As today is International Women's Day we wanted to share some thoughts on ways to help our young girls grow into strong, independent, resilient, driven young women.
Adolescence is a transitional phase of growth and development between childhood and adulthood. It is the period following the onset of puberty. It is a particularly challenging time for young girls.
There is no way to sugarcoat it....raising a confident, self assured daughter is not an easy thing to do these days. From the time she is a toddler she is bombarded with media and other cultural messages that continuously undermine the healthy, resilient self-image you want her to develop.
Below are some tips in helping to boost and maintain your daughters self esteem:
1. Model Body Acceptance - As parents, don't obsess about food or talking about how I ate that pizza so probably will not fit into my jeans now.
2. Make your daughter media literate - You're never going to stop the messages coming through from media. It starts at a young age through our Disney movies and the damsel in distress needing to be rescued by her Prince Charming. It continues into social media and advertising. Pull it apart and show her what they are trying to sell her.
3. Don't raise her as a "pleaser" - Encourage her to stand up for what she needs and wants. Encourage healthy debate in your family dinner conversations. As long as it is respectful it will teach her to stand up for what she believes in and not become subservient.
She was not put on this earth to please someone else....She was put on this earth to reach for the stars.
4. Get her into team sports early - Research shows a correlation between girls that play team sport and high self-esteem. Getting her self-worth from other young females instead of looking for it from other young men.
5. Direct your praise away from her appearance - She may well be beautiful but you do not want this to be her self-worth...... she is achieving so much more than what she looks like.
6. Praise your daughter for her efforts not performance - Like any child, focus more on the efforts and less on the outcomes. Particularly do not denigrate her sport or compare it to the boys.... It only plays on gender stereotypes and puts your daughter down.
7. Don't treat your daughter's like a damsel in distress - When you treat your daughter like a fragile, helpless little being, the message to her is that she requires saving whenever the going gets tough. Instead, get her outside helping with the garden, mowing lawns, play sports. Give her the same tools, advice and opportunities as you would give your son.
8. Make sure she knows you love her no matter what - Love needs to be unconditional in any household. Although as your children get older they will rely on their peers for feedback.....what parents think matters just a much as it ever did.
Remember our kids are meant to fail.....If she fails, falls over, or can't do something, teach her that it's OK. Failing is just the first lesson. Get up, dust yourself off and have another go.
If your looking for some women to help inspire your daughter to reach for the stars....here is a list of some of our favourites.
Malala Yousafzai - Winner of the 2014 Nobel Peace and Time Magazine Top 100 women of the year - https://malala.org/malalas-story
Mia Hamm - American International Soccer Player and FIFA World Player of the year. Her quote became an inspiration for female athletes the world over, she said "my coach once told me that I run like a girl, I told him if he runs a little faster he probably could too" https://www.biography.com/athlete/mia-hamm
JK Rowling - 2007 Runner-up as Time Magazine's person of the year- https://www.jkrowling.com/about/