From a young age boys are praised and encouraged when they show direct, confident behaviors—winning a game or climbing to the highest branch.
Girls, Dr. Hinshaw explains, are also told to be ambitious, smart, and successful. But for them the directive comes with conditions that hamper individuation.
- Be confident, but not conceited
- Be smart, but no one likes a know-it-all
- Ambition is good, but trying too hard is bad
- Be assertive, but only if it doesn’t upset anyone else
Helping your daughter drop unnecessary apologies and begin using clear, direct language will give her a powerful tool for success in the future.
No matter who she’s speaking to—friends, teachers, co-workers, or even someday the employees of her own company—knowing how to communicate with confidence sends the message that she’s self-assured, proud of her skills, and comfortable expressing her ideas.
And she’s not sorry about it one bit.
As girls grow up, the messages they receive about what “good” behavior looks like get more and more complicated and confusing.