Davidson Institute for Talent Development
This Tips for Parents article is from a seminar hosted by Vula Baliotis. She provides specific advice and guidelines on raising gifted girls.
Helping Girls Achieve in STEM Subjects (adapted from the AAUW)
- Talk about females’ achievements in math and science.
- Teach girls that the skills needed for STEM subjects are acquired.
- Provide opportunities for development of spatial skills.
- Help girls recognize their career-relevant skills.
- Emphasize real-life applications in early STEM courses.
- Teach girls about stereotype threat.
Nonsexist Children’s Literature Resources
Amelia Bloomer Project
- Creates annual lists divided into fiction and nonfiction. Includes three age categories: picture books, middle readers, and young adult.
Non-Traditional Pursuits of Boys and Girls (Rutgers)
What Parents Can Do to Address Sexualization of Girls and Females (APA Task Force on Sexualization of Girls, 2010)
- Teach girls to value themselves for who they are, rather than for their appearance.
- Teach boys to value females as friends, sisters, and girlfriends, rather than as sexual objects.
- Model healthy attitudes and behaviors by what you say and do.
- What do you say about your own (or other females’) appearance?
- Do you value your (or other females’) mind, talents, and abilities over appearance?
- What subtle messages do you send your daughters or other girls?
- Watch media together & discuss messages:
- You can impact in the way in which media messages are interpreted.
- "Why is there so much pressure on girls to look a certain way?”
- "What do you like most about the girls you want to spend time with?" "Do these qualities matter more than how they look?"
- Encourage girls’ talents, skills, and abilities over their physical appearance.
- Including ones not traditionally emphasized for girls, such as athletics.
- Understand that youths often feel peer pressure to keep up with popular media.
- Be non-judgmental.
- Help girls make wise choices among popular alternatives.
General Tips for Raising Gifted Girls (In part adapted from Reis, 1998, 2005)
Promoting Learning and Success
- Provide a wide range of learning opportunities
- Not only in languages, helping services, and arts
- Encourage participation in advanced math and science classes
- Inspire competitive athletic and leadership activities
- Monitor if and when gifted girls start to “dumb down”
- Address the issue as soon as possible.
- Expose girls to a wide range of role models
- Including those without stereotypically feminine life paths
- Do not discourage or ignore characteristics that you would support in boys
- Such as speaking up, leadership, competitiveness, athleticism
- Be mindful about what you say and model about females and their roles in society
- Recognize and acknowledge barriers that can negatively affect girls’ success
- Both external and internal
- Discuss and actively address obstacles and barriers to success
- Point out and discuss negative stereotypes
- Be careful with your language: “You cry like a girl,” “Girls aren’t good at math.”
Promoting Healthy Social Functioning
- Support relationships with other bright female peers
- Encourage learning various communication styles in relationships
- Both inclusive of others’ presence and feelings and being confident
Promoting Self Growth
- Expose girls to a wide range of role models
- Including those that have non-stereotypical life paths
- Encourage personality characteristics that are typically encouraged in boys
- Independence, smart risk-taking, self-confidence, self-reliance, independence, and decision-making
Promoting Healthy Emotional Functioning
- Help girls understand the impact of their gifted characteristics on their emotional well-being
- Work to understand and accept their differences
- Even if they are not what you imagined for your daughter
Girls and Women
- American Association of University Women (AAUW)
- Examines and takes positions of the fundamental issues of the day (educational, social economic, and political).
- Works to break through educational and economic barriers so that all women have a fair chance.
- Miss Representation
- A call-to-action campaign that seeks to empower women and girls to challenge limiting media labels in order to realize their potential.
- A movement to eradicate gender stereotypes and create lasting cultural and sociological change.
This article is provided as a service of the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to supporting profoundly gifted young people 18 and under. To learn more about the Davidson Institute’s programs, please visit www.DavidsonGifted.org.