How to raise confident daughters

My daughter is extremely confident. She has a very can do attitude. Raising her to believe in herself is extremely important to me. It’s been the focus of my parenting that she become the best, and happiest version of who she is. So far, so good, though at only four we still have a long way, and lot’s of hurdles to overcome. Particularly, I think, because she’s a girl.

I still carry an archaic belief that if I were a neater, more self contained, less emotional woman that would make me a better woman. That by standing out, being different, and definitely not in control makes me less. This is a faulty belief and I’m working to change it. It’d be great though if Wonder Girl could avoid that pitfall in the first place. I want her to believe that women don’t have to be always neat and unruffled like a swan hiding all the hard work under the water. That a woman can be messy, assertive, loud, proud and that we can make some noise.

How to raise confident daughters;

1. In our culture body image and self esteem is so fragile. Our daughters are going to be bombarded with the media’s idealised body image from the moment they watch a disney princess and idolise her, with her teeny tiny waist and ginormous eyes. I’m not going to suggest you try and prevent this, as it’s impossible. Instead show her a woman who loves her body. Joke about your wobbly tummy, it’s no big deal. Praise cuddly tummies and squashy bottoms. Teach her to love her body for it’s strength, agility, and uniqueness. Show her that you’re comfortable with your body, and if you’re not work on that so you can be a positive mirror for her.

2. Praise her for her personality, academic achievement and friendliness, not for how pretty she looks. Teach her that being considerate, hard working and thoughtful are much more important than looking cute or having lovely hair.

3. Let her assert herself. I think we are programmed from a young age that women should be the peacemakers. Which is lovely but what if she’s not? Personally I tend to bring with me a hurricane of chaos, it stirs things up and they often settle in a better way after with lessons learnt along the way. My daughter can be peacemaker or activist, whatever her passion leads her too and that’s just fine with me.

4. Follow her interests, not a female stereotype. Let her play with dolls, and cars. Enrol her for ballet and football. Let her choose her clothes in whatever colour, or style suits her and she likes. Teach her that the whole world of possibilities is available to her regardless of her gender.

5. Love her. It’s worth such a lot. A child who knows, and feels that they are loved carry with them a great big armour against the pit falls of the world.