As a mother of a nine-year-old daughter it was with great interest that I read Stacey Radin’s new book “Brave Girls: Raising Young Women with Passion and Purpose to Become Powerful Leaders“. As my little girl grows up, I want to be prepared to guide her as best as I possibility can through the trials and tribulations of adolescence. Looking back, my early teenage years were perhaps the worst years of my life. Years that were difficult, unhappy and rocky. Even to this day, I will never forget my mother’s words of shock when she lamented “What has happened to my happy little girl?” when I hit thirteen and was drowning in hormones and confusion about who on earth I had become.
Sadly, these are years that I often wish I could do over but of course that isn’t at all possible. I realize how much these years negatively impacted me and my self-esteem. Thirty years later I still remember the mean, devastating comments and when all my friends decided to drop me. I was so afraid to go to school because I had no one to sit by and I vividly remember hiding in the bathroom over lunch. Thankfully life got easier for me once the braces came off, I grew into my body and blossomed. But those terrible years still haunt me when I think about them today.
Radin’s book “Brave Girls” opens with the following sentence that instantly pulled me in:
“Our society as a whole is lacking in opportunities designed to help preadolescent girls feel confident, secure and emotionally safe”.
I think about the messages that our world sends to our girls mostly through film, magazines and TV. That appearance matters, and a “certain” appearance is what matters even more. That being brainy or standing up for yourself may make you unpopular, mean or aggressive. That girls should be one way and boys another. Let’s face it, it is an exceedingly difficult and complicated world that our young girls have to navigate. The Internet and social media can make it even harder. Cyber bullying, worrying about how many “likes” you get with a post and the over-whelming level of social connectedness makes it so intimidating you’ll want to pull the covers over your face and hide.
So, how can I ensure my happy, smart, funny and caring little girl fares better than I during adolescence and thrive? That is a good question.
Throughout the book, Radin beautifully illustrates the additional challenges faced by girls while undergoing adolescence and offers ways for girls to discover their own power, leadership and confidence through her program called Unleashed. “The premise of Unleashed – social justice via animal rights – acts as a catalyst for broader issues such as female empowerment, self-esteem, leadership and social change” writes Radin. Radin came up with the idea for Unleashed after years of working with high-powered women executives and noticing an alarming trend: Even some of the most successful, powerful women in the world today are still afraid of using their power and voice. Radin wondered what she could do to inspire change. That is when she invented Unleashed.
Unleashed is a three-month program that combines social justice, leadership, development and community services for tween girls built around animal rights and welfare. Radin’s program beautifully empowers girls to discover their voice and become leaders during adolescence which is by far one of the most intense periods of a child’s life, emotionally, physically and developmentally. It is Radin’s belief that developing strong, powerful brave girls, we will have more brave women in the future. I couldn’t agree more.
While I may not have an Unleashed program here in Minneapolis, I do have other opportunities to help my daughter find her voice. She is a dedicated Girl Scout, an ace skier, in an advanced reading and math program at school, and a kind, caring special little girl. I need to ensure that I am there for her as she embarks on her journey of incredible growth and struggle. I will also be sure to keep my copy of “Brave Girls” handy when we hit a rocky point which I’m sure we will.
Sometimes it is through hard times, that we grow and become a stronger, better person. I am not sure if that was the case for me yet I hope my own girl will have an easier, more impactful time. No matter how hard it can be, I will be there for her through thick and thin and I can hardly wait to see the young woman she will become. She is a gift.
More about the book:
Brave Girls digs deep, identifying the negative influxes that cause middle-school-age girls to feel silenced, how they come to bully each other and follow the herd. It also offers the solution, using the real-life experiences of ordinary girls to show how we can reverse these negative patterns and give them the tools to lead. At this pivotal time in their development, girls can learn to advocate for others, think critically, and gain confidence in their own abilities and ideas. If we take initiative early enough, we can inspire today’s girls to become the next generation of strong, dynamic leaders in all areas of society.
Published by Simon and Schuster. 290 pages.
About the author:
Stacey Radin is a psychologist, researcher, and consultant who has dedicated her career to the development of girls and women. She is the founder and CEO of Unleashed; president of Corporate Equilibrium, specializing in psychology of organizations effectiveness; and a member of the United Nations Working Group on Girls.
Founded in 2010 by psychologist and leadership consultant Dr. Stacey Radin (Psy.D), Unleashed is a twelve- week after-school program currently in place in fifteen schools & three community centers in the U.S. To date they have served over 300 girls, rescued over 400 puppies, and run 24 programs in more than 15 schools. The program seeks to “revolutionize gender in our society” by teaching pre-teen girls to take charge in the goal of dog rescue. By becoming experts in animal rights and welfare, Dr. Radin coaches girls to think big, collaborate, and discover and exercise their power to make a difference in society and take a stand against injustice.
To learn more about Unleased and author Stacey Radin:
To get involved in Unleased:
To purchase the book on Amazon, click here.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post by Pivoting Media Project to raise awareness of the book and Unleashed. All opinions in the above post are my own. I’m a strong supporter of women and girls rights and equality and enjoyed reading this book to learn more about raising brave girls.