Girls who kick ass learn everything from women who kick ass.
F*ck mean girls, basic girls and silly girls. We don't have time, and some girls take a lifetime to grow out of those early stages. We need girls who can show up, hold it down and kick ass. You probably have your own parenting rules for raising a kick-ass daughter, because that's what kick-ass moms do: we chip in.
Here's how to raise one.
1. Encourage her to use her voice.
Don't silence her when she's a toddler. She will start talking at around 11 months and after that she will never, ever shut up. She must use her voice without apology and shouldn't start a sentence with "Sorry," unless she's actually sorry. Our voices should be strongest when we're speaking for something or someone we believe in. F*ck bossy — teach leadership that's rooted in resolve and empathy.
2. Let her play with dolls.
If she wants to be a princess, then the princess must breathe fire. Don't take away the Barbie or turn off The Little Mermaid. We don't empower our girls by silencing them. Instead, get on the floor and make sure that Barbie has a job, good friends, and all of the other best kick-ass accessories.
We have dolls of every color. Our dolls have hijabs and wheelchairs and afros and mohawks, and more importantly, they have ideas, reasons, and big, purposeful lives.
3. Allow her to develop something she's good at.
Like a sense of humor, making things, or athletic skills. If she knows that she's there to contribute, she won't question her place and will easily slap back at anyone else who tries to question her contribution.
4. Show her how to face her fears.
If we're afraid, that's OK, but we do it anyway.
5. Have her recognize her boundaries and defend them at all costs.
Teach her to say no, not to ruminate and stew, and then passive-aggressively wiggle out later. Have her practice saying no and model this for her. Saying no with frequency will free up more time and energy required for developing skills.
6. Teach her to recognize envy and jealousy.
Then, show her that we compete only with ourselves. This will act as an immunization against all silly bitch and basic bitch nonsense. Show her what it looks like to have friends that we love, cherish and support, and to find strength and comfort with the ones that love us the same way.
7. Help her find power in her emotions.
From the very beginning, teach her that the problem isn't that she's upset about something, but that someone is doing something to piss her off. Teach her to find strength in her vulnerability so that stupid people cannot use her emotions against her.
8. Teach her to care about what really matters.
Teach her to recognize substance, and to aggressively and dramatically roll her eyes at the suggestion that that lack of any of these things in her life matter. When we do go to dances or weddings, we go all in with genuine love and happiness. Show her what it means to be genuinely happy for people you love. Show her that we populate our world only with those we celebrate daily.
9. Make sure she has a positive father figure.
The father of the kick-ass girl must be a man of purpose and cannot be the kind of man who uses her weight, looks or intelligence to assert power over her. He must emulate the same kick-ass principles. If these attributes aren't present, then appoint another male to be that man. If that fails, then become that man yourself.