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25 Parenting Books About Raising Mighty Girls

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.

To view all of our parenting books, as well as subcategories on key issues like Body Image & Self-Esteem, Bullying, Gender Research, and more, visit our Parenting Collection.

Parenting Books About Mighty Girls

Little Girls Can Be Mean: Four Steps to Bully-Proof Girls in the Early Grades

Little Girls Can Be Mean: Four Steps to Bully-Proof Girls in the Early Grades

Bullying behavior crops up shockingly young — often, kids are already engaging in it by the time they start kindergarten. Michelle Anthony and Reyna Lindert tackle bullying behavior in girls as young as five, focusing on the more common pattern of girl bullying, relational aggression, and provide interactive tips to help girls deal with difficult social situations. They provide a four-step program for parents — observe, connect, guide, and support — to empower their girls to handle these issues in their day to day lives. They even provide guidance for how adults can use the same techniques in their own social interactions. For anyone concerned about social drama in elementary school, this is a must-read.

The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence

The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence

Written by: Rachel Simmons

For too long, the image of the "good girl" has meant being nice, meek, and selfless — but when girls try to force themselves into the "good girl" mold, they can also end up curtailing their power and potential. Rachel Simmons argues that the people-pleasing, rule-following model of femininity creates flawed communication and a fear of confrontation that discourages girls from achieving their goals. To help, Simmons provides exercises to help girls hear their inner voice, be polite but assertive with authority figures and peers, and stay true to themselves. By teaching our girls to be authentic to their own needs and desires, we give them the freedom to create their own futures.

So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids

So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids

Recommended Age: Adult

With "Major Heartthrob" Halloween costumes available for 4-year-old girls and baby T-shirts that say "Chick Magnet", popular culture inundates kids with a message about sex and sexuality from a shockingly early age. And without the sophistication to analyze these messages, kids can get into emotional and social trouble without understanding how they got there. Diane E. Levin and Jean Kilbourne provide a series of simple, age-appropriate strategies to help parents counter these messages and open conversations about media messages. While the book addresses itself to parents of both girls and boys, the authors acknowledge research about the particular effect these sexualized messages have on girls. For any parent who's found themselves uncomfortable with how "sexy" is marketed to children, this book will be invaluable.

Parenting Beyond Pink and Blue: How to Raise Your Kids Free of Gender Stereotypes

Parenting Beyond Pink and Blue: How to Raise Your Kids Free of Gender Stereotypes

Written by: Christia Spears Brown

From the moment parents know a baby’s sex, they may unconsciously treat boys and girls differently — and these biases can have long-term effects. Fortunately, it is possible to tackle both overt and subtle differences in the way we parent kids, removing artificial gender-based limits and giving them the opportunity to define their own futures. In this accessible and practical guide for parents of infants to middle schoolers, Christia Spears Brown, a developmental psychologist, highlights what research says about how gender affects parenting — and how to combat accidental or deliberate gender bias. By examining the messages that we send when we classify kids by gender, so that parents can instead help kids grow up to be their own, authentic selves. For more books about how gender stereotypes affect our children, check out Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow Into Troublesome Gaps — and What We Can Do About It, The Truth About Girls and Boys: Challenging Toxic Stereotypes About Our Children, and Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference.

No More Mean Girls

The Secret to Raising Strong, Confident, and Compassionate Girls

No More Mean Girls

The Secret to Raising Strong, Confident, and Compassionate Girls

Written by: Katie Hurley

Many parents think big social stressors first hit girls during the middle school years, only to discover that tough issues like low self-esteem, cyberbullying, and peer pressure are cropping up at younger ages. This invaluable book tackles "mean girl culture" and provides practical advice for parents on how to to teach girls to seek out and build strong, positive friendships; express themselves in a healthy way; and stand up for themselves and for others, empowering young girls to be kind, confident, and resilient leaders who work together and build each other up.

The Myth of the Perfect Girl: Helping Our Daughters Find Authentic Success and Happiness in School and Life

The Myth of the Perfect Girl: Helping Our Daughters Find Authentic Success and Happiness in School and Life

Written by: Ana Homayoun

On the surface, girls today often look like they're doing well: with a new culture of achievement, many girls are top students, star athletes, socially successful, and striving for big goals. But beneath the surface, many girls are deeply stressed as they try to maintain a "perfect" persona while still juggling increasingly heavy schoolwork, evenings and weekends full of extracurricular activities, and complex family and social lives. Author Ana Homayoun shows parents how to encourage girls to find their own definition of success, rather than striving for someone else's — and how to empower them to achieve that definition so that they can be happy and true to themselves. By doing so, parents can ensure that their girls thrive as they enter the adult world.

Middle School Makeover: Improving the Way You and Your Child Experience the Middle School Years

Middle School Makeover: Improving the Way You and Your Child Experience the Middle School Years

Written by: Michelle Icard

Increasing social complexity, higher academic demands, and the physical and emotional changes of puberty... many parents dread the middle school years for these reasons and many more. But with a little understanding and patience, parents can guide kids through these challenging years and help build their confidence along the way! Author Michelle Icard draws on research about the neurological development of tweens to shed new light on why they make the decisions they do and why they struggle with identity. She also provides practical advice based on her own experience working with middle school-aged kids on handling everything from peer exclusion to social media to first forays into dating. Down to earth and encouraging, this book will give you a positive look at the potential of middle school.

Mothering and Daughtering: Keeping Your Bond Strong Through the Teen Years

Mothering and Daughtering: Keeping Your Bond Strong Through the Teen Years

Recommended Age: 12 and up

A strong mother-daughter bond provides special security during the teenage years: Mom can become an ally and a place of safety, while the Mighty Girl explores her newfound independence and brings a new perspective back home. This innovative dual guide for moms and daughters by mother Sil Reynolds and daughter Eliza Reynolds provides parenting techniques for the moms, drawn from Sil Reynolds’ clinical experience, while the advice to daughters features age-appropriate suggestions for balancing the need for independence with a positive relationship with mom. It's a great option to read alone or alongside your Mighty Girl. For a fantastic bonding book for moms with younger daughters in the tween years, ages 8 and up, another excellent option is the shared journal Just Between Us.

The New Puberty: How to Navigate Early Development in Today's Girls

The New Puberty: How to Navigate Early Development in Today's Girls

Recommended Age: Adults

While we usually think of puberty as an issue for teens, a significant percentage of girls will start showing significant physical development during their tweens. But what happens when an 8-year-old has the body and hormones of a 13-year-old? Louise Greenspan and Julianne Deardorff are leading experts in early pubertal development in girls and how it affects their physical and emotional health, and in this book they provide guidance to help parents know when early development is cause for concern and how to talk to younger girls about puberty in age-appropriate ways. This engaging and practical guide is impeccably researching and, most importantly, full of confidence to reassure parents who feel like their daughter is growing up too fast.

Enough As She Is

How to Help Girls Move Beyond Impossible Standards of Success to Live Healthy, Happy, and Fulfilling Lives

Enough As She Is

How to Help Girls Move Beyond Impossible Standards of Success to Live Healthy, Happy, and Fulfilling Lives

Written by: Rachel Simmons

Although girls seem to be more "successful" than ever today, outpacing boys in GPA, college enrollment, and more, they're also reporting feeling overwhelmed by the need to be exceptional at everything. This book takes a look below the put-together surface that girls project to the world, and provides practical tips for parents to help them reduce negative thoughts, embrace risk and authenticity, and prioritize feeling confident and happy as the ultimate sign of success. Best-selling parenting author Rachel Simmons relies on in-depth case studies and careful research to create both a portrait of the challenges facing girls today and a road map to help girls create their own paths to happy, healthy lives.

Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions Into Adulthood

Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions Into Adulthood

Written by: Lisa Damour

If the job of an adolescent is to become an adult, how do you know when they're there? Lisa Damour, director of the Laurel School's Center for Research on Girls, draws on the latest research to reveal the seven key transitions — including Parting with Childhood, Contending with Adult Authority, Entering the Romantic World, and Caring for Herself — that an adolescent girl needs to make before she reaches adulthood. Equally importantly, she shows how uneven progress through these transitions explains the sometimes erratic behavior of teenage girls, and how parents' responses can help strengthen their relationship so she can complete her journey healthy and happy. This excellent new release will help parents of teens understand exactly what makes them tick.

Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape

Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape

Written by: Peggy Orenstein
Recommended Age: Adults

Even as more parents become heavily involved in their teenagers' lives, few of them really know what their daughters are up to sexually — and how they feel about it. In Girls & Sex, Peggy Orenstein, author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter, draws on interviews with 70 girls and conversations with psychologists, academics, and other experts, to discuss the sexual lives of girls. From sexual myths propagated by porn, to the "perfect slut" and why many girls disdain virginity, to hookup culture and its relationship to sexual assault, Orenstein takes a hard look at how the subtext of American life and culture influence girls' attitudes and behavior.

The Princess Problem: Guiding Our Girls Through the Princess-Obsessed Years

The Princess Problem: Guiding Our Girls Through the Princess-Obsessed Years

Written by: Rebecca C. Hains

Behind the sparkle and light-hearted fun of princess-themed stories and merchandise lies a powerful marketing machine, and while pop culture princesses can teach positive values, they can also encourage obsessive consumerism and negative stereotypes about race, gender, and beauty. But with so many princess-loving girls out there, what can parents do? Rebecca C. Hains relies on parents, educators, psychologists, and industry experts to create a framework for having open conversations with kids about both the good and the bad in princess culture. Not only does this help parents deal with the princess phase, but it also creates excellent grounding for raising media-literate girls.

Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls

Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls

Written by: Rachel Simmons

When Odd Girl Out was published in 2002, it ignited a long-overdue conversation about the hidden nature of female bullying, which more commonly manifests in hurt feelings and broken friendships than in bruises and scrapes. In this updated edition, which incorporates new issues like the prevalence of social media as a forum for bullying and relational aggression, Rachel Simmons shows parents and educators how to recognize damaging social dynamics and how to build empathy and confidence in our girls. Parents can also get the companion book Odd Girl Speaks Out: Girls Write About Bullies, Cliques, Popularity, and Jealousy to share with girls aged 13 and up.

Sexploitation

Helping Kids Develop Healthy Sexuality in a Porn-Driven World

Sexploitation

Helping Kids Develop Healthy Sexuality in a Porn-Driven World

Written by: Cindy Pierce

Kids are increasingly immersed in highly sexualized content — and that gives them a broad and often distorted depiction of what is acceptable in sexuality and relationships. Cindy Pierce, a sex educator and comic storyteller, show parents how they can talk about sexuality, pornography, and relationships with kids, establishing themselves as reliable, accessible sources of information when kids (accidentally or on purpose) see material that they find upsetting or confusing. The overall tone is one of optimism and confidence: parents can discuss these issues with their children, and those discussions can — and do — make a difference.

Dial Down the Drama: Reducing Conflict and Reconnecting with Your Teenage Daughter

Dial Down the Drama: Reducing Conflict and Reconnecting with Your Teenage Daughter

Written by: Colleen O'Grady

When a teenage girl starts bringing drama into the mother-daughter relationship, it's hard to know what to do to help her ride the emotional rollercoaster and keep your bond intact. Family therapist Colleen O'Grady gives mothers the tools and knowledge to keep your perspective and break the cycle of conflict. Up-to-date research in neuroscience allows O'Grady to explore how your teen's developing brain affects her emotions and her responses to you. This positive and encouraging book provides an easy-to-follow plan for stopping a relationship when it's spiraling out of control and reconnecting and supporting your daughter and she becomes an adult.

Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World

Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World

Written by: Rosalind Wiseman

With this book, Rosalind Wiseman fundamentally changed how adults look at girls' friendships and conflicts. From how girls pick "best friends" to how they express their anger and frustration to how they set boundaries with boys, girls' interactions with one another have a profound effect on girls' thinking and choices. Wiseman lays out different social "types", from the Queen Bees who control cliques to the Targets being shunned to the Bystanders who just want to stay on the right side of the social order, and shows how these roles affect interactions with girls and boys, both in person and online. And if these types sound familiar among adults you know, check out Wiseman's follow-up book, Queen Bee Moms and Kingpin Dads: Dealing with the Difficult Parents in Your Child's Life.

American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers

American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers

Written by: Nancy Jo Sales

In 2016, adolescent girls -- who have always grappled with issues of identity, self-esteem, and sexuality as they moved into adulthood -- are now facing an entirely new kind of pressure brought on by social media. For today's teens, coming of age online means constant exposure to hypersexualized imagery, the need to cope with instantaneous judgment from their peers, relentless pressure to maintain an idealized online self, and even a failure to develop critical in-person communications skills. In an social media environment that is changing constantly and largely foreign to parents who often have little experience with the apps favored by teens, this thoroughly researched new book provides a much needed road map to the teens' social media use. And, by better understanding what today’s teens are going through, the adults in their lives can provide them with the tools they need to better manage social media and grow to be confident young women -- both on and offline.

How to Mother a Successful Daughter: A Practical Guide to Empowering Girls from Birth to Eighteen

How to Mother a Successful Daughter: A Practical Guide to Empowering Girls from Birth to Eighteen

Written by: Nicky Marone

With all the social and cultural influences facing girls, parents can feel helpless — but the truth is that parents still have a tremendous influence they can bring to bear as they raise their Mighty Girls. This book focuses on the mother-daughter relationship, showing how mothers can counteract negative messages and reinforce positive ones. Author Nicki Marone encourages mothers to act as mentors and role models for their daughters, particularly by taking time to show her how to build mastery and self-esteem. Uplifting and inspiring, this book will give mothers the confidence that they really can make a difference for their Mighty Girl.

You'd Be So Pretty If...: Teaching Our Daughters to Love Their Bodies — Even When We Don't Love Our Own

You'd Be So Pretty If...: Teaching Our Daughters to Love Their Bodies — Even When We Don't Love Our Own

Written by: Dara Chadwick

Moms want to instill confidence and positive self-esteem in their daughters, but if you struggle with your own body image, it's easy to accidentally communicate your "body image blueprint." Author and journalist Dara Chadwick explores the unintentional messages a mother can send when she diets or goes on weight loss kicks, and provides guidelines for talking about healthy eating, exercise, and lifestyle instead. She warns moms about the trigger words that can have more emotional impact on girls than you think, and how to recognize signs that your daughter is developing poor body image or an eating disorder. Funny, compassionate, and wise, this book recognizes the power of acting as a healthy role model to your daughter — both for her and for you. For another book about body image and health, check out Good Girls Don't Get Fat: How Our Weight Obsession is Messing Up Our Girls and How We Can Help Them Thrive Despite It.

You're Wearing That?: Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation

You're Wearing That?: Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation

Written by: Deborah Tannen

If Mom is finding herself struggling with her daughter, this book by Deborah Tannen will help give her insight on why mother-daughter communication can be so difficult and fraught with emotion. Tannen asserts that the close and complex relationship between mothers and daughters results in turning a passing remark into something hurtful and upsetting. Fortunately, she provides excellent solutions that mothers and daughters can use to make their communication better and more positive.

UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World

UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World

Written by: Dr. Michele Borba

Studies show that teens are 40% less empathetic today than they were thirty years ago — a trend that hurts both kids and society as a whole. In fact, self-focused behavior can hurt academic performance, lead to increases in bullying behavior, and reduce kids’ resilience when things go wrong. Fortunately, there are easy steps parents can take to raise their kids to be thoughtful, empathetic, and kind! In this thoughtful new parenting book, Dr. Michelle Borba explores nine research-based habits to build kids’ empathy and compassion. From identifying and controlling their emotions to thinking about “us” not “them”, these strategies can be used daily to encourage kids to see the world from the perspectives of other people around them. For two more books about the power and importance of empathy, check out The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money and The "Me, Me, Me" Epidemic: A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Overentitled World.

The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed

The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed

Written by: Jessica Lahey

As a parent, it's easy to fall into the instinct to protect your child from hurt — even if that means the disappointment and frustration that comes from failing. But as teacher and writer Jessica Lahey explains, how to fail — and how to get up, dust yourself off, and try again — is a key skill that kids need to learn young, when the stakes are still low. In her book, Lahey lays out the case for allowing kids to fail, and to feel the full emotional brunt of that failure, and shows parents how to model and teach resiliency and problem-solving. Individual chapters target particular challenges like homework, report cards, and sports. This celebration of the value of reaching high and missing the mark will make you think differently about how you respond to your child's mistakes and problems.

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk

This best-selling parenting guide provides guidelines to help parents break the cycle of frustration and anger and get positive, productive conversations started with their kids! Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, experts on communication and parenting, teach parents how to express strong feelings without being hurtful — and show their kids how to do the same; how to set firm limits while getting kids invested in the process; and how to resolve family conflicts peacefully and productively. With more than 3 million copies sold, there are plenty of parents that will attest to the success of their methods! Following their framework, you'll be able to develop less stressful, more rewarding relationships with your kids that will make your time with your Mighty Girl more fun.

Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

When a friend wrote to feminist author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie asking for advice on how to raise her baby girl to be a feminist, the result was this letter: fifteen suggestions in her direct and wry voice about everything from choosing toys to exploring makeup, clothing, and sexuality to debunking myths about men and women. A truly feminist parent, Adichie argues, empowers a daughter to express herself authentically and to become a strong, independent adult. Her advice will encourage parents to raise children — both boys and girls — to understand that there is no "right" or "wrong" way to be who they are. This 80-page manifesto reclaims and clearly defines the word "feminist" and provides a clear framework for incorporating its principles into your parenting.

What I Told My Daughter: Lessons from Leaders on Raising the Next Generation of Empowered Women

What I Told My Daughter: Lessons from Leaders on Raising the Next Generation of Empowered Women

Written by: Nina Tassler

In this remarkable book, diverse and powerful women — both famous and little-known — share their stories about the most important advice they gave their daughters. From one of the country's only female police chiefs, talking to her daughter about the power of courage — both in dangerous situations and in day-to-day life — to a best-selling writer who wants her daughter to remember that "resiliency is more important than perfection" to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's message about the importance of independence, these mothers' words of wisdom resonated with their daughters, and now they will resonate with you. Heartwarming and inspiring, this book will energize you to share your own words of wisdom with your children.

Strong Is The New Pretty: A Celebration of Girls Being Themselves

Strong Is The New Pretty: A Celebration of Girls Being Themselves

Written by: Kate T. Parker
Recommended Age: Adults

For a little inspiration along your parenting journey, check out this book version of photographer Kate T. Parker's "Strong Is The New Pretty" photo project. Parker wanted to create a new vision of girlhood, one that incorporated a broader definition of beauty and celebrated the diversity of girls. Beauty, after all, can appear in the form of a stalwart athlete, a loving friend, a dedicated artist, and so many other ways. In this collection of 175 photographs, complete with comments and advice from the girls depicted, you — and your Mighty Girl — can see the power of living an authentic life and the importance of raising our Mighty Girls to find their own version of beauty.

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