This past weekend I finally had a chance to view PBS’s program A Girl’s Life with Rachel Simmons, and I highly recommend that parents watch the program. Though the issues (e.g., body image, cyberbullying) were not new to me, learning that girls are equal to or ahead of boys until middle school (at which point they tend to fall behind as confidence crumbles due to social issues, negative body image, etc.) and seeing the interview footage made the issues so much more real to me. I couldn’t help but envision Laurel five years (or less) forward.
I say less because it was rather horrifying to witness mean girl action in Laurel’s pre-K classroom and how acutely clique issues already are playing out in her kindergarten classroom. A Girl’s Life got me thinking about how proactive I need to be to help Laurel thrive and be confident, how I need to be super aware of what Laurel is exposed to, and also that I need to model better behavior in the now, such as being less plugged into my Blackberry (re: constant adolescent texting and potential cyberbullying impact).
Much of the footage is shot in the Boston area, and while the program left me wanting concrete tips and strategies (maybe that was in the original plans…Jon mentioned something about PBS not garnering enough funding to create the intended two-hour program), the Raising Girls website does offer a resources and tips spread. Also, for parents of boys, please see the Raising Boys post (also inspired by a PBS documentary) written by Jon back in 2007.
So go check it out. And be sure to have some tissues on hand. The mother-daughter dressing room scene in the segment on body image and the segment on college acceptances reduced me to tears.