Saturday, August 22, 2009

Excellent Resource: PBS Parents Guide to Raising Girls

The PBS Parents Guide to Raising Girls will help you understand your daughter's inner and outer worlds. You'll find out how to help her grow up powerful, self-confident, and self-aware — with a critical eye towards the messages the media is marketing to her.

Encourage Girls to Express Their Feelings

"Young girls receive little social permission to express their negative feelings directly to peers. When they are told to be nice and avoid conflict, many do not develop the skills to express themselves. Parents can help their daughters do this by allowing them to express their anger at home, and encourage them to talk honestly with friends. This will let girls know it's constructive to communicate anger directly rather than to try to cover it up to seem 'nice.'"

Rachel Simmons
Author, Odd Girl Out

Girls' Brains

Girls' Brains
Are the brains of girls and boys wired differently or does society promote behavioral differences and gender stereotypes?

Girl Friends

Girl Friends
Discover the secrets to your daughter's social life and how you can support her through the ups and downs of friendships.

Girls' Bodies

Girls' Bodies
Learn how you can help your daughter develop a positive body image and avoid the eating disorder trap.

Raising a Powerful Girl

Raising a Powerful Girl
Powerful girls grow up feeling secure in who they are. Find out what you can do to help!

Girl Net

The Girl Net
The influences of media, technology and marketing surround girls like a net. Get strategies for helping girls develop a critical eye and avoid the trap.


Find Web sites, books and other resources for raising a strong and confident girl.

*This information is from the PBS website:

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Role Models: Three Sisters use their Music to Promote what we CAN do to Make the World a Better Place

When visiting other bloggers on, who have similar interests, in this case: cyber-bullying, I came across these three, FABULOUS young women: Serena, Kiley and Tess.
They use their musical talents to promote local and global, social awareness and actionism.
Here is their Bio taken from their website:

Truth On Earth is a Band featuring three sisters that sound like a rainbow of old and new, heavily influenced by ‘60’s & ‘70’s rock.

The band name, lyrical messages and powerful world-changing mission are based upon the work of Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi, one of the greatest spiritual leaders of all time and the basis of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Civil Rights movement. Gandhi said that Peace could best be achieved through truth and non-violent protest and he proved it for a time by causing the end of a century of British rule over India. One small man had a giant influence. So the band is named in Gandhi’s honor to carry on his work and ideals through the powerful universal language of music to a planet that is struggling greatly just as it always has to understand and apply this very simple and highly effective principle.

The band's main goal is to raise consciousness to a level where, over time, everyone can become part of the solutions instead of just living the experience of the problems. This way the problems can be fixed and the planet can be left in a condition that saves it from destruction and makes it worth inheriting to future generations.

The idea of a band with three sisters started when we were little kids. Our parents would play songs, sing along and clown around with us nearly every day of our childhood. There were always musical instruments being played. Entertainment and the creative process were always a big part of our lives. There was plenty of singing, dancing, putting on plays and coming up with goofy comedy acts.

From the time Tess was 3, Kiley was 5 and Serena was 6, we would put on shows at nursing homes, parties, park districts and any gathering where we could collect some people long enough to do our thing. We loved performing because it was fun, and seeing people touched by our antics was a double bonus. Every opportunity we could drum up, gave us another chance to test out new material, improve our entertainment abilities, and develop better connections with our audiences.

Another really cool thing our Mom and Dad did was to encourage us into every situation that created meaningful opportunities to help injured animals or people in need. Fundraisers and charity were about as common to our formative and teen experience as performing. We came to believe it was God's way of obligating us to provide good service to life on the planet in exchange for the many blessings we had received in the form of good health, happiness and prosperity. We didn't realize as we were growing up just how important that background would be in our spiritual development and the work we are now doing with this band.

Now that we are older, we still love to perform and touch people's hearts and spirits, but we've added a new twist. By combining our joy of entertaining with our desire to give back, and using whatever talent we may have to create more awareness about the problems on Earth, we can get more accomplished implementing solutions. Music has the power to reach and connect people around the world.

We give 70% of our profits to organizations supporting the causes we sing about.

For links to hear their songs and read their lyrics, please visit:

Organizations that TOE support:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Originally posted by Erica at Health on MSN, 5/26/09

The Jiggle Felt 'Round the World

If you think Miley Cyrus has body issues, try talking to a third grader.

Miley Cyrus recently rocked the Twittersphere, but not with anything musical. She posted a lament about her "jiggly" thighs.

Faster than you can type, "OMG," the world reacted with a vengeance. The upshot of many critiques? She's a role model—a height/weight proportional one at that—and should be more careful about what she says to her impressionable tween-age fans.

While Miley could have kept her body-image woes to herself, the fact is her fans are already battling huge self-esteem problems of their own. Get this: According to the National Eating Disorders Association, four out of 10 girls in grades 1 through 3 want to be thinner. And more than two out of three girls would rather be perceived as "mean" or "stupid" than overweight.Mother and daughter talking (© Tom Grill/Corbis)

This unhealthy mindset is manifesting itself in a rise in disordered eating in elementary school-age kids. Cheryl Dellasega, Ph.D., a professor in the College of Medicine at Pennsylvania State University, says, "our Eating Disorder Unit is treating very young kids—9 years and perhaps even younger."

As the parent of an 8-year-old girl, that's jaw-dropping and eye-opening. To keep tabs on your child’s body image, Dellasega recommends dropping everything that you're doing if your kid mentions any insecurity to you. Listen, actively. "Then, look for some ways to build their confidence in the days to come—and keep up the campaign with positive but truthful comments until you sense he or she is feeling better."

Define “healthy” as being having strong bones and muscles, not being thin. And if you are trying to drop a few pounds, she recommends, "Don't define it as a diet to lose weight, but rather [one for] better nutrition. Role-model contentment with your body yourself."

If that's a tall order, read the new book, You'd Be So Pretty If …Teaching Our Daughters to Love Their Bodies—Even When We Don't Love Our Own, by Dara Chadwick (Da Capo Press, 2009). Its practical advice helps cut through our "culture of criticism"—whether it's of your own thighs, or those of a famous young singer.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Penn State Conference: Girls Bullying Girls: What We Know and What We Can Do

Watch this Video news release discussing the growing issue of girl on girl bullying and what parents and schools can do about it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


If you caught this MSNBC feature, you know they're calling what kids do nowadays sexting; i.e. sending nude or suggestive pics of each other on their cellphones via text message. I call it pornography, as did the police in a New Jersey town who arrested not just the sixth grade girls who texted pictures of their "attributes" but the ninth grade male recipients who got them and used them as trading cards. If these students were a decade older, they would be looking at serious legal charges that might not go away.

Young people live in an era of redefinition. Sexual harassment in schools (snapping a girl's bra, commenting on her figure, homophobia, teasing and taunting boys as "gay" if they look or act slightly effiminate) falls under the rubric of bullying and warrants a reprimand or perhaps suspension. Try the same thing twenty years later in the workplace and it's called "fired." No wonder kids are confused about what's acceptable and what's not.

Adolescents by nature do not think in terms of consequences. If it seems sexy to send a picture of your newly blossomed breasts to an older boy, a click of the "Send" button makes it happen. So what if that boy shares it with his soccer team who share it with their best buddies and so on?

Sure, I know having a cellphone gives parents the sense their kids are safe, but somehow generations of children have managed to survive without them. (Learning the basic rules for safety will stand you in better stead throughout a lifetime than a cellphone that can be dropped, lost, out of juice, or in an area of poor reception, anyway.) Before you hand over that little gadget and turn your child loose with it, look for signs of responsibility and maturity. Set up rules and stick to them, even if it inconveniences you.

After all, who knows what an adolescent is setting him or herself up for when those nude pictures or provocative messages go circulating out into the wide world?

Friday, February 6, 2009

A Dad's Advice to His Daughter

Forget "Popular"
Michael Laser

We’re in the car, my daughter in the back, me driving. Today was her first day of high school, and she tells me how Girl X, whom she’s known since kindergarten, walked past her in the hall and didn’t say Hi.

“Maybe she didn’t see you.”

“Uh-uh. She saw me.”

“Well, why wouldn’t she say hello?”

Ask a stupid question…

“Because she’s popular.”

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this sort of story from her, but it catches me off guard. There are 500 people in her freshman class, plus an amazing variety of after-school activities that she can’t wait to get involved in. I assumed she’d left the popularity issue behind her in middle school.

Since she seems upset about the snub, I remind her that she has plenty of friends, and her friends happen to be an extremely cool and funny bunch. Who cares if someone she used to have playdates with pretends she doesn’t exist? She agrees, but I can tell the incident will keep bothering her like a chipped tooth. Therefore, instead of letting it be, I’m going to try to solve this problem, once and for all.

What does the word popular mean, anyway? Let’s get clear on this. There’s the dictionary definition (“liked or appreciated by many people”), and then there’s the other meaning, the twisted one I’ve heard my daughter and her friends use, which says that, in order to be popular, you need at least four of the following: good looks, perfect hair, developed breasts, clothes and accessories that are considered cool this month, and a way of making people who aren’t your friends feel they aren’t good enough to be your friends. In other words, there’s often a lack of kindness involved, to put it mildly. I’m pretty sure that if it were in my daughter’s power to become just like Girl X, she would say, No thanks. Think about it: you wouldn’t really want her as a friend. So why worry about it if she snickers to her girlfriend instead of saying Hi to you?
That’s a sensible argument, but I know it won’t solve the problem. People have a deep need to be accepted; the best logic in the world won’t take away the sting of rejection. But here’s something that might. Remember the dictionary definition of popular? Guess what, daughter? You already are! Not only are you liked or appreciated by many, your friends are smart, creative, funny oddballs—the best kind.

There’s more. Consider this from the boys’ point of view. The guys in your circle of friends are multi-talented and messy, and they say things that crack me up when you repeat them. Do you really think any of them are secretly obsessing about the Cruel Excluders? If your guy friends think about Girl X at all, they’re most likely thinking, Keep her away from me.

As a matter of fact, I’ll go out on a limb here and say there’s a better chance one of them is thinking about you. I speak from experience. The girls I had crushes on weren’t the perfect beauties. They were the appealing ones, who laughed often and radiated sweetness. I’m pretty sure that the guys you like would rather go out with someone they can have fun with and feel close to than a girl who’s busy dominating the earth.

Daughter, I know that one essay won’t cure the hurt. But even if I can’t make the problem go away, I can promise that you’ll get past it.

Sure, you’re thinking. The oldest cliché in the world, Time heals all wounds. That’s what the mother dinosaur said to her baby when he banged his bony plate.

To which I say, No, really. The way it works is, you find things you love to do, and then you get so deeply involved in your passion that you forget all about the people who once made you feel hopelessly unwanted.

The best part is, it’s happening already. Last night, a week after our conversation in the car, the lead actress collapsed with a fever in the middle of “The Secret Garden,” and you, her understudy, had to rush onstage and take her place. Lucky for me, I happened to be in the audience, and got to watch you sing and act and earn a huge ovation. Remember what you told me on the way home? You said it was the happiest moment of your life (in the dressing room, when the rest of the cast cheered and hugged you), and also the scariest, and the grossest (because you had to put on the star’s sweat-soaked costume).

Now put yourself back on that stage and tell me: could anything in the world be less important than what the popular girls think of you?