There is no doubt, raising girls is a challenge. The mother/daughter bond, is one of the most precious and precarious things. Daughters have a way of looking at their mothers that make them feel worthless, a way of talking that can cut to the heart and a way of acting that can have you tearing your hair out. But that mother/daughter bond is a beautiful thing and daughters can be a joy to raise, so here are some tips to raising girls.
1. Don’t take things personally
Girls have a way of knowing the meanest thing to say at the right time to have the biggest impact. And they make everything personal and it can hurt. You job as a parent it not to take it personally however personal it gets, don’t get involved in her drama and don’t respond to the nasty, off-the-cuff remarks. However she behaves and whatever she does, she doesn’t really mean them. Never go into this drama with her, hold on tight to the end of the rope from the outside while she thrashes around but never thrash around with her.
2. Be careful what you say to her.
Shallow praise linked to looks can have a negative effect on a girl’s ability to deal with adversity. These off-the-cuff remarks can imply that looks, goodness, talent and even intelligence are things you either have or don’t have. If you grow up believing that ability is innate, then you are less likely to try when things get a little difficult. You will be more likely to give up rather than stick with it because you think that effort has little impact on overall success. These innocent comments to a daughter can make her think her self-esteem is linked to certain traits or attributes. She may grow up valuing being pretty more than being strong and independent.
3. Don’t make assumptions.
There are so many media reports out there about young girls and how they are more anxious, nervous, lacking in confidence and a willing prey to social media. However in my experience they are not all true, in fact most aren’t. Don’t assume that Instagram and selfies are turning your daughter into a narcasstic image-obsessed, unconfident young lady. The opposite might be true. Ask questions and never assume what something means to her.
4. Let her be who she is.
If your daughter is quiet and introverted, let her be; if she is loud and sociable, let her be. If she loves playing computer games, let her; if she likes pink and short skirts, let her. There are so many expectations placed on young girls about whom they should and shouldn’t be and it is so conflicting so no wonder they are confused. Love your body but don’t wear a skirt that short is one example. Just let your daughter be who she is and don’t make her wrong for that. I can’t tell you the countless girls I have had in my office who are introverted types, desperate to be more outgoing because someone told them they need to be, rather than letting them know the benefits of being more introverted and reflective. Never make your daughter wrong for whom she is; this is what leads to low self-esteem and confidence issues. You daughter doesn’t need to be more or less of what she is, she just needs to be who she is and happy with that.
5. Don’t let her give in too easily.
Because of how girls are treated when younger they tend to grow up thinking they can’t do things and often give up. Don’t let her give in too easily, as this can lead to all sorts of problems later on. If she makes a commitment, ensure she sticks to it and don’t except excuses, because that is a slippery path she is going down. If she gives in too easily and says she can’t do it, be quick to correct her. Listen out for defeatist language and jump on it as soon as you can. Make sure she keeps going even when it gets tough. Don’t enable her to give in too easily.
And above all, have fun with your daughter, take her to places, spend time with her just chatting about life, asking her opinion on things. Enjoy her while you still can.