Tuesday, February 28, 2012

raising girls

last night i went with a friend to a lecture given by ruth beaglehole on raising girls. i feel like the last twelve hours i have been soaking up the information and want to write it down while it is still fresh. there was an article last summer that touched on some of the topics of last night but my biggest takeaway was to define the attributes i want her to have when she is my age; confident, playful, kind, creative, adventurous, unafraid, healthy, compassionate, intelligent, nonjudgmental. these are the first words that come to mind. in order for this to be a reality i need to make a conscious commitment to be my daughter's ally on this journey of growing up. the words i choose, the behavior i model, the example i set are all a part of who my daughter will become. i left feeling a little overwhelmed by this huge responsibility of people making but that also this responsibility is a precious gift. our society is so geared to make our young women competitive, insecure, and self-critical. the most important thing we can do is advocate for them and help them realize what is alive in them. the labels we give our children (cute, spirited, defiant, rowdy) scratch the surface of their beautiful and complex spirits. sugar and spice is fine sprinkled in but it's time to develop a more robust vocabulary to describe elodie. i look forward to doing the work and am so grateful for the resource of echo parenting.


22 comments:

  1. I have two young girls myself so I totally feel where you are coming from on this. My oldest (5) came home from school a few months ago upset because someone had called her a "tomboy." I was stung and unprepared to deal with that kind of criticism. She is so young and sweet and would never, ever dream of calling one of her friends a name that made them feel bad about themselves. It was heartbreaking to see that one other small-minded person had already put a little ding in her confidence. I did my very best to explain it in a way that diminished the power of the labeler but it was hard.

    Hopefully these articles and workshops that I have seen popping up will be able to extend their reach. If enough people make a conscious effort to raise their girls with purpose and intention the results could really be spectacular.

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  2. wow! heavy. loved this post. and would love to have a little girl to raise someday. right now i have a sweet boy and he is my joy. would be really neat to hear a similar lecture on raising boys. your elodie is precious from head to toe.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jessie,

      The center does have one on little boys. Language is also a big part of defining how boys are affected growing up. Labels like "sissy" or saying things like "man up" are ways of putting them in a gender box and making them hesitant to explore all sides of who they are becoming. I haven't attended the lecture but if I ever hear of anything I for sure will share!

      Thanks,
      Elizabeth

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  3. I'm raising my 5th child but first daughter and it's really different already and she's only 2. would love to know about lectures like this where can I find the info?
    Thank you
    Stacy

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  4. just answered my own question by clicking the links you wrote above. NEVER MIND thx

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  5. you're an amazing mama, i have no doubt elodie will be all you wish her to be! xo

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  6. She is such a sweet girl! I love those pictures. Also, that theory/parenting approach is great. I'm sure you can do it - you seem like an amazing mom. And I'm also sure that Elodie will grow up to be a wonderful, thoughtful person.

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  7. Found your blog through a search on Raising Girls. I live in Michigan, far from Echo Parenting and I am jealous. I would love to attend such lectures. I write a blog about raising girls. My girls are 7 and 9 and the things are commentors touch on are just the beginning. I think parenting girls in this culture will take a lot of intentionality. Good for you for writing all this down.

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  8. I really like this post. I don't have kids myself but I often think about these things... how my mom was raised and how she raised me... the things that were placed in the minds of my friends when they were little. It's so interesting and a really worthwhile thing to concentrate on improving.
    I recently saw this incredible documentary that covers all this and more. You guys should check it out, there's a preview on the site and screenings all over the place. http://www.missrepresentation.org/
    Hope it gives you all even more ideas on raising a new generation of girls!

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  9. I love this post. I don't have children yet but hopefully when i have a little girl someday in the not so distant future I will do lots of reading to enlighten myself on the very things you've mentioned. lovely photos too. you seem like a wonderful mama.

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  10. I started visiting here when you and Elodie were a part of the Sakura Bloom project on Marvelous Kiddo, but I've been too shy to comment. This post is bringing me out of the shadows, because, my goodness, you hit the nail on the head! Thank you for sharing your thoughts, both to those that are raising our own daughters and to those who help shape how little girls think/feel about themselves. We need more discussions like these!

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  11. these are turly beautiful pictures I can not wait for my Lola to start ballet. i love the lighting used in the pictures.

    http://dandelionsandkisses.blogspot.com/

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  12. I loved your post, especially the part about the words we choose, the behavior and example we set. My daughter turns 8 this month, and my son 7 soon after. They are great kids, I even get compliments on how well behaved they are when we are out. Of course, they have their "not so great" days. And on these days I'll remember what you said about choosing the right words, modeling a good example, and try to keep my patience level up. The pictures are beautiful!

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  13. so beautiful, elizabeth. i love this. xoxo

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  14. Lovely post! Had to share: http://minipiccolini.com/2012/03/its-friday-7/

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  15. Wonderful post and something that I think and worry about a lot and I often get people looking at me like i am being strange. I am always highly aware of the strong woman I want my daughter to become but I also recognise that I am a million miles away from being that myself and so by trying to get her to the right place, I will hopefully better myself too. I don't want her to be plagued with insecurities and self doubt like me. And I always make a conscious effort to tell her how strong and clever, wise and funny she is. Not just the obvious girly compliments she gets from others arond her. Brilliant post thanks x

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  16. Wonderful post and something that I think and worry about a lot and I often get people looking at me like i am being strange. I am always highly aware of the strong woman I want my daughter to become but I also recognise that I am a million miles away from being that myself and so by trying to get her to the right place, I will hopefully better myself too. I don't want her to be plagued with insecurities and self doubt like me. And I always make a conscious effort to tell her how strong and clever, wise and funny she is. Not just the obvious girly compliments she gets from others arond her. Brilliant post thanks x

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  17. I am brand new to your blog and found you today at babyccino. I couldn't agree more. I realized that it is very important to "be" the person I want my daughter to be. I have sons and one daughter -- everything that we do is registering with them. I am an American, living in Sweden; I feel that everyplace we live forms who I am and how I parent but I am grounded by all of the best qualities I associate with being American; some of them being: generous, kind, compassionate, open, creative and forward moving -- your post expressed just that. Lovely. I look forward to tuning in again.

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  18. I think about this a lot. The two most important attributes I feel I can instill in my daughters are confidence and humility. With that comes the responsibility having confidence in myself and remembering to be humble, too. Easier said than done, but so important. Thank you for the link to Echo Parenting. Elodie is as beautiful as ever;)

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  19. I have three deliciously distinct and occasionally defiant girls. I wen through a stage with each when I would hold them in my arms in fron of the mirror at night and we would say goodnight to the girls in the mirror.
    Strong
    Silly
    Smart
    Funny
    Amazing
    Beautiful
    Curious

    New words would weave their way in, but pretty was never first. I want them to take their twinkle and their defiance and to never be afraid to use either for as long as they draw breath.

    I revel in the beauty of deliberate choices as we parent.

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