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Category: parenting
  • "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

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

    Would you be startled if your daughter came home from school talking about her vulva? Sex educators — including sex-abuse prevention educators — hope that she will. In fact, many experts argue that there are plenty of good reasons to teach young children accurate terminology for their genitals rather than euphemisms or 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

  • "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

  • "There is a real need to draw a distinction between behavior that is rude, behavior that is mean and behavior that is characteristic of bullying.”

    Signe Whitson, a child and adolescent therapist and author of 8 Keys to End Bullying and The 8 Keys to End Bullying Activity Book for Kids & Tweens, has a timely message for parents and educators: “there is a real need to draw a distinction between behavior that is rude, behavior that is mean and behavior that is characteristic of bullying.” In an article for Psychology Today, she clarifies the way she identifies the difference and asks adults to remember that distinguishing between them allows “teachers, school administrators, police, youth workers, parents and kids all know what to pay attention to and when to intervene.” 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

  • Children, especially girls, begin to withhold friendship as a weapon as early as three years old.

    Parents are often startled to realize that relational aggression — using the threat of removing friendship, ostracism, and other forms of social exclusion — can appear in children as young as three years old. For children that young, the experience of being pushed away by a friend can be utterly baffling, provoking anxiety at daycare or preschool. Moreover, as parents and educators observe these more subtle forms of bullying, it’s becoming clear that they require as much attention as physical aggression. In an excellent piece in the Wall Street Journal, Laura Barbour, a counselor at an Oregon elementary school, observes, “Kids forget about scuffles on the playground but they don't forget about unkind words or being left out.” Continue reading Continue reading

  • A Mighty Girl's top picks of guides for girls in middle & high school -- and their parents!

    Parents of younger Mighty Girls looking for books about school can find recommendations in our first post in the series: Back-to-School Books About Mighty Girls’ Adventures at Elementary School.

    Tweens and teens have a lot on their plates: more academic material to learn, increasingly complicated social relationships, busy extracurriculars, and more. On top of that, they have to adjust to their increasing independence and even start thinking about the career direction they'd like to take. Put it all together and it’s no wonder that tweens and teens report being stressed out by school!

    Fortunately, there are some great books out there to help tweens, teens, and their parents to work through these stresses and make their middle school, high school, or college experience positive and empowering. In this blog post, we're showcasing our favorite guides for tween and teen Mighty Girls, tackling everything from standing up against bullying to building confidence to learning important skills like perseverance and self-direction. We even include some great resources to help your Mighty Girl learn about a wide variety of fascinating careers — maybe one will be the job of her dreams! And for parents, we include a selection of books to help you understand how your relationship dynamic will likely change as she goes from a girl to a grown woman, as well as what she's going through behind her school and bedroom doors.

    These years may be a tumultuous time, but they're also an exciting one! We're hoping that these resources will help you and your girls get the most out of the tween and teen years.
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  • 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

  • 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

  • "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

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