Q&A With “Powered By Girl” author Lyn Mikel Brown

powered-by-girl“Powered By Girl” is part critical commentary on a “lean in”, “TEDified” view of girl power and versions of the “exceptional girl” breaking down barriers on her own when in actuality they have benefited from a support system of adults behind them. PBG is also part playbook for working with girls to be activists of their own social movements. Brown writes, “We have to challenge that assumption that women and girls cannot work together – that women are too old and out of touch; that girls are too young and misinformed.”

The book is out today! Order from Amazon here or find your local indie bookstore here.

Q&A with “Powered By Girl” author and girl expert Lyn Mikel Brown.

  1. The Introduction to the book literally had me clapping as I read; you had me by page 5. Your observations and commitment to authentic empowerment of girls is so inspiring. You open the book by deconstructing the phenomenon of the “media generated kick-ass wonder girl” and call out the concepts of “Girl Power commerce” and “leaning in”. How can we encourage other women to think critically about these things, especially when mainstream feminism feels like it has become a shopping spree of “fempowerment” marketing, excusing sexualization as personal agency, and hyperfocus on “exceptional individual” perfectionism? The Disney Princesses and Barbie have both jumped on the girl power train, and while sparkle dinosaur t-shirts for girls at giant retailers pass for apparel equality I cannot stop thinking about what a crazy trip this is becoming.

Yes, such a crazy trip!

It sounds so simple, but I think we have to encourage women to really listen to girls. I anchor myself there. They are endlessly interesting, complex, funny, bursting with new ideas and fresh perspectives. Simply being with them, paying attention to their questions, what puzzles them, what they love and care about is a daily reminder that consumer culture misses the important stuff. I think our job is opening up possibilities, and since media is everywhere we pretty much have to use it to our own ends. We can help her identify stereotypes and point out when the world is limiting in some way or when it starts to foreclose on what she loves to do or wants to be. If we question, she will learn to question. This ability to step back and question puts a little thinking and breathing space between her and all those pressures bombarding her to look and be a certain way. In that bit of space she can reflect on what it feels like and think about what she wants to say and do about it.

 

  1. I highlighted so many passages in the book about adults letting go of their ego, truly tuning in and listening to girls’ voices, honoring girls’ expertise on their own experiences, forming genuine relationships built on respect and trust, etc. Why do adults find it difficult to take girls seriously, is it internalized sexism? What are some rookie mistakes adults can expect to make when they are guiding and working with girls?

I think we want to protect girls from all the sexist stuff coming at them and all the potential harm out there, some of which we’ve experienced. We assume we know better than she does what’s coming down the pike. And maybe because things seem so precarious, we think we have to be constantly vigilant and have it all together. For whatever reason, we forget to ask them what they think. This creates a barrier to genuine relationships with girls—genuine relationships involve two people. Girl activists say they love working with women who learn from them and treat them as if they have something important to offer. They describe relationships that are more horizontal, where women and girls together discover new ideas and create new possibilities. When we share with her the things we don’t know for certain, we let her into a way of being in the world that’s more generous. If we can make space for vulnerability and mistakes, ours included, she can take risks, knowing she has a safe place to land when things don’t go well. So I guess the rooky mistake is thinking we’re always in charge and that we always know more than she does about her own life. It’s an enormous relief for girls to have someone who’s honest about the complexity of things and who admits what she doesn’t know.

 

  1. I found the chapter about girls knowing women’s history in order to better understand the need for change to be so important. When I work with girls I’ll often ask them to name the female Supreme Court Justices, or three female Senators or scientists. The giant majority can’t do it, and that hurts my heart. Then I ask who the five Kardashian/Jenner sisters are and the room goes off like fireworks. This is when my brain starts to hurt, and I wonder how do parents reboot media messages about “important women” who do very little of importance? How do parents lead their daughters towards women actually doing important work? I think everyone knows who Malala is, but beyond that one amazing girl how do we find out about other current activists are and what work they are doing?

Pop idols are always going to be important. Knowing certain things about popular culture is a kind of currency among girls. That’s always been the case. The good news is that girls and women activists are all over the media too, whether it’s Iesha Evans who faced down Baton Rouge police in full riot gear at a Black Lives Matter protest or the U.S. women who dominated the Olympics while refusing to be contained by on-going sexist and racist commentary. For a while it seemed like there was a news story every week about girls protesting unfair school dress codes. Teen Magazines are pretty consistently pushing stories about girl-fueled activism. Teen Vogue’s latest girl activist list, “Introducing 21 under 21,” includes 11-year-old Marley Dias who started #1000BlackGirlBooks and 18-year-old Avery McCall, who read Half the Sky at 12 and now works with the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up campaign.

The problem is a media that sensationalizes young activists as special super girls for a few days, then drops their story. It’s really up to us to seek out and contextualize these brave girls, to talk about how activism is a collective response to injustice, and that unfairness will continue unless we all do our part. I’m not suggesting we give Teen Vogue to our pre-teen daughters, but that we seek out stories in magazines and online, do some background work on a few young activists, including the people and organizations that support them (no one does lasting social change work alone), and introduce them in your own way to her. For a start, check out these seven inspiring children’s books, and you might also want to support this amazing kickstarter campaign promising 100 Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls.

 

  1. The book mentions that girls are more likely than boys to be politically conscious and become involved in activism. What have you found to be a typical age when girls have this awakening? Do you think this motivation for the girls comes from an early recognition of a power and equality gap, or are there other factors that play into their drive to create change?

Every girl has the potential to be an agent for social change, simply because, as bell hooks reminds us, children are naturally curious. I think of girls as naturalists in the social world–always observing, always asking questions. The very first “that’s not fair!” she utters is a clue she’s attuned to power differences and ready to create change. Too often the response from adults is, “Yes, life is unfair.” But that won’t do if we want girls to grow up as full participants in civic and political life. Nancy Gruver of New Moon Magazine describes “That’s not fair” as girls’ natural feminism. If we want that seed to germinate, if we want to plant the notion that she is in the world to change the world, we’ll respond instead with “Let’s do something about it.”

 

  1. The book does a good job of identifying challenges girls of color face when they hear the call to activism, and how adults can react appropriately to those challenges and help girls work around or through them. So the United States isn’t doing so well dealing with our racism at the moment, and a lot of people are still uncomfortable or unsure of how to talk about race and racism. Can you to speak to how adults can respect a girl’s world view and experiences without making her race the most salient quality about her? How do we strike the right balance?

It’s very hard, and very important to try. As white women working with girls of color, we don’t want to be part of the problem but we don’t always know how to be part of the solution. The truth is, for girls of color in this country race typically is their most salient quality—it impacts how others see and treat them; it can make them hyper-visible or invisible, depending on the context. We can’t really pretend this isn’t true. It’s also important that we see and support girls of color fully and not buy into unconscious stereotypes. So this is about building up our awareness, our cultural competency, on our own time. We can’t expect girls of color to educate us and we risk unwittingly perpetuating the problem by ignoring it or fumbling around. I think we should 1) Do our own work. Read, seek out anti-racist trainings and workshops; do what it takes to ensure we can do right by all the girls in our care. 2) Partner with women of color in our work.

 

  1. The heart and soul of this book is the idea of intergenerational activism – pooling together youthful insight, knowledge and energy with more seasoned expertise, organizational skills, larger and more powerful networks in order to create meaningful change. I love this idea, but I’m acutely aware how often Millennials and Generation Z (iGen) are mocked and stereotyped by our society. What are some best practices you’ve seen young activists use to earn respect and be heard? Are there things parents can do to help cultivate these skills?

I write a lot about loyalty—about being on girls’ sides. To me, this means standing with girls when they face such responses. Supporting their right to speak, even when we disagree with them. I struggled a lot with how my feminist idols and friends talked about young women Bernie supporters. When I watched them protesting at the DNC, the word “silenced” scribbled on tape across their mouths, standing firm, I thought to myself, “I Iove these brave young women. I am in awe.” I mean, is this not what we want? Girls and young women who think for themselves, who dare to be an interruption?  

For me, the best practice is ensuring she has company. I’ve co-founded three girl-serving organizations and I joke that I started them for my daughter. And I think there’s some truth in that. She grew up with girls and women of every age talking with her about things that matter, inviting her to debate and argue and act on her convictions. These were people who would be there if the trolls surfaced. If there are not such organizations in your backyard, they are online and they have people you can talk with, resources and curricula you can use. Gather moms and daughters you know together and reach out to Moms As Mentors or New Moon Girls or check out SPARKits from SPARK Movement, fun ideas for media activism from About-Face, and curricula from Hardy Girls. Voice, courage, risk-taking are cultivated in relationship. If we are all there for one another’s girls, ours will be just fine.

 

{ MAINE LOCALS: For those readers located in Maine, Lyn Mikel Brown will be visiting the Waterville Public Library on Tuesday 9/13 from 5p-7p to discuss her book. This program is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided. Co-presented by the Waterville Public Library and Children’s Book Cellar.}

 

Disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book in order to read and review.

13246296_10153429033517131_2474661485922461678_oMelissa Atkins Wardy is a speaker, media consultant, and the author of “Redefining Girly: How Parents Can Fight the Stereotyping and Sexualizing of Girlhood, from Birth to Tween”. She is the creator and owner of Pigtail Pals & Ballcap Buddies, a company that has been offering empowering apparel and gifts to Full of Awesome kids since 2009.

You can connect with her on Facebook (Pigtail Pals Ballcap Buddies) and Twitter (@PigtailPals) and Pinterest (Pigtail Pals & Ballcap Buddies).

Girls Who Change the World and the Women Behind Them

Book review “Powered By Girl”, Lyn Mikel Brown.
Author Q&A to come tomorrow!

"Powered by Girl" by Lyn Mikel Brown, available Sept 13 2016.

“Powered by Girl” by Lyn Mikel Brown, available Sept 13 2016.

Every page of my copy of “Powered By Girl: A Field Guide for Supporting Youth Activists” (Beacon Press) by my colleague Lyn Mikel Brown is highlighted like the photo to your left. Literally every page, the book is so insightful and does an amazing job of revealing the heart of what drives and inspires girls and young women to want to and follow through with making positive changes in the world.

Most importantly, the book is full of girls’ voices and experiences. This new guide is tuned into working with – AND LISTENING TO – girls. The best way to learn about how girls think, react, dream, and mobilize is to learn directly from them. Lyn Mikel Brown has worked alongside girl activists for decades and her valuable experience serves as a wise and seasoned mentor to other women who guide girls.

“Powered By Girl” could not have come at a more perfect time for me. When Amelia was a baby I read Lyn’s “Packaging Girlhood” and it set me on the path I travel today. Amelia is now a pre-teen who wants to influence and impact her world and I find another of Lyn’s books speaking exactly what I need to hear when I need to hear it.

In addition to parenting an impassioned, feminist tween girl I also co-lead a troop of thirty Girl Scouts ages five to fifteen, all of whom have opinions and aspirations to creating positive change.  “Powered By Girl” was extremely helpful in better understanding how the relationship of being a mentor to a girl is balanced on respect, a passing on of tools, and honoring input and youth experience. As Brown writes, “Opening ourselves to genuine relationship with girls is about seeing who they are and not who we think they should be.”

If you are a parent to a tween or teen girl, teach or coach girls, lead a Girl Scout troop, or engage with powerful young women in any way you need to pick up this book. It truly acts as a compass to girls’ minds and hearts, and gives actionable advice on how to direct their passion for change into meaningful actions.

powered-by-girlAs described by publisher Beacon Press: “Powered By Girl” is part critical commentary on a “lean in”, “TEDified” view of girl power and versions of the “exceptional girl” breaking down barriers on her own when in actuality they have benefited from a support system of adults behind them. PBG is also part playbook for working with girls to be activists of their own social movements. Brown writes, “We have to challenge that assumption that women and girls cannot work together – that women are too old and out of touch; that girls are too young and misinformed.”

The book is out tomorrow, Sept 13.

Preorder from Amazon here or find your local indie bookstore here.

{ MAINE LOCALS: For those readers located in Maine, Lyn Mikel Brown will be visiting the Waterville Public Library on 9/13 from 5p-7p to discuss her book. This program is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided. Co-presented by the Waterville Public Library and Children’s Book Cellar.}

Disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book in order to read and review.
13246296_10153429033517131_2474661485922461678_oMelissa Atkins Wardy is a speaker, media consultant, and the author of “Redefining Girly: How Parents Can Fight the Stereotyping and Sexualizing of Girlhood, from Birth to Tween”. She is the creator and owner of Pigtail Pals & Ballcap Buddies, a company that has been offering empowering apparel and gifts to Full of Awesome kids since 2009.

You can connect with her on Facebook (Pigtail Pals Ballcap Buddies) and Twitter (@PigtailPals) and Pinterest (Pigtail Pals & Ballcap Buddies).

 

 

 

Book Review: "Teaching Kids To Be Good People" by Annie Fox

When my friend Annie Fox asked me to review her new book, I said yes without hesitation. I learn a lot from Annie’s blog, and really enjoy her perspective on parenting and life. She is one of those people that no matter what she puts out there, it is excellent and makes you feel like you’ve got this parenting thing under control.

Annie’s new book, “Teaching Kids To Be Good People” is a topic that has been on my mind recently. I am watching Amelia and Benny grow up so quickly, I feel like it is going by in a blink. While each day I feel like I am doing a good job and raising them right, I sometimes wonder if I’m doing the correct things to ensure they grow into teens and young adults of whom I am proud.

I loved the book, and asked Annie some questions I had after reading it. I hope you pick up a copy because this is the kind of stuff that all parents should be thinking about — Who do we want our children to be?

And guess what? April 1-5 TKTBGP is available for free download! Here is more info on that offer.

1. A theme I found present through the book was Emotional Intelligence, which is something I don’t think we talk to parents about enough. How do parents recognize and encourage emotional intelligence in their children, especially young children?

Emotional Intelligence (aka EQ) is simply an understanding of emotions… your own and those of other people. Humans are social animals. We live and learn and play and work in  groups. We can also be very emotional. Obviously we need to learn how to get along with each other. That’s why it’s essential that we learn to communicate effectively. And in order to do that, we’ve got to figure out how to deal with those pesky emotions of ours! Specifically, each of us has to learn to manage our destructive emotions (anger, hostility, jealousy, etc.) in responsible ways.
We parents need to help our children, from a very young age, speak the language of emotions (by speaking to them about feelings… our own and theirs.) For example, when a toddler is having a melt-down, instead of putting all our energy into quieting the child or distracting him/her with a bribe (“Stop crying and I’ll give you a cookie.”)  we could better serve that child’s EQ development by helping the child understand what’s going on. For example, get down to the child’s eye level and speak directly and compassionately to him: “You really want to play with your sister’s toy. You feel very angry that she won’t let you have it. You’re frustrated. I understand.”
Speaking to a child in this way, helps him or her understand what’s going on inside! So that the next time that child is better able to talk himself through a melt-down. EQ development is also helped by teaching your young children re-centering breathing, a simple calming breathing technique that lowers the heart-rate and helps us get back in control of our rational mind.
2. The words ‘the power of social courage’ jumped off the page at me. I think that is so important for kids to demonstrate today, can you talk more about that?

A lot of my readers respond to the term “social courage” in the same way. I love the term, because it really describes the challenge of doing the right thing when everyone’s watching. Like I said before, we’re social creatures. Part of our need to “get along” with those around us includes getting their approval. In middle school, for example, conformity wins high praise. But being “different” in any way can bring on all kinds of teasing and bullying. When I talk to students about social courage, I acknowledge that it’s not always easy to stand up for yourself or to support someone who is being picked on, even though we know it’s the right thing to do. We may feel stuck, afraid what will happen if we go out of our way to speak up. Courage isn’t the absence of fear. It is doing the right thing in spite of being afraid. My book helps parents understand just how much social pressure our 21st century kids feel at times to go along with the crowd (online and off). That’s why it’s especially important for us to teach our kids about social courage and to model it in our own lives.
3. I love the analogy you give of all parents being teachers. What are you most proud of teaching your children?

My daughter and son are all grown up. The way they live their lives honors the parenting/teaching they received from their dad and me. Knowing the kind of people they are, as adults, I’d say I am most touched by their kindness. Both of them are very compassionate people with good hearts and generous spirits.  I am, of course, very proud to be their mom. Of course I have influenced them with my teaching, but they are who they are, in their own right.
4. I think your idea of authentic Happiness Quotient plays hand in hand with our Pigtail Pals & Ballcap Buddies’ says ‘Full of Awesome’. With life being so hectic and crazy for families today, how do we stay focused on achieving or coming close to our authentic happiness?

Life is hectic and many of us spend most of our time (even our family time) checking things off a mental list. Is dinner made? Is the table set? Are the hands washed? Is the homework done? Are the teeth brushed? check check check.
The idea of a Happiness Quotient is something that I made up. The word HapQ makes me laugh! Seriously though, one of the most direct ways I know to raise your HapQ and connect with our ‘authentic happiness’ is to unplug and go outside and play. What, the weather is crappy? OK, you can stay inside and play, but you still need to unplug. By using our imagination, our hands, our creativity, our bodies, our sense of humor… this is how we connect with what truly brings us satisfaction and joy. See how the word “joy” is in the word “enjoy?”
And when we are ‘relaxing’ as a family, what are we doing? And how are the things we’re doing helping us and our kids bring more joy into our lives? How are our activities helping our kids discover their authentic happiness… their path in life?
This weekend, make time to do something no-tech, together as a family. Walk, hike, bike, play, build, do art, bake, garden, cook, read stories, sing, snuggle, laugh. Enjoy… in joy.
5. Your book has so many valuable thinking points and lessons for families, I actually took notes while I read it! My kids are still pretty little right now, and sometimes I wonder if I’m doing a good job of laying the right foundation for them to grow into good people. What lessons to you find needing to reteach to kids as the years go on?

I think the lessons of what it means to be a real friend vs the other kind are the ones that need reinforcement as our kids move through the grades. Their peer relationships become more and more complex. They need our guidance as they navigate the waters of friendship. Because the lessons they take from their friendships are the basis of what they will, eventually take into their romantic relationships. For that reason we want them to understand that healthy relationships (the only kind worth having) are a 2-way street based on mutual respect, trust, honesty, shared values, and open communication.

Annie Fox, M.Ed

Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected educator, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for teens and parents. Her life’s work is helping t(w)eens develop the social courage it takes to do the right thing (online and off).

21st century children require 21st century parenting and mentoring. Annie’s live events and her “Family Confidential” podcast series teach adults how to give teens what they need for healthy social/emotional development in middle school and beyond.

 

 

Book Review: “Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher, and Kid Needs To Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear”

In 2010 I reached out to a mom whom I had never met, but I knew her story through the blogosphere. Her young daughter Katie was being bullied in her first grade class for liking Star Wars. Like thousands of other people I reached out to little Katie’s family, and began chatting with Katie’s mom Carrie over email. I sent Katie and her little sisters some girl-power Redefine Girly tees from the Pigtail Pals shop, the girls sent me a thank you card with a robot on it and some awesome drawings, and the rest is history.

Carrie Goldman and I became fast friends, mostly because we have kids the same age and we are navigating the world as parent activists/bloggers who are trying to create change via education on social media. She is also, in a word, awesome. Her whole family is.

I was thrilled last year when Carrie told me about her book deal, and honored when she interviewed me for the book. Her new book, “Bullied” comes from a place of passion. You feel it on the pages, because you can feel Carrie’s genuine concern that we change. You feel Carrie’s devotion to teaching us to change the way we look at bullying, its victims, and the bystanders. Chapters look at components like: gender and not conforming to it, physical appearance, GLTB kids, sexualization, gendered marketing, social and emotional learning, restorative justice, and creating family environments that create neither bullies nor victims. Carrie pulls in experts to give words of wisdom between the candid stories she shares from other families dealing with the issue that worries so many parents: Will my child be bullied?

In “Bullied”, Carrie calls on parents, educators and schools, communities, retailers, celebrities, and media to examine our own stereotypes and embrace our joint responsibility for creating a culture of acceptance and respect. This message greatly resonated with me, as I have experienced bullying as a victim when I was younger and as a parent. This past year in kindergarten a boy in my daughter’s class decided to single out her and little Benny. He terrorized them for months on the playground. In the beginning, I tried to let the kids navigate the friendship and solve their own problems, but when the problems became systematic and targeted, I would have none of it. Playground spats turned into violence against my children, and at one point the child told my daughter he would kill her if she didn’t become his girlfriend. That day after school, Amelia ran out the doors and onto the playground, threw her bag on the snow, turned to her bully coming after her, and with tears streaming down her face she screamed in a mighty voice that he had no right to threaten her or kill her, that he was a bully, and that if he went after her little brother that afternoon, she’d hurt him. All of the moms nearby immediately intervened, and the next morning I was cussed out by his mother on the playground. My head was kind of swirling, because I had no idea how to really handle it. I knew the steps to take, but I had to talk Amelia down from her “heart startles” from this boy’s eruptions and assure her she was safe at school. She had nightmares, and her little brother was equally terrified of this kid. We tried approaching the teacher a few times, and I met with the principal, but ultimately the child was doing most of the bullying before and after school, so there wasn’t much they could do. This particular child was constantly in trouble, but sadly, he wasn’t the teachers’ biggest problem student and this little guy fell through the cracks. I wanted to bop him on the head and hug him at the same time.

It was difficult to help my children navigate their feelings and rightful anger about the situation, while at the same time teaching them empathy and understanding and dealing with adversity. First grade begins in just under a month, and after reading “Bullied”, I feel much more prepared to handle an issue should it arise this year. “Bullied” is full of proven strategies and concrete tools for teaching children how to speak up and carry themselves with confidence; call each other out on cruelty; resolve conflict and cope with teasing, taunting, physical abuse, and cyberbullying; and be smart consumers of technology and media. This is the book that will help us do better.

And we can. Do better.

“When you know better you do better.” -Maya Angelou

Katie "Star Wars Katie" and Carrie Goldman

I have four copies of “Bullied” to give away. Let me know in the comments here how you would use this book to change the culture around bullying to one of dignity and respect. I will pick four winners on Friday, August 10th at 10pm CST.

You can find Carrie on her wonderful blog, on facebook, and twitter. You can share your story or advice about bullying here, and join me on Team Bullied.

To order your copy of “Bullied”, go straight to Amazon or click here.

To book Carrie to speak, please make arrangements through Suzanne Wickham at Harper Collins. Her email is Suzanne (dot) wickham (at) harpercollins (dot) com.

I really loved her book, and I hope you find it as useful as I did.


 

 

Book Review — “Princess Recovery: A How-To Guide to Raising Strong, Empowered Girls Who Can Create Their Own Happily Ever Afters”

I love this book from Dr. Jen Hartstein!

 I’m told the first 35 years of parenting are the most difficult. I tend to agree. Today’s parents face the extra challenge in our culture of wading through the omnipresent Princess Culture with their daughters (and maybe sons). Some little girls are drawn to frilly and princessy things, and that is a wonderful part of childhood for the young imagination to explore.

But there is another side to princesses. It is often called “Princess Culture”, and is defined by the obsession of all things pink, hyper-girly, beauty-focused play, and a sense of entitlement. Lacking from this is the idea of teaching girls to be confident, competent, and able to rely on themselves. It leaves our girls with a skewed sense of the world and their place in it. 
 
I have many parents email me asking for help with their girl who is princess crazy, and demonstrating some undesirable behaviors as a result. Maybe the little girl is too focused on her looks, is behaving with a sense of entitlement, or insists on playing the same princess story line over and over and over again. Parents want to know how to break the focus on beauty and vapidness, or maybe expand their daughter’s definition of what it could mean to be a princess and offer her different ideas of play.
 
I now have the perfect book to recommend to them — “Princess Recovery: A How-To Guide to Raising Strong, Empowered Girls Who Can Create Their Own Happily Ever Afters”  by my friend Dr. Jen Hartstein. This book is fabulous, I loved reading it (three times now!). My girl isn’t a princess girl, but I see how the info in Princess Recovery can help me navigate the waters of girlhood because the marketing to our daughters on how they should be a girl is relentless.
 
Dr. Jen’s book takes parents through the idea of using media literacy skills, creativity, and tangible tips and activities to get girls in the mindset of being strong and empowered and writing their own stories that get them to their own happy ever after. She takes us through the problematic lessons girls learn from Princess Culture, to the steps she’s termed ‘The Princess Recovery Program’, to chapters that give a Princess Symptom and a Heroine Value.
 
The book isn’t so much about tearing princesses away from our little ladies, nor does it advocate raising girls in a protected bubble. This book is all about striking balance, and making sure our girls are getting the best out of childhood and their interest in princesses, and giving them lessons and experiences that build them up and leave them prepared and ready to take on the world. Because this book has such a balanced approach, I feel confident in recommending it to our Pigtail Pals Community because as we all know, there are so many ways to be a girl.
  
Princess Symptoms like “Appearances Are Everything” and “Entitlement” and “Rescue Me!” are countered with Heroine Values like “Smarts Pay Off” and “Hard Work” and “Set High – but realistic – Expectations”. This book does such a great job of helping parents draw out the best from their girls, while not taking anything away from them or telling their girls that what they love is wrong or silly.
 
Even if you don’t have a princess girl, I think this book is still a great resource for raising girls in today’s culture. And to be honest, I even picked up some tips for helping me with my son. When I first met Dr. Jen and she told me about her book, I was a little leary it would be off-putting to parents who would feel like they would be on the defensive for their princess girls. I am so pleased I was flat wrong. I promise you, this book will leave you feeling optimisic and excited about new ways to challenge your girl, and open her world even wider. I read this book once because I had to in order to be able to review it. I read it twice more because I loved it.
 
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I asked Dr. Jen why she was inspired to write this book, and she answered: “I work with lots of young women in my private practice, and I notice that many of them (too many) are focused on their appearances, what other people think of them, and how they present themselves to the world. They look to the external world to provide them with a sense of self, meaning, and understanding.

When I stood back from it, I realized that these feelings are rooted in their childhoods, so I started to do some research about what kind of influences start so young, and are so powerful, that these young women, who have so much to offer, cannot see it.

This brought me to the princess culture, and to Peggy Orenstein’s fabulous book, “Cinderella Ate My Daughter.” Her book highlighted what the problem was, and motivated me to provide a guide that could help parents begin to know HOW to deal with the problem, in the hopes that these young women would feel more in control of their lives earlier in their lives.

Next, I asked Dr. Jen about the feedback she has gotten: “The feedback that I have gotten from parents has been really phenomenal. I think most have been able to utilize the strategies and ideas with their daughters, and have found the recommendations to be practical, useful and easy to implement. In fact, some mothers have stated that they are starting to think about how they are going to utilize some of the ideas for themselves!
Overall, I think people have really received the book well and are finding that they can utilize the ideas to shift their princess to heroines…and they girls can wear their tiaras as they play in the mud.”
  
 
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Dr. Jen Hartstein
 
Dr. Jen is a nationally recognized child, adolescent and family psychologist based in New York City. She is also the mental health contributor on CBS’ The Early Show and regular contributor on the Anderson show with Anderson Cooper.
 
You can find Dr. Jen and her blog HERE.