With all the pressures that surround young girls today, it is imperative that parents instill a sense of self-worth very early in their daughters. Young girls need to know they have a voice and that their opinions do matter. Doing this will help them as they get older to not fall into the traps of peer pressure and societal norms. Here are six tips for parents to help them raise a daughter with a high self-esteem.
Listen to your daughters.
Children start having opinions at a very young age. They will express a like or dislike for taking a bath, wearing a certain outfit, or eating particular foods. Although parents should ultimately make the decisions that are best for their children, there is no harm in listening to your child’s voice and opinions, especially with young girls. This shows them they do have a voice and although they won’t always get their way, what they are saying is valid and worth acknowledging.
Keep an open line of communication.
Early childhood education specialist Janis Keyser says that one key component to teaching young girls a positive sense of self is to communicate often and openly. Listen to your daughters’ feelings and talk to them about yours. Let them know they are not alone in their fears and questions.
Dads need to be positive and involved.
Psychologist JoAnn Deak says that during adolescence, fathers become extremely important in determining a young girl’s self-esteem and self-worth. Teenage girls care deeply what their fathers think of them, and negative comments about body image, or criticism in general, could greatly affect the way a girl thinks of herself.
Encourage your daughters to try new things.
Trying new things and failing is part of growing up. Parents should encourage their daughters to follow their interests, even if it is something that seems out of the norm for them. Parents sometimes try too hard to protect their little girls because they don’t want to see them hurt, but stepping out of a comfort zone and trying something new can be a great self-esteem boost.
Help your daughters define their authentic selves.
With the media as influential as it is today, social pressures are at an all-time high. Young girls want nothing more than to be liked and included, and sometimes that means trying to be like somebody else. Education activist Jodi Wing says that if a teenage girl doesn’t know who she is or if she feels like she doesn’t fit in with society’s standards, she will be more apt to create a persona of who she wants to be rather than developing her authentic self.
Teach your daughters that it’s ok to say “no.”
Women are pleasers by nature. Oftentimes, society sends the message that girls should be pleasant and agreeable even if that’s not the way they feel. Young girls need to know that it’s ok to say “no” or to leave a situation in which they are uncomfortable. Hurting people’s feelings is not always a terrible thing if it means they are staying true to themselves.