Transcript for Raising strong women in the #MeToo era
Now we're kicking off our new series "Raising good women" all about how to help our daughters grow into powerful, strong people. Back in December we took a closer look at how parents can help their boys become respectful men. These series coming as so many parents have questions in the wake of those sexual harassment allegations in the news this seems like every day and Deborah Roberts is here and you met with a group of young girls in San Francisco. I sure did, Michael. Hi. You know how they say kids say the darnedest things. I sat down with some 7 to 10-year-old girls from different backgrounds who are just beginning to discover their voices in an open and honest way. We talked about what the world is like for them in 2018 and what it means to be a girl in school, at home and amongst boys. When you say somebody is a girl, what does that mean? Well, for the people who think boys and girls are different, I bet they would say that girls like pink and they like to wear dresses. Is that true? No. What does it mean to be a princess? Princesses act like they're perfect but nobody is perfect. Do you feel like boys and girls are pretty much equal. Yes. V what if a boy is acting like he's better than you. Maybe I'll say I don't like what he's doing and if he could stop it. Girls are just the same as boys are. Watching from the room next door, the girls' parents and child psychologist Dr. David Anderson. They had a very clear sense about girls and boys being equal. That was something that's really interesting. Boys are the same age hear a little more about gender roles or may believe there's certain things girls can't do or boys are not supposed to do. He also noted how the girls are learning to look out for one another. If somebody was being mean to your friend, could you stand up? I might say can you please be nicer. I did it to -- for my sister once. It felt good. When we asked boys the same question, the answer was, if it comes to it, you know, we may have to get physical. For the girls on the panel you didn't get a single answer that involved going into someone else's spaces. Reporter: In fact guarding their personal space may be one of the critical rights they're learning. I put my hands here and I'm like don't cross the space. What if somebody is giving you a hug and you don't want them to give you a hug. What can you do. You can say please stop because if you kind of give some -- a hug to somebody you don't know if they have lice and protect your own space. Even when they mentioned lice they said that was developmentally appropriate because at some level they were happy that was one of the biggest threats they were thinking about. If you're only worrying about lice you're keeping your kid protected. Reporter: These girls are already imagining the future. What does it mean to be a powerful woman? To be strong. Don't show off and just do it. It's not like they're a superhero or anything. They feel good about themselves and they -- they're just strong. And when their parents joined in, no embarrassment here. Only pride on both sides. I thought it was really wonderful to just hear the girls talk about how girls are equal to boys and from my day and age if I had been interviewed if the answers would have been so across the board. What's the hardest thing about raising sort of strong girls that are going to grow up to be strong, good women? At a younger age it's all about mommy and daddy. Now it's starting to become more and more my friends are doing this. My friends are, you know, showing me this sort of thing. As the kids get older parents as role models fade in powary Enget to be new social pressures which is exactly where we want these ideals to stay strong. These girls are growing up in an era of powerful women and that's the biggest gift we can give them. A lot of girl pow are. They are at an age where they aren't so self-conscious and not unwilling to speak their minds. I asked them how they would react to boys who may act better or smarter or more powerful than they are and they told me, a situation, of course, a lot of women will complain about, the girls said they hadn't experienced it but if they did they would tell the boys to cut it out. As a mom I remember that age but the key is trying to keep the girls rooted in that kind of power and honesty and that's the challenge for parents. And I'm glad you bring this to us. As a father of 13-year-old girls I'm panicking and very important and we're going to bring in Dr. Anderson who is going to help us. Dr. David Anderson, the director of the child mind institute and we saw you in the piece, doc. As you can see these kids 7 to 10 years old already forming their own identities at that age. How do you foster that growth. We like to think identity is about being exposed to diverse set of experiences and role models so following a kid's lead and making sure they have lots of opportunities to engage in a wide range of passions whether it's robotics or violin lessons or sports and that's kind of how we make sure that they then can pull out the various facets of their identities from those activities. You want your daughter to feel like they can do anything. Of course. I want the same thing but what are the building blocks? How do we give them confidence and the strength? What we pay attention to in terms of what we praise for our children. If we praise effort and kindness and person so veerns, who they are, what they do and how they interact with others, we're more likely to see those qualities start to amplify as they grow older. Want to avoid it around appearance or the idea of certain calls only on their own. And creates stereotypes. These girls say they like to get dirty and want to be considered these light frivolous things. They didn't like that at all. Absolutely. You also say that parents, you're the role model for your kids. We all are but at a certain age, you hear the parents say they want to hang out with their friends. Peers. How do you balance that? It's a difficult change to see them move away from you toward peers. How do you support that and still be supportive of that without losing yourself? This is the tough effort part for any parent. The beginning of this age range, you know, kids are really listening to their parents but near the end they start listening a lot to their peers and that's with we don't want it to be a push/pull dynamic but follow the kids' lead and meet them where they're at and get to know their social world so as they get older they keep the lines of open communication and as they confront sex or drugs or alcohol parents can openly communicate. So they're not just talking to peers but parents a little bit too. Not as much but a little bit. Rough with 13-year-old girls. I'm still panicking. It's going to beokay, Michael. We're not done and have more coming up. I love what the young lady said, nobody is perfect. For her to realize that between 7 and 10
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