What Can Happen If We Teach Girls to Be Brave Instead of Perfect
The methods we use to raise our sons and daughters differ. Sometimes, these methods are affected by the stereotypical prejudices we use subconsciously. Boys are expected to be courageous, resilient, and brave. Girls, however, are told to be calm, cautious, and perfect. But this approach can negatively affect our kids’ futures.
We at Bright Side looked through various research findings to show our readers that if we raise girls to be brave, we can make them prosperous and happy.
Trying to be perfect isn’t healthy.
“Practice makes perfect,” they say. But do we actually need to be perfect? Psychologists say that the chase toward perfectionism is not healthy. Perfectionism feeds on our fear of making a mistake. And when we’re afraid, we’re not capable of making the right, rational decisions. Thus, by encouraging your children to be perfect, you’re teaching them to be afraid of making mistakes.
But it’s not possible to avoid mistakes in real-life experiences. When your children eventually mess up, you want them to find their way out of the situation and not be upset about the fact that they made the mistake in the first place.
Girls, specifically, tend to lack self-confidence.
The discussions about the gender confidence gap are not new. However, a recent study confirms that women are more likely to evaluate their own performances as poor in comparison to men. The study tested 4,000 participants to determine whether there is a gap in confidence and in self-promotion between men and women. The experiment showed that women are not just under-confident; they self-promote themselves less, even when they know for sure that their performance is as good as men’s.
Reshma Saujani, a lawyer, activist, and founder of a non-profit organization called Girls Who Code, speaks about her own experience: “Teach girls bravery, not perfection.” Saujani explained that girls, during the learning process, being afraid of making mistakes, are more likely not to try at all rather than try and fail. “Perfection or bust!” she said.
Thus, in order to prevent your daughter from missing out on opportunities life gives her, you should teach her to take risks, speak out loud, and adequately evaluate her abilities.
Get rid of stereotypes.
One of the main reasons why girls aren’t as self-confident is due to stereotypes applied by society. Women are expected to be pretty, quiet, and bad at math, while men are strong, courageous, and do math quickly in their heads. This stereotypical approach can shape a woman’s perception of her abilities. Research held to determine how people perceive their abilities showed that women are more likely to underestimate their abilities in a field that is commonly claimed to be masculine.
“Gender stereotypes determine people’s beliefs about themselves and others,” one researcher said.
Change the way you speak.
Research shows that the way we speak with boys and girls differs. If we praise boys for “trying hard” or “making an effort,” the girls are praised for being “good,” “perfect,” or “smart.” Stop labeling your daughters by judgments and praise them for their efforts. She is not supposed to be “good,” she should be encouraged to make an effort to achieve a goal.
Are your little girls brave enough? As a parent, what are you doing to encourage their self-confidence? Tell us in the comment section below.