building self-esteem in girls
Check out these great excerpts from a recent interview about bullying with bestselling children’s author, Trudy Ludwig. She is the author of My Secret Bully, which I recommend most highly and center one of my chapters around in Friendship & Other Weapons.
I especially love the definitions of rude vs. mean vs. bullying and her highlighting of issues such as the power of allies and the importance of restorative justice.
A good friend just let me know that last week, this article that I wrote for the Huffington Post was featured on AOL’s home page–very exciting! I hope it provides some helpful tips and strategies for parents, as they help a very tech-savvy generation become bully-savvy as well. Here’s an excerpt:
At not-quite-nine, I am still amazed everyday at how natural and intuitive technology usage is to my daughter and to all of her peers who have grown up with computers, cell phones, tablets and texting as part of their everyday lives. I am also aware, however, that things like Internet Safety, Cyberbullying and “Netiquette” may not register on her radar the same way they do on mine.
When she was very young, I worried about the unknown: online predators who could try to trick her into revealing personal information so that they could cause her physical harm. Now, in her tween years, I know that “stranger danger” is still a threat, but I spend more of my time worrying about the known: frenemies from her daily life who may use taunting texts, humiliating social media posts and viral videos to cause her emotional harm. It’s no wonder that when she begs me (at least once daily) for a cell phone, I feel chills run up and down my spine.
No matter how tech-savvy my daughter becomes, I am constantly aware that she is young and that it is up to me to monitor her safety and well-being with technology in the same consistent, diligent way that I ensure her well-being on a playground. These basic rules are our first line of defense in minimizing (I’m too wise to think that “preventing” is realistic) cyberbullying and using technology in safe, respectful ways:
To read about the six strategies I suggest to parents, please visit the HuffingtonPost or click this link:
I stumbled upon this WONDERFUL, put-a-smile-in-your-heart article yesterday and knew it was too good not to share! With gracious permission from its author, the wise and inspiring Dr. Jennifer Shewmaker, I present to you, “8 Things I Want to Tell My 8-Year Old Daughter:”
My youngest daughter turned 8 years old this week. This means that she has moved into the world of tweens. Tween marketing is commonly focused on kids between the ages of 8-12 years, and it has become a stage in life when a mini version of adulthood is being promoted as fun and appropriate. But my girl is still so young. Having gone through this stage with my two older daughters, I want so much for her to hold on to and enjoy her childhood. There’s no reason to rush into being a teenager at the age of 8! And yet, that is a vision that I see in so many programs and products marketed to her. As she turns eight, these are eight things that I want her to know:
- Your uniqueness is what makes you amazing: As you enter the tween years, you’re going to feel pressure to be like everyone else, to follow the crowd, to not stand out. But the things that make you different are what make you original, uniquely you. Love those things about yourself; from your freckles to your love for animals to the way you feel things so strongly.
- Enjoy being a kid: You will be a teenager soon enough, and then an adult. Don’t stifle your exuberance, your love to laugh and run and play because it makes you look like a kid. You are a kid! Chase butterflies, play pretend, wear clothes that don’t match, run as fast as you can and play in the mud!
- Believe in your dreams: As I got older, I realized that everyone didn’t believe that I could do things I thought I could. I know that you’re going to feel that too, and that it will hurt your heart. But the voices of those who don’t believe are no stronger than your own. If you believe deep in your heart that you should pursue something then let’s do it!
- If you don’t risk, you’ll never know: It’s easy to play it safe and avoid taking risks in life, both big and small. But if you don’t risk, you’ll never know what might have happened. Whether it’s learning a new sport, trying a new food, or making a new friend, go out there and live your life fully.
- You are more than your looks: My precious daughter, you may notice that people suddenly want to tell you that you should be plucking, shaving, coloring, glossing, making-up and whatever else to make you look better. You may suddenly worry about the hair on your legs or the freckles on your nose or the cowlick in your hair. If you’re not careful, it’s so easy to begin to believe that what really matters about you is how you look. But you are so much more than that! You are brilliant, strong, passionate, curious, kind, and more! Know that these are the things that are most important about you, not the way you look.
- Know that I am here: For the past years, I have always been here for you whether it’s been to give a hug, wipe a tear, share a laugh, or have an adventure. As you get older, it may get harder to talk to me. You may have feelings that you don’t understand. You may struggle with friendships and romantic relationships. You may struggle with feelings about yourself. Please know that I am still here for you, whenever and however you need me. Whether you need to talk out a disagreement with a teacher or make a big decision, my arms, ears, and heart are always open to you.
- You were born to shine: I believe with all my heart that you were born with a purpose, that you can make this world a better place using your unique gifts and talents. Never forget that you were born to shine the beauty of your unique individuality on this old world and make it brighter.
- Love other people: Even when they don’t deserve it, even when they hurt you, even when they make you mad. Let love for others fill your heart so that it flows out of you to touch the lives of those around you. It’s easy to share hate, bitterness, and rudeness. It’s so much harder to turn to hate with love, to look at the person who is being mean to you and see someone who needs mercy. But the world would be a better place if we all learned to do that. You can’t make other people love, but you can choose to love.
Dr. Jennifer W. Shewmaker is a nationally certified school psychologist and licensed specialist who has worked with hundreds of families, children, and teachers in her career. She is the current director of the School Psychology specialist program and an Associate Professor of Psychology at Abilene Christian University. Along with writing and presenting research at professional conferences, Dr. Shewmaker provides media literacy workshops that help parents, teachers, and children learn to more closely examine media messages and plan a thoughtful, effective response. She is the author of the blog Don’t Conform Transform at http://www.jennifershewmaker.com.
The History Channel’s Brad Meltzer wrote this great article for the Huffington Post on what makes a real hero for a young girl. In his words:
As I tell my daughter, when you want something in life — no matter how impossible it seems — you need to fight for it. When you believe in something, fight for it. And when you see injustice, fight harder than you’ve ever fought before. It’s the lesson that links the lives of every single hero I picked for her. As I tell her: Don’t be the princess waiting for the prince to come save you. You can save yourself.
Check out this great gallery of inspiring heroes: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brad-meltzer/heroes-for-daughter_b_1419605.html
Through the wonders of Facebook, a friend of a friend of a 4th grader shared this pearl of wisdom about conflict resolution. Only wish I had the pleasure of knowing this elementary school student personally!
In conflict with another person, if you come in fierce like a tiger, you’ll have to win. So only you will be happy.
If you come in like a bunny, scared, the other person will win, so only that person will be happy.
If you come in like a bird, with your wings and your heart open, both people in the conflict will win, and both will be free.
Will be sure to use this during How to Be Angry workshops with kids!
I am printing one of these for each of my daughters’ bedroom mirrors and posting this one to share with you!
In my book, Friendship & Other Weapons, I dedicate a session to media literacy and empowerment–specifically, helping young girls look “behind the scenes” of today’s advertising industry, to understand some of the smoke & mirrors tricks that go into creating cover-girl looks. I suggest the Dove Evolution video as a great discussion piece that adults can use to educate and inform kids.
Here is a newer video that spells things out for kids (and adults) in a clear and compassionate way–I love the way this photographer explains all of the work that goes into creating a camera ready image…and that he cared enough about young girls’ self-esteem to create the video in the first place. Cheers to him!
Moms, watch this one with your daughters! I know I will be showing this in my Mother-Daughter workshops based on Friendship & Other Weapons when we talk about the media’s impact on young girls. This is the perfect clip for creating awareness about healthy body images, photoshopping, and self-esteem.
Some days, arguing comes as naturally to my kids as breathing! I take heart, knowing that there are lessons to be learned. Please read on and share this link if you, too, spend a lot of your parenthood hoping that all of this bickering will actually benefit your little ones down the line…
As if this post were not compelling enough, I love the outpouring this author gets from her readers in the Comments section. Just wish she has had this support when she was hiding in the newspaper office in middle school!
This is a great read for kids to help them understand the long-term impact of bullying and to get them talking about the difference an upstander/ally/hero/brave soul could have made in this author’s life. It’s also a terrific read for any adult-those who can relate to the writer’s experience and those who can be inspired to prevent another child from growing up with this kind of hurt and loneliness.