In light of our toxic political climate and the #metoo movement, what’s a parent to do, especially those raising girls? It seems women and girls are frequently the target of abuse, violence, and egregious disregard for human rights. Like you, I want everything possible for my children. I want them to have a bright future, a habitable planet, and most importantly, happiness. Within that happiness, I need them to be fiercely independent and strong.
It seems insulting, especially for our fore-mothers, who fought to gain the rights and freedoms we have now. Yet we still, as a society, as a culture, as females, need to routinely fight to be heard, to be believed, and to fight for our common sense liberties. What are these common sense liberties? The right that most developed nations already have, maternity leave. The right to have access to reasonable healthcare coverage for ourselves and our families. The right to have access to reasonable child care for working families. The right to fair pay to our male counterparts. These are the battles of this generation, in the dire hopes that we leave our world a bit better for our children.
Here are a few tips on how to raise a Rebel Girl.
Lead by example.
- Show her what a group of empowered women can accomplish by participating in the annual Women’s March.
- Teach her about compassion by helping to lift others up. Volunteer at your local Women & Children’s Shelters. My girls and I will participate in our local Shoebox Project, collecting and wrapping gifts for women in need.
- Call upon your strengths, check out my tips for A Mama’s Guide to Empowerment.
Check out books from our family’s collection.
- “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls” 1 & 2 by Francesca Cavallo and Elena Favilli
- “She Persisted” & “She Persisted Around the World” by Chelsea Clinton
- “I Like Myself” by Karen Beaumont
- “Of Thee I Sing, Letters to my Daughters” by Barack Obama
- “I Dissent” by Debbie Levy
- “Rosie Revere Engineer” & “Ada Twist Scientist” by Andrea Beaty
- “Isabella Girl in Charge” by Jennifer Fosberry
- We also have an extensive collection of books about dinosaurs, space, and, oddly enough…astrophysics.
Use better adjectives.
Seriously, my kids are adorable, but that’s not the point. Girls are more frequently complimented using adjectives that describe their looks. Then they start to believe that they are only valued by their looks. Here are plenty of adjectives you can use for your girls in place of “pretty” or “cute.” You can use this list for yourself, family, friends, and even strangers!
For those mamas who have boys, I have no expertise since I do not have a boy. However, I do have a friend and fellow contributor, Amy, who does have a boy. Check out her series on “Parenting As Social Justice” for some great tips. I’m well on my way to raising Rebel Girls. My youngest cannot ever be told what to do – only she decides what and when she will do something. Then there’s my three-year-old who can debate the merits of extended bedtimes and who can adeptly negotiate additional books.