L’éducation qu’on donne aux filles engendre-t-elle la peur?

Au terrain de jeu, le poteau de pompier nous en dit long sur la façon dont nous conditionnons la peur chez les enfants, surtout chez les filles. Dans son article du New York Times (version anglaise), Caroline Paul, ancienne pompière et auteure, discute d’une étude publiée dans le Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology selon laquelle « les parents mettent leurs filles en garde contre les dangers du poteau de pompier avec beaucoup plus d’insistance qu’ils ne le font pour leurs garçons et sont beaucoup plus susceptibles de venir en aide à leurs filles ». Ce n’est qu’un jeu, mais c’est significatif.

Peu importe si les filles choisissent de jouer aux pompiers ou de conduire un deux roues, il semble que nous les protégions davantage. Caroline Paul poursuit en parlant d’une autre étude publiée dans le Journal of Paediatric Psychology, qui révèle que les parents sont « quatre fois plus susceptibles de dire aux filles qu’aux garçons de faire attention » après une visite à l’urgence pour des blessures mineures.

Le jeu aventureux est bon pour les enfants et il est surtout important pour l’estime de soi chez les filles. Nos mises en garde viennent avec les meilleures intentions, mais le fait de décourager les filles de relever des défis physiques peut nuire au développement de leurs habiletés et de leur confiance.

Il importe d’avoir un portrait d’ensemble, comme le souligne Caroline Paul. Si nous avertissons les filles et que nous leur instillons de la peur à un jeune âge, cette peur peut se manifester plus tard comme « de la retenue et de la difficulté à prendre des décisions ». Le poteau de pompier du terrain de jeu nous offre une belle occasion de traduire notre langage de peur en langage de bravoure et de résilience.

Voici quelques idées pour stimuler la confiance chez vos enfants lorsqu’ils doivent effectuer une tâche difficile. Avec un peu d’encouragements et quelques consignes, les filles aussi peuvent jouer aux pompiers.

Phrases axées sur la peur Phrases axées sur la confiance
« Fais attention! » « Concentre-toi sur ce que tu fais. Tu es capable! »
« C’est trop difficile pour toi. » « Continue. C’est beau! Tu as persévéré et tu as réussi! »
« Tu vas te faire mal! » « Tu as ton équipement de sécurité, tu es prête à jouer! »
« Tu te rappelles ce qui est arrivé la dernière fois? » « Tout va bien. Il nous arrive tous de tomber. L’important, c’est de se relever et de réessayer. Que feras-tu différemment cette fois-ci? »

Le tableau ci-dessus est adapté de la section « Bâtir la confiance » de la brochure Bâtir la résilience chez les jeunes enfants [PDF] de Meilleur départ.

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