Two years ago I wrote a series called Raising Daughters with Moxie (you can find all of the posts on my Favorites page) about the importance of raising strong daughters. I’ve been thinking about that series a lot lately. As Cady gets older it seems to become even more important to teach her how to be a strong woman.
Every day I see examples of forces at work that want to tear our daughters down or “put them in their place.” Just yesterday Heather wrote about the nurse practioner at her pediatrician’s office telling her six year old that she needed to watch her weight.
As mothers we are the front line between our daughters and a world that is ready to tell them they are not good enough. It is our job to teach them that they are so much more than good enough. Two summers ago I wrote these six tips for raising strong daughters. I think they apply even more today then they did then.
1. Believe in her. How can you expect your daughter to be able to achieve her dreams if YOU don’t believe that she can. My Mom has always supported me no matter what I’ve tried. She’s always had more confidence in me than I have in myself. I want to be the same way for my daughter.
2. Let her be herself. How many moms do you know that try to live vicariously through their daughters? Don’t be that mom. Encourage her interests even if it is something you don’t particularly care for. If you have always been a “tom boy” and your daughter is into dance and makeup then suck it up and learn more about her interests. The vice versa also holds true as well. If you always dreamed of having a girly girl that you could dress up in hair bows and lace dresses, but all she wants to wear is blue jeans and a ponytail then give up YOUR dream. Don’t make her give up hers.
3. Expect more from her. Studies have shown when we expect more from our daughters then they expect more from themselves. As I said before, my mom has always had more confidence in me than I have. She pushes me to do better, be better, and to try more things than I would normally try on my own. She believes that I can and that makes it possible for me to actually achieve more.
4. Let her know when you’re proud of her. Our daughters will face tons of people from their friends to their teachers to their future bosses pointing out what they do wrong. What they really need is someone in their life that points out what they do right. As parents we so often find ourselves in the role of “punisher” that we sometimes forget that our most important job is “encourager.” Or at least that is the way it is for me. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in daily life and am pointing out all the stuff Cady needs to do that I forget to praise her for what she does.
5. Let her fail. I don’t know about you, but I’ve learned the most from mistakes I’ve made. Of course we want our kids to succeed and excel at everything, but that just isn’t possible. When we let our children fall down, they learn how to pick themselves back up. If we constantly run in to catch our daughters before they fail, then they are never going to learn how to overcome.
6. Be an example. I read recently (I don’t remember where) that our children learn more about how to be from the same sex parent. In other words, our daughters learn how to be women by the example we set. When we are confident in our abilities, when we don’t belittle ourselves, when we have a positive self image, then our daughters will learn that is the way to be. My Mom had lots of reasons to give up, but she never did. She was determined to create a better life for herself and her children and that is just what she did. Now from that example I can strive to do the same thing for my kids.
What are some of the things you are doing to ensure that you are raising strong daughters?
For more posts in this series you can select the Girl Power tab above or visit one of these previous posts:
Linking up with Mama Kat for Writer’s Workshop.