9 Secrets of Moms Who Raise Confident Girls
If you don’t have confidence, you’ll always find a way not to win. -Carl Lewis
To achieve a happy and successful life, you must have confidence. Confidence matters just as much as ability.
When my daughter was in third grade, a child made fun of her for being “goofy” and “silly.” That bully told my daughter that she needed to “grow up.” As brave as Lylah Kate is, this caused her to doubt herself. I’ll never forget the day we were at the grocery store, and she looked up and asked me,
“How long can I be this way? You know, myself?”
I wonder how many girls are asking that question?
When do I have to change?
When do I have to start trying to fit in?
When do I stop raising my hand?
I don’t know about you, but I never want my girls to stop raising their hands.
I don’t want them ever to feel ashamed of their emotions or who they are.
It took all of my strength to hold back my tears that day in the produce section as I looked at my little girl- dressed in mismatched knee socks and pig tails.
She was asking for my permission to be…herself.
I gave it to her.
As a forty-two-year-old mother of three, I have spent years working on my confidence, and I have yet to perfect it because I believe that confidence is a trait that starts in childhood.
Self-esteem is something that is particularly important for girls, teenagers, and women.
You probably know that.
But what you may not know is just how young the confidence gap starts to form.
Let me tell you-it’s alarming.
See, according to a recent study published in the journal Science, girls begin to believe boys are more intelligent at six years of age.
In first grade, girls start thinking brilliance is a male trait.
Perhaps it’s because of the lack of genius character models in books or TV?
Even worse-the explanation could be a 2014 report from Google that reported American parents searched “Is my son a genius” twice as often as they Googled “Is my daughter a genius?”
Or how parents googled “Is my daughter overweight?” 70 percent more than “Is my son overweight?”
By the way, boys tend to be more obese than girls and girls do have more of a natural ability to do well in school.
Your daughter’s self-esteem is going to start plummeting at a high rate around fourth or fifth grade, and it’s going to continue to drop.
By the time she enters high school, it will have fallen 3.5 times more than boys.
Experts suggest the cause is a combination of parenting, media, and school.
As a mom and a woman, these statistics make me angry-no outraged, but you know what?
Talking about the problem isn’t going to help my kids-or yours.
This list will.
9 Secrets of Moms Who Raise Confident Girls
–Do Ban Bossy
When a little boy asserts himself, he is called a “leader.” When a little girl does the same, she risks being branded as “bossy.” Words like bossy send a message:
Don’t raise your hand or speak up.
By middle school, girls are less interested in leading than the boys-a trend that continues into adulthood.” –Ban Bossy Campaign
Moms who raise confident girls know that bossy isn’t wrong.
Bossy is a leadership trait.
We are sending mixed messages when we tell our daughters to be lead only to call them out for bossing others.
Have you ever called out your son for being bossy?
–Don’t lead with pretty
Moms who raise confident girls compliment their daughters often, but they don’t always start with looks. They praise their daughter’s intelligence, creativity, and talent in addition to or in place of “you’re so beautiful.”
–Do Let Her Do It
A mother’s instinct tells her to intervene, but if you ever want your daughter to become a self-sufficient adult, you have to let her do things on her own.
For younger kids, this means letting your little girl explore on the playground without you hovering protectively over her chanting “be careful.”
Moms who raise confident daughters let them take risks and let them fail because they understand this is how children learn.
Older kids and teens can mow the yard, cook dinner or do the family shopping.
Hand over your list of errands for the day and give her a chance to show you what she can do.
These activities allow girls to gain experience and skills, contribute to the family, and build confidence in themselves.
Have you ever heard of teacup parenting? There is an entire generation of little teacups who can’t do anything for themselves out there-their parents are even doing their job searches after college.
–Don’t Discount Her Emotions
Moms of confident girls validate their feelings; they never tell their teens that they are over reacting or being dramatic because they know that tells their daughter what she’s feeling isn’t important. It’s also a crushing blow to her self-esteem. You don’t have to agree with everything she says or feels as long as you recognize her emotions with empathy.
–Do Discuss What’s on TV (Or Netflix)
Moms of confident girls make use of the pause button on the remote control and discuss what they are watching on TV. Are all of the “smart” characters men or boys? Why? They ask their daughters how that makes them feel. They discuss gender stereotyping.
–Don’t Raise A “People Pleaser”
These mothers teach their daughters to be polite and respectful, but not if it costs them to compromise their values. Anea Bogue, MA, author (9 Ways We Are Screwing Up Our Girls And How We Can Stop) advises parents to “Create opportunities for her to use her voice “Ask ‘What do you want?’ Let her make a choice and then honor that choice.”
–Do Let Her Play Team Sports
According to research, girls who play team sports have higher self-esteem and a better body image. Girls who play team sports also have less chance developing depression or anxiety. Researchers have also found that exercising seems to play a role in increasing self-worth.
–Don’t focus on the Effect, Focus on the Effort
Mary Rooney, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist who specializes in adolescents advises; “Focus less on the outcome and more on efforts and the development of new skills,” says Dr. Rooney. Mastery is what builds confidence, and learning to tolerate failure fosters resilience. Mothers of confident girls applaud the effort, not A’s. They listen to their daughters when they talk about their school day and what their interests are inside and outside of the classroom.
–Do Tell Her She Has Your Love And Support
No matter what age range your daughter falls into, she needs to hear she has your love and support. Moms who raise girls with confidence don’t wait for a report card, performance, or home run to celebrate their daughters.
They understand that if they wait for an occasion they are sending their daughters a dangerous message. The daughters of these women know they don’t have to jump through hoops or earn love and affection-they always have it.