Today our children are inundated with images, ads, celebrities and storylines that tell them exactly how they ‘should be’ or how society expects them to act or look. It can take a huge toll on children’s self-esteems and lower their own confidence if not handled correctly. While instilling confidence in all our children is so hugely important, it seems like an up-hill battle for our daughters in particular. Here’s a list of ten ways, as parents, we can be sure to raise a confident girl:
- Encourage self-sufficiency: Let them make as many of their own choices as possible, whether it be what they want to do, eat (within reason) wear for the day or simply complete a task without any help. Seeing that they can do things for themselves is a huge boost to their confidence and they will believe they can do anything they set their minds to!
- Don’t just call them cute: If you’re anything like me the second your daughter does anything you just want to squeal “Oh my gosh you’re so cute!” and it’s not to say you can’t. Just weigh out the compliments with other ones that aren’t based on appearance. “You’re so clever!” “Wow, look how strong you are!” Our girls need to know that they are valued and appreciated for things outside of their looks.
- Don’t call them bossy: How come boys get called leaders and girls get called bossy? It’s not right and a way of thinking that we need to change. Encourage their leadership and powerful decision making skills just as long as it’s being done in a nice way.
- Praise efforts over outcome: Maybe they were working on a project that didn’t turn out the way they wanted or they attempted to do something for the first time and just couldn’t get the hang of it. Praise them for their efforts they put in or even how far they’ve come from previous tries. “Look how much your drawings have improved!” “What a great try! You’ll get it next time!” When we shift the focus to staying positive and a good attempt, they will be less afraid of failure and will be confident in trying again.
- Support Individuality: Perhaps your little one chooses things more off the beaten path than expected, instead of trying to redirect them to something more standard or “normal” embrace their uniqueness and let them try new things. In doing so your daughter will be less likely to become a ‘people pleaser’ and will be confident in herself and her own choices.
- Model body acceptance: Our daughters are watching everything we’re doing and if you’re constantly putting yourself down for what you eat or your looks or weight you better believe it won’t be long before they’re imitating these actions. Practice what you preach, show some self-love and your little will be sure to do the same.
- Don’t push “girly” choices: If your daughter is an all pink, bows and frills kind of girl- great! But if not, don’t push the more feminine options. Don’t rule out ‘boyish’ activities let your daughter decide what she wants to do. Same goes for toys, let them pick and don’t try to sway them one way or another. This is especially true if you have sons, girls need to know they can do anything boys can do and don’t let gender be a bearer for anything.
- Find female role models: Thank God for Super woman! Luckily, storylines are starting to take a turn and we can find more or more female role models both in fairytales and in real life. Be sure to introduce your daughter to some of these and surround her with strong women while growing up. If we give them someone to look up to that they find relatable they are more likely to be confident that they can achieve higher things too.
- Don’t treat them as fragile: Girls shape their perception of themselves on how others treat them. If we are always treating them as little fragile things they will start to believe they are. Treating them like they are capable of anything and you will be instilling so much confidence for the future.
- Love them unconditionally: The easiest one to implement! Just love your daughters! If they know that no matter what you will always be there loving them they will be strong enough to face anything.
These ten little tips will help set your daughter on a path of self-confidence, but all children are like little sponges and they absorb everything we do and say; so lead by example. Exude confidence and love them every day and they will be sure to grow up strong and confident, just like you!
Brittany is the creator of a children’s clothing and accessory line, Chocolate Soup, where she encourages interactive play and sparks imaginations through design. She is a milspouse and work at home mom to a very confident three year old daughter. You can find her at www.simplyhappylife.com or check out her shop at: www.chocolatesoupshop.com