As parents, we should know how tough puberty can be for children especially for our daughters. Changing bodies, pressure in school or at home, and learning how to fit in can take a significant toll on young girls and their self-esteem. If you recall from an article cited here on Good For You Girls, confidence can plummet by 30% in girls aged between 8 to 14. No parent wants to imagine their daughter feelings inadequate or insecure.
But how do we make sure that this doesn’t happen?
Help her find her voice
There’s a better chance of success for girls who grow up to be confident women. In the workplace where women have to earn their right at the table, for instance, a lack of confidence might deprive them of growth opportunities. Teach girls the importance of being assertive at a young age without being rude or self-serving. Allow your daughter to make decisions that directly affect her, like picking out an outfit or choosing what chores to be responsible for. The important thing is that she learns how to speak up, make decisions, and live with the consequences of her actions. Try to loosen the reins a little and don’t treat your daughter as a fragile individual.
Teach her to speak kindly of other women
Confidence is not about feeling superior over others and that’s something that girls need to learn ASAP. Psychotherapist Judy Scheel stresses that criticizing others just for the sake of throwing insults is an attempt to feel better about one’s situation. It’s a sign of insecurity and breeds said mindset. Confidence comes from within and cannot be gained by bringing other people down.
Guide her through the use of media
Instead of prohibiting or limiting access to media channels, teach them how to be literate. For instance, when you’re watching TV, ask them what they think of the overall message of the show or advertisement. Teach them how to be critical of what they see on television screens and in magazines and how these can affect them.
Cultivate body positivity
Striving for unrealistic standards posed by a weight-obsessed culture can negatively affect your daughter’s image of herself. At home, it starts with tactless comments about her appearance or eating habits. Girls take these remarks to heart. Tell them that there’s nothing wrong with their size, skin color, height, and other qualities. Body-positive retailer Woman Within claims that being comfortable with and loving your body is one of the most important things women of all ages need to learn. Extended sizing is not meant to put a number on someone’s physique but to make sure they feel comfortable in whatever outfit they choose. Expose them to different types of women so that they understand that there is more to body size that was it portrayed in the media.
Foster a growth mindset
When it comes to giving praise, stay away from noticing superficial things or from the outcome of their effort. Instead, give them praise for trying so they will develop a growth mindset. Psychologist Carol Dweck clarifies that a growth mindset is not about rewarding kids for every little thing they do. It’s about encouraging them to learn from trying even if they fail. The New York Times notes that girls must be taught not to be afraid of tackling challenges even if success is not guaranteed. By doing so, they’ll learn not to ruminate on their mistakes, but instead use them as a springboard for trying harder in the future.
Be a role model
All of these tips are also applicable to you and should be practiced at home. Refrain from self-deprecating humor, talking negatively about other women, and obsessing over weight and appearance. Learn how to speak up for yourself, try new things and don’t be afraid of looking foolish when you don’t succeed. If you want your daughter to exude confidence, you must learn how to be confident yourself.