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Girl Power: 10 rules for raising successful daughters

They might say it's a man's world, but girls can be bright and brilliant too!


Posted: 22 February 2011
by Catherine O'Dolan

Psychologist Sylvia Rimm conducted a survey of 1,000 women who had achieved success in their careers and happiness in their personal lives to find out what they have in common. Here are her guidelines for raising happy, succesful daughters:

1. Set high educational expectations for your daughters Expect them to complete college and beyond, whether or not you did. Discuss careers with them, and teach them that educational attainment is of the hightest priority.

2. Help them cope with pressure Don't be too quick to back off if your daughters have to cope with some pressure; it's all part of learning resilience. However, too much pressure can cause serious problems. Don't set unrealistically high expectations.

3. Be smart (but not necessarily the smartest) Help your daughters understand that they don't need to be the smartest to feel smart, but assure them that you believe they are intelligent.

4. View your daughters are intelligent, good thinkers, and problem solvers Value work. A work ethic and a love of accomplishment underlie motivation.

5. Encourage maths and science skills Counting, measuring, and experimenting can begin from the toddler years. The future will offer your daughters more opportunities if they are comfortable with maths. Encourage girls to play with toys that develop spatial awareness, such as puzzles and blocks. Reading is a high priority too - encourage girls to read about successful women.

6. Encourage extracurricular activities Extend your childs horizons w ith music, drama, dance, sports. Learning to manage busy schedules teaches them organizational and planning skills, but make sure they have some quiet time too.

7. Allow your daughter to be competitive Girls sometimes avoid competitive activities unless they are certain they'll be winners). Winning builds confidence; losing builds character. If girls are to be successful and take risks in a competitive society, they will have to experience both winning and losing.

8. Travel with your family Try to include special twosome trips (mother/daughter, father/daughter) to encourage closeness and bonding. Although family travel arrangements can often be difficult, children don't seem to remember the hassles – only the fun, learning, adventure and independence.

9. Give leadership opportunities Share out the responsibilities, regardless of birth order. Don't baby the youngest; be sure middle children also receive individual attention, and don't label children.

10. Teach your daughters to value the three C's: challenge, contribution, and creativity Girls should grow up to expect equivalent remuneration to men in similar positions rather than settling for inequality. Girls should learn to insist on equal treatment.


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Discuss this story

Some good advice here, and some watered down, potentially good advice. My wife and I are trying to raise our daughter to be an intelligent, confident, active woman and, while she's only in year 4 at the moment, the teachers tell us she continually surprises them (positively) in these areas.

As her primary carer, I'd like to offer a few comments on the points of the article, based on our thoughts and experiences.

#1 setting high goals doesn't just involve aiming for university (and may not involve that at all), but rather should start early on by encouraging her to get good marks in school and by continually revising whenever there's a break - make it a game to ask questions (math, english, philosophy,... things that require thought), eventually she'll get used to it and it won't even seem like school work.

#2 in dealing with pressure, a good cop/bad cop approach works well. That is, one parent is quite demanding in their requirements and sets high standards while the other parent then provides more of the support (moral and educational). Generally the primary carer works best as the good cop (me in our family) and the strong career parent works best as the 'bad' cop (my wife). Not only is this a natural arrangement, but it has the effect of providing the child support (emotional and educational) while still encouraging them to reach for the highest standards

#3 I can see the intent of this point, but I disagree. Honesty is the best policy. Certainly, understand what your child is capable of, but don't undersell her abilities and don't give her the easy way out - because any child will take that road if offered. Aim them for the top and above all, don't give false praise - they will grow up with an inflated sense of self-esteem and and unrealistic expectations of what they deserve. False praise and overprotectiveness was the road that got us to the mess that universities are currently in.

#4,5,6 Agree. But realise that such a work ethic and interests come laregely by example. They have to see you pushing the boundaries as well and doing other things (besides going to the pub).

#7 don't just 'allow' them to be competitive, rather, encourage them to be competetive, but fair. Also encourage them to be good winners and good losers - they don't have to like losing, but they need to accept that sometimes they will be beaten and to try harder next time.

#8 Agree. Travel and quiet sharing or discussion time in general with a combination of parents is a positive thing.

#9 Agree. Very important to gradually increase their responsibilities in the family. A sense of responsibility is one of the things that is often missed with kids growing up. They know their rights, but not their responsibilities.

#10 Agree...I think. We're very clear with our daughter that she should expect to work hard to achieve what she wants and she should not expect things or job positions just because she's female.

Posted: 14/09/2016 at 10:00

Being a girl I was always dependent on others because I happy to be under confidence at everything I do. I am really depressed because I hired a writer to do my paper and now I am thinking that how can someone write my dissertation as I am supposed to do it.

Posted: 14/02/2017 at 18:58

Very inspiring for girls. I think there's a trend happening in terms of realizing that female education still has a lot of pre-dispositioned prejudices that are subconscious and hinder the education of girls in general. But people are starting to realize that the bias exists and are actively looking for ways to resolve that. As you can see by this, https://www.studypug.com/blog/girls-and-math/ even math and science, the traditional bastions of male-dominated industries are starting to get more girl involvement.
We should all be working together to get girls the fair education and opportunity that they deserve!

Posted: 27/05/2017 at 22:53

Very inspiring for girls. I think there's a trend happening in terms of realizing that female education still has a lot of pre-dispositioned prejudices that are subconscious and hinder the education of girls in general. But people are starting to realize that the bias exists and are actively looking for ways to resolve that. As you can see by this, https://www.studypug.com/blog/girls-and-math/ even math and science, the traditional bastions of male-dominated industries are starting to get more girl involvement.
We should all be working together to get girls the fair education and opportunity that they deserve!

Posted: 27/05/2017 at 23:01

Very inspiring for girls. I think there's a trend happening in terms of realizing that female education still has a lot of pre-dispositioned prejudices that are subconscious and hinder the education of girls in general. But people are starting to realize that the bias exists and are actively looking for ways to resolve that. As you can see by this,girls in math even math and science, the traditional bastions of male-dominated industries are starting to get more girl involvement.
We should all be working together to get girls the fair education and opportunity that they deserve!

Posted: 30/05/2017 at 05:49

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