Growing A Girl

By Tracee Sioux

I highly recommend Growing a Girl: Seven Strategies for Raising a Strong, Spirited Daughter, as one of the best books out there for empowering girls.

First, isn’t the title just delightful? I am so jealous that I didn’t come up with it myself.

It’s such a great book I lent it to my friend and she didn’t want to give it back. I ordered another one.

The very best time to read this book is when you are pregnant with a daughter. By the time I read it my daughter was already 3 or 4 and I realized I had already done some things I could’ve done differently. Better late than never though.

For instance, I had spent a great deal of time with her working on letters but never any numbers. I also realized that my aversion to math, like frequently calling myself “math retarded,” was going to have negative consequences on her ability to think linearly and be an achiever in the sciences (jobs that pay tons more than the arts).

Other mistakes I wish I wouldn’t have made is letting the Princess obsession go unchecked, even though my gut was telling me to enforce some limits. I was not giving her ready access to blocks and video games that help kids learn spacial skills and to think strategically. After reading the book I asked my mother to give her math puzzles, block and legos – of which, sadly, she had none. For Christmas she got video games to encourage hand-eye coordination. I also sent the next birthday invitation with instructions, “No Princess or Bratz toys please.”

Prior to reading Growing A Girl I had complacently accepted that her grandmothers would genderize her through their gifts. I am no longer so passive about the ongoing gifts of dolls, dress up clothes. After all, they give science projects and tool belts to the boys.

It’s also got some fantastic stuff about complimenting daughter on beauty versus brains and where we put their value.

Another fantastic aspect of this book is that my daughter really enjoys the focus on her girlness. She begs for me to read to her from it. When I lent it to a friend, Ainsley repeatedly reminded me to ask for it back.

It makes her feel good to know that she’s the girl I’m growing and that I think it’s such an important job that I’m going to read up on it.

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