It can be scary raising girls nowadays. With digitally altered images of women everywhere you turn, confusing messages about what girls should aspire to and how they should act reaching them earlier and earlier in their lives, it’s no wonder many parents find the prospect of raising a confident daughter so daunting.
Despite all this pressure, you still have tremendous influence, in what you say and do, in building strong self-esteem within your daughter. This is important, as girls with high self-esteem generally feel more secure about themselves, regardless of what others may think. Here are some tips on how to nurture your daughter's confidence and resilience from an early age.
- Your own body image has a huge impact on your daughters' – so don't obsess out loud about food, or put your appearance down
- Don’t make assumptions on what a girl should or shouldn’t enjoy or be good at - some girls are great at sports, while not every girl cares about dolls
- Encourage your daughter to stand up for what she needs and wants
- Help her understand that sometimes she will get left out from games or friendship groups, and it’s not an insult or slight on her
- Prepare her for sexism and take every opportunity to point out positive female role models
- Start her in team sports early, or drama, or music – anything that can help her express herself through her abilities or creativity, rather than just her appearance
- Direct your praise away from appearance and do the same when discussing other women. There’s no harm in saying she looks pretty, as long as that’s not the only thing you praise
- Speak up about your daughter's school curriculum – if it doesn’t include a female perspective, ask why
- Praise your daughter for her efforts rather than her performance. It’s okay to fail, because it’s the trying that builds confidence
- Be selective about the magazines you have around the house – even limited exposure to fashion and trash mags can have detrimental effects on a girl’s body image
- For Fathers: don’t treat your daughter like a damsel in distress. Instead, teach her to be assertive and give her the confidence to look after herself
- Most importantly, make sure she knows you love her no matter what.
What are your tips for raising a confident girl?
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