I remember it like it was yesterday. I stood on the playground at Lucy's preschool before she even attended there. She was playing wildly on a tire swing with Jack while I spoke to a teacher and friend. Her little self, as she was no older than two and half maybe, keeping up with kids twice her size.
I was just starting to grasp the idea of her strong personality and starting to venture into new territory of parenting a girl after two boys.
"I don't know Kirsten, sometimes it is as if the entire world revolves around her. The boys adore her, she has this sort of way of being, this magnetism where she calls whatever she wants into being, it kind of worries me actually. Am I going to raise a totally self involved kid here?" I asked.
Kirsten laughed and then said very seriously, "Oh no Patience, build her up, guide her strength but don't worry about that because as a woman the world will challenge her, even try to take her down, you can count on that. "
Ever since that day, I kept that conversation and wisdom in the back of my mind, never letting it go too far from my thoughts as I parent my girl. It was the first thing I thought of as I watched the new PBS documentary A Girl's Life, where Rachel Simmmons, explores all the challenges and opportunities for young girls in our world today. Rachel has spent a decade talking to girls and wrote the New York Times bestsellers Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls, and The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence.
I was kind of scared and inspired at the same while watching the screener. I became informed on how much more my own girls will face in their adolescence and also how much potential and opportunity awaits them. If I am honest, part of me wanted to bury my head in the sand as I have a few years to go before we are there. Yet then I felt so incredibly grateful to have watched as I realized this is the very time we should be talking and considering how we can help our girls be strong and confident individuals.
I find everytime I start to feel overwhelmed by a particular topic as a parent, gaining some knowledge seems to quiet some of my fears and gives me a small toehold for the climb ahead. I can imagine it is the same for our kids.
If you are a parent of a girl (at any age) you will want to see A Girl's Life airing on December 30th at 8pm on your local PBS station. (check local listings) You may even want to watch it with your young pre-teen, teen girl and gather her thoughts on the subject. Also, check out the Raising Girls section here on the site and the new A Girl's Life page for more information.
If you are a parent to a girl, what issues are your girls facing? Does it feel all that different from when you were growing up? Got any thoughts or advice for this mom who will be there before I know it? Please share in the comments.