March is known for celebrating Women’s History Month, appreciating and recognizing the strength, accomplishments, and contributions of women of our past, present, and future coming.
Not only do we emphasize the importance of this month, but recognize the value in raising strong, powerful daughters as they are key for the future to come! And, what better time to discuss how to bring powerful, independent girls up in our world!
Here are our few tips on how to raise strong daughters, for a stronger future!
Listen To Her Before You Talk
This sounds like common sense to listen to your daughter when she speaks, but as a parent, it’s natural to want to jump in and offer advice or solutions when our children are talking to us about practically anything. However, before offering any additional words, it’s essential to take the time to listen to your daughter first.
Young girls are faced with many mixed messages about themselves at an early age. In today’s society especially, there are plenty of messages about women’s bodies, their rights, and their abilities. This can often lead to many confusing thoughts for our daughters, which is why it’s important to let them speak up on things that concern them or pique their interest. A Harris poll for the national nonprofit organization GIrls Incorporated found that 59% of girls in grades 3-12 were told not to brag about things they do well.
If you want to help your daughter with any struggles with self-esteem, confidence, growth, or peer pressure, parents should listen before they speak. Listen to them and then ask questions. Let your daughter know that you are engaged and aren’t just cutting her off. Ask her about what she thinks. An easy way to get your daughter to become more confident in their voice is to say, “That’s interesting, please tell me more about that.” Always ask a leading question instead of assuming. Then offer your best support or advice.
Allow Her to Have a Voice When Making Decisions
Decision-making will eventually be your kid’s biggest life skill in order to succeed. Whenever possible, let your daughter be able to make some decisions, as long as it’s within reach, age-appropriate, and viable for your family schedule.
Whether that be allowing her to pick out her age-appropriate outfit, choosing her after-school activities, classes, or deciding what she wants to buy with her chore money, just to name a few. This will teach her the importance of decision-making; after all, our entire lives are filled with making choices and getting us to where we want.
But just remember, too many decisions will often lead to indecisiveness and unhappiness, and no-decision making will make her feel like she has no control over her life. Keep it at a happy medium by providing some suggestions.
Encourage Self-Sufficiency When Solving Problems
The more a parent tries to resolve the problems their daughter is thrown, the less likely the child will develop coping skills, problem-solving skills, and self-sufficiency in a time of need.
When your daughter runs into a problem, encourage some constructive strategies they can take to better the situation. Even if you disagree with it (and it is appropriate), allow her to take that step. And don’t worry, she will learn from her mistakes even if she takes the route you may not have!
Build Her Up About Her Personality, Not Looks
There is no question that television, movies, social media, and toys can put the wrong images or thoughts about what a “normal woman” should look like. Not to mention, we all know women in the past have often been praised for their beauty rather than what’s inside- their personality!
Starting at a younger age, it’s recommended by Catherine Steiner-Adair, Ed.D., co-author of Full of Ourselves: A Wellness Program to Advance Girl Power, Health and Leadership to, “Encourage your girl to eat in healthy ways, but don’t over-obsess over what she eats. Listen to her opinions (about food, and other things) and show appreciation for her uniqueness, to help her develop herself into the person she wants to be.”
Show your daughter your respect and admiration for who she is, her positive qualities, and what she can bring to the table, rather than what she looks like. Self-confidence in girls starts from a young age and it is key!
Let Her Disagree With You Even On The Most Difficult Topics
Strong women don’t sit and watch the world pass them by, they stand up for what they believe in! It’s important for your daughter to develop a sense of confidence and speak up when necessary, as she will be faced with these situations- with friends, family, romantic relationships, and even strangers.
Not only will they learn to speak out, but to express their emotions in a healthy manner while also learning to listen to others when faced with a difficult conversation.
At the end of the day, girls should not only be taught but feel that they are just as important as everyone else around them. Here’s to strong, powerful girls, and Happy Women’s Month!