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Raising a Powerful Girl

girl playing violinHow do you raise a powerful girl and what does that mean?

Powerful girls grow up feeling secure in themselves. They learn to take action, making positive choices about their own lives and doing positive things for others. They think critically about the world around them. They express their feelings and acknowledge the feelings and thoughts of others in caring ways. Powerful girls feel good about themselves and grow up with a “can-do” attitude. Of course, strong girls may (like all of us) have times of insecurity and self-doubt, but these feelings aren’t paralyzing because the girls have learned to work through their problems. Powerful girls will grow up to lead full, valuable lives.

Here are some of our experts’ ideas to help you raise powerful daughters.

Encourage your daughter to pursue a passion.
“Full engagement with an activity she loves will give her the opportunity to master challenges, which will boost her self-esteem and resilience and affirm intrinsic values rather than appearance,” says Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out. “Having a passion lets her go shoot baskets or play an instrument, for example, instead of being swept up in online drama.”

Let her have a voice in making decisions.
“Whenever possible, let her make constructive choices about her life. Let her choose her own clothes, within appropriate limits. Give her a voice in what after-school activities she participates in and how many she wants to do (as long as it works for the rest of the family, too). Remember that knowing what she cares about most will come from trying some things and finding she doesn’t like them, as well as from finding things she loves to do,” recommends Jane Katch, Ed.D., author of They Don’t Like Me. “Your daughter might need to make a commitment for a short time for an activity (one soccer season) but when that’s over, it’s okay to try something different!”

Identify the values most important to your family.
“Consider the ways you convey these values, especially by example. What are the moments in your daily life when you can model the values you want your daughter to learn?” asks Simmons. “What traits and strengths do you want your daughter to develop as she grows?” asks Meg White, M.A. “See if these qualities are reflected in how you parent.”

Encourage her to solve issues on her own rather than fixing things for her.
“When parents take over, girls don’t develop the coping skills they need to handle situations on their own. Ask your daughter to consider three strategies she might use to deal with a situation, and then ask her about the possible outcomes. Let her decide what she wants to do (within reason). Even if you disagree with her choice, you give your daughter a sense of control over her life and show her that she is responsible for her decisions,” says Simmons.

Encourage her to take physical risks.
“Girls who avoid risks have poorer self-esteem than girls who can and do face challenges,” says JoAnn Deak, Ph.D., author of Girls Will Be Girls. “Urge your daughter to go beyond her comfort zone — for example, encourage a girl who’s scared to ride her bike downhill to find just a small hill to conquer first.” Catherine Steiner-Adair, Ed.D., co-author of Full of Ourselves: A Wellness Program to Advance Girl Power, Health and Leadership, agrees. “It’s important to help even non-athletic girls develop some physical competence and confidence when they’re young. Whether it’s through team or individual sports, girls need to form a physical relationship with their body that builds confidence.”

Get girls working together. 
“Girls who work cooperatively in school or who problem-solve together do much better in taking large risks or facing challenges. These girls report an incredible sense of accomplishment and feeling of competence, both of which give a huge boost to self-esteem,” says Deak. “Encourage your daughter to participate in team-building activities or join organizations that rely on teamwork.”

Let your daughter know you love her because of who she is, not because of what she weighs or how she looks.
“Encourage your girl to eat in healthy ways, but don’t over-obsess over what she eats. Listen to her opinions (about food, and other things) and show appreciation for her uniqueness, to help her develop herself into the person she wants to be,” says Steiner-Adair. “Comment on the way she carries herself into a room or the ideas she is expressing before commenting on her looks. She needs you to know her insides and validate the developing person within, as well as noticing her emerging young womanhood,” adds White.

Allow her to disagree with you and get angry.
“Raising a powerful girl means living with one. She must be able to stand up to you and be heard, so she can learn to do the same with classmates, teachers, a boyfriend, or future bosses,” says White. Lyn Mikel Brown, Ed.D., and Sharon Lamb, Ed.D., co-authors of Packaging Girlhood, write, “Girls need guidance about how to stay clear in their disagreements, and they need support for not giving up their convictions to maintain a false harmony. Help girls to make considered choices about how to express their feelings, and to whom.” Steiner-Adair notes that “Not all girls will want to do this, especially shy girls, but you can still help them develop the skills.”

Address girl fighting when you see it.
“Talk with girls about relational violence (such as gossip, rumor-spreading and exclusion) as well as physical violence (hitting or fighting). But don’t assume all girls are mean, and avoid saying ‘girls will be girls’ when you witness girls engaging in exclusive cliques and clubs. Instead, affirm girls’ relational strengths and sense of fairness, help them identify and hold on to their strong feelings, like anger, and encourage them to practice more direct, positive ways to effect change in their relationships,” says Brown.

Make regular time to listen to your girl.
“By creating consistent, predictable times when she knows that you are receptive and available to listen — like riding in a car, taking a walk, or just sitting reading — you will eventually be let into her inner world. Let her use you as a sounding board to sort out what she is going through, without solving problems for her. The answers that come from within her are the ones she will eventually live by,” says White.

Listen more than you talk.
“When we talk to girls, they often experience it as us talking at them, and they not only stop listening, they stop thinking and reflecting. But when we listen to them, they have to think about what they are saying, and they tend to reflect more. And we need to keep an open dialogue — we can’t dismiss their chatter about ups and downs of friendship as trivial, and then expect them to talk to us about the important stuff,” says Lawrence Cohen, Ph.D., co-author of Mom, They’re Teasing Me.

Limit your daughter’s exposure to the media and popular culture when she is young.
“This will give her more time to develop her own ideas, creativity, and imagination from her direct first-hand experience. As she grows, media messages will start to get in, so having rules and routines from the start can help your daughter control her own experiences as she gets older,” says Diane Levin, Ph.D, author of So Sexy So Soon.

Help her process the messages in the media. 
“Help her avoid the narrow focus on appearance and consumerism that often dominates the media. By helping your daughter process the messages she sees on the screen and develop her own ideas about them, you can prepare her to better resist the media’s pervasive stereotypes,” says Levin. “Help her notice the bigger picture — for example, how looking like her latest teen idol can be fun but also connects her with a lot of other stuff she might not have noticed or thought about. Wonder aloud about more general patterns you see, like how all those little purses hanging from everything might make it seem that all girls, even three-year-olds, are into shopping,” add Brown and Lamb.

Talk with her about the differences between sex in the movies and loving relationships in real life.
“It’s important to talk with your daughter about sex and sexuality in ways appropriate to her age and your values,” says Levin. “As she gets older it becomes increasingly important to help your daughter understand the difference between sexualized images in the media and healthy sexuality. Through give-and-take discussion, you can help her begin to understand the difference between the media’s presentation of sex and sexiness. You can talk about how sex is frequently portrayed without love, intimacy or emotion, or as part of caring relationships. When your daughter is old enough, you can begin to discuss what a mature, healthy, loving relationship — in which sex is a part — is all about.”

Acknowledge her struggles but keep a sense of perspective.
“We have to acknowledge the pain our daughters are experiencing, so they feel heard and accepted and empathized with. But we also need to put it into perspective, to stay calm and listen to what they are experiencing without projecting our own experiences onto theirs. Your daughter is having a different experience than you did, even if there are surface similarities,” says Cohen. “After all, she has something you didn’t have: you.”

Enjoy her!
“Having a powerful girl can be exciting and energizing. Find activities you both enjoy and do them regularly together. Maybe you both like cooking or having breakfast together, hiking or reading books,” says Katch. “Try to keep this connection as she gets older — if times ever get tough, you’ll appreciate this special bond you share!”

  • everythingispolitics

    Confident girls more often than not become dynamic women. That is why this is so important.

  • Parent Co.

    This is fantastic. Thank you.

  • Cheryl Rickman

    This is one of the best, most insightful articles I’ve read on this topic. Reassured to know i’m doing these things with my girl. In fact my 6 year old daughter and I are launching a brand to empower girls to be all they can be without limitations She certainly is a powerful amazing girl who know what she likes and who she is

  • Anna

    This article is important and great however I also think there needs to be a follow up on what happens when these powerful girls grow up. I’m 25 years old and I have been told many times I am a ‘powerful’ woman and girl and it has not been easy. Powerful women are not welcome everywhere and a lot of men don’t know how to interact with powerful women. I wouldn’t change myself for anything but there are days when I wish I was just a little less confident and a little less ‘powerful’ except its not really something you can turn off.

    • PretenderNX01

      There’s a difference between being “powerful” and being overbearing. ;)

      That’s really the most important lesson for all kids to learn.

      • Anna

        Not denying that there is but that really has nothing to do with what I’m saying.

        • Joy Myers

          I love that you just showed what an amazing strong woman you are with your accurate response.

        • John Smith

          “Crazy-psycho-bitch from Hell” speaking… ahem… demonstrating “strength”. Great example of why no one wants to to sit with her at the lunch table.

      • Julie L.

        That’s a real grey area, though. To some people, powerful comes across as overbearing no matter what.

        • Anonymom

          True, but that’s their problem, not hers. ;)

    • CB

      You are right. You can’t dial it back and you shouldn’t, you just have to learn to accept that some people just won’t click with you, and that’s ok. I think where men wouldn’t care what others think about their “power” or confidence, we as women do. I also think it’s a balance between learning to accept ourselves as we are and be wise about balancing strong confidence with open-mindedness and empathy towards others.

      • sandra martin

        Nicely put.

    • McKenzie

      Anna, I really feel you here. I’m almost 26 and I’ve also been raised to be very independent and capable and have found that a lot of men gravitate toward women who are more needy and submissive. That’s a controversial statement but it’s certainly been my experience. However, I found a great guy a few years ago and we have a very give-and-take relationship where we each respect each other’s person, experiences and feelings, and it’s wonderful!

      • Erica Ifill

        Unfortunately, we raise girls to be independent, but we don’t raise boys to accept that. We can’t raise more powerful girls without raising boys who respect and admire that.

        • Vita

          Exactly, Erica! Very well said. I posted this article and stated that boys need these messages, too, for that very reason.

          • sandra martin

            Yes. I was not raised that way. I had to raise myself that way as I saw that I did not want to be “one of the girls” as girls were seen and accepted at the time. My folks did not know any better. My mother wanted to be that kind of woman and worked at it, on her own, without much support, and was able to be more independent and powerful at times, but was often a victim of the society that would not let her do that for very long. Very few males at the time I was growing up could see a woman as powerful and independent, and most were uncomfortable with it.

          • Ed


        • Anna

          This is so accurate, I totally agree with this.

        • disqus_I0CeT3xu6g

          Absolutely right, Erica. Boys must also learn to LISTEN when a girl/woman/gf/wife speaks.

      • Laura Puryear

        I have often been called powerful, and have a great deal of confidence and, certainly, independence. I was raised by a strong, intelligent woman and a supportive man, too. Lucky me. But I try to not be one of those obnoxious women who, because I know and act on what’s best for me, bowl over others, telling them what would be best for them. I don’t think other women are ‘needy” or “submissive.” I think everyone has beautifully diverse personalities and ways of viewing and living in the world. And – I don’t think that people who don’t fit this construction of “powerful girl” are any less powerful and effective in the world. How can we raise our daughters to be confident, effective, and joyful without being overbearing or rude to others that they don’t see as “powerful?” That is my question.

        • McKenzie

          I’ve never been accused of being obnoxious, overbearing or rude and I’m not sure what I said to called so… I have close friends who tell me they feel they’ve been raised to be “submissive and needy” because of their communities’ and families’ values (which I won’t go into here…) and that the men they’ve been with take advantage of that. I’m sorry if that upsets you. I agree that everyone has value, but I would love to see a world where men place equal value in women with confidence and unapologetic opinions.

          • sandra martin

            That is always difficult for men, because males are raised to be competitive. Until recently they did not have to compete with women. Now they do, and they have a way of dealing with each other, that does not translate well in dealing with women. Women are a threat in many ways now, and still the basic acceptable image presented men is that they must be in charge, must be the “winner”, that most of life is a contest, a challenge to be overcome. They do not have permission to be confident and powerful in the way women can. They are often raised to be aggressive and take charge types, that still tends to be what is rewarded most by society.

        • Megan Lane

          Being powerful and abusing your power, are two different things.

      • Anna

        So glad I’m not alone haha!

      • Brother Love

        I find it odd that you equate independence with power, the terms are not really synonymous. Power and strength are synonymous, great strength can come from unity, even greater strength flows from sacrifice. Parents that raise their daughters with the strength of unity and sacrifice are rewarded with young women who have the emotional stability of granite.

    • Bippity Boppity Boo

      Being “powerful” is not easy. Having anything that is worthwhile or desirable is not easy. It evokes feelings in others that they sometimes don’t know how to process and so you get a lot of aberrant behavior.

      The thing to remember is that this is you. This is who you are. And being capable, poised, and strong are never bad things. It is better to be excluded because of that then be included because someone can abuse you.

      • Anna

        So true!

    • Barbara

      Honey..I’m 66 and have spent my LIFE fighting this garbage.I was given a job once to be the behind the scenes person because the MAN they hired..couldn’t DO the job..but they felt it wouldn’t “look” good to fire him and give the job to a woman…so I was essentially his “puppet master” making 1/2 the money and doing ALL of his job.Oddly..after 5 ys..he SUDDENLY decided he knew HOW to do the job..he had NEVER done..and fired me.No help was forthcoming from the people who determined I was needed in the first place and lo and behold..6 months after this asshat fired me..he was fired..because he never had learned HOW to do the job despite being there for 5+ years..and THEN…they offered me HIS job….which I turned down because by then I had recognized that the ONLY way for a woman to be paid properly and not to have to fight the idiocy was to OWN the company…which I did..happily….for the next 35 ys.

      • Anna

        This story makes me feel equally disheartened and hopefull if that contradiction is even really possible.

    • John Smith

      Do you mean “strong” or “crazy-psycho-bitch from Hell”? There’s a difference. If you’re having difficulty getting along with others (“Powerful women are not welcome everywhere and a lot of men don’t know how to interact with powerful women.”) it’s a safe bet you’re the latter.

      • april24

        John Smith, thank you for providing the example of exactly what the others have been commenting about! You’re exactly right on with your comment, demonstrating the conditioned and fearful response that comes from men when a woman is engaging in a discussion, expressing her thoughts and feelings on the subject at hand. You’ve perfectly captured what she encounters by those who can’t handle her being confident, and not afraid to add her voice to the discussion. You really helped, thank you!! #LOngLivetheCrazyPsychoBitchesfromHell

      • Anna

        No I’ve never found it difficult to get along with others, male or female. I have healthy relationships with every family member, friend and work colleague in my life.

        I’m simply saying its difficult to move through this world when you’re seen as a ‘powerful’ woman.

      • Barbara

        I’m 66 and have been working since I was 16.I all those years I have NEVER raised my voice or succumbed to having any kind of tantrum….even when the person I’m talking to IS having a melt down.I speak softly and logically and yet…I am STILL called a “crazy bixtxx”when I have the nerve to state something which is RIGHT.What REALLY “amuses” me is when they disparage me and then turn around and do exactly what I suggested..without giving an inkling of a “thank you” or “great idea” in my direction.It is as if we don’t exist UNLESS you ARE a loud obnoxious wench and THEN you will get credit you DON”T deserve simply because they want you QUIET.It is mind boggling to me that this has gone on for so MANY years.We were even tossed to the side when the gov’t decided we NEEDED to hire more blacks..skilled or not through the 70’s and 80’s and I found my DEGREE in assessment administration counted for nothing compared to a black woman who could not multiply and was never able to learn the job?Why were white women ALWAYS the ones who HAD to be last in the line…after EVERY man..every minority man or woman?

        • sandra martin

          Thank you Barbara. At 68 I have had many of the same experiences.

    • Cyril Peter Molony

      Anna just be yourself, your question powerful people male or female may not be welcome, may be listen more, compliment people for their effort, also google mindset Dr Carol Dweck

      • Anna

        I don’t think you really understand what I’m saying.

    • Hannah

      As someone who gets labeled as “needy” and “submissive,” I disagree with you. Men tend to gravitate towards confidence, but they also tend to gravitate towards confidence in femininity, not just any type of confidence. And femininity isn’t necessarily submissive, but it is highly affected by whatever culture says it should be.

      I’m constantly told to have more confidence and “you’re so passive.” Though of course, you know, the moment I do stand up for myself, people ask me why I’m picking a fight. So much for being assertive…

      It’s great that you’re powerful, and I wish I was more powerful. Mostly though, I don’t give a rat’s butt about confidence. I think it’s an overblown phenomenon that people like to throw in my face because I’m not the same as them. “You just need more confidence,” they say. Um, no. I need you to be more respectful of my style and realize I’m not a copy of you is what I’d really like to tell the entire world, but then they’ll just yell at me for being needy and not being strong enough to take care of the problem myself. They view my confidence as the problem, but I view their perspective as the problem.

      The point is I agree with Laura. What some people view as “needy” and “submissive” isn’t necessarily needy. After all, we’re only as needy as our unmet needs. And if men really do gravitate towards “needy” women, it might be because they want to fulfill someone’s needs and feel useful. They might just want to fulfill the narrative of being a knight on a white horse, which we should probably dismantle and discuss with children if we want things to change.

      • Anna

        Low confidence is often related to low self esteem which is why most people try to help people who do have low confidence.

        Being passive and not having a lot of confidence are also not the same thing at all. Passive people seem to actively chose not to voice their opinions, people with no confidence CAN’T voice their opinions. There’s a huge difference.

        Its hard for me to see where you’re coming from but I understand what you’re saying about people’s perceptions of other people’s confidence levels. Its hard because I can imagine its incredibly frustrating to be told to ‘have more confidence’ all the time but you must recongise that people are generally coming from a good place and are most likely just concerned about your self esteem.

    • Wayne

      If he isn’t confident in himself, and is afraid of an intelligent, self-secure and confident woman, he isn’t good enough for you any way! My wife is a strong woman, and I love her all the more for her strength. Also, intelligence is sexy, and it is a shame that so many men need a weak woman that they can control. Why make yourself lesser just because a man can’t handle a confident woman?

      • Anna

        I don’t make myself lesser for anyone, especially a man that cannot handle my strength. I’m not talking about one specific man I’m just saying throughout my life and in all of my experiences men tend to be intimitated by my strength and intelligence and I’m tired of feeling like I have to apologise for it. I never do apologise but I’m just tired of being made to feel like that and I guess a lot of that blame goes to society and how we are still raising girls and boys.

        I love that you love strong women but its very easy for you to say what you’re saying because you are a man and your male privilege will never allow you to fully understand what its like to be a women in this world.

      • sandra martin

        I wonder how many under 68 are aware of how we were told to not be too smart and to play dumb as young girls, so the boys would like us, to focus on how we looked to attract a mate. The natural reaction of many of us was “Whaaaaat?” but our society saw us that way too. It is about changing the view of men and women both, so when they raise kids of both sexes they can convey this positive message. My folks did not know how, and society pretty much ignored the importance of raising strong, powerful, confident, intelligent qualities in all their children.

      • MB

        Why throw men under the bus with so many generalizations? It is a two-way street.

        I have a young boy who is a kind and intelligent young man. But feel I need to rough him up to deal with all these “powerful, assertive” women. It is a few years off, but the research I have been doing in regards to how young men and women can interact scares the hell out of me on college campuses. These “strong and powerful” women can allege anything against a male they wish with no due process for the male.

        And on the flip side, I felt like a dated many women while I was in college/medical school who dated me for the $$ (even though I know now that is a farce). Very few dated me for being a gentleman. It works both ways.

        Unsure what the answer is, but until we, as a society, are willing to raise both sexes to respect each other, there will always be issues.

    • Daddio’s

      I married one of you and the “power” self-assuredness and take no jive (from me, like others did) partially why I kept her around. But now, as my wife of 11 years, two kids later, that very same “take-no-jive” attitude is driving me nuts. But it part of the package and has helped my daughter become the confident, we’ll-rounded beautiful young lady she becomming

    • Vi White

      I’ve just read all of your responses and honestly you just made the comments section worth reading. I’m 38 and have experienced what you’re describing above for most of my life. It’s been really really hard at times, especially when people/family/friends just turn away because I don’t and won’t ever fit their “feminine” ideals. But it’s my life–And that’s what will make it worth it, for you as well. People get freaked out by intelligence and complexity, so what I’ve done is further develop my intelligence, dry humor (it comes in so handy), and my communication skills. While it’s not been easy, I also know that those places where powerful women are not welcome are not places I want to be. Keep doing what you do–Your voice here shows that you’re doing really really well. (Also Tina Belcher FTW).

      • Anna

        Oh my gosh this is such a lovely comment. Thank-you for sharing all of that with me, it’s made me feel a lot more hopeful.

        And I can never have enough love for Tina haha!

    • fe koons

      That is only patriarchy of men who cannot deal with powerful women. Now is the time for women to be empowered. So many fields are dominated by men. You should never doubt your power as a woman.

    • Anonymom

      So true. I have unfortunately learned that the hard way. I would not consider myself powerful when I was young, but I was definitely independent. And the other kids let me know I didn’t “fit in.” I was unsure of who I was most my life, but have only recently, since becoming a mother, decided to take control of my life. And it hit me in the head pretty hard when I stood up to someone I thought loved and cared about me. But now, I see me for who I truly am, and see others more clearly too. It’s unfortunate boys are not raised to be more accepting; I feel this article could be geared towards them as well. I am a mother of a boy and a girl, and I raise them both the same and do not treat them differently. I don’t expect either to be more this or that. I also encourage them daily to play together (and they do with abandon- whether it be dress up in dresses or rough and tumble outdoor activities), question the world and think about why people may treat them certain ways. My son was bullied for having a rainbow backpack (he’s got a girl’s backpack! They said). But I refuse to let my kids believe anything is for girls or boys only- it’s all an illusion. And they already see that, and are more confident in everything they do. It isn’t easy for either of them sometimes, but they already know (at 2 and 6 years old!) that others won’t always be accepting of them- and they can only accept that, and move on, without letting it get to them. It truly amazes me to watch them grow into confident little people. I wish my parents had been more aware of the influences in my life when I was young and how it would effect me for decades. But I don’t hold it against them either, they did the best they could with what they knew. I am just appreciative of how they still support me, and are encouraging me every day as I take on parenthood.

    • Karyn Crouthamel

      Patience is all. I moved across the county right out of school. KNew no one, I knew I wanted to live there. Took a couple years to figure out my niche. Had many “groups” not understand my- I say what I say and I am not caught up with how i look….. and its frustrating, but you will find your circle including the men :) Now at almost 40, I have new ventures for my kids where i do not hear no you can’t- I just do…. so the road may seem lonely at times, but do your passions and the people will fall into your life who count.

  • REOCON smith

    As long as the white males are ignord and punished that’s all that matters

  • GlenW

    That does it. I’m getting rid of our TV.

    • Mary Goodson

      AND any magazine subscriptions that target girls/women. They’re usually full of sexist advertising.

      • april24

        Except American Girl magazine. That’s a good one for girls :)

  • Guidosmom

    Here’s what my powerful daughter does when not heading international projects in 3rd world countries: and

  • Shelley Beilinc

    I am a day camp leader/day car worker at my work and youth leader at my church. This article was well written. I was well informed. I am looking into these books that were mentioned. I was not awarw the PBS had this inforational page. I will continue to read other articles u have. Since I deal with boys and girls this information will definitely comw in handy. How do I recieve a new letter or more information about this web site. TY PBS u have started a way for me to communicate with all my youth in my everyday living. Since I do nit have children of my own. But I love every one of them as if they were my very own. To contcat me please email me at

  • Mary Goodson

    My Powerful Daughter just finished school as the FIRST WOMAN to successfully complete the Electrical Distribution Engineering program at our local college. I couldn’t be prouder if I tried. :)

  • ziggypop

    I wish they had spoken to my dad before he died at the ripe old age of 98 last fall. He had 10 daughters, (two sons) and I must say he and my mom raised 10 very powerful women.

    My parents were very average people who raised us extraordinarily. They gave us incredible tools to be happy and successful. We were raised to be conscientious, compassionate, generous, hard working, fun loving, and humorous. 11 of the 12 have college degrees and some with post graduate degrees. Education was paramount and sports were good for us.

    We were told we are no better than anyone else, regardless of race, color or creed. That it was our duty to be good citizens and to vote.

    We were well loved. We hit the parent jackpot!!!

  • Mike Garrett

    A friend of mine recommended this column to me, as I’m raising a daughter a single dad. Some things in the column were reaffirming and others were a new lesson and perspective. My desire has always been to raise a strong woman for these very specific reasons: 1. To accept authority but to constructively question it when necessary which, is why I always tell her exactly why I’m instructing her to do something. 2. To challenge her fears and was stated in this column and 3. Make herself available to the right kind of guy. I personally prefer independent women because though, I love raising my child, I have no desire to raise an adult and so, I want her to be someone a man respects and that only starts by her respecting herself.

  • Lisa Vader Ezeamii

    I think we’re all overlooking the most obvious and important way: BE A POWERFUL WOMAN. Children learn more from modeling than by any other method. We must show them what it looks like to live empowered, courageous lives.

  • Marti Smarticat Butcher

    Part of being a powerful woman (if you were fortunate enough to be raised as a powrrful girl) is to realize that those men who can’t interact with you are not meant to be with you. Why lament over people who can’t “handle” you? Are you a powerful woman or just looking for a man? I don’t understand the mentality of “Powerful women are not welcome everywhere”. Guess what? Pleasant people are welcome everywhere. And it is possible to be powerful and pleasant. Maybe check that powerful attitude. I raised a powerful girl into a powrrful woman and people love her everywhere she goes. She is a genuinely nice person and still powerful.

    • Anna

      Except that powerful women SHOULD be welcome everywhere because powerful men ARE welcome everywhere.

      • sandra martin

        You are right about that.

  • Sticker Jim

    As a husband of a powerful, amazing woman, and the proud father of two powerful, independent daughters, it’s isn’t about “how to” make/let them be powerful, it’s about how not to make them not powerful. Scared, weak, lazy/stupid parents usually produce the same kinds of kids.

    As far as a man’s point of view on dealing with/being around powerful women, most guys do not have a problem with powerful, confident, intelligent women. What guys DO have a problem with is women who take those positive attributes and couple that with the man-hating mentality who try to push that like it somehow validates their existence. Most men, North American men, have no problem with powerful women and any men that do, then that’s your signal to step on. Either find someone without issues or wait til they grow up.

    For any women that can’t “pull it back” or “turn it off”, you obviously have more to learn/develope then. Men can and do “pull it back” daily, unless learning some moderation gives you ego issues (and there are plenty of men with that too). Not being the alpha in every situation doesn’t mean you are somehow “diminished”, it just means you’re paying attention and can adapt to whatever situation you encounter. There is no default response to everything, and that can often as not mean you play the follower when necessary, instead of the leader – just like men do. Rah rah pro-woman man-haters are no more informed or liberated or powerful than the same kind of male.

    Males don’t need to be “taught” that women “can be” powerful, they need to be taught that woman are NOT some weaker class. There’s a big difference. While there is much more media about supposed “education”, there are as many racists, homophobes and misogynists as there’s always been – maybe even more, especially in the US. The first place a boy can learn about a strong female is how his father treats his mother, AND by the example his mother portrays.

  • Matt

    I feel like I got this message right at the correct time. My wife is expecting a boy and I want to teach him what type of person he should cherish and this is it

  • Emma Smith

    This is a great article, but I’m a little perturbed by the fact that it solely focuses on females. We need to raise powerful, self-confident, and independent children- not just one gender or the other. Yes, I understand that stereotypes portray the female gender as being more meek and less sure; however, gender biases will continue as long as articles like this one, although with a positive intent, distinguish a difference in how children should be raised.

  • Jayneen Sanders

    Love this article! has a mother of three powerful girls, i couldn’t agree more!

  • Nath Kell

    with power comes responsibility, being a powerful person you must use your confidence and power with a wisdom and subtlety. Many powerful people take the approach of ‘this is me, my opinions and responses, if you don’t like it, lump it’ But this is a counterproductive world view, and suggests you may not be as confident and powerful as you perhaps thought. Before you put yourself forward with full force in a conversation or relationship/friendship i would question why and who benefits, in most cases people with this view of ‘I’m a powerful woman/man so like it or lump it’ do not speak or act to actual help others or the group reach a greater understanding or value, it can often be to achieve validation for themselves. This approach to power seems often forgiven in women perhaps because it is indicating progress and/or better than the old alternative, which was powerless women. But if you truly want to take your role as modern day powerful, confident people, you must think in every way every day how does my power help others. You must own your power with self sufficient and caring calm and grace, your power must make you a rock for the people around you, not a pushy wind battering at

  • Doing Good Together

    Great post and a great discussion below. It benefits society as a whole to teach both genders how to be empathetic toward others with a focus on kindness to all, including oneself.

  • jack

    tell them to not poke their tongue’s out to the neighbours

  • Maureen Fitzgerald

    I am always interested in self help for girls but the real conversation begins when we decide to change our make based culture that hold our daughters back…sexism, sterotyoes and sexualisatiin to start with…I am writing on this now.

  • Maureen Fitzgerald

    Male based…oooops

  • Momof2

    Yes, great article and posts. However, today’s society takes its toll on our sweet children between Hollywood, TV, and the negative rapid response of social media! We can do all of the above, and like bowling pins in a bowling alley, our once thought to be grounded secure girls fall for a toxic broken young man…they get knocked down. Well, open a window and toss everything to the wind you believed you had prepared her to be strong and powerful.

    No, I’m not bitter, because it has happen to our 17 year old. Just sad because even statistics say, our children between 14-24 1 out of 3 girls fall for their first love, a predator who chews them up and spits all of what you taught them. Also note; same age for young men – 1 out of 4 boys falls for the female version of predator.

    Best advise is in this article, but please also see the smallest of red flags when they begin to date and become influenced by a boyfriend!

    A friend once said, to say all you need to a teen… Before they are a teen. After that point, they will listen again somewhere in their twenties when the front lobes are their brains are fully developed!

  • Sid Paul

    Nobody mentions pro-sports superstars. Danica Patrick is doing great. Etc…

  • MaryAnn Gilbert McNeely

    The Suffragettes were the first powerful girls, and they were treated like criminals. In the whole scheme of things, it hasn’t been that long…our society is male dominated. And thank goodness it is slowly but surely changing. So keep on keeping on!

  • Doing Good Together

    Thanks for sharing these great tips for raising girls! And yes, let’s raise children in a way that ensures both women and men can be both strong and sensitive, powerful and big-hearted.

  • Pat Welch

    Unfortunately, we raise girls to be independent, but we don’t raise boys to accept that. We can’t raise more powerful girls without raising boys who respect and admire that. Good comment, but I having been raised powerful have attracted “needy” men/boys. I raised a powerful girl, but sometimes I thinks she ramrods!

  • Solange Schipani

    This is a phenomenal article with relevant, actionable advice for parents. Thank you from a mother of two young girls!

  • Arlene Garcia

    As a women, educator, and mother, I couldn’t agree more. Raising a powerful girl is essential to her overall well-being. I am sharing my inspirational children’s book with you. In light of what you do with young people, I hope you will find it useful.

    Oh What Will You Do is an empowering book for young girls. It describes in rhyming prose and with lovely illustration the countless career options available to young girls. As you read this book to your daughter, you are subconsciously helping her choose her career path and imparting the love of reading.

    I know this very well as my parents stressed the importance of education and reading from very early. I can recall days my parents read nighttime books to me to the days I read until my mother told me it was time to go to sleep. While pregnant with my daughter, Aria, I thought of the many ways she will impact this world and wrote this book.

    I am a strong believer in speaking things into existence. If there is a will, there is a way. The power of spoken word has helped guide me throughout my life. From a young child born with pneumonia who had a slim chance of survival to an autoimmune illness in adulthood, I’ve always had a fighting spirit. Desire, dedication and determination are at my core. Today the I am an educator and humanitarian who inspires young people to reach their potential on a daily basis.

    Oh What Will You Do can help your daughter find her way in this world. It will help her explore countless career options and motivate her to impact this world positively. The mind is powerful: train and cultivate it to do whatever the heart desires. For book access: (available in sidebar).

  • Brother Love

    This will likely not be popular but a strong Father in a household may be the single biggest contributor to raising a powerful female. A strong Father brings most of these attributes to a daughter naturally plus more and will strive to raise a powerful woman rather than a girl because the goal is to raise an adult not a child. I understand that not every girl has access to this, so if the father is weak the mother should lift her husband as best she can or if she is alone in raising a daughter she should make finding a strong man to marry so she can offer her daughter this leg up. I’m not saying it is the only way just the most proven.

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