Mrs Chilton
Head of Student Wellbeing

Book Review – The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence by Rachel Simmons

Recently, while developing tutorials for Year 11 Pastoral time, I read a book called The Curse of the Good Girl by Rachel Simmons. This book addressed some of the challenges that “good girl” pressure puts on our girls when it comes to living up to the expectations at school, home or in society.

What is particularly helpful about this book is that it provides practical scenarios and conversation prompts for parents navigating situations that girls may find challenging, such as receiving feedback, taking on board criticism and navigating conflict.

A key takeaway for me was what Ms Simmons calls the impact of the “freak out voice”, which girls often experience when they come up against a problem. There is a tendency for girls to jump to the worst possible outcome of a situation. Ms Simmons provides helpful dialogue prompts and strategies to help girls overcome this voice and reflect on alternative responses to the problem in front of them.

Another key reflection was ways to help girls reframe failure when receiving critical feedback. Here is a snippet of what Ms Simmons suggests about helping girls to develop more confidence in themselves in these situations:

One of the biggest causes of low confidence in girls and women is this: When we succeed, we think it is because we worked hard. When we fail, we think it is because we are not smart, i.e. we blame our ability. This is called “attribution.”

If you attribute a failure to your lack of ability, it makes it a LOT harder to get back up and fight when you’ve been knocked down. You think, “Well, I guess I am inherently not that smart or capable.” So, next time you stuff up, avoid the ability-blaming. Look at the circumstances. What could you DO differently instead of how could you BE different?

The Curse of the Good Girl can be found here.

If you do not have the time to read the whole book, Ms Simmons has written a number of helpful articles, which can be accessed here. A summary of her top ten tips for raising teen girls can be found here.