Too Much Girl Power

This is a house of all boys. They are noisy and dirty and love sports and Legos and all sorts of creepy crawly things.

We teach them to respect others and to take care of each other and in some cases how to suck it up and be a man- and other times how it’s okay to cry. That they can do anything they set their minds to, if they try hard enough.

I imagine if I had a girl, I would want her to learn a lot of the same things and make sure she knew she didn’t have to put up with crap from people- to be strong and have “girl power.”

But we’ve had a few run ins lately where “girl power” has gone too far.

girl power

Little girls with an air of entitlement- that they can do anything they want to boys like call them names and hit them. And that it’s okay because they are girls and they are just doing it to boys.

That they are just being strong and not taking anything from anyone, boys included.

One example: a 9 year-old girl who shoved my 4 year-old off a slide and then kicked him while he was laying on the ground. And who then told me that she’s allowed to hit boys but they can’t hit her. Because her mama said.

And while I can understand the idea of teaching a little girl that they should never let boys(or anyone) hit or in any way touch them, and that it’s okay to defend themselves if necessary, that seemed to translate to this little girl as she can be a total hurtful brat as long as the person she is hurting is a boy. And her mom saw no problem with what her daughter did.

Another example was a 6 year old girl who refused to leave my 8 year old alone, following him around and chanting “baby” over and over. I tried to encourage him to get away from her but she wouldn’t leave him alone. I frowned at her and said loudly that it wasn’t nice to call people names. Yet, she did not care and kept right on going. My 6 year old finally told her to stop it because she was the one who was a baby.

The girl took off running to tell her mom who was about half a soccer field away from us. They started walking back over to the playground and by the look on the mom’s face, she was ready for a fight. Because some mean boy had called her darling little girl a name. She started coming to where we were and I loudly said to my middle son that while it wasn’t nice of him to call someone a baby, I was proud of him for sticking up for his brother when that little girl would not stop calling him names. The mom stopped and shot me a nasty look, but headed to another part of the park.

These are just two examples of situations we’ve been in lately where I’ve thought that maybe girl power has gone too far.

And while I can’t protect my boys from everything and I do want them to learn to stand up for themselves, they still shouldn’t be treated like that by little girls who should have been taught better.

Maybe these instances are rare and we just have uncommonly bad luck in who we run into out in town.

Or maybe I don’t get it because I’m just a boy mama.

Have you had any experiences with too much girl power?


  1. says

    Who doesn’t teach their kids not to hit or call names? I think there’s trouble on the horizon when kids say, I can hurt you but you can’t hurt me. How does that idea age? Or lying about what took place. I hear about this kind of thing more and more. It’s disturbing.
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    • Shell says

      It disturbs me. And I’ve seen it from boys as well, though it’s been more girls lately and got me thinking about this. 

  2. says

    Obviously these girls are inheriting their mothers’ nasty attitudes. Who lets their child pick on any child, let alone when there’s a 5 year age gap. I want my daughter to learn how to stand up for herself but not to be a bully. 
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  3. says

    It shouldn’t matter whether they’re a girl or boy – they should not be treating other kids badly and no parent of a girl should be teaching their daughter it’s ok to beat on little boys because they can’t hit back. That is just not right.

    • Shell says

      I was so furious with that 9 y/o girl. Her attitude was just unreal. And when I did talk to her mom about it- her mom just reinforced the daughter’s attitude. Her daughter who is literally 2x as tall and 4x as heavy as my 4y/o. But he’s a boy so it didn’t matter???? 

    • Shell says

      There’s definitely some positives to girl power- girls should feel like they can do anything boys can do- and things boys can’t do! But when it gets to this entitlement stage, it’s not girl power anyway, or brattiness. 

  4. says

    Yes! We had an incident like this on Friday. We were called to the principal’s office on Friday because my son was bullying a new female student. Her mom brought her in and said she didn’t want to come to  school because Jacob was bullying her. Come to find out that she was picking on him and he was telling her to leave him alone. I am planning on posting about this soon. I have a daughter and she knows that hitting and name calling are wrong no matter what. 
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    • Shell says

      Ugh. I hope you got that all straightened out. It really bothers me that the boys get blamed when it isn’t always that way. 

  5. says

    Proud of your son. I have to agree that children learn by example. It’s sad that those parents think its ok for girls to hit boys. Parents should teach them how to stand up for themselves without being a bully. You can just imagine the cycle they are creating. It’s so sad.

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    • Shell says

      There’s such a huge difference between standing up for yourself and being a bully. Definitely something we need to teach our kids. 

  6. says

    As the mom of two girls, I believe that girls are special. And boys are special. And differences should be celebrated- but NOT in the form of entitlement. At the end of the day, people need to be nice. Respectful. Kind. And if they can’t do that, then they’re gonna grow up to be a lousy adult- male OR female.
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  7. says

    WOW. So. Wrong. You have had the MISFORTUNE of experiencing TOTAL BRATS indulgent of their mother’s ways and for that I am SO sorry! My girl would NEVER ever call anyone a name and God forbid push or kick anyone! Those mothers and their entitled little girls are the kind of people that make this world ugly… make sure you find some good girls to hang out with so your poor boys don’t get a horrible perception of girls.
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  8. sue diamond-phillips says

    I agree with you 100%. I’m over all this girl power garbage. Since like…the Spice Girls, pretty much:) Great post!

    • Shell says

      It’s kind of mind-blowing. If a boy did that to a girl, it would so not be okay. So, it shouldn’t be okay for a girl to do it either. 

  9. says

    I want my daughter to have Girl Power, meaning I want her to stand up for herself and feel she can do anything she sets her mind to.  What you experienced was not Girl Power.  It was bullying and poor parenting.  Nothing drives me up a wall more than kids who think they’re entitled to everything and parents who think their child(ren) can do no wrong.
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    • Shell says

      It is the entitlement that makes it go too far. Girl power can be a great thing- as long as it’s not taken too far.  What I really wanted to call this is “When Girl Power turns into Bitch Training” but I thought I better not go that far. 😉 

  10. says

    It’s been said above, but I think the problem is, it is taken to far. As is a lot of things.
    As a mom of 2 girls, I want my girls to stand up for themselves, but not be bullies, or rude, or brats, or whatever. I want them to realize they can do what boys do, but I aim more for the math/sports/be a doctor/president of the US :)  route, you know?

    It seems you’ve run into self-indulgent kids, unfortunate.
    There’s a lot of children (boys and girls) with entitlement issues, and it is scary. If everyone is entitled to everything what’s left for anybody?
    Stepping off soapbox now…. 
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    • Shell says

      It is the entitlement that worries me- coming from a boy or a girl. Anytime kids think they can do whatever they want- it’s scary. 

  11. says

    Oh friend, being a mom of boys really makes this stuff stand out.
    See, I think it’s a culture thing. It used to be all about the boys and then some whiny people decided we better do something to pump the girls up because it wasn’t “fair.” Okay. That’s all good except they went too far. 
    Now girls are down right nasty. Of course, that’s not EVERY girl, just some, but any child being a bully is too many. Boy OR girl.
    My MIL told my husband when he was a little boy that if a girl hit him he could hit her back. Only if she hit him first.
    He never did and wouldn’t and has told my boys to never hit girls, but depending on what the situation was I can’t say that I totally disagree.
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    • Shell says

      I think so, too- b/c we think if it were my BOY doing this, all hell would break loose. 

      I’ve told my boys they are allowed to defend themselves- boy or girl. When that 9 y/o told me boys aren’t allowed to hit her, I told her that if she touched one of my boys again, they had my permission to punch her. Um, yeah, I didn’t handle that in the best way.

      • Cynedra says

        Maybe not, but I think I would have done the same thing. When my 7 year old was in K, one of his female classmates pulled down his pants and his underwear were exposed. When I confronted the teacher about it (which is no something I normally d0), she said that she didn’t see it happen although the other students said that it happened. Seeing or not seeing what happened, I got the feeling that as it was a girl doing it to a boy, it wasn’t that big of a deal, but if my son had did that to a girl, he would have probably been expelled. My son is small for his age and just barely old enough to be in his grade at school. The girl was probably 9 inches taller and 20 pounds heavier than him. Luckily, it was close to the end of the school year and she hasn’t been in the same class with him although we have run into her at CubScout outings. I still haven’t figured out which parents belong to her because nearly two years later, I’m still considering giving them a piece of mind, despite the fact that I have very little mind to waste.

    • Shell says

      It’s like they are never told no to or that anything and everything they do is “cute” instead of being WRONG.

  12. says

    Funny how complimentary this is to some of my posts on empowering girls without losing femininity.  It’s a hard thing to get across.  I work hard to teach basic humanity first.  In a mixed racial and ability family, we work from day one to say, “All life is worthy of respect.”  From plants and animals to people, we don’t cause pain or destruction physical or emotional first.  I explain about humane treatment of food sources and pets and acceptance of others.  I teach this, we don’t always behave perfectly, but we’re works in progress; all of us.   

    I will admit that I probably stress graceful movement (my girls are both bulls in a china shop) more with my girls.  I also really push modesty father with them but I do address it with the boys and girls.  I probably stress gentle hands but definitely “no means no” concepts a little harder on the boys.  I think, I hope, I do this because, on both sides, their gender will take more crap or potentially be punished more quickly for misunderstandings in these categories.  

    I would definitely say that the girls in your stories were out of line.  This post made me think.  I’ll keep my eyes open a little wider.  Ugh, this parenting gig–it’s hard!!!!
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    • Shell says

      I’m all for empowerment- as long as it doesn’t go too far. It’s a fine line sometimes. 

  13. says

    I’m also the lone bastion of estrogen in a testosterone filled household, making sure to teach my boys that everyone is to be respected.  We’ve been lucky not to have any girls bullies show up around us (though there have been other boys that have tried bullying my kids).  I have seen girls bully other kids, though, and have a hard time keeping my mouth shut – particularly in instances where it’s an older girl bullying a younger child.  I’ll speak up.

    Girl power is great – everyone needs to know that they are valued and important and that they don’t need to wait for anyone to do anything for them.  But when it crossing the line into bullying (and that’s what it was in both the situations you had to deal with), that’s when something needs to be said to these kids parents’.
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    • Shell says

      I did talk to the 9y/o’s mom. It got seriously ugly, though. She went right along with her daughter- that it’s okay for her to “stand up for herself” around boys. But that’s not what it was when she was going after a 4y/o who did nothing to her. I could not get through to the mom. I told her she needs to keep her kids away from mine.

  14. says

    I think it’s just a sign of the way some people are parenting these days. I have noticed parents encouraging there kids to take another childs toy, or to push a bigger kid around. I think the parents do this so that there kid won’t be bullied but they don’t realize that they are raising a bully.
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    • Shell says

      I can see that. None of us wants our kids to be bullies. But there’s a difference between a child standing up for themselves and being the ones to bully. And I don’t think they can see that difference at this age. 

  15. says

    I feel you! We have had a few similar instances. One where a girl hit my son. An older, bigger girl. And he came home saying that he just had to let her because she was a girl. I told him in no uncertain terms that NO ONE is allowed to hit him and that he is ALWAYS allowed to defend himself whether the person is a boy OR a girl. Another issue I have is within coed sports. My son is a great basketball player and he recently played against a team where there was a girl guarding him and the opposing coach asked him to give the girl back the ball after he’d stolen it from her numerous times. If girls are going to play against boys in a sport, then they need to be prepared to PLAY. They never would’ve done that if it was a boy and I feel like that sort of stuff has a negative impact on the sport AND goes completely against the whole girl power thing. Like, hey guys, everyone be nice to little Sally because she’s just a little girl! Um, no thank you! I teach my Dudes to respect girls and love the things about them that make them NOT boys. Everyone deserves the same opportunities, but boys and girls are NOT the same and why would we even want them to be?!
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  16. says

    That’s just wrong. I have both boys and girls and while we teach our boys that they aren’t allowed to hit a girl EVER, we also teach our girls that they aren’t allowed to hit boys EVER. It’s like saying men are the only abusers, when we know that isn’t true. I hope these moms see the light before their bratty little girls get too much older. 
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  17. says

    Oh, you are bang on! I have a 9-yr-old daughter and a 4-yr-old son. I’ve found that people, in general, just expect the little boys to take it on the chin, be little men, so fast and so soon. And it used to drive me nuts when I’d see an altercation between a wee girl and a wee boy, and one parent or another would act like a theater director giving the actor and actress their direction–the boy, the bad guy, the caveman; the girl, the innocent, the victim. The burden was so often on the boy. Lots of assumptions. It’s not good for either sex!
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  18. says

    It unfortunately is not just a girl thing. There is an overwhelming feeling of entitlement that people are teaching their kids. There is a giant lack of teaching respect. People want to be their kids’ friends and not their parents. It is a shame. :(

  19. says

    WTH… those are some mean & nasty little girls! I have 3 girls and I can tell you that I have never told them that  it’s okay to hit a boy or anyone at all. They’ve learned to stand up for themselves and help those who are being pushed around whether it’s a boy or a girl!

    My girls are by no means perfect but geesh… how can you teach your kid that it’s okay to hit a boy because you’re a girl and boys can’t hit you!
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  20. says

    I don’t even know what to say about this. And the fact that I am reading the comments and see that it has happened to other boys also is just so disturbing.
    I have two girls and one boy and this would never be allowed to happen. I can’t even imagine telling my son not to defend himself or telling my girls that they are allowed to be a bully because they are a girl. Blows my mind. I believe in raising strong willed and determined girls, but I also believe in raising a strong willed determined boy and neither of those scenarios involve being a bully. I hope you gave that mom a piece of your mind. I am sure that other moms at the park were silently cheering you on!

  21. says

    This is something I’ve been bothered by as well. It’s sexism, if you think about it. I don’t know that moms are encouraging their girls to hit boys, but I think many of them are neglecting to point out that no one should hit anyone. Period. Instead of teaching our boys to never hit a girl (which often happens within girl earshot), we should teach boys and girls that hitting anyone is forbidden. No matter who the recipient is. Mom. Dad. Sibling. Dog. Cat. I might be in the minority here, but I take a pretty strong stance on violence of any sort. If my son is being hurt/attacked by anyone, boy or girl, he knows he has the right to defend himself.

    So girls: don’t start static: won’t be none!
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  22. says

    I have 8 daughters and 4 sons and we do teach our boys that they can’t hit girls or kids younger than they are. But we also teach our girls that they can’t hit either, so I think we are pretty even. Girls are not given any particular preference around here although I am trying to teach my boys to be “gentlemen.”
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  23. says

    Oh no you get it just fine– it is completely unacceptable what those girls did- girl or not!  Yes a boy should not hit a girl but a girl shouldn’t hit a boy either.  I think it has gone too far with girls being empowered can do anything/everything.  As yes they are amazing and can but there are differences in boys and girls and those should be celebrated not shunned.
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  24. says

    Oh, how dreadful.  I would be all over my girls if they behaved that way.  one of my daughter’s can get snarky – but I have always intervened.  I think that’s what matters – that the mom is listening and mitigates the problem. 
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  25. Cynedra says

    I posted a reply to one of your replies, but wanted to add that although I think it would probably be overboard, if the mother of the 9 year old approached the subject with you again, or if the 9 year old acted in such a behavior, I would probably mention that this behavior is known as ASSAULT & BATTERY and is not acceptable by any gender.

  26. says

    I love your post and posted a link to it on my won blog, under the post titled Waiting For Superman. My post is actually in favor of girl power, defending girls’ right to stand up for themselves. Having said that, I think like anything, girl power can be abused if taken too far.
    Thanks for sharing your ideas! 
    Rebecca  =)