How do you raise an American Girl?

The girls who loved American Girl dolls as little ones? They’re now teenagers. In the real world. Not in a historical time, and not with a store full of adorable outfits and accessories. So how do we raise them?

These young ladies are social media savvy. They have amazing opportunities in school, sports, careers and other avenues. Yet they are inundated with Working Mom vs. Stay At Home Mom opinions. They still face glass ceilings. Their sports are not the lead story on the evening news.

Mind you, I adore American Girl dolls. Our daughters have several, and a college semester’s worth of related books, outfits and accessories, too. We had great fun playing with them. And I hope our grandkids play with them someday! Meanwhile…

After a weekend with 16 of these American Girls, and as a former 15-year-old American Girl, I have a few opinions (of course). We were in Kansas City with our daughter’s soccer team and their great families. Here are my Top 7 Ways to raise an American Girl:

1. With joy. As a role model.

Our kids will become what we are. Be calm. Confident. Classy. Smile, it’s contagious! Be optimistic. Live with pure joy. They will, too. And then we’ll all get along much better!

Pretty certain we had these same smiles after tea parties with our American Girl dolls: at the actual store and especially at our own cozy home!
Pretty certain we had these same smiles after tea parties with our American Girl dolls: at the actual store and especially at our own cozy home!

2. Balance brains and beauty.

Our first evening, our girls planned an outing for a teammate’s birthday. They packed cute outfits. (All very age appropriate: love them in sundresses with just a touch of trendy style!) They found out the hotel shuttle bus would take them anywhere within 2 miles. They selected Olive Garden, 3 miles away. And they convinced the shuttle bus driver to take them there! Smart, confident, reasonable: that’s beautiful.

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They're back! I'm sure there were enough seat belts for 15 young ladies (!).
They’re back! I’m sure there were enough seat belts for all 15 young ladies (!).
There's birthday girl Jaecy with our Julia on the left.
There’s birthday girl Jaecy with our Julia on the left.

3. Celebrate talents. Everyone has at least one!

Our girls seem to really seek out each other’s talents, no matter what they are. For instance, another teammate has an aspiring cupcake baking business. She surprised the birthday girl (and all of us!) with homemade, hand-decorated cupcakes, brought 424 miles. Here’s birthday girl Jaecy and her parents:

Jaecy with her parents while we all serenaded her.

Cupcakes by Payton on Facebook for my Lakeville area friends!
Cupcakes by Payton on Facebook for my Lakeville area friends!

4. Cheer on everyone. Yes, everyone.

Competition is amazing fuel. Yet so is good sportsmanship. These young ladies’ first game? Vs. the OTHER Lakeville girl’s team! It was competitive, tough and truly “the beautiful game.” So is this shot of them with their classmates, neighbors and friends … who just happened to wear another color jersey for a couple hours one day.

Lakeville vs. Lakeville
Lakeville vs. Lakeville

Later, our ladies cheered on their boy classmates’ team. The boys won. High-five, guys!

My style of cheerleaders: strong girls who themselves play the game and appreciate every move.
My style of cheerleaders: strong girls who themselves play the game and appreciate every move.

5. Appreciate accomplishments. Don’t be wimpy.

Water is a great way to celebrate a game well-played. The amazing Schlitterbahn Water Park is pure indulgence! So what if the weather isn’t perfect? Go! And then enjoy it because you have the place nearly to yourselves. That’s indulgence. And even makes lost sunglasses (rapids river) and cut lip (tornado water slide) bearable.

There's my JEEM girls. Julia, Elise, Emilie, Meaghan. #lovethem
There’s my JEEM girls. Julia, Elise, Emilie, Meaghan. #lovethem

water park 2

water park 2

 

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6. Do night life right.

Our third game was “Under The Lights” vs. a team from Oklahoma. It was a magical evening, nail-bitter game and well-earned Win. Later in life (but not so many years from now), these ladies may take to a dance floor for night life. I hope they will be observant, careful and yet carefree in that night life. For now, they looked great on the pitch.

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Siblings Circle.

 

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Siblings circle.
Siblings circle.

 

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Big Win!
Big Win!

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7. Do everything with grace.

These young ladies also have a quiet faith, a sense that God will do his will. Yet they also do their part as Children of God, working hard for all they achieve. Like 2nd place at the tourney (1st place? The other Lakeville team, of course)!

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8. Bonus: A little appreciation for “jewelry” is a great way to raise American Girls, too!

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One thought on “How do you raise an American Girl?

  1. I don’t have much experience with the American Girl Dolls but am truly thankful for the experiences I have with the American girls I know from Lakeville.  Wonderful and I look forward to more.  Very smart guidelines, too! Dad/Grampa

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