, humiliation, and isolation are unmistakable."

    The world of friendship and social status can be a challenging one for girls. Bullying prevention expert Signe Whitson observes that "adults often struggle with the question of, 'Should I intervene in a child's friendship problems?'" However, she asserts, "Kids need adult support and insights when it comes to navigating the choppy waters of friendship, disguised as a weapon." In an insightful Psychology Today article, Whitson, a child and adolescent therapist, provides tips for parents who want to help their girls through friendship conflicts and teach them how to find good friends. Continue reading Continue reading

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