200 Ways to Raise a Girl's Self-Esteem

Here are notes and discussions for the book. I imagine I’d just post one way after another, and see what happens. :slight_smile:

The copy I have is printed in 1999. Author is Will Glennon.

The foreword is by Virginia Beane Rutter, and has a fascinating account of girls’ relationship to the goddess Artemis in ancient Greece. It’s a bit depressing, but Rutter is a Jung analyst and suggests creating new rituals to “help girls negotiate the transition to a whole, multidimensional womanhood”.

I point that out as our family studies Greek mythology and I study psychology from a chaos perspective. I’m always looking for new ways to break and reconstruct reality. :slight_smile:

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Chapter 1 is short, introductory. It goes over why self-esteem is a way to improve the lives and experience of girls, and how difficult it is to approach as a practical subject.

One paragraph in particular contained several points about how multi-dimensional the issue is (I’m typing it out, so errors are mine):

Healthy self-esteem is the result of being raised, loved, and mentored well. Therefore, everything we do as parents, teachers, and other significant adults in the lives of young girls—how we behave, what we say and how we say it, the quality and character of our interactions, the degree to which we stretch to create learning experiences for them, even the often unconscious attitudes we hold—will positively or negatively impact the shifting core of girls’ sense of their own self-esteem.

Okay, breath:cold_sweat:

The next paragraph lists what is not enough:

  • our love
  • being a powerful role model
  • the right words
  • our supportive actions

Instead, they need to live those experiences, to be a “valuable contributor to the whole”.

And then the rest of the chapter is a chapter-by-chapter summary, which I am kinda skipping. I mean, I glanced at them, to see if they were neat, and decided they were not. That’s a thing about me, I do like scaffolding, but I generally skip over chapter summaries unless I do not plan to read the whole book. Like, those are great chapters to read at a bookstore! Because then maybe you want that book? But I’m gonna read this one.

Promise! I’m not being lazy! Sheesh! I read whole chapters! All the time! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Chapter 2 begins: “Love is at the very core of self-esteem.” And goes on to explain that most of us are never taught how to transmit unconditional love, because it is hard and hardly anyone does.


Do the the things ey needs to feel loved

All the effort that goes into parenting doesn’t translate into love, they’re “parent jobs”. To love a child one must discover how they experience love. Examples: a touch on the shoulder, a deep look of connection, the words “I love you”, cookies, notes.

Parents: Express your love openly, frequently, and meaningfully. Discover their language of love and use it.

Teachers: Express appreciation for each individual. “Have the children do this with each other; cultivate a learning environment of appreciation.”

The Parents and Teachers points are summaries of the call to actions/specific advice, at the end of each “way”.

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I know so many ways Clover experiences love, and a lot of them require more attention than I permit myself. Life’s stresses takes a lot of my attention, though I’m ever simplifying, reduce as much as possible, worries included.

There are also some things that Clover wants only from me, individually. And I sometimes don’t see nor understand those needs. @susan sometimes clues me in, though hindsight appears to be the primary teacher in that regard.

Our education plan incorporates this strongly, I think. Classes e participates in are structured around inclusive, human connections, and we practice gratitude as an active family value (I mean: we actively talk about gratitude, both as a concept and in expressing).

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Do whatever is necessary, especially when it’s hard.

Girls’ self-esteem generally takes a dip at puberty, and among the many reasons that could be, one is that caregivers no longer have the same tools to express love and acceptance as they had when the child was younger.

Maturing minds and bodies need new ways to express and accept love, and in turn as inexperienced people we respond to the anger and isolation with different responses, but rarely the one needed: support, acceptance, and love.

Parents: Easy to remember and hard to act on: the more upset they are, the more important it is to explain the depth of your love and support. Suggested activities that focus on child, and create the space to let them talk.

Teachers: Have the class write a paragraph about how they know their parents love them.

This one is straightforward, though I imagine I’ll need to return to it for various meanings of “puberty”. Age 8 is definitely on the cusp of mental mitosis from the family unit.

I take both points of advice gratefully. First of all, I’ve always been amazed at how much the kid will say in general about nothing in particular, while mentioning zero of eir actual concerns; then when asked pointedly about something, it just spills out and sometimes quite emotionally, 0 to tears in 1 second.

As a parent I can be attentive to not just Clover’s demeanor, but also learn to engage in eir hidden world. As a teacher I can support myself as a parent by asking Clover to write a paragraph for writing practice about the different ways we love em, and excitingly the ways Clover is best supported.

It is very exciting. My bias rising to the top is that I was expecting to engage with Clover in this way, but not for some in-assessed amount of time in the future. Bringing it to my attention reveals this very deep, caring individual that is alive right now, and in my life. I can’t take that for granted!

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Stick with It Even If It Seems Unbearable

Speaks about the inherent danger in the world, and how trauma will happen, and the aftermath can be more damaging as we aren’t trained to deal with deep emotional issues.

Also, mentions children commonly go to pains to prove they are unlovable. :sob:

Parents: hang in there. Be unwavering in your support; spend as much time with them as possible, but don’t try to fix it all at once.

Teachers: Give extra attention to troubled students; spend extra time with them, give them preferred classroom tasks: let them feel special. Learn to read the signs they are having a hard time, and let them know they can turn to you.

I’m gonna stop updating this thread as I had. It’s kinda hard! Most of these “ways” aren’t much more words than the summaries I’m writing, which I just don’t feel is worth our time. Also, I’m stopped updating so I could keep reading. I’ll just recommend or not, or observe broad strokes. But less “live blogging”. :slight_smile:

It is a common impulse for parents to expect their girls to feel like they do on all issues, setting kids up to feel like they risk losing their parents’ love if they are different.