The Princess Problem

dw_planningConcerned about your daughter’s obsession with princesses? You should be, but not for the reasons you may think. Laura Vanderkam’s recent op-ed in USA Today titled “The Princess Problem” suggests that your girl’s fondness for princesses is more damaging to her self worth than her self image.

Some moms worry that princesses make girls obsessed with beauty. But I think the problem is that the popular princesses lack what psychologists call an “internal locus of control.” This is the belief that you are responsible for making your way in the world.

Vanderkam suggests that this lack of “internal locus of control” is holding girls back. She notes, according to Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever’s 2003 book Women Don’t Ask, “young men are four times more likely to negotiate their first salary than young women, resulting in $500,000 more in earnings by age 60.” Ouch.

We’re not slamming princess dresses — they’re super cute and our daughters love them. Just make sure that earning the “keys to the Queendom” is part of her storyline. She’ll thank you later. Read Laura’s editorial on

Thanks Manisha Thakor, Harvard MBA and co-author of “On My Own Two Feet,” for turning us on to this article via her Money Musings blog.