Teaching girls to be confident starts at home. If you have a daughter, most likely you want her to be equipped with courage and confidence. You do not want her to fall into depression and anxiety and be vulnerable to hurtful words. If so, read on because this is for you.
In the workplace, in school, and even online you may notice that confident people get what they want. They are not afraid of failure and they don’t beat themselves up when they do not get what they want right away.
When you are confident in your own skin, you will not be easily torn down by hurtful words.
Cyberbullying affects girls more than boys. According to statistics 38% of online girls report being bullied, compared with 26% of online boys. Almost half, 41% of girls ages 15 to 17, are reporting cyberbullying experiences.
Why is it so important to build girls’ confidence at home starting at an early age? According to an online survey, for girls between the ages of 8 and 14, confidence drops by 30%.
The survey also uncovered that three out of fourteen girls worry about failing.
These are just a few of the facts of the harsh reality teenagers face right now.
No matter how much you want to shelter them from the world and protect them from the pain this world can cause, the only thing that you can do is build them up before they face the real world.
It’s not too late to build up girls’ confidence even if they’re already teenagers. They have to know that you’ll always be there for them and that you believe in them. A strong support system will prevent them from spiraling down into misery.
Teaching girls to be confident is one of the most simple and effective ways for them to have thick skin. In this world, your child definitely needs that.
Here are several ways to teaching girls to be confident:
Let her pursue her own passions.
Whether she wants to dress or play like a pirate or a princess, don’t categorize boy toys from girl toys. To little kids, they are all the same. While we may view it in a more traditional way, for them, they are just having fun.
Besides, it empowers them early on that they can do what boys can. By doing this you are subtly introducing gender equality.
2. Empower her by letting her have a say.
If you want your daughter to make great decisions when she grows up, you have to let her have a say on age-appropriate matters.
For example, she can choose what she wants to wear. Yes, we can tell her that yellow looks weird when paired with pink but you have to reassure them that you support their decisions.
Let her have a say on where to spend family time. You are not giving her the authority to call the shots but every once in awhile, listen to her and reinforce her choices. Let her know that she is being heard and her voice matters.
3. Praise all her qualities, not just her appearance.
Match every appearance-based compliment with a non-appearance-based compliment. Praising them only for their appearance gives them a signal that only looks matter. Praise her about her humor, wit, creativity, and kindness.
Please remember this point: be mindful of what you say about yourself because children mirror our actions. Don’t criticize your appearance in front of your daughter, especially when it comes to weight and body image.
Another important point: Don’t criticize girls about their weight. Never say “eat more because you’re like stick thin”, or “eat less because you’re getting chubby.”
If you want them to lose weight or gain weight, do that by altering their diet but never say a word that would let them feel they are not enough or that they do not fit society’s standards.
Let them eat if they want to eat-just give them healthy snacks. Encourage them to eat if you want them to eat more, make it fun.
4. Praise her for her efforts and not for her performance.
If you focus more on the outcome rather than her efforts, she will beat herself up if she fails or gets just satisfactory marks.
Focus more on efforts and the discovery of new skills. Mastery is what builds confidence, and learning to tolerate failure fosters resilience.
5. Don’t rain on her parade.
If your daughter is proud of getting a high score don’t brush her off and tell her it’s impolite to brag. Celebrate her victory with praise, something like “Great job, I’m proud of your hard work.”
Let her be proud, however, focus on praising the effort.
Performance won’t always be excellent. Therefore, if you focus praising on her efforts, she won’t feel so down when she doesn’t get a high score.
6. Don’t treat her like a damsel in distress.
Don’t treat her like a fragile being.
Instead, trust her decisions, trust that sometimes she can handle herself. By spoonfeeding her you’re just delaying for her to learn on her own.
Help her when she needs it but more importantly give her the opportunity and tools to play sports, or be an artist, or to change her own tire.
7. No matter what happens, assure her of your love.
Your daughter needs to know that no matter what happens, no matter her performance is, no matter how her appearance may change, you love her.
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