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#415771 - 05/07/08 01:51 PM How do you encourage girls?
Brandi - Offline
Amoeba

Registered: 01/07/08
Posts: 52
My last article on motivating young girls got me thinking. What do you do in your life to encourage the girls you know to be strong and confident?



Edited by Brandi - Women's Issues (05/07/08 01:51 PM)
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#416059 - 05/08/08 06:38 AM Re: How do you encourage girls? [Re: Brandi - ]
TrishInNC Offline
Jellyfish

Registered: 04/29/08
Posts: 122
Loc: NC, USA
Brandi, great question.

I have a 12-yr-old stepdaughter. To say that her mother and I have different worldviews would be an understatement. (I am math/science oriented, CFBC, compete in a male-dominated profession, and pride myself in making my own way in the world. Her mother is relatively uneducated, sees motherhood as the primary goal and duty of women, has a judgemental attitude, and (IMHO) uses people to get what she wants.) Since I have such a comparatively short time with her, I have been thinking of ways to make SD realize her potential.

We are, in the short six weeks we have her this summer:

Exercising
Cooking healthy
Going geocaching
Studying Shakespeare (reading one of the lighter comedies that has been made into a movie)
Doing a history report on colonial Williamsburg and then going to visit
Going to a Civil War re-enactment
Going rock-climbing
Playing with a chemistry set
Doing crafts

What I really want her to see is that she can do *anything* she wants. I also want her to know that she does not have to fulfill traditional gender roles. I want to expose her to fine literature. I want to let her know that math is not scary. I want her to think that chemistry is fun. I want, in essence, to open her eyes to the possibilities of life.

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#416095 - 05/08/08 12:44 PM Re: How do you encourage girls? [Re: TrishInNC]
joanj Offline
Koala

Registered: 09/14/06
Posts: 2616
Loc: Texas
I raised a daughter and 2 stepdaughters. They were all involved in sports and our family kind of revolved around that. We spent our weekends going to tournaments as a family, we went to all games, etc. I think for girls sports teaches that they need to be strong and proud of their bodies and to have a healthy attitude toward their body. Being stick slim isn't an advantage in sports.

I hope I taught by example. I made healthy meals and we ate together as a family. We all took vitamins and I talked about organics and healthy lifestyle all the time.

Now they are grown up and have their own kids, they do things nearly the same for their own kids, making healthy meals, living healthy lives.

I also taught my daughter a love of history and books. we went to the library on Saturdays and read books together. We went to museums and living history places.

Doing crafts is a great idea, Trish. I used to have a daycare and even the littlest ones made things all the time. My daughter decided to become an architect - maybe due to all the time she spent drawing and making things? Who knows?

Keep up the good work with your stepdaughter. I used to be in a similar situation because the "real" mom was irresponsible and the kids came to me like little savages, without even basic table manners. We fought our way through all that and I know they didn't like me much during those years. But guess what? Now that they are grown, they've thanked me for the things I taught them and they do things the way we did them in our family-not the way mom did them.
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#416626 - 05/09/08 08:00 PM Re: How do you encourage girls? [Re: joanj]
Brandi - Offline
Amoeba

Registered: 01/07/08
Posts: 52
Trish & Joan,

I think these are great ideas. I know my sister-in-law, who's an engineer for NASA, has spoken to some classes of kids because she wants to show the girls that hey, it's possible for you to have a great science-based career. Sometimes I marvel that we're still at that point, though.

I also try to encourage discussion about gender - even masked as something else. I taught a group of girls once, and we had to read something that used "man" universally. One of the girls said, "do this doesn't apply to women?" It sparked a really great discussion among the girls about whether it meant everyone or just men and why they couldn't just say "men and women." I love those moments and try to support them when they happen.

Brandi
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#427574 - 06/17/08 05:13 PM Re: How do you encourage girls? [Re: Brandi - ]
calligrapher Offline
Newbie

Registered: 11/03/07
Posts: 31
I encourage my girls to be well rounded. I teach that there is NOTHING WRONG with being a woman, a mother or a wife should that be part of their life calling. My girls will also know how to change their own oil or fix basic mechanics, and tend to their living spaces. They will be encouraged to get educated in whatever their skill set is as well as pursue other interests.
Selfishness or arrogance however is NOT taught or allowed. I don't like superiority that comes across in feminist thinking. Neither sex is superior after all. I have one 18 yo daughter that rides 4 wheelers, would love to race them, works on her own Jeep and outmaneuvers her male managers at work fixing the machines they all use daily. Yet she can cook and hang out with men without making them feel anxious and with girls without making them feel like competition. I am excited to see how my other two healthy girls end up-maybe one will find the cure for Rett Syndrome for their middle sister!!
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