“To my daughter I will say ‘See your beauty without a compliment or a mirror.’ “ – Della Hicks-Wilson
I remember the day very clearly when we found out the gender of our first baby. In the moment, I was happy and excited to learn that it was a girl! Soon, though, I began to think about everything that comes with being a woman in this world today and the challenges we face.
My self-confidence growing up was almost non-existent. What little confidence I did have came from having a strong mom as a role model. My mom was incredibly loving and always there for my sister and I. She was a hard-working, single mom who did her absolute best to give us everything she could. She was the definition of a boss – she worked hard to make her way up the corporate ladder with no degree, she supported two kids almost completely on her own and she never complained or talked badly about our father.
The only thing my mom lacked was self-confidence. She struggled with her own self-esteem issues and as young girls, we could see this.
My relationship with my father added to my lack of confidence. He was incredibly toxic and narcissistic and I didn’t realize until I was much older how much this relationship would damage and impact my self-esteem.
Today, I have one daughter who’s about to turn three and one more girl due in the next few days. I am officially a “girl mom.” I’ve started to think a lot lately about what role I will have in shaping their confidence because one of my biggest goals as their mom is to raise them to be confident, independent women who know their worth.
Eight Ways I Plan on Teaching Confidence to My Daughters
1.) Teach Her Not to Compare Herself to Others
We should help our daughters to understand that everyone is their own person and we are all different. We shouldn’t waste time comparing ourselves or our lives to others because that usually leads to a negative place. Instead, we should help teach them how to embrace the differences in others and how our differences are what make each of us special and unique.
2.) Lead by Example
Seeing as how I am still a work in progress, this one is easier said than done. However, I believe it is crucial for our daughters to see us think highly of ourselves first. Try to be aware of what you say about yourself. Don’t put yourself down. Don’t say anything about yourself that you wouldn’t want your daughter to say about them self.
I believe that teaching our daughters to be grateful for the things they have contributes to their self-worth. Teaching our children the importance of gratitude goes a long way. Help them to understand the things they have that maybe others don’t. Every day, try and have them think of something different they are grateful for.
4.) Compliment Them on Things Other Than Looks
This seems like it should be an obvious one but it never ceases to amaze me how many people want to stop and tell my daughter how cute or beautiful she is. I know this is usually coming from a good place but it’s unfortunate how much emphasis society places on a women’s looks, starting from when we are just babies. I think this is what makes it that much more important as their parent to remember to compliment our daughters for other things, such as character traits. If your daughter does something kind for someone else, recognize that. Praise her for when she finishes that puzzle on her own for the first time. Build up her self-worth by recognizing and complimenting her on all the other things that make her special.
5.) Don’t Apologize for Everything
This is a habit I didn’t even know I had until one day, my little girl started saying “I’m sorry” for everything! I wondered why she was starting to say this so much and I had to look at myself. I soon caught myself saying it way more often than I realized. This is a habit I am now trying to break because I don’t want my daughter to feel like she needs to apologize for everything. We should try and teach our daughters that it is ok to feel a certain way or to do certain things; that they don’t need to apologize for everything. Teach them the right context to use the words “I’m sorry,” like when they hurt someone or did something they shouldn’t have.
6.) Recognize Other Strong Women
Take the time to point out women role models. Build up the other women in their lives. For younger children, point out girl characters from their favorite story or TV show and ask them what they think makes that girl special. Help them to build up other women from a young age.
7.) Don’t Be So Quick to Help
It is so easy to want to jump in and help our child when they are struggling with something. However, this doesn’t give them the chance to learn something new and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with figuring out something on their own. The more we let our daughters learn how to do things for themselves, the more it helps with their independence which in turn helps them build confidence.
8.) Treat Her with Respect
Listen when your child has something to say. Talk to her with respect and in the same way you would like to be spoken to. I’ve tried to be very conscious of how I talk to my daughter since she was born. It’s something a lot of people have commented on. Some are surprised that I talk to my two year old in almost the same way I would talk to another adult. I ask her opinion and ask her to make decisions. I think that no matter what age our kids are, they deserve to be talked to and treated with respect. They should feel included in making certain choices that affect them. All of this helps to build their confidence and the trust they have in themselves.
Our daughters are the future and we play such a vital role in their development. I want nothing more than to help my girls to be strong, confident and independent women – true girl BOSSES.
Do you have daughters? What do you do to help build their confidence?