Tough Girls

How To Talk To Little Girls

Obviously this essay struck home for me. We are not in the business of raising likable damsels in my house. It’s a fun world, but it’s a hard one too. I may be biased, but I think my daughter is genuinely beautiful–enormous brown eyes, naturally slightly tan, blonde curls. But that doesn’t matter. She has to learn how to value herself for all her gifts: her tenacity, her articulateness, her imagination, her caring and tender heart. She also has to value those gifts that won’t always seem like gifts: her temper, her tendency toward individual pursuits (even at the age of two, the fact that she prefers to keep her own company and is not simply shy is too obvious to deny), and when that tenacity turns into plain old bull-headed stubbornness.

This morning as we were listening to music and eating breakfast (today’s choice was Ani Difranco), out of nowhere, Maggie told me “Mama, I am a tough girl!”

Sometimes I get to feel like I’m doing more right than I am wrong. And sometimes I know it for sure.


4 thoughts on “Tough Girls

  1. I too have been thinking about this article and how many times I have said this to a child (boys too, though likely not as detrimental…at least at first glance). Wish I got to mother with you in real life.

    • I honestly don’t think it’s all bad (I can’t imagine refraining from commenting positively on a kid’s self-picked outfit, for example) but I did think quite a bit about how often I say things like “Time to put on a pretty dress!” or “Let’s put your hair into these lovely bows!” (as if she allowed me to do that with any frequency). But I agree, it would be lovely to have another mother-of-a-daughter around!

  2. Just keep doing what you’re doing and trust your instincts. That was a very good article and an eye-opener for me. I think Maggie will have a good balance, though. She loves the flashy stuff, but her intelligence is what really shines through.

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