From Girls to Women
Between the ages of eight and thirteen, girls undergo a mysterious transformation that has long been the source of concern to parents, educators, and psychologists. Even very saucy, self-confident, outspoken second-grade gals are apt to shrivel into shy, insecure shadows of their former selves before they become teenagers.
No one has as yet found the keys to reviving Ophelia, but perhaps by understanding the forces that conspire to undermine tween girls' feisty, self-confident selves, you can find ways to help your daughter continue to appreciate those aspects of herself that don't fit the supermodel and rock star ideal.
Preadolescent girls have a disturbingly predictable pattern of scaling back their far-flung aspirations. They soon convince themselves and everyone else they are not as bright or capable as everyone previously assumed. The downward spiral in grades, especially in math and science, does not seem to be for want of trying or intelligence. No one has found a way to reverse girls' flagging grades, self-esteem, and goals, but extra doses of encouragement might help support them.