Image Problems for Girls Introduced At A Very Young Age (Great YouTube Video At The End)

Another factoid from the Girls Leadership Institute: Girls are exposed to hundreds of images a day suggesting what they should look like.  These images are impossible to filter out, and girls are inundated by them from every form of media out there (TV, magazines, commercials, toy stores, etc.).

Here are some disturbing examples, and then a list of some tom-boy and girl power movies/shows to watch together to remind girls they don’t have to look perfect or, worse, like a bimbo…

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Now, for some good wholesome suggestions for your girl to remind her that she doesn’t have to be: really skinny, show lots of leg, have lips the size of balloons, wear lots of make up, and have a “come-hither” expression on her face at all times.

  1. Bad News Bears: Jodie Foster kicks butt.
  2. Harry Potter Books & Movies: Hermoine Granger shows girls can be smart and non-conforming to beauty stereotypes.
  3. Malala: MalalaYousafzai’s story is inspirational and focused on the inner person.
  4. Hunger Games: Books more than movies, because Katniss comes off more as a tomboy in the books.

And, check out this incredible video from a would-be beauty queen who choses to be her natural, pretty self.

America the Sexy: A look at beauty standards

 

 

 

Doll-faced girls teetering in 8-inch wedges; watch out!!

After attending a couple of  high school graduations this Spring, I’ve now had time to reflect on the popular style sported by many girls.  And, I have to ask the question – what were their parents thinking?

I’m sure we all remember the crushing angst of high school and the burning desire to ‘fit in.’  Fashions change over the year.  Girls will always want to wear an obscene amount of make-up.  I saw girls with enough mascara to even make Ozzy Osbourne feel out-done.

But, the most alarming fashion item this year, aside from the preponderance of skin tight dresses barely covering little bottoms, were the ‘platform wedges.’

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These things don’t look like they were designed for walking.  I was on the edge of my seat as I watched girls precariously strutting up to the podium to receive their diplomas.  An apt analogy would be watching NASCAR – you don’t want to see a horrible wreck, but it seems as if one is always on the verge of happening.

So it goes for the teenager with little to no practice walking in high heels.  Yet, it seemed some girls were really trying to out-do each other with the height of their wedges.  I was reminded of the band KISS strutting out in crazy platform boots from outer space.

As parents, we just want our kids to be happy.  We want them to fit in.  Maybe, by the time they’re ready to graduate from high school, we’re just sick and tired of trying to talk sense into them.  Of course, falling flat on your face during a graduation ceremony would be much more traumatic than wearing flats to your graduation and after-parties.

Yes, as I guy, I had it easy – and still do.  Dress shoes with a blazer and khakis is the perennial favorite (thank goodness!).  But, I have a daughter.  As such, I have a vested interest in spotting fashion trends.

However, there were plenty of confident, self-assured and height-challenged girls wearing flats or something with heels 2 inches or less.  They looked lovely – in many ways much more so than the girls trying to be fashionable.  It gave me hope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Going deep here…Book recommendation

Obviously, we have a lot of influence on our kids.  Man, I’ve acted like a jerk sometimes.  But, consistently acting as a functional role model is all that matters…

A boy observes how his dad resolves conflicts, cooperates, and works as a partner in marriage and family, in the community, and at work.  In all arenas of his life, a father’s actions speak more loudly than his words, and a boy is listening carefully to both.  If a father can be emotionally honest, candid, thoughtful, and flexible in his responses, then a son’s respect will follow.  A man who idealizes his strengths and accomplishments distances himself from the reality his son inhabits – a world of more varied emotions and experience.

Ok, a bit long-winded.  But, I really like the message.

raising cain2

 

Tell your kids to get ‘pumped,’ not ‘stumped.’ Why some kids flip out while others can handle stress…

Some useful take-aways from a really longgg article in the New York Times titled “Why Can Some Kids Handle Pressure While Others Fall Apart?” If you want to read the whole thing: NYT article on kid stress

How ‘elite’ athletes view stress/pressure: “There are many psychological and physiological reasons that long-term stress is harmful, but the science of elite performance has drawn a different conclusion about short-term stress. Studies that compare professionals with amateur competitors — whether concert pianists, male rugby or female volleyball players — show that professionals feel just as much anxiety as amateurs. The difference is in how they interpret their anxiety. The amateurs view it as detrimental, while the professionals tend to view stress as energizing. It gets them to focus.”

Also, about 65% of students who were told anxiety/stress would actually make them perform better on the test did better than those who hadn’t been introduced to this notion. This reinforces the idea that how stress is viewed (positively or negatively) is key to performance.

The doctor conducting this studying is quoted as saying, “When people say, ‘I’m stressed out,’ it means, ‘I’m not doing well.’ It doesn’t mean, ‘I’m excited.”

Tell your kids to get ‘pumped,’ not ‘stumped.’

 

Shame: coping with the emotional roller coaster ride that can be high school

This blog was inspired by this week’s New York Magazine cover article, “High School is a Sadistic Institution” (January 28, 2013).”

Shame is an all-too familiar by-product of the high school experience. The self-conscious emotions of guilt, embarrassment, and insecurity can transcend the high school experience and stay with a person throughout their life.

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Unfortunately, our minds in high school contain the most vivid and longest-lasting memories, according to Brené Brown, PhD, and a professor of research at University of Houston. Says Brown, “…And this incredibly painful feeling that you’re not lovable or worthy of belonging? You’re navigating that feeling every day in high school.”

So, how does a parent help their child navigate the high school experience? If your child is encountering rejection, torment at the hands of a bully, or difficulty making friends, it is important to remind them you suffered through the same experiences and survived.

Empathy and listening skills are your key tools to help your child during this chapter of their life.

Be careful to keep your own feelings under control. In the article, Brown remarks how many parents of teenagers experience “secondary trauma.” According to Brown, a child’s experience with rejection can evoke familiar and painful memories for a parent.

You’re kids might just end up being way cooler than you ever were in high school…

nerd is cool

 

 

Is “Mr. Mom” dead?

I think not. There are two distinctly different breeds of “at-home dads,” in my opinion. No doubt, there is an increasing trend of young couples with very young children making the decision to have dad take the role of the at-home caregiver. Mom is the one hunkering down in the workplace to generate the family’s income.

But, within this group exists a subset of unemployed investment bankers, lawyers, and businessmen who have little to no experience running the household. I would not call this subset inept or bumbling. However, the enthusiasm of a new parent combined with the conscious decision to stay at home and raise the kids can make all the difference.

These dads want to stay home – which is awesome.

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(NYC Dads meet-up)

This group of men really dislike the moniker “Mr. Mom” and the term ‘stay-at-home dad’ or ‘SAHD.’ Personally, I don’t think at-home dads should be overly sensitive to the “Mr. Mom” moniker. As I’ve said before, from time on-end, mothers have performed the role of primary caregiver quite admirably. The image invoked by Michael Keaton’s character in the movie “Mr. Mom” is fading, replaced by the presence of truly engaged and competent at-home dads (see my link to the National At Home Dad Network). At-home dads are now organized and increasingly confident in their chosen role.

My recent link to the WSJ article “Mr. Mom is Dead” does not address the swelling ranks of recently unemployed, middle-aged men with older kids (tweens and teens). It is this segment of ‘at-home dads’ that have a lower comfort-level and enthusiasm in their new-found role of caregiver and household ‘manager.’

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“Mr. Mom” is not dead, just evolving…

 

 

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