The Trouble With Bright Girls For women, ability doesn’t always lead to confidence. Here’s why. Published on January 27, 2011 by Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D. in The Science of Success Successful women know only too well that in any male-dominated profession, we often find ourselves at a distinct disadvantage.   We are routinely underestimated, underutilized, and even underpaid.  Studies show that women need to perform at extraordinarily high levels, just to appear moderately competent compared to our male coworkers.

But in my experience, smart and talented women rarely realize that one of the toughest hurdles they'll have to overcome to be successful lies within.  We judge our own abilities not only more harshly, but fundamentally differently, than men do.   Understanding why we do it is the first step to righting a terrible wrong.  And to do that, we need to take a step back in time.

Chances are good that if you are a successful professional today, you were a pretty bright fifth grade girl.  My graduate advisor, psychologist Carol Dweck (author of Mindset) conducted a series of studies in the 1980s, looking at how bright girls and boys in the fifth grade handled new, difficult and confusing material.

See All Stories In Gifted KidsThe power and perils of being born smart.

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Find Local: She found that bright girls, when given something to learn that was particularly foreign or complex, were quick to give up - and the higher the girls' IQ, the more likely they were to throw in the towel.  In fact, the straight-A girls showed the most helpless responses.  Bright boys, on the other hand, saw the difficult material as a challenge, and found it energizing.  They were more likely to redouble their efforts, rather than giving up.

Why does this happen?  What makes smart girls more vulnerable, and less confident, when they should be the most confident kids in the room?  At the 5th grade level, girls routinely outperform boys in every subject, including math and science.  So there were no differences between these boys and girls in ability, nor in past history of success.   The only difference was how bright boys and girls interpreted difficulty - what it meant to them when material seemed hard to learn.  Bright girls were much quicker to doubt their ability, to lose confidence, and to become less effective learners as a result.

Researchers have uncovered the reason for this difference in how difficulty is interpreted, and it is simply this:  more often than not, bright girls believe that their abilities are innate and unchangeable, while bright boys believe that they can develop ability through effort and practice. 

How do girls and boys develop these different views?  Most likely, it has to do with the kinds of feedback we get from parents and teachers as young children.  Girls, who develop self-control earlier and are better able to follow instructions, are often praised for their "goodness."  When we do well in school, we are told that we are "so smart," "so clever, " or " such a good student."  This kind of praise implies that traits like smartness, cleverness, and goodness are qualities you either have or you don't.

Boys, on the other hand, are a handful.  Just trying to get boys to sit still and pay attention is a real challenge for any parent or teacher.  As a result, boys are given a lot more feedback that emphasizes effort (e.g., "If you would just pay attention you could learn this," "If you would just try a little harder you could get it right.")  The net result: when learning something new is truly difficult, girls take it as sign that they aren't "good" and "smart", and boys take it as a sign to pay attention and try harder.

We continue to carry these beliefs, often unconsciously, around with us throughout our lives.  And because bright girls are particularly likely to see their abilities as innate and unchangeable, they grow up to be women who are far too hard on themselves - women who will prematurely conclude that they don't have what it takes to succeed in a particular arena, and give up way too soon. 

Even if every external disadvantage to a woman's rising to the top of an organization is removed - every inequality of opportunity, every chauvinistic stereotype, all the challenges we face balancing work and family - we would still have to deal with the fact that through our mistaken beliefs about our abilities, we may be our own worst enemy.

How often have you found yourself avoiding challenges and playing it safe, sticking to goals you knew would be easy for you to reach?  Are there things you decided long ago that you could never be good at?  Skills you believed you would never possess?  If the list is a long one, you were probably one of the Bright Girls  - and your belief that you are "stuck" being exactly as you are has done more to determine the course of your life than you probably ever imagined.  Which would be fine, if your abilities were innate and unchangeable.  Only they're not.

No matter the ability - whether it's intelligence, creativity, self-control, charm, or athleticism - studies show them to be profoundly malleable.  When it comes to mastering any skill, your experience, effort, and persistence matter a lot.    So if you were a Bright Girl, it's time to toss out your (mistaken) belief about how ability works, embrace the fact that you can always improve, and reclaim the confidence to tackle any challenge that you lost so long ago.

Original article is from Psychology Today.

Raise your hand if you've had a baby.

I just like the idea that just about everyone reading this is sitting at home, or on the bus or dare I say, at Playful Grounds with their hand in the air. :-)

Anyone reading right now feel overweight? Tired? Flabby? Maybe you want to do something about it but you can't 'cause your always dragging a baby around with you and gyms don't tend to look too favourably on you perching your kid on a machine while you pump iron. Maybe you haven't even entertained the idea of doing something about it at all 'cause well, let's call a spade a spade, you're f*&^ing too tired to go to the gym. I know. I was there. Actually I'm still there. However, if like me, you are tired of hearing yourself bitch about it, i suggest coming to a workshop on Wednesday, September 5th @ 10:00am.

No working out involved, I promise.

It's to learn more about a doing an activity, a sport really. Let me back up for a sec. I used to do Karate. An ankle injury (not related to Karate at all) forced me to stop. But one of the things I loved about it was that getting into really good shape was a side effect of actually learning how to do something really really fun. As opposed to a gym. Gyms are great for some, but for me, every minute that I'm at a gym screams I'm Here To Lose Weight, I'm Here To Lose Weight, I'm Here To Lose Weight. I hate that that is the focus. I much prefer doing something that I enjoy and losing weight and getting in shape by accident.

So back to the workshop. It's about climbing. Ya, like a rock wall. The place is owned by a mom. So she has a program there called Mommy Rok. It's specifically for moms and babies only. That's all I'm gonna say except come to the workshop and learn more. Also, there will be a discount at the climbing centre for people who heard about them from us. You know, moms helping other moms. I'm totally going.

So send me an e-mail at to rsvp. Remember - NO WORKING OUT INVOLVED. Come to the information session and hear what it's all about.
So a few weeks back we ran our first Salsa night with dancer extraordinaire Vlad Cubrt, one of our ever faithful customers. I think originally he thought that the parents would dance and the kids would play, but the kids definitely wanted to join in the fun. For example, my Kai was completely enamored with Vlad's dance partner Donna. In fact, he keeps asking when Donna can come over to play at our house. Oy vei, give me strength.  Anyway, I just thought I'd share and let you know that we are going to do these nights about once a month. Beginners welcome. Vlad's an awesome teacher.

This is a really heavy entry and has some serious rape triggers. I'm re-posting it because I'm sure it will comfort some.
Rape and Attachment Parenting By hisveganmama On August 20, 2012 · 5 Comments · In attachment parenting, feminism, women Trigger warning: Rape, slut-shaming, victim blaming.  This post is written in defense of the over 30,000 ‘broken’ wombs each year that don’t go into lockdown as described by Dr. Todd Akin. 1

Twitter trends that I usually dig have to do with cats, trees and feminism. Twitter trends that make me want to cry: racist jokes, misogyny and legitimate rape. Yah, legitimate. That was the little treat that the interwebs shared with us last night. Mr. Todd Akin, a Republican 2 politician who shared his anti-abortion logic via an account of how a woman’s womb, if she is really being raped, should go into lockdown and prevent abortion. Further, since this is ‘science’, Mr. Akin is suggesting that since there could not possibly be any pregnancies that come from rape, there is no need for any woman to need an abortion. Yah, he said that.

And, if that just isn’t enough ignorance and misogyny to get this post started, how about the victim blaming and slut shaming that Kathy Dettwyler barfed all over HoboMama’s Facebook page 3 She began by attacking teen pregnancies and ended by reminding all women who have been raped that it very likely could have been prevented by them – don’t jog at 2 am because if you do, Kathy will most definitely blame you for your own rape. I highly suggest visiting Kathy and letting her know that women have the right to be where they want, do what they want and wear what they want. I have the right to exist and not worry about someone sexually assaulting me.

These two bits of idiocy are timely for me. Discussing sex with a few other attachment parents, I was left considering how sexual abuse/assault/harassment impacts our parenting decisions and shapes, in part, our parenting experiences. This topic is important, because statistics, and my work at Halton’s Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention Services, tell me that a good load of women are experiencing sexual abuse of some form. 4.
Obviously, no matter what your parenting style, sexual assault is going to impact you. For. The. Rest. Of. Your. Life. But, I am an attached parent and can only speak from my experiences.

I was raped. 5 I was a 15 year old virgin, and had tried to leave a party by myself late at night. My attacker followed me out towards a main street and suggested I sit and chat with him in a park. Sorry Kathy, but I did just that. It was obviously my fault that I was raped and left by myself in the dark, in the rain, in the mud. In the months that followed I was subtly blamed by some for my sexual assault, 6 and by others I was taken care of and watched over. Rape changes your life, but at 15 I didn’t see the impact this sexual assault would have on my role as Aodhan’s mama.

Pregnancy From the earliest moment of pregnancy, one can feel their control over their own body being relinquished. Because, even the most masochistic of us are not going to inflict that kind of nausea on ourselves. I found it really difficult to lose control of my body. I had dealt with my rape by becoming hyper aware of my body and taking control of who and what went into it. With pregnancy, I had to grapple with the feelings that were associated with losing pretty much all of this control. In addition, with pregnancy came a whole whack of people wanting to touch, poke and inspect me. Appointments with my midwife had to be psychologically prepared for, and hours were spent breathing through anxiety afterwards.

Touched Out You don’t have to have been raped to be touched out as an attached parent. You probably don’t even have to be the mama. But, the constant physical contact was and is still incredibly difficult for me. Following the attack I didn’t even want to have people near me, not even in the same space. This diminished to more of a ‘no-hug’ policy that was manageable for me, even in social/work situations. Aodhan’s persistence to touch and physically connect almost 24 hour a day has challenged these feelings for me in ways that I never could have imagined. Sometimes, when another care-giver is available, I just walk away and find physical space that is all mine and I cherish these moments. However, I would suggest that through attachment parenting I have actually been able to let go of some of my previously militant no-touch policy, and find myself hugging friends and family with wild abandon.

Co-sleeping Sleep and the time around sleep has always been sacred to me. It has been the time when I can decompress all the day’s body anxieties and find the quiet and space that I needed to ensure that my nerves weren’t threatening to overwhelm my otherwise ‘normal’ life. With an attached newborn (infant, toddler, preschooler) that space has all but disappeared. The minute I climb into bed his sleeping body finds me and fits into his now molded space against me. I have learned how to find physical calm and solitude through quiet mental meditation, and can now deal with the pressure of his child-body against mine.

Breastfeeding ‘Luckily’ for me, my attacker wasn’t so interested in my breasts, though he did use a knife to slice through my bra. Breastfeeding has been difficult for me though, as I am sure it is for other mamas that have experienced sexual assault. Breastfeeding doesn’t have any sexual connection for me, but it is more the act of being so exposed and vulnerable that sometimes terrifies me and has forced me end a nursing session early. I am happy to report that being raped did not lead me to wean my son early, but I do feel that it robbed us both of truly appreciating the power and beauty of a breastfeeding relationship.

Parenting Practices I have written before about honouring Aodhan’s body autonomy and ensuring that he honours everyone else’s. Being raped has made me hyper aware of how important even the littelest action is when it comes to taking away someone’s control over their body. He decides when he brushes his hair, he decides if a game of tickling is over, he knows that I do not like to have my hair pulled or my toes used as a diving board. Aodhan is also very likely a feminist because of what happened to me. Sure, given the nature of my personality even at 15, it was pretty likely that I was headed this way anyhow. But, I mean, I have read lots of books, attended a lot of lectures, taken a lot of jobs of met loads of amazing feminists BECAUSE I was raped. Causal for sure.

I hate to think of Aodhan and my attacker with the same brain cells, but I can thank Aodhan’s unexpected presence for helping me heal and work through some of the unhealthy behaviours and body sadness that remained decades after I was raped. I didn’t put that on my son nor do I ask that of him, but I do, in retrospect and contemplation, see the connections that parenting this boy has had on my experience as a sexual assault survivor.

So, don’t feel pity for me, instead, head over to Kathy’s webpage and drop her a note about how victim blaming and slut shaming is some of the worst behaviour out there and call on her to publicly apologize for her words. While you are at it, write something, tweet something, or yell something about the waronwomen that is starkly highlighted by the idiot words of Todd Akin. The sad reality is that no matter how incredibly unbelievable we think these ideas are – people believe it and are spewing it into the atmosphere while they are being elected into our governments. VOTE. ACT. SPEAK.

Yes, I recently worked for 20 hours, all in a row. Those of you who know Davina and I may have realized that we occasionally bite off more than we can chew. What can I say, we like a challenge. We have been trying to do more private events at the cafe. You know we do kids birthday parties but we also do adult birthday parties, holiday parties, book launches, art exhibits, etc..... We can de-kidify the place pretty well. Continue on for a snazzy pic of Playful Grounds, adult style. Anyway, I digress. The point here is that we want to book lots of different types of events. So when Sean, one of the owners of the Comic Book Lounge down the street asked if we could cater an event for 100 people on August 18th, we of course jumped at it. Then when my friend Jeremy of Cafe Taste Events asked if he could use Playful Grounds to host a Cafe Taste event on August 18th, we of course jumped at it. Two events. Both adult. Both requiring high end food and drinks (one wine and one martini). One at the cafe and one a block away. This is exactly what we need for the cafe. It's perfect. I think most people have staff, but there's no reason we can't do this. Gotta love us.

Cut to August 18th. I arrive at 8:00 am and we open at 9:00 am. We are open until 2:00 pm to our regular customers and then we close and really start running. Jeremy has done all the food and booze shopping and marinated and prepped a lot of the food. We need 300 pieces for the Comic Lounge and 75 pieces for Cafe Taste. Some of the dishes were only for one or the other but here's a general overview of what was served.

  • Cheese stuffed mushrooms (to die for but didn't get a pic)
  • Skewers of espresso-marinated beef with local mushrooms (so good and the sauce was amazing! Also no pic - don't worry, you can't eat pictures anyway)
Goat cheese, caper & Ontario leek brushetta

Wild Salmon w. red pepper, cream cheese & cucumber

Sausage crostini's in VQA wine w. aged cheddar & onion

Look good? Wow, it was. In addition to prepping 375 individual appetizer pieces we also had to close up and clean the cafe properly and make the place look like this....
You like? We like. So from 2pm until 7pm, 5 hours, to close up, clean and transform Playful Grounds and prep parties with hundreds of appetizers, clean ourselves up (no easy feat) and put on our game faces for the night. Piece of cake. Cut to 6:55 pm. The client just walked in the door and both me and Davina are in the wee women's bathroom ('cause the large family bathroom is filled with every kid related item we own), stripping down and changing into nice clothes and slapping makeup on, giggling maniacally because we can't believe we always cut things SO close and are ALWAYS running.

Davina goes to the Comic Book Lounge, I jump behind the bar and the night shift starts. All goes splendidly. Everyone is eating, drinking, raving about the food and the space.

Davina comes back around 11:30pm or so and our party wraps up with everyone gone by about 1:30 or 2:00pm. We then begin the task of re-kiddifying Playful Grounds and we head out by 4am. Davina drives me home and I'm in bed by 4:15am. Of course I can't fall asleep because I've had ten thousand cups of espresso, but finally I crash by about 5am. At 6am Kai climbs into bed with me and I continue dozing until about 7:15, when I drag my 42 year old ass out of bed (At this moment I feel every minute of my age which is why it's there). I arrive at the cafe at 8am and we open at 9am.

At this point I'm a total zombie. I'm pretty sure that only sleeping for an hour or an hour and half is actually a nap and not a real sleep. I realize that I may be too old for all-nighters. :-)

So in addition to finishing putting the cafe together when I arrived, the espresso machine started acting up and my poor brain just couldn't figure out how to deal with it (we've since had it serviced and it is happy again). We also decided to keep a few of the changes we made to the cafe in 'adult mode'. One of them is to keep the cash register on the back counter, giving us more space on the front counter. So a customer comes in and has a coffee and is trying to pay for it and I swear, I stared at the counter for about 2 minutes, totally zoned out, trying to figure out where the cash register was. I just stared at the empty counter. At one point a woman came in and initially wanted a skim milk cappuccino. I had to deny her because the machine wouldn't froth milk, so she asked for an americano instead. Then she ask for an americano with skim milk. I just stared at her. I was thinking 'but you don't make an americano with milk'. I just couldn't process what she meant. Wow. You really need those neurons to fire. I was practically drooling on myself.

Anyway, now it's Monday. I'm home. I slept for 11 hours last night and it's my day off and I'm writing this blog. Time to go to something else I think.

Article from Today's Parent:

Hundreds of thousands of Bumbo Baby Seats are being recalled in Canada. Discontinue use immediately, and order your repair kit.

Health Canada is reporting the recall of over 4 million Bumbo Baby Seats in North America — the result of dozens of infant injuries, including skull fractures — and warning parents to stop using them immediately.

The recall involves seats sold August 2003 to August 2012 in Canada and the US. Health Canada warns that infants can arch their backs and fall out of the seat, causing serious injury.

If you have a Bumbo Seat:
Discontinue use immediately and call 1-866-477-5144 or visit Bumbo Canada's website to receive your retrofit repair kit, which includes a belt and warning label, instructions and amended safety instructions. Never use the Bumbo Chair on a raised surface (even with the new belt). Once you receive your repair kit, always use the belt and apply the warning sticker over the current one on the back of the seat.

You can find an installation video on YouTube and

Here is the link: