Dear American Girl,
My mom is always telling me to “act like a lady.” She gets mad at me for playing in the mud, loving tough sports, and being goofy. I don’t get why she doesn’t let me act like this—my brothers are allowed to! To be honest, when I do these things, I’m being my true self. What should I do?
Here's your advice:
Talk to your mom about how you feel. I know it can be hard, but it can also really help. Be clear about your feelings and your love for sports.
-Rose, age 11, Illinois
Tell your mom how you feel. Explain that you love playing tough sports, getting dirty, and being goofy. Explain that by criticizing those things, she’s criticizing who you are as a person. That’s not cool. I think your mom should accept you for who you are.
-An American Girl fan
Ask your mom why she doesn’t want you to do these things. Make sure you’re clear about the fact that this is who you are.
-Sydney, age 12, Washington
Maybe you can compromise. Talk to your mom about how you like being silly and getting dirty. However, make sure that you never track mud into the house. You can be yourself and still be respectful.
-Luna, age 10, Michigan
It can be frustrating when people don’t understand who you are. But when you talk to your mom about things like this, do your best to be calm and mature.
-Anna, age 9, North Carolina
If you’re being true to yourself, that’s great! Make sure you’re only being silly or loud during appropriate times, though. My mom always gets mad when I’m loud during quiet times.
-Nena, age 12, Illinois
Maybe your mom wants you to be a good role model for your brothers. Talk to your mom about compromising. Be yourself, but don’t act too wild in inappropriate places. I do my best to be polite and somewhat calm when I’m out with my family, but at home I’m a little more crazy, goofy, and loud.
-Natalie, age 11, Indiana
I used to get in trouble for the same thing. However, I discovered that if I don’t get too dirty, my mom would let it slide. I use my manners at the dinner table and in public, and I still play tough sports. I think you should be allowed to do everything your brothers are allowed to do.
-Ralinda, age 8, Massachusetts
I’m sure that your mom means well. Maybe she’s acting this way because she wants you to be more like she was as a girl. However, you should get to be the real you. Tell her that in order to be happy, you need to be yourself.
-Maddie, age 12, Oklahoma
Talk to your mom about the pressure you’re feeling to be someone or something you’re not. I’m glad you’re fighting to be your true self.
-Maya, age 8, Virginia
Some people think that girls should act a certain way just because they’re girls. I think this is silly. Girls and boys should act like their true selves, no matter what. That means wearing pink, playing in the mud, or doing whatever like they to do.
-Katherine, age 12, California
My mom said a similar thing to me. I asked if we could talk about it, and it turns out she was more upset with me because I kept tracking dirt into the house than the fact that I was playing in dirt. Ask your mom about what specifically bothers her and why. This might help you two work things out.
-Ashley, age 13, California
Ask your mom why she lets your brothers do the things they love but doesn’t allow you to. Don’t say it in a sassy way—ask a genuine question, and be polite about it. I think this is a good question to ask, though. You should be who you are.
-Liz, age 12, Michigan