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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

How to instil confidence in girls?

13 replies

FuppyGish · 05/03/2011 16:45


I have 2 dd, one is 13months, one is 6 years.

I've been thinking a lot recently about how to instil confidence in them as they grow so they can stand up for themselves, shout 'no' if they need to, not see the need to 'conform', be happy to be single etc. Thought I had ages before all this really started happening but...

my 6 year old came back from a party today and was very upset that 'I'm not going to get married because no boys like me' Hmm

There are 3 boys in her class and 7 girls. One of the girls and boys are 'boyfriend and girlfriend' and kiss (peck) on the lips Shock

I can't believe they're all talking about this stuff at the age of 6. How do I teach her to value herself and not be thinking about this rubbish at 6 years old?!

OP posts:
thefinerthingsinlife · 05/03/2011 19:30

An easy start is princess smartypants

and maybe try here

Maybe use these to start as a base and then build on that.

amiheartless · 05/03/2011 19:44

I know this is what you don't wanna hear but all this kiss chasy stuff is pretty normal for his age, (I remember it)

(trying to think of ways to reassure)*think think think...

yama · 05/03/2011 19:54

Yes, I have a five year old dd and have started to think about it too.

My starting point is to be assertive and confident myself. It helps that dh is a feminist and we often discuss what challenges lie ahead and how we are going to tackle them.

Dd goes to Rainbows and karate and when she was younger she went to football.

I verbally challenge gender assumptions whenever they arise (a lot).

I guess mainly dh and I talk to dd about her day (every day) and 'correct' any incorrect ideas (in our opinion). Dd thinks she has the cleverest parents in her class so this helps.

TeiTetua · 05/03/2011 19:59

What about her dad? This is his job too.

FuppyGish · 05/03/2011 21:41

Yama - I've been surprised at how often the gender assumptions happen actually, she seems to come home fairly frequently saying 'I can't do x, y. z because I'm a girl' Shock

Her dad is unfortunately what makes me especially worried for her. We divorced when she was about 18 months and he only wants to visit every 5 weeks Sad She has a stepfather (for the last 4 years) who she adores and we (DP and I) talk about the issues a lot.

Ami - is it normal? I just don't remember it being like this at all at that age.

Thank you for the links, will go and have a look.

OP posts:
FuppyGish · 05/03/2011 21:52

I'm now £40 poorer! Just bought lots of the books recommended, thank you Smile

OP posts:
SuchProspects · 06/03/2011 15:29

FuppyGish - If it's any reassurance I got engaged (with a plastic ring from a 2p toy machine) when I was 6. That was many decades ago. I wasn't the first in my class and I know I was upset for the whole of lunch when we broke up. I grew up with a lot of confidence.

Kids at that age are still very much copying their parents and parents are often in or looking for relationships. So I'm not surprised that they are talking about such things and trying to see how it fits into their world.

I think it's good to help children grow up resilient to disappointment (like not having any boys like you when you want to be liked). So talking to her each day and letting her know there are different ways of looking at the world sounds like a good general way to go. Those links from thefinerthings look good too.

FlamingoBingo · 07/03/2011 07:53

Well my tactic is to home educate them Grin

Amongst all our HE friends, I don't think I've ever seen peer pressure to conform; I don't think I've ever heard any nasty girl/boy sneery stereotyping. The kids all seem to enjoy playing with who they want to, in the way they want to, regardless of gender/whether it's 'cool' to do it/whether anyone else even likes the things you like/regardless of ability. It is very refreshing!

And, of course, when issues do arise (which they do - HE isn't some sort of utiopia - I'm not that naive!), I or DH is around to help the children (who are all girls) make sense of it in the way we think is best ie. not a random adult who may even be perpetuating the myths and stereotypes themselves.

FuppyGish · 07/03/2011 11:26

hi flamingo! its defluff.

unfortunately can't HE as my wages pay the mortgage. I do agree that a lot of influence comes from school, dd is somewhat 'out of it' having never seen hannah montana, high school musical etc.

OP posts:
Fennel · 07/03/2011 11:47

I would (and do) go for bracing rebuttal. Along the lines of:

Marriage isn't the only thing in life. not everyone wants to get married.
Some men like the assertive women best (my DP does, this is helpful to my argument).
Some women marry other women anyway (we know lesbian couples wiht children, this helps this argument).
Lots of women are perfectly happy single (again, we have happy examples).
If a boy doens't like you the way you are he's not worth bothering with.

FlamingoBingo · 07/03/2011 12:11

Hey! Smile

I know HE's not possible for everyone (or desirable), but it certainly helps cut down on the gender stereotyping crap Grin

Pagwatch · 07/03/2011 12:19

Dd is 8 and has a pretty robust view of herself and her abilities.
I think part if that is being in an all girls school. They go into science cessions and rugby etc etc without feeling any assumption that this is stuff boys would do better.

I have also insisted that her brothers in particular -as well as dh and I - treat her with respect and never treat her as ' just a girl' (something I dealt with as a child)
So far so good. But teenage years and the tendency if girls/women to rip other girls/women apart will make it harder as the years pass

yama · 07/03/2011 14:06

Yes Fennel - good point. My dd declared that she was going to Holland when she grew up so that she could marry her (female) cousin. Cue another conversation.

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