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"My Daughter Is Too . . ." 4 Girls that Worry Us the Most
by Dr. Tim Jordan

Sleeping Beauties

In this age of early sexualization, lookism, perfectionism, and materialism, it's easy to worry about how our daughters can stand up to all the unhealthy messages and conditioning rampant in the culture. There are four types of girls that seem to cause us to lay awake at night the most, so let's meet them and see if we can reframe how we look at them.

  1. My daughter is so sweet, naive, and innocent that I am afraid she will be eaten alive in middle school and beyond. I want all girls to have the freedom to grow up at their own pace, and not be pushed beyond where they are comfortable. Late bloomers will blossom in their own way and in their own time if we can stay out of their way. It helps if they can find friends who are where they are at developmentally and who share the same interests. It's okay for a grade school girl to still play with her dolls.

  2. My daughter is shy and I am afraid she won't speak up and stand up for herself. Girls find their voices at different times as well, and you can practice at home by giving her lots of opportunities to speak her mind, offer her opinions, and set boundaries. Parents who were shy growing up and had bad experiences because of it have the hardest time accepting this temperament in their offspring. Acknowledge her when she does speak up, don't push her beyond where she is ready, and accept her for who she is. She will find her voice, although it may take going through times where she suffers because she lacks the courage to speak her truth. That may become the motivation she needs to stretch out of her comfort zone and express herself more fully.

  3. My daughter is bossy, and I'm afraid she won't have any friends if she doesn't change. Most of the dominant girls I meet are powerful creatures who have rough edges when it comes to exerting their authority. They have to learn how to be a strong leader without blowing people away.

    We need to find opportunities for them to channel their power in appropriate ways, to also focus on making other people successful, while at the same time not feeling like they can't speak and lead with authority. Many women in influential positions have shared with me that they were like this when they were kids. These girls need guidance and support to find a good balance.

  4. My daughter is obsessed with being popular and getting into the popular group at school. Girls are hardwired to connect, to be part of groups, and to avoid conflict and maintain social harmony. And they have absorbed the message from TV shows, movies, books, and magazines that fitting in is their most important social task. Schools need to step up and guide girls to create more safe, close learning communities. Girls would care less about popularity if their class was more united and clique-free. They need to become aware of the costs to them and their class when so much energy is placed on fitting in vs. the benefits of being authentic, kind to all, and collaborative. Have your daughter make a list of the qualities she most values in a best friend, and then have her look at all the girls in her class and see who best matches the list. Those are the girls she might want to hang with the most.
Tim Jordan

About the Author:
Dr. Tim Jordan is a leading expert on parenting girls from 2 - 20 years of age. He is a Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrician, international speaker, author, media and school consultant. He has studied and worked with girls for over 25 years in his counseling practice, and at his retreats and summer camps. He often speaks about girls and their journey through adolescence, relationship aggression, friendship, cliques and bullying and the best practices for parenting girls. Dr. Tim grew up in a family of eight children. Being a brother to five younger sisters was the start of his caring and interest in helping girls and the issues they face. For more information visit www.drtimjordan.com.

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