6 Things to Say to Girls Instead of "You are a Badass"
I'm all for the idea of being and supporting badass women. My favorite part of Wonder Women was the training sequence; ripped, badass women jumping off horses, launching five arrows from their bow at the same time, landing with perfect grace in leather leotards.
But let's be honest, when you're a teen or a young woman navigating your way through complicated social, school, and work situations, you often don't feel strong and powerful, let alone like a warrior godddess leaping off of a horse.
All of the emphasis on strong female characters is a wonderful step towards empowering girls. However, on the days that we don't feel strong or powerful, we could often use a reminder that we are still worthy and valuable. Try saying these things to the teens and young people in your life:
I'm really interested in your opinion about this: Take interest in the inner life of your teen. Validating her opinions, ideas, and emotions teaches her that has inherent worth regardless of her outward success.
I really admire how thoughtful and kind you are: We want our girls and young women to be strong, and we should remember that thoughtfulness and kindness are a form of immense strength. Social skills deserve as much praise and recognition as academic and athletic skills.
It's so cool that you're taking a (healthy) risk: Not all risky behavior is healthy, but some of the things that scare us make our life better and move us closer to our goals. Encourage the girls in your life to take healthy risks.
It's ok to make mistakes: Perfectionism is a big problem for our teens and young people. Normalizing failure and mistakes helps us grow confident, strong women who are willing to take those healthy risks.
I really admired your asssertiveness in (specific situaiton): Appreciate and comment on specific situations where you notice your teen or young adult being assertive in a healthy way. This validates her voice and affirms her boundaries.
I know this didn't turn out how you wanted it to, but I am so proud of the effort and hard work you put into it: Praising the effort instead of the result helps teens and young people value hard work and avoid perfectionism. Notice and appreciate when the girls in your life are working hard and being brave, regardless of the outcome.