I’ve come to use “flat-out” to describe what others may call “bossy,” simply because it’s not as derogatory or stereotypical. True, there are little girls who live up to the stereotype and are not pleasant to be around. But, for the most part, the rest have a spunk that’s better off being channeled than stifled.
Little girls with grit are often criticized for being b*tchy or bossy at a young age. At the same time, strong-minded little boys are considered leaders, with an admirable amount of confidence.
In today’s world, confidence and moxie are qualities that are just as important for girls. When we take a look at the strong women who have made a difference in how our gender is perceived and respected, it is clear the days of standing back and taking whatever’s hurled our way are over. Yet, we feel compelled to look a little girl in the eye and tell her to stand down and be nice.
Of course, as responsible adults, we need to recognize when spunk crosses the line to rude or disrespectful and teach her ways to rein it in. Spirited girls need to be taught how to give others the chance to lead... and to be kind. I believe this can be done without breaking that spirit.
The extra effort it takes is definitely worth it, because of all the potential these cheeky little girls possess. That potential may very well include being able to…
Be an advocate for herself. She will not hesitate to speak up to be heard nor tolerate any disrespect or other nonsense. She will never be the silent and complacent one.
Be a leader. She will be creating her own example and making choices that are grounded in her own beliefs, opinions, and thoughts. She won’t be the one who follows other kids around, doing foolish things just to fit in.
Be unafraid to take risks. She will feel comfortable enough in her own skin to consider new choices and ideas and to shape her own future.
Be exuberant. A strong-minded girl is excited about life and the chance to do things on her own.
Be an advocate for others. She will not have any fear to speak up on others’ behalf. She will be the one to say something when someone is being mistreated or bullied.
When I taught preschool, I always enjoyed the little girls with pluck. They were smart, asked questions, were observant, challenging, and never rolled over. Yes, they needed the occasional reminder about who was actually in charge, but it was rarely a struggle, if there was consistency and mutual respect.
I continue to enjoy these young women now, in my college classes. They still ask the best questions and aren’t hesitant to be innovative and challenge accepted ideas.
They will be the “flat-out” leaders… the ones who drive change and make a difference.