Davidson Institute for Talent Development
This Tips for Parents article is from a seminar hosted by Dr. Sylvia Rimm. She offers ten tips for raising gifted daughters that focus on promoting excellence and confidence, and encourages parents to stay positive with their daughters.
- As parents, be coaches, not judges. Coaches encourage, have high expectations, praise, criticize, and set limits, but children accept coaching because they believe coaches are in an alliance with them and on the same team. Judging parents direct their efforts at finding misdoings and punishing appropriately. Parents who are continuously judgmental alienate their children because children feel like they are against them.
- Emphasize intelligence, hard work, independence, sensitivity, and perseverance in your daughters. De-emphasize the importance of appearance. Relationships that are appearance-based fade as may pretty appearances. Relationships based on shared interests and values have much more potential for depth.
- Set as high expectations for your daughters as for your sons. Expect post-high school education whether or not you attended college. The American Dream is real for women too.
- Teach healthy competition. Encourage the exhilaration of winning, but don't always let girls win. Winning builds confidence; losing builds character.
- Don't pressure your daughters to fit in socially. Many girls feel different during adolescence. Help them to feel comfortable with their differences and redirect their energies toward positive activities like music, drama, debate, science, sports, or religious activities.
- Encourage your daughters to be involved in all-girl activities like Girl Scouts, and consider all-girl classes or schools if boys cause them to lose confidence or distract from their learning.
- Encourage your daughters to read stories about successful women. The successful women in the study found such stories inspiring. Help girls to be comfortable with math from preschool on including counting, measuring, and scoring. Teach spatial skills through puzzles, games, and building activities.
- Don't let birth order get in the way of giving each of your daughters leadership opportunities, responsibilities, and some of your time alone.
- Consider traveling with your daughters--the whole family, mother-daughter, or father-daughter excursions. By high school, encourage independent trips with school groups. Travel provides a spirit of adventure, enrichment, family bonding, and self-confidence.
- Be an active role model for learning and developing your own career. However, regardless of how busy you are, preserve time to talk with and listen to your daughters daily.