How to Raise a Confident Girl
I was certain about one thing when I became the mom of a girl: I wanted to do my best to raise a confident one. For the most part – and so far because this journey is not over yet – I have done a good job. I feel like I have modeled confidence and every-so-often my daughter shocks me that she’s been listening all along to the things I have to say.
One day we were driving in the car when daughter asked why the comic MAD was making fun of Twilight. I told her that MAD makes fun of everybody and everything just like the Simpsons. I continued by telling her that you can pretty much make fun of anything as long as you make fun of yourself too. I gave her a few examples by saying that I could make fun of myself for wearing glasses or being short. And, genuinely, because she didn’t understand she said: “Why would I make fun of myself? I love myself and have joy in my heart.”
Swoon. My daughter is awesome.
I was so shocked that she had been listening to her mother (that would be me), I wrote the conversation down. I know that she probably will not make it to her teen years with all of her amazing self-confidence, but if she can hold on to at least half of it, she’ll be way ahead of the game.
Back when she was a baby, I made a silent pledge to myself that I would do a few things to model confidence. The most important relationship girls have in their lives – at least if you ask me – is with their mothers. We’re the examples by which our daughters learn how to be women. And it was my hope that mine would be a confident one.
Here are the things that I pledged to do as the mother of a girl:
I never – and I do mean never – speak about my body in a disparaging manner. You won’t ever find me saying in front of my daughter that I need to lose a few pounds or that I feel fat or even mentioning a diet. If I go on one, it’s all about “getting active” and not dropping pounds. If something doesn’t fit – like when I recently found a to-die-for belt at a thrift store that was too small – I’ll tell my daughter it doesn’t come in size “fabulous.” Look, it may be corny, but I would rather be corny than trash my body.
My daughter votes with me. The first ballot she ever cast was in the 2004 Presidential Election. She pushed the button, got the sticker and we have been active participants in the political process ever since. By taking her with me, I’m showing her that my voice (and hers) matters. Now, she genuinely loves voting.
You don’t have to be friends, so don’t be mean. We don’t have to like or be liked by everyone, but if you don’t like someone, do not be mean or cruel. Walking away is not losing; it’s refusing to play a game that has no winners.
Don’t kill them with kindness, make them laugh with jokes. My daughter has a wicked sense of humor. She got the message and I reap the benefits. One day others will too.
Image via Liz Henry