Encouraging healthy risk-taking

Educator, Rachel Simmons, Author of Odd Girl Out, discusses healthy risk-taking and tools to build girls' self-confidence.
Teaching Girls To Take Healthy Risks - Parenting Advice
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Encouraging healthy risk-taking

Healthy risk-taking means trying something new or unfamiliar where there’s an unfamiliar outcome or a possibility of failure. Healthy risk-taking is something that can happen across any area of your life-in your social life and your athletic experiences, in the classroom. When you take a healthy risk, I’m going to use an example. Let’s say your daughter needs to speak up and tell a friend how she really feels and she’s afraid. That’s a healthy risk. When she tries to do that, when she tries to take that step, she has to have an internal conversation with herself, she has to say, does this really matter to me? Do I care enough about myself and this relationship to take this step? What are my values about healthy friendship? And all of that has to be settled for her before she takes the risk. So, risk-taking really helps us clarify what matters to us. When she finally goes up to that girl and tries to speak-maybe she fails, maybe she succeeds-she gets the rush of proving to herself, I am capable of more than I ever realized. She sees the horizon of her own potential stretch in front of her in a way that no safe bet ever could provide for her. To help your daughter take healthy risks one of the most important things to remember is keep her expectations low. The bigger the risks the less likely it is she’s actually gonna go for it, so incremental steps. If a girl wants to go up to a friend and tell her how she really feels, that can’t be the first thing she does. Before she does that, maybe she should write down what she wants to say. Then, maybe she should role-play it with you. When she takes small, bite-sized steps toward her risk, she will feel more confident about the big moment; but girls have a tendency of setting goals that are ambitious-which is great-but also unrealistic. So, what I often say to my students is when you come up with a risk or a goal that is so small that you think it’s like pathetic and trivial-which is what the over achievers will say-then you’ve got it.

Educator, Rachel Simmons, Author of Odd Girl Out, discusses healthy risk-taking and tools to build girls' self-confidence.


Expert Bio

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Rachel Simmons

Author & Educator

Rachel Simmons is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls, and The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence. As an educator, Rachel works internationally to empower young women to be more authentic, assertive and self-aware.

Rachel is a Vassar graduate and Rhodes Scholar from New York. The co-founder of the Girls Leadership Institute, she is an experienced curriculum writer and educator who works with schools and organizations around the world. She currently develops leadership programs for undergraduate women at the Center for Work and Life at Smith College. She has previously worked as a classroom teacher in Massachusetts and South Africa.

Rachel was the host of the recent PBS television special, “A Girl’s Life,” and is a contributing writer and advice columnist for Teen Vogue.

Rachel has appeared on Oprah and the Today show, and appears regularly in the national me- dia. Odd Girl Out was adapted into a highly acclaimed Lifetime television movie. Rachel lives in western Massachusetts with her daughter and West Highland Terrier, Rosie, who is currently taking private workshops with Rachel to learn how to stop bullying other dogs.

For more information, please visit www.rachelsimmons.com.

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