2018 Results

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There are real distinctions between what boys and girls like about themselves.

How Kids Answered

“I am strong, kind, funny, and considerate.”

“I just like being me!”—Boy, age 6

“I like many things about myself. The one that I like most is that I’m not perfect. Even though it is not fun to make mistakes you can learn from them.”

Differences by Gender

Girls’ opinions have changed more than boys’ opinions in the nine years since we first asked the question “What do you like best about yourself?” While girls value their intelligence and creativity more now than they did in 2010 (17% versus 12% for intelligence; 18% versus 8% for creativity), they also still highly value their physical appearance (at 19%, unchanged from 2010). Today, more boys value their intelligence (26% versus 18%) and athleticism (21% versus 16%) compared to 2010. In 2010, both girls and boys equally reported being caring and kind at 11%; however, this year, more girls placed importance on being caring and kind (at 17%) than boys, whose responses remained the same from 2010 (11%).

Takeaway
It’s concerning but not surprising that girls cite their physical appearance as their most valued quality, considering the daily dose of images and messages they receive through the media. Parents play a critical role, though, in balancing that view by specifically naming their child’s strengths other than appearance when complimenting their kids. Instead of saying how beautiful your daughter looks, why not comment on how confident she is? For boys, note when they are acting kind or helpful, or when they’ve made a wise choice. Let’s encourage, praise, and cultivate our kids’ creativity, imagination, and capacity for innovation.

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