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Ensuring our daughters feel empowered and confident is something I think many of us as parents worry about and try to help impact. We hope that their involvement in sports and other extracurriculars helps to give them confidence in themselves. That our encouragement and exposing them to inspirational people and stories will also have a positive impact. But is there more we can be doing as parents?
My daughter struggles, like many other tween girls, with self-confidence and feeling empowered to be herself. I wanted to know if there was more I could do to help her. I've read some great books and here's a summary of some of the things I've learned from notes I've jotted down here and there. I hope by sharing, they are helpful to you as much as they continue to be for me.
Here's the highlights:
1. Release her from needing our approval.
Let her know that simply by being on earth, she has the right to take up space, speak her mind and express her feelings. Validating who she intrinsically is will help her to feel more empowered.
2. Express your love during simple, ordinary times.
When she is resting, watching TV, or riding in the car. The times when she isn't DOING anything. This will show her that just by being herself, she's worthy of love and that you see and understand her.
3. Show her that her presence and opinions are meaningful and important to you.
By listening and involving her in discussions, this will help build her self-confidence and encourage her to trust her inner voice.
4. Support her in being a student of life.
I forget this one sometimes. It's so easy to get caught up with school (especially now, with many schools sticking to remote learning as school starts again) and worrying about how she's doing with grades and keeping up. I can forget that what she is learning in life day-to-day is building her character too and is equally important.
5. Focus on the process instead of progress.
How she approaches a problem or a task can build confidence and character more than what she ends up accomplishing at the end of the day. Experiences can teach her to be kind, compassionate, resilient, spontaneous and authentic. And if she can do that, she will feel more empowered to take on anything that comes her way.
6. Encourage her to learn how to live with her limitations with ease, rather than being attached to perfection.
This is a big one in our household. My daughter, and it seems many girls, think they have to be perfect. We know this is a futile goal that only leads to frustration and disappointment. When we can support them in accepting themselves, limits and all, they will feel more empowered to try anything without the fear of failing.
It's easy to get caught up in the daily challenges and remember to do all of these things, but even just one or two can make a positive impact. And we are all doing our best and are probably doing some of these without even realizing it. Because as we tell our daughters, no one is perfect. :)