When it comes to raising confident girls, we may be giving them contradictory messages. We want them to be leaders but criticize them for being bossy. We build their self-esteem and then undercut the message by talking about how fat, forgetful or stupid we are. What we say and do can inadvertently reinforce the very gender stereotypes we are so keen to dismantle.
Parenting really is one of the toughest management jobs out there. Just encourage her to pursue her own passions. Now if only toy manufacturers would redesign packaging with that in mind! Rule 2: Give her a say If we expect our daughters to make good decisions once they reach the corner office, they will need lots of practice.
How to talk to girls: 8 ways to improve your daughter's self-esteem
Let her have an age-appropriate say in matters that affect her, advises Grant. Her daughter has weighed in on what she wears and which extracurricular activities she does since an early age. Later on, however, empathize with her about how yucky soggy socks feel. And this tendency can intensify over time.
In the long run, self-effacement can lead to a loss of confidence. All your hard work paid off. Instead, she talks about better ways to communicate ideas and collaborate with others. Julie Freedman Smith, one of the co-founders of Parenting Power, a Calgary-based coaching organization, encourages parents to practise assertiveness. Rule 6: Be nice, but not to a fault Despite how it might look in the school lunchroom, most parents do try to teach their kids manners. But the importance of being nice is really emphasized for girls, and this kind of gendered encouragement can lead to girls putting themselves last, pleasing others instead of themselves and becoming pushovers.
Beauty can be tricky—it feels natural to compliment a child, yet it can reinforce the message that looks are what matter most. One solution is to keep talking. Pay attention to how often you criticize your appearance. Nix the fat talk. And if we are judging ourselves that harshly, the natural assumption they make is that we are judging them as well. That is an enormous amount of information to make sense of. Use it as an opportunity to talk to your children, and to help them practise their critical thinking.
Validate their opinions and their experiences. Experts think it's because girls are taught to express their feelings, while boys are encouraged to suck it up.
Takeaway tip: As moms everywhere know, baby boys aren't any less sensitive, so teach your son the words for his feelings "You're mad because you can't reach the rattle" as you talk to him. One reason boys tend to outscore girls on the math portion of the SAT is that they may have an advantage when it comes to spatial skills — or the ability to solve problems involving size, distance and the relationship between objects.
In fact, girls who are exposed to higher-than-normal levels of sex hormones, including testosterone, in the womb show an above-average interest in cars and trucks.
And in a study of monkeys, male primates chose wheeled toys over plush toys, while females liked both. What does that mean for humans? You can expect your daughter to be more open than her brother about what she plays with — usually starting around kindergarten. After reviewing 46 previous studies, Canadian researchers concluded that baby boys are bigger wiggle worms than baby girls — they squirm more on the changing table , get restless in the stroller and crawl over longer distances, for example.
Takeaway tip: Get both sexes moving with plenty of active playtime — from dancing indoors to playing chase outside. Boys are more physically aggressive than girls even before they turn two, according to studies.
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Although many parents say boys reach gross-motor milestones like sitting up, crawling, cruising, and walking earlier than girls, some pediatricians swear the opposite. But both camps are wrong: Study after study shows that there are no significant differences between boys and girls when it comes to gross-motor development. The expectations that boys will walk earlier may have to do with physical size, since boys tend to be heavier and taller than girls by around six months. One milestone that girls and boys do consistently hit at different times is talking — girls start about a month earlier than boys on average, sometime in the first half of the second year.
British researchers found that girl babies had significantly larger vocabularies than boys as early as 18 and 24 months. Girls, hands down, ditch their diapers faster than boys — sometimes a lot faster. While most girls start toilet training anytime from 22 to 30 months, boys can take three months to even a year longer than girls to achieve all of the 28 skills experts say they need to be diaper-free forever — from staying dry for two hours during the day to being able to pull down underpants. Girls, on average, can pee on their own a big milestone by 33 months, but it takes until month 37 for boys to get there.
You never know — it may inspire him to beat the statistics. The educational health content on What To Expect is reviewed by our team of experts to be up-to-date and in line with the latest evidence-based medical information and accepted health guidelines, including the medically reviewed What to Expect books by Heidi Murkoff.
- Children’s early gender concepts;
- The Legend of Sweetwater!
- Understanding Emotions?
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