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Putting Confidence on Your Back-to-School Shopping List

As we're getting ready for the new school year, it's critical to think beyond school supplies and new clothes and take a moment to have an authentic conversation with our children about building their inner strength and confidence.

I was inspired to create the 2011 Sundance documentary "Miss Representation" when I was pregnant with my first child, my daughter Montana. When I thought about the world she would grow up in, I was terrified. I knew that if something didn't change, she'd receive countless negative messages that encouraged her to devalue her self-worth and de-emphasize her capacity for leadership. With "Miss Representation," we exposed how media and culture contribute to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence, and we inspired millions to join us in challenging the status quo.

In fact, we received overwhelming demand for ongoing support and social action to support the film. So, I founded the nonprofit organization, The Representation Project, where we work every day to challenge and overcome limiting stereotypes.

We can change culture, so that our kids aren't limited by stereotypes and instead grow up to be happy, healthy, empowered citizens.

Since we started in 2011, we've accomplished so much. Through campaigns like #NotBuyingIt and #AskHerMore, we've changed culture everywhere from the Super Bowl to the red carpet. We've also released my second film, "The Mask You Live In," which flips the coin and looks at the "boy crisis" in America. And most recently, we premiered our #BuildConfidence campaign to celebrate and empower parents, caregivers, and mentors who model positive self-esteem and body image.

Research shows that body image issues originate well before adolescence and that parents are pivotal in instilling confidence in their children. This is exactly why we at The Representation Project focus our #BuildConfidence campaign on parents and caregivers, making toolkits for them and hosting empowering conversations around Mother's Day and Father's Day.

Now, we're widening the campaign by teaming up with mom.me, an influential site for parents that reaches 7 million moms per month. Throughout this week, they'll be releasing a series of blogs, written by moms and dads with kids of all ages, talking about how they #BuildConfidence. Then, we'll culminate the back-to-school conversation with a Twitter chat this Friday, August 28, at 10 AM Pacific time. I hope you'll join us in sharing the ways you #BuildConfidence.

There's no better moment to have this conversation than during this important and pivotal time in kids' lives. It's up to all of us to work together and strive for something better. Together, we can change culture, so that our kids aren't limited by stereotypes and instead grow up to be happy, healthy, empowered citizens.

Jennifer Siebel Newsom is a filmmaker and advocate, and founder and CEO of the non-profit organization The Representation Project, which inspires individuals and communities to challenge and overcome limiting gender stereotypes.

Here are the #BuildConfidence stories from some of mom.me's favorite parenting writers.

Rebecca Woolf — Building Confidence in Our Girls (and Boys)

Katie Hurley — Building Confidence in Your Kids. Right Now!

Jay Miranda — It Took Me Years to Get Over My Mom's Lack of Body Confidence

Margaret Jacobsen — Growing Confident Kids Means Honoring the 'Every Moments'

Marsha Takeda-Morrison — Building Confidence, One Living Room Lecture at a Time

Laurel Dalrymple — When Your Boy Is Not the Athletic Type

Whit Honea — Being the Skinny Boy Was Never Easy

Serge Bielanko — I Was the Fat Kid

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