This is why I always tried to encourage Valerie to work hard and understand how smart she was (and still is). In my short time as an educator, I’ve seen too many girls, that for one reason or another (really, can someone explain this to me?) thought being ‘pretty’ or ‘cute’ was the most important thing in their lives.
Here are a few suggestions for the parents of little girls… I hope I’m not stepping on any toes here, but here goes.
- Spend as much time reading and writing with your little girl as you do combing her hair, teaching her about makeup, or talking about the way she looks.
- Remind your daughters they can grow up to be anything… I mean anything they want to.
- Actively listen to girls' voices, opinions, and ideas. Remember to recognize accomplishments.
- Statistics show young girls are more worried about being teased than being violently attacked. Talk about bullying. Know your daughter’s friends. Stay involved.
- A little less Britney and a little more Adele.
- Resist jumping to “fix” things for girls; empower her to discuss struggles, and problem solve; show her you believe she has the ability to handle her life; discuss ways to approach struggles, and ask what you can do to help support her through the process.
- I haven’t kept a record, but I see far more t-shirts that say ‘Cutie Pie’ or ‘Pretty Princess’ with cutesy pink and purple kittens and cupcakes on them than t-shirts that say ‘Girl Power!’ or ‘Anything boys can do girls can do better’ – although for the record, one little girl in my class this year owns both of the latter and she rocks.
- Compliment your daughter on her reading, writing, athletic abilities, friendships… things other than looks.
Resources for empowering girls (and sites that helped me with this post):
Girls Know More
Girl Scouts of America