How to raise a confident daughter
Your role as a parent is important, and here is how you can provide the right support to raise your daughter's self esteem so she can realise her full potential.
Never before have girls had so many opportunities to study and be whatever they want, but never before have they also faced as many challenges as they do today. All the years of work towards empowering girls seems to be finally paying off and girls believe they can do whatever they want. As heartwarming as that is it comes with additional pressure on your daughter to perform and to mature faster than sometimes she can cope with. This is where your role as a parent is important, to raise your daughter's self esteem so she can realise her full potential.
Encourage her to pursue her interests
Take her interests seriously and help her build on them so she has a passion for something. Engaging in an activity she loves will make her better at it, give her newer challenges and boost her self-esteem as she masters them.
Involve her in decision making
She is a child and as a parent you need to steer her in the right direction, but to raise a confident daughter you have to let her make choices about her life.It can start with simple things like letting her choose her clothes, what activities she wants to take on and even how much time she wants to devote to them.
Teach her to be assertive
Learning to stand up for herself at an early age will give your daughter confidence her whole life. She should be able to stand her ground with her peers and also be confident enough to voice her needs to adults. That also means being able to tell you if she is angry or upset with you.
Tell her she can achieve anything
Tell your daughter repeatedly that you believe in her; that she can achieve anything she sets her mind to. Your confidence in her will make her believe that she can indeed achieve anything she wants to.
Be a positive mirror
Your daughter will learn a lot more from what she sees you doing than what she hears you teaching her. And as a child, a lot of her opinion about herself will be based on how she thinks you perceive her based on your reactions to whatever she does.Give her the positive reinforcement and appreciation which will make her appreciate herself.
Let her solve problems on her own
Encouraging her to solve her problems on her own instead of you solving them for her will help your daughter develop coping skills to deal with different situations. This will help her feel responsible about her decisions and give her a sense of control over her life.
Let her play and take a tumble
Playing outdoors, getting out of their comfort zone, climbing trees, camping and even taking a tumble every now and then makes girls realise the strength in their own bodies and take physical risks. Signing up for sports will develop physical strength and give your daughter confidence in her body.
Give the princesses and dolls a break
Pink isn't only for girls, just like blue isn't meant only for boys. Princess tales, fairytale castles, prince charming and dolls can all be fun for your daughter but limiting her to this steriotypical girly realm will only limit her imagination and ambition. She can be a lot more than look pretty.
Her feelings matter
You don't have to always agree with her but let your daughter know that you will always be there to lend her an ear and that what she feels matter.Knowing she has an empathic listener in you means she will be less likely to bottle her feelings. Expressing herself will also help her evaluate her feelings.
Perfect how she is
The world has far too many set standards of feminity and beauty and before you let her out there bolster her confidence in the way she looks. Teach her to love herself the way she is by showing how you love her for who she is and not the way she looks or by her weight. Help her appreciate her uniqueness and encourage her to eat healthy.
Compliment her genuinely
You don't have to be a parent who loves everything about your daughter. Even if you are, complimenting her on specific things she has done very well instead of praising everything will make her value those words of praise more.
Studies are important
Your little girl may be great at sports or drama but inculcate a healthy interest in her studies as well. Get involved with her school work and assignments, check her homework and show up at school events. No area of her life should be neglected.
Hard work pays off
Don't let her off too easy on things she finds difficult. Be there to help her with homework but don't give out answers; let her work them out herself with as little help from you as possible.She may not love building that model airplane because she is having a hard time finishing it, but push her to work at it. Competence builds confidence.
Give her responsibility
Give her a special job to do and make her feel responsible for it. Even if it is a simple task, make her feel it is important and her contribution is vital. Get her to tidy her room or arrange her toys, let her sit with you and prepare the weekly grocery shopping list.
Prepare her for sexism
Limit your daughter's exposure to the media till she has had some time to form her own ideas using her imagination, creativity and experiece. Help her develop a healthy appreciation of her own looks before she is inundated with the media's pervasive stereotypes, consumerism and sexism.
Introduce positive female role models to her
From an early age, point out successful, strong women she can look up to as role models - athletes, doctors, businesswomen. Read books and watch movies with strong female characters. Point her successful women from diverse fields to show her women can do anything.