In today’s society, women are under so much stress to succeed. Girls even in the 5th grade are already feeling the pressure to do as much as the boys. Dig a little deeper and you find these messages are not being talked about in the homes. Younger girls are taught in the world that they are more alike than different from boys. Couple this with the weight of being a full-time successful woman, a mother, a housekeeper, a wife, and looking like a model….it can become overwhelming to any young girl. So, how do we…where do we start…how can we grow a little girl into a woman who knows her place in society and is at peace with who she is?
Confidence is the foundation for success and happiness. How can we help our daughters to become confident? As a mom, you’re one of the biggest influences in her life. Did you know that research shows in a recent study, 63% of girls reported that their biggest role model was their mom?
Journalist, author, and speaker Claire Shipman has some answers.
Losing their earlier resiliency and optimism, our girls crash and burn. Self-doubt and anxiety gnaw at their souls and spirits.
One aspect of this fracturing of the spirits and souls of adolescent girls is that they experience a conflict between their authentic selves, on the one hand, and their desire to be feminine—that is sexy and attractive to males—on the other.
Author Peggy Orenstein believes that our culture’s emphasis on beauty and play-sexiness at ever younger ages is increasing girls’ vulnerability to their souls and spirits being destroyed with eating disorders, depression, and risky sexual behavior.
- Help her get outside her comfort zone and take risks. So encourage your daughter and tell her, “Yes, it’s normal to feel afraid. This is a little frightening, but tell yourself ‘I’m just going to do it afraid. I’m just going to do it anyway,’ ” Shipman said.
- Have her keep a list of risks. Listing their failures and how they tackled them can be incredibly empowering.
- Remind her of ‘failure fixes.’ Encourage your daughter to do anything that helps her get in a better place, whether that is reading a book, watching TV, listening to music or cuddling with a family pet. This will help distract her from what’s happened and help her stop thinking about it over and over again.
- Putting it in perspective.
- Keep a sense of humor. “Thoughts like ‘at least I didn’t forget to put on pants and go to school naked after our roof caved in’ … can remind you that it really could be worse!”
- Influential role modeling can be very useful for our kids. Let them see us, especially mothers, dealing with failure and struggle and taking risks.
- Constantly remind them they do not have a problem. Girls are the way they are for a host of reasons, including nature (brain biology) and nurture (society’s different expectations for girls and boys.) They also often have a higher level of emotional intelligence.
- “Helping girls understand at young ages what skills will be important later in life is key, including the ability to advocate for themselves and not worry about being people-pleasers,” Shipman said.
- Always let your daughter express her feelings and let her pick out her clothes (within reason).
- Believe in her. Let her play sports if she wants and always show interest in her school work and life.
Ref. cnn.com/health (Kelly Wallace), biancadottin.com, psychologytoday.com
Photo courtesy of Bing via drawingninja.com