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How Parents Can Help Their Daughters Express Anger in Healthy Ways and Why It Matters

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Most parents talk to their children about their emotions, but there’s one emotion that people often leave out when talking to girls: anger. “I don’t remember my parents or other adults ever talking to me about anger directly,” observes Soraya Chemaly, author of Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger, “Sadness, yes. Envy, anxiety, guilt, check, check, check. But not anger…. While parents talk to girls about emotions more than they do to boys, anger is excluded.” In fact, from an early age, parents, caregivers, and teachers expect girls to regulate their emotions more effectively than boys, teaching them that expressing “negative” emotions like anger is socially unacceptable. In this blog post, we’ll explore why it’s important to let girls be angry – and how to teach girls to channel their anger productively.

Most girls and women understand the risks they take when they become angry,” writes Chemaly. “No matter how justified, appearing angry won’t do her any favors and will actually undermine people’s perception of her competence and likeability.” Instead, “girls are more likely to learn that their feelings of anger, no matter the reason they have them, are ‘wrong’ and out of sync with their identities as girls.” So when we leave anger out of our girls’ emotional toolbox, they may struggle to stand up for themselves, even when a situation deserves their anger. “We are so busy teaching girls to be likable,” asserts Chemaly, “that we forget to teach them that they have the right to be respected.”

Click to keep reading how to help girls understand their anger at Mighty Girl.

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