Raising Confident Girls

Consequently, meeting a daughter’s need for support and appreciation is essential because it is by feeling this support that she will recognize her significance and gain confidence. The following tips will help you teach her to recognize just how special she really is.

Your daughter needs to know that you love her. She needs you to be her cheerleader as she struggles to find her way through her own life. You can certainly let her know when you disapprove of something she’s done wrong, but never abandon her. Love her all the time—when she’s right and when she’s wrong.

2. Help her earn her Young Womanhood Recognition award.
This inspired Personal Progress program is the perfect opportunity to teach important life-long lessons like having a good work ethic, setting goals, preparing for future roles, and remembering the Lord in all our actions. Through weekly family home evening, her school activities, and her own lessons and hobbies, she is probably earning more than she realizes. A great sense of achievement comes through earning this award, so be sure to not miss the boat on this one!

3. Let her know she’s worth your time.
Nothing is as beneficial to a daughter as time spent with her parents. When you go to the grocery store, run errands, work around the house, or sit down to read a book or watch TV, involve your daughter as often as possible. Ask her what her opinions are on current events. Involve her in some of your decisions. Teach her what it means to be a responsible adult. All of these things take time but a more loving relationship will develop as you spend time with her.

4. Help her stand firm in knowing her value.
Fads and trends will come and go. You want to make sure your daughter’s sense of self isn’t connected to these trendy waves of thinking. Help her learn and understand what makes her unique and special. If your daughter is good at gymnastics, skateboarding, crafts, math, decorating, or whatever else, help her develop those talents so that when she’s feeling down about herself, she can know that she is special and talented.

5. Make sure she knows she belongs.
Girls have a sometimes hurtful way of dividing into social groups. A close friend one week may become an enemy the next. Teach your daughter that no matter what is going on in her social circle, whether she’s the most popular girl in school or a social outcast, your family needs her and loves having her around. Teach her what true friendship means and encourage her to look for friends who demonstrate qualities of honesty, integrity, and love.

6. Give her choices.
Practice makes perfect. The more decisions your daughter has to make while she’s living under your roof, the more decision-making experience she’ll have under her belt when she moves away. If a child leaves home at age eighteen after having always been told what to do, she will probably not be able to stand very well on her own feet when away from the nest. Teach your daughter about the gift of prayer and the gift of her own brain in making correct choices.

7. Communicate.
Talk with your daughter often. From the ages of toddler to teenager and even beyond, if you are able to establish a relationship of open communication, she’ll learn to listen to your wise advice. The slogan for a recent anti-smoking campaign is “Talk, they’ll listen.” This phrase is a good reminder that even when you think your daughter isn’t listening or watching, she is. Open and honest communication will help her know that she can go to you with her problems and trust your guidance.

8. Never compare her to others.
One of the most helpful perspectives you can give your daughter is a healthy perspective of herself. Be sure to encourage her uniqueness and her own talents. Be quick to point out her qualities and slow to judge her inadequacies, particularly in comparison to someone else. Especially for a girl, hearing the words, “Why can’t you be more like…” can damage her self-esteem for a long time. Girls are sensitive, so remember to treat her with sensitivity.

9. Be impressed by her.
Your daughter will feel a boost of confidence when you let her know how impressed you are with how well she cleaned her room or how nicely she did her hair. When you need a little help on the computer (for example), begin by saying to your daughter, “Annie, you’re really good at computers…can you help me figure this out?” Express to her your enjoyment at seeing her grow and succeed.

10. Strengthen her heart, don’t thicken her skin. Too many times parents think that “toughening up” their daughter will make her stronger and more successful. There’s a better way when it comes to girls. Help her understand that her heart, her innate compassion, her love for others, and her own female view of the world is what makes her strong. Teach her to use her intuition to guide her and to influence others for good. This will help make her tougher than any opponent she might come up against!

11. Make it safe to make mistakes.
We all make mistakes. When your daughter makes a mistake, be sure to gently guide her to the right conclusion, the right consequence. Girls can be tricky and sometimes consequences can come back to bite you in unexpected ways. Each child should be parented individually. Learn the best way to react to your daughter’s mistakes and help her turn a negative experience into a positive one.

12. Let her achievements be her own.
Some parents make the mistake of taking credit for their daughter’s performance or living through her vicariously. Or, on the flip side, they think that her mistakes are a reflection on them.

Counsel her along the way with her projects and activities, but give her enough space to figure things out on her own. Make her experiences her experiences by giving her the freedom to succeed and to stumble.

Comments and feedback can be sent to feedback@ldsliving.com