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9 Tips For Raising Strong, Confident Daughters

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This letter is for all the girl moms:

  • To both new and seasoned girl moms,
  • To those who are moms to be, or hopeful moms in waiting.
  • To moms recently reunited with their daughter,
  • To step, foster and adoptive moms,
  • To moms who have strained relationships with their daughters,
  • To those who fulfill a motherly role.

May you be encouraged, challenged and reminded of your significance as a mother.

Dear moms,

Raising confident daughters is a formidable responsibility in a world that is invariably delivering flawed messages, reorienting the definition of beauty, and creating limited expectations for female children, adolescents and women.

You have the authority and are equipped to raise a daughter who is strong, confident and able to express her authentic self. As you raise your world-changer, here are some factors to remember:

1. Know Your Worth

Never underestimate your value as a mother. Motherhood is an arduous journey… and arduous is often an immense understatement! Your role and presence is imperative in your daughter’s life. It’s a blessing to be able to walk alongside your child as they learn and grow. You are of absolute, indescribable value to your daughter! Live every day knowing your great significance as a mother.

2. Support Her Individuality

Your daughter will encounter guidelines and tensions with beauty standards at every stage; do not be a source that further affirms and instills the cut and dried, restrictive expectations of society.

Allow your 5-year-old girl to wear the mismatched clothes she’s excited about. Support your 10-year-old daughter’s fun haircut. Let your teenager color her hair or rock the wild nail color.

Hair grows back; outfits can be changed. Allowing and encouraging your daughter to portray her unique self develops the confidence that she can lead herself well, and empowers your child to define and express her own beauty.

3. Encourage Risks

Be your daughter’s biggest cheerleader to do complex things. There is no better time for your daughter to learn to take courageous steps than while you are there to support her. Champion her in finding her passions, in exploring new things. Let her explore the world while in the safety of your home.

4. Be Her Safe Space

When your daughter experiences difficulty or is otherwise discouraged, be the safe place she can rest with and refuel. Redefine “failure” as a learning opportunity. Comfort and validate her in the big emotions. Be someone that she can shamelessly share all that is heavy on her heart.

5. Activate Her Voice

In a world that motions to minimize or silence the voice of women, raise your daughter to know the magnitude of her voice, including, but not limited to: stating her beliefs, standing up against injustice, verbalizing boundaries, uplifting others, asking for help, and sharing her perspective and ideas. Ignite the boldness that is innately within your daughter through modeling this and through intentionally optimizing on opportunities for her to do so.

6. Apologize (and do so often!)

You will make mistakes, it’s a guarantee of parenting! In light of this, never underestimate the power of an apology. Apologize when you’re aware you could’ve handled a situation better, and apologize when your daughter shares how something you said/did impacted her. A shameless parent makes for a shame-filled child.

7. Model Body Positivity

It’s reasonable to presume most women have experienced, or currently experience low self-image or areas of insecurity with their body. That cycle ends with you and your daughter!

The pressure from the beauty industry, in addition to the influence of peers, has a great impact on young girls and teens. From endless beauty products to highly edited photos and filters, influencers, diet fads, and injectables: the world profits off the insecurity of women. Your daughter, however, will be different. You will raise her to remain confident in her body and to know her beauty, internally and externally.

Never body shame your daughter. There will never be a benefit to speaking negatively about your daughter’s body. Speak life and encouragement to all of her beauty. Furthermore, refrain from verbalizing negative beliefs about your body too; talk about your body with contagious positivity. Your daughter is watching (and listening to) you.

Body positivity extends beyond the outward, physical appearance. Talk about sex. Nutrition. Emotions. Menstruation. Hormones. Mental health. Boundaries. Your daughter’s body is indispensable and will carry her throughout her life.  Teach her to love her body, all parts of her body — even (especially!) the parts the media shames.

8. Praise Her Character, Not Her Performance

Raise your daughter to know her worth regardless of her performance. Her ability (or inability) to do something is not a reflection of who she is or an indication of her value. At the core, your daughter is: creative, strong, compassionate, wise, joyful, valuable, patient, self-assured and worthy. Affirm her many, brilliant character traits that she brings to the world!

9. All the Little Things 

Small moments make for significant memories. Silly songs in the car. Late night convos. Special traditions. Mother/daughter days. Thoughtful surprises. Remembering important dates and significant events. Lunchbox notes. There’s great value in the little things! Say yes to the little things, for they have a lasting impact.

Motherhood is no simple task. The everyday moments are laying a foundation for her future. Cherish these moments! In the words of Gretchen Rubin, “the days are long, but the years are short.”

Envision who you want your daughter to be, characteristically, and what you want your precious girl to believe about herself; then be intentional in fostering these qualities to fruition.

You are equipped to raise a daughter who is strong, confident and able to express her authentic self.

With love,

Your Precious Daughter

Originally published: November 10, 2021
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