Raising Girls With Self-Esteem

raising-girls-with-self-esteem

In this day and age, we hear a lot about self-esteem.  About how to raise our children so that they can depend upon themselves and feel confident in their endeavors. Generally speaking, self-esteem is “a realistic respect for or favorable impression of oneself.”  

If you have kids then you probably realize that kids are sort of born with a preconceived notion of self-esteem.  As toddlers, most are pretty assertive, and typically believe that they are the center of the universe.  Then, life barges in – and socialization and events start chipping away at their self-esteem.  The first time a fellow kindergartner tells them they don’t want to be their friend, or the first time they realize they cannot run as fast as another child can things begin to change.  The list of things that can potentially hurt a child’s self-esteem are endless.  

For girls, self-esteem is often so closely associated with their physical appearance that they often hold the strings of self-esteem more loosely.  The trick for parents is to realize that self-esteem is easier to sustain than to teach.  Once your daughter loses it, it can be a painstaking experience for them to get it back.  So how do we as parents ensure that our daughters hold onto the sassy, optimistic, self-respecting nature that they were born with and ensure we are raising girls with self-esteem?

The first thing is to really listen to your child.  It’s easy for us as parents, to dismiss things or events that our daughters go through.  If they are talking to you at a young age, then you need to be listening.  If your child tells you about a bully at school, or a friend of theirs that has been mean to them – LISTEN!  Don’t resort to cliché phrases such as “HE/SHE is just jealous,” or “If she did that she is not your true friend.”  The fact that your daughter is talking about it signifies its importance in her life. And while it’s easy for adults to sort of sweep these misgivings of childhood under the rug, we have to teach our daughters how to believe in themselves.  

Recognize first and foremost that these occurrences did in fact hurt her feelings. (And that is okay – to hurt is human.) Then, talk to her about why it hurt, and what she can learn from it.  Ask lots of questions, be interested.  Yes, it may seem petty to you – but to her – it's not.  Do your best to avoid talking negatively about the child that offended your daughter – and instead enable her to forgive the other person. If you respond compassionately early on, you not only offer your daughter a support system, but you also gain her trust, and she will talk to you more freely when she gets older as well.  Whatever you do – avoid reacting with anger. 

In truth, none of us are above or beyond peer pressure, or being hurt by the opinions of others. 

Another important aspect of self-esteem is helping your daughter develop a thought process and belief system that is not so easily shaken by what others think.  In truth, none of us are above or beyond peer pressure, or being hurt by the opinions of others.  Yet, it’s important to realize and remember that what other people think is really none of our business.  Just because someone thinks it, or says it – doesn't mean it’s true.  Something is only true if we believe it is!  Help your daughter gain control of her thoughts and emotions by learning how to validate external stimuli for HERSELF!  Important note here – this means that YOU shouldn't automatically resort to telling her how she is ‘supposed’ to feel either.

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As your daughter grows up, her self-esteem will ebb and flow with the tides of development.  There will be times her self-confidence is tested, where she will be more unsure of herself than at other times.  Just because WE believe our daughters are awesome and amazing, doesn't mean that THEY will.  They need to learn and re-learn this fact for themselves.  As long as you do your best to encourage your daughter to be an individual, to be herself, and to have faith in herself – she will manage the unpredictable waves of adolescence less painfully.  

Lastly, but certainly NOT least – remember that your daughter/s is looking to you to model self-esteem. You cannot constantly beat yourself up, put yourself down, and talk negatively about yourself in front of your daughter, without it having an ill affect on her.  The biggest role model in her life is you! 

What do you think?

Raising Girls With Self-Esteem

Stef Daniel is the 40ish year old, experienced (meaning crazy already) mother of count ‘em…4 daughters (yes, she takes prayers) who have taught her nearly E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G she needs to know about raising kids and staying sane. She hails from a small town in Georgia where she lives with her family in a red tin roofed house (with just ONE bathroom mind you) on a farm - with tons of animals of course. One day, due to her sheer aversion to shoes and her immense lov ... More

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