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One tough broad

February 16, 2010

I’m intent on helping Lady G to grow up with all the confidence and determination that I can possibly instil in her.  We’ve starting by praising her for trying things, as opposed to being ‘clever’ – based on a Times Online article I read recently that suggests that praise can backfire. “Emphasising effort gives a child a variable they can control. They come to see themselves in control of their success. Emphasising natural intelligence takes it out of a child’s control, and it provides no good recipe for responding to a failure.”

I’m also keen to not let her gender constrain her future.  It’s surprising that already sex of the baby is the first question people ask (often because I tend to dress her in a gender neutral fashion, partly due to a dislike of Barbie pink, and also since we didn’t know what flavour we were having).  Dad Who Writes seems to be noticing this more now his girl is 2, so I guess I have a little time to work through how we’ll handle things.

I think the reason I am conscious about the confidence thing is that G’s going to be little and she’s a girl – two strikes against her when it comes to how the world might perceive her.  For example I took her to baby gym last week, and the instructor kept giving instructions, following them up to me with ‘your little girl may find this hard’, or ‘your baby’s delicate so…’.

This made me furious since she was clearly doing as well if not better than the other kids in the group, and was enjoying herself too.  My mummy tiger roared inside at this, but I suppose I better get used to it, since she will be perceived as weaker at first glance.  I guess the key is to never act like I think this myself, and challenge her to explore her limits in all things.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. katery permalink
    February 17, 2010 5:22 am

    my husband has a 12 year old daughter from a previous relationship, she’s very small for her age and extremely insecure about it, among other things. i think this could have been combated had her mother put her in gymnastics or some other sport where being small is almost a requirement… actually i think it could have been combated if her mom had put her in ANY sort of activity, but she never did. after i married my husband we started her skiing which she enjoys, but i think it’s just a little too little a little too late as far as the self esteem goes, of course we’ll keep trying to build it though.

  2. February 23, 2010 8:45 am

    Cheers for the ping! It’s definitely been irrelevant up to now, and I suspect its only really becoming a real issue (as opposed to one of my many ongoing headgames with myself) because she’s meeting other young girls who are just that little bit older than her. And she’s definitely copying them. One ‘strike’ in her favour, though, is a big brother who gives her no quarter whatsoever.

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