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Category: sexuality
  • 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

  • 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

  • "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

  • A Mighty Girl's top picks of books for tween and teen girls about puberty, sexuality, and their changing bodies.

    You knew it would happen one of these days: your daughter is a tween. Maybe you just realized that she’s looking eye-to-eye with you, or perhaps you’re seeing breast budding or other early signs of puberty. Or, your daughter is a teen, and while she thinks she knows everything about her changing body, you want to make sure that she has accurate information and good resources to consult.

    Fortunately, in this post, we have many great books to recommend for both tweens and teens — in addition to numerous helpful resources for parents themselves. If your Mighty Girl is a bit younger, check out our previous post on Body Smart, Body Safe: Talking with Younger Girls about their Bodies for resources for preschoolers and younger elementary students. You can also learn about our recommendations on menstruation-related resources in our post Teaching Your Mighty Girl About Her Menstrual Cycle.

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  • In honor of Banned Books Week, we're showcasing a selection of high quality books for children and teens that have been challenged or banned.

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    The Diary of A Young Girl is a classic Mighty Girl book that beautifully captures the emotional life of its author, Anne Frank, as her family and friends attempted to hide from the Nazi regime. It has been translated into 67 languages and sold over 30 million copies, and is often used by schools for units on the Holocaust or to discuss the feelings and physical changes that come with adolescence.

    And yet, as recently as 2015, parents have challenged the use of the book in classrooms due to a reference to Anne's sexual awakening. In fact, since 1952, when the diary was first published in the US, it has been challenged dozens of times for reasons ranging from Anne’s discussion of her sexuality, to concerns about introducing the Holocaust to middle-school students, to disapproval of Anne’s unflattering descriptions of her mother. As the history of challenges to this book makes clear, one person’s bad influence is another person’s literary classic.

    tempSeptember 23 to 29 is Banned Books Week, “an annual event celebrating the freedom to read…[and] to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.” During this week, The American Library Association and others in the book community come together to expose the dangers of restricting access to books. The banning of books, at least in the US, occurs on a local level, generally by local school districts which decide to pull a book from school libraries or classrooms. Often a book that is banned in one school district is a core part of the curriculum in many others.

    Banned Books Week celebrates that the majority of the books that have been challenged are still available on shelves, a testament to “the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.”

    At A Mighty Girl, we believe that children — and their parents — should be free to explore difficult ideas and concepts. While parents should be aware of potential concerns with a title, removing a book from the shelves limits choice and sends the message to children that they aren’t competent to handle challenging topics. With that in mind, we have gathered a selection of Mighty Girl books that have been challenged or banned. Many of these books are considered classics, and many have received literary awards. Yet for reasons ranging from racism to violence to religious objections, people have had to fight to keep these books accessible to readers. A Mighty Girl is proud to have each one as part of our collection of empowering titles. Continue reading Continue reading

  • A Mighty Girl's top picks of books for young children about their bodies, body privacy, appropriate touch, and more.

    body-safety-blog-webSince the moment someone said, “It’s a girl” or “It’s a boy”, sex has been part of your child’s life. And while there has been at least one highly publicized (and debated) effort to raise a baby without gender, the truth is that, sooner or later, every child will notice how their body is the same, or different, from other bodies. But while conversations about bodies and sex can be awkward for parents, they’re important even for a preschooler or elementary aged child.

    There are many reasons why you should start talking to kids about sex and bodies in age-appropriate ways. One is to take the mystery away from genitalia: if you cheerfully label “ear”, “arm”, and “knee” but refer vaguely to “private parts” or use euphemisms, children may think that there is something wrong, dangerous, or scary about this part of their bodies. Another is to give your child clear language for health issues: if your child says she is “itchy down there” after a summer day trip, a care provider may be looking for poison ivy and not a yeast infection from a wet bathing suit.

    Equally importantly is preparing your child to talk about puberty (which we discuss in the second part of this blog, Talking with Tweens and Teens about their Bodies) “Puberty!?” I can hear you thinking. “She’s only 5!” And yet approximately 25% of girls experience breast budding, the first stage of puberty, at age 8 or 9 — third grade — and her first period will generally follow two to three years after the appearance of breast buds. If the girl in your life is an early bloomer, she may experience these changes before you are expecting them. But if you have been open and forthcoming with information about her body in the past, she will know that she can approach you with her questions. Continue reading Continue reading

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