Raising Strong, Confident Daughters: The Next 3 Ways

You’ve read the first and second volume of this article. Now here are the next 3 ways to raise strong, confident daughters:

(11) Scrap the comparisons: Nothing can make a child feel worse than being compared to their siblings or their friends when it comes to success. One parent with whom I worked used to ask her child, “why can’t you be more outgoing like your sister?” This tactic does not make your child more likely to become extroverted, but rather, attacks her character and makes her feel inadequate. When it comes to body image, these kinds of comparisons can be particularly hurtful– making a girl feel that she will never measure up unless she is “taller,” “thinner” or less like herself.

(12) Limit the labels: When we label our child it can stunt her initiative to try something new or travel outside of her comfort zone. Labels such as “she’s shy” or “she can’t pay attention” or “she’s disabled” can make a child live up to the expectation instead of challenging it (and achieving success). I worked with a mother of a girl who had dwarfism and coached her on whether she should allow her daughter to try martial arts. Her mother was convinced that she wouldn’t be able to do it. However, her mother promised me that she wouldn’t tell her daughter these thoughts. Her daughter surprised everyone when she progressed through the belt system at her martial arts academy. In fact, she was often chosen to demonstrate skills in front of the class. By not telling your child that she can’t do something, it gives her the initiative to try and the confidence to succeed.

(13) Foster indomitable spirit: My mother always sung this song to me when I was little and fell down: “Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.” I can still hear it clearly in my mind. When we allow children to make their own mistakes and encourage them to make a second, third, or forth attempt, children begin to realize that they do not need to get it right on the first try. Knowing that “do-overs” are part of life, can help spur children on to try new things and stretch their limits.

Confidence is built over time and takes patience and persistence. Your daughter has the power to do many great things. A powerful parent is one who supports, encourages, listens, and loves without contingency. After all, it is not for us to empower our daughters but rather, to provide them with the tools and the support so that they can identify their own power and ultimately, their own sense of self worth and confidence.

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