Apr 25, 2016

The Curse of the Good Girl

Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence
by Rachel Simmons

This book is about teaching girls to be true to themselves. The first half shows examples of learned behavior patterns that can be problematic because girls use them to diminish their feelings, avoid confrontation, deny culpability, sidestep real issues between friends and so on. All in the name of being "good"- nice, apologetic, demure and selfless. At first I thought it was ridiculous, the idea of good behavior becoming a negative thing, but the author makes the case that it's about putting on a good appearance at the cost of everything else that can be a problem. Which leaves girls unable to resolve issues, communicate effectively, speak up for themselves or even recognize when relationships need improvement. She sees serious trends of girls unable to accept and build upon criticism, girls who apply all-or-nothing rules to their friendships and then carry those on into professional settings later in life, which only hinders them. The author systematically examines the "good girl" ways of being that are problematic, and then describes how to go about learning different patterns of behavior that enable girls to be more forthright, confidence and sincere. Using examples from real situations that came up with girls who attend her workshops (often with their mothers) she shows how to work through it. There's no perfect answer, but there are better ways of finding them. I saw myself a lot in this book. And my daughter. I hope I absorbed enough of it to attempt making some changes of my own for the better.

I borrowed this book from a friend.

Rating: 4/5        278 pages, 2009

more opinions:
A Striped Armchair
Betty and Boo Chronicles


bermudaonion said...

I wonder if this trend is exclusive to girls. When I was growing up it was accepted, even somewhat expected, that boys would fight. Now parents teach them that it's never acceptable to fight.

Jeane said...

Yes. I am sure similar things occur with how boys are taught to behave and respond to issues they face.

Jenny @ Reading the End said...

Ha! I absolutely KNOW that I would see myself in this book. When I was in first grade, I was so terrified of getting in trouble that my mother asked my teachers to put me at a table where I'd get in trouble OFTEN, to acclimatize me to it. It worked -- pretty well, I guess? I still really crave approval though. :p