Things learned from We Are Girls Conference

GenAustin’s We Are Girls conference was an amazing day of girl power, not just for my eight Girl Scouts, but also for the parent chaperones.

My Girl Scouts and I get ready for a great day at We Are Girls Conference from GenAustin.


Here’s what I learned:

From GenAustin’s Joy Beth Myers; The media image of beauty is just messed up. And we need to be talking to our girls about it. I can’t wait to show my Girl Scouts the Tedx Talk with model Cameron Russell and the Dove Evolution video.

We have to end the fat and ugly talk that we do as parents and stop focusing on size, height and weight.

One way to do that is to ask our daughters to think about a woman who inspired her and have her list the qualities she liked about her. Then ask her to make that same list about herself. What do these qualities do for you? In school, after school, in relationships.

From Facebook’s Emily Nick:

Social media can be a scary place to be as kids, but we as parents need to show them how to report bullying, how to block a bully, and when to call the police. We need to let them know that anything they post never goes away. It’s permanent, even if it the original post is deleted. Kids take screen shots and then pass those around, and that’s how Snapchat photos have an extended life.

Taking your own screen shots can also help you if there is bullying going on.

And if your child has a friend who takes a photo of themselves naked and your child passes it on to one person, that’s distributing child pornography.

Oh, and my Girl Scout troop of 10-, 11- and 12-year-olds are all breaking the law if they are on Instagram. It’s 13, girls, to have a social media account, and I as a parent, can give Instagram their user names and their profiles can get deleted. Sites don’t age verify; they are expecting people not to lie about their identity.

That being said, there’s a lot of lying going on. I should tell my children that if they don’t know a person in real life, it’s not a friend. Adults get to children by saying they are friends of one of their friends and they do that by looking at the child’s friend’s list.

For those older than 13, trying to limit what apps kids are on doesn’t really work, because kids will get it if they want it. Instead it’s better to teach them how to use apps responsibly.

If I type into any social media site “safety guide” or “privacy” or “bullying” I should get their safety guide. is a great place to go for a parent’s guide.

I should check mine and my child’s privacy settings every three months.

From Mandi Meléndez of Nuture Family Counseling:

I should encourage not praise. Encourage is about helping kids go that next step. Praising means they’ve done great, they don’t need to do anymore.

I need to do more reflective listening. And confirm the emotion about it. “You really care about this.” When girls are talking in circles about something: “How can I help you?”

We do a lot of talking at our children not talking with them. We should ask for their opinions.

Using “I feel…” is a great tool to teach kids. No one can argue with their feelings and it’s a way to have them stand up for themselves. It’s also a good way for us to say “I was worried when you …”  “I was scared when … ” You’re not lecturing them, but you are letting them know your feelings and your opinions.

Schools have gotten hypersensitive about bullying. It’s very easy for kids to now get labeled a bully by saying just one mean thing.

We as parents also need to remember to take care of ourselves first so we can be better parents to take care of them.


It was a great conference. I can’t wait to take them back next year.




Author: Nicole Villalpando

Nicole Villalpando writes about families in the Raising Austin blog and the Raising Austin column on Saturdays. She also offers a weekly and monthly family calendar at She tweets at @raisingaustin.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s