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It took me quite a long time to gain my own self-confidence—I’m still working on it, let’s be honest here. But, when I think about my own daughter and the thing that I want to teach her first and foremost is to be confident. But, how do you raise a confident girl? What’s the secret?
I’m not an expert, and I’m learning as I go, but I have noticed some sparks of confidence that my daughter has that I didn’t growing up. Part of that is her own personality, but I do think that a parent’s role in raising their daughter has a lot to do with how confident they become.
Here are some surefire ways to raise a confident girl who believes that she has super powers.
• Model confident behavior
Modeling confident behavior is easier said than done. Your daughter looks to you to set an example and so you have to always be aware of how you speak and act. You children are always observing you—the words that you say and how you treat yourself. Your daughter will notice when you critique yourself or say things like “I can’t.” She’ll also pick up on when you feel beautiful and feel good about your accomplishments. When she observes that you are confident, she’s more likely to become confident herself.
• Avoid talking about your body in a negative way.
I may not be 100% comfortable wearing a swimsuit, but I don’t use the word fat or complain about my tummy. I also won’t hide underneath a cover-up or avoid going into the pool because I feel this sends the message that I’m uncomfortable in my own skin.
• When you talk about food, make sure it’s in a healthy context
Explain good and bad food choices, not for dieting reasons, but to have healthy lifestyle. Avoid using the words diet, skinny or fat in front of your daughter. The bottom line is by being comfortable in your own skin will make your daughter feel confident in her own.
• Focus on her efforts instead of outcomes.
It’s so easy to praise your child for an A they received in school, or winning first place in a competition. But winning or being the best isn’t always what matters. Praise your daughter for her efforts, not just her accomplishments. If she had to reach her goals through hard work, and had to persevere failure and periods of stagnation to improve, this is what you should focus on. Teach your daughter that the efforts that she makes are just as important, and if she’s putting forth her best effort, then she is achieving greatness.
• Praise her for things other than how she looks.
If we want to raise girls that aren’t focused on their appearance for self-worth, then we have to teach our daughters that there are a lot of other things that give them worth. Praise your daughter for her kindness, integrity, determination, problem-solving, effort and other positive characteristics. Emphasize the positive traits that make her who she is instead of how pretty she is or the shape of her body.
• Foster her passions
Children are able to gain confidence naturally when they find something that they like to do. Encourage your daughter to try sports, school clubs and other activities until she finds something that she loves. When kids—and adults—are passionate about what they do, they work hard to achieve their goals. This will help her feel like she’s worked hard for something, and that she can achieve hard things.
• Limit exposure to media
Every form of media—social media, movies, television, magazines and books—objectify women. They portray women as too sexy, too suggestive, too weak and many other negative connotations. Exposure to media can create harmful effects, such as comparing herself to others, body shaming and even online bullying. Be careful to screen movies and videos and consider what messages you allow your daughter to have access to.
• Expose her to strong female role models
Help your daughter feel like she can accomplish anything that she wants to by giving her strong female role models that she can look up to. Talk to her about women that she’s learning about in school, or giving her books and movies that have strong female characters. Check out history books and talk about all the amazing women that have paved the way for her to become whatever she wants to become.
What tips or advice can you add?
Hello, I’m Kelly, a regular contributor on this blog. I live in Pennsylvania with my loving husband and our five beautiful children. I have a background in early childhood education, but I am currently homeschooling my kids. From pregnancy to postpartum to toddler life, I love sharing advice with other moms who are having a challenging time with this crazy but wonderful role of motherhood.
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