Raising a confident daughter is one of the most important parts of parenting. In a society where girls are expected to meet unnatural standards, here are 6 ways to raise a daughter who is grounded in every sense.
Being a woman in today’s world who earns, fends and decides for herself, there is one thing I can vouch for, “No one messes with a woman who knows her self-worth.” Yes, this sentence seems so powerful and each one of us would want to raise a daughter who would know her self-worth. But from a toddler whose hands you have to hold to teach her to walk to a woman who would be absolutely self-confident, there is a phase called ‘raising her.’ And this is what stays with a girl. Though there are no fixed rules on parenting, here are a few ways you can guide your daughter to a woman who has enough self-esteem to take on the world.
When a girl is born the first woman who is closest to her and the one she trusts with all her might is her mother. She watches her every move and imbibes whatever she sees, without filtering. How you treat yourself is exactly the way your daughter will learn to treat herself. If you are over critical about yourself or if you always have negative things to say about yourself, know that your daughter is mirroring herself in you. I have a friend who is obsessed about her hair, no matter where she gets it groomed; it is never what she wants. To us, she has the perfect silky hair. I met her mother a few months back and she too has the same issue. So, that is where she inherited it. You as a mother are her first scale to confidence, if you are okay with who you are, she will be to.
If your life is full of tiny lies that you speak to go on your every day, remember for sure, this is what your daughter will learn too. And no woman has ever built self-confidence with lies imbued within her system of values. With your lies, you are destroying her self-esteem bit by bit. If you have promised something, just keep it. If you could not, just explain.
Daddy is the first man a daughter is intimate with. It is her first non-sexual close relationship. You are in gist mapping her future in ways she will deal with man. Treat her with love and care, she will learn to be with men who treats her same. Appreciate her; tell her she is beautiful, she will grow up with confidence. If you are criticizing her all the time or is cold to her, later in life she will take criticism or coldness from a man as the norm of any man-woman relationship. If you are violent, remember in all probabilities, she will learn that violence is Okay and accept it in a relationship. If you love her and tell her so, she will grow up to be a woman with healthy self-esteem, walking tall in the world. Otherwise, as a child whatever you said she will process it deep down within her and one day manifest it somehow in her life. Your approval and love will give her the sense of being worthy, or else she will run after people to give her that sense which often ends in disaster.
Research shows that a girl with a father who is involved with her lovingly finishes school, does perform better at work and is less likely to date an abusive man. If you are a dad, just love her and tell her so, that will take her places.
It’s no rocket science that self-esteem grows with positive images. At home what are the images you portrait infront of your child. Do you always have negative stories to discuss with your daughter, like the friend who hurt you, the relative you hate or even worse criticize your spouse? If you are, you are already schooling your daughter with distrust and the belief that relationships hurt and are bad. When she grows up, no matter how far she goes forming intimate relations would be a task for her. And till date no woman has been confident with a bagful of broken or hurt relationships.
The greatest blunder parents do is telling their daughter, who they should not be.’ So much of hue and cries are raised in whom not to follow and be. Rather all that energy should be vested on ‘what she should be.’ With all ‘not-to-Bes’ you end up creating a confused child, but when you give her an image of what she should be, that boost her self-esteem because she will have the clarity of what she is supposed to me. Clarity always boosts self-esteem.
Every child has an area of interest where he/she has an advantage over others. Let your daughter find her skill. It might be a hobby class or a gardening session. Anything a child is good at boosts her self- esteem. Do not choose for her; let her find it for herself. It might be a trial and error method, but she will find it. That way she won’t fear making a mistake in future and also won’t take a failure as a personal defeat.
Excelling in something always gives a girl herself worth and a confident self-image.
If we see what popular culture has to offer mostly the women are objectified sexually. They are thin, fair sexually alluring. These are the figures that basically do the rounds. A stereotypical kind of beauty is talked off. It seems that if a girl do not fall into a pattern, she is not beautiful. That robs a girl off her self confidence. So, the best way to deal with the invasion of popular cultural values is to nurture her inner qualities and appreciate her for it. That appreciation and nurturing will take her a long way in boosting her confidence and definitely a longer way in life.
This is the golden rule of parenting. Appreciate her. She will blossom. Keep away that criticizing meter. With each word of criticism or mockery, you break a tiny part of your daughter, who blindly believes in what you say and creates a negative image for herself that might haunt her for a lifetime. The worst thing you can do is to brand her as ‘lazy, weak, sick, mad, stupid,’ etc. With every word, you affirm it to her for a lifetime. And you put that feeling of unworthiness in her. Later in life no matter what, that feeling hardly leaves her and a journey to prove her worthiness begins. It seeps into her relationships and her work place.
Children are wonderful. They are not your soldiers from destiny to fight your unfinished battles. They are gifts to be cherished. Cherish your daughter, have fun. Hug her a lot, tell her she is worth the world and more and one day she will prove that she is.
Cover image via Shutterstock
First Published: Complete Wellbeing Magazine
Proud Indian. Senior Writer at Women's Web. Columnist. Book Reviewer. Street Theatre - Aatish. Dreamer.
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