Let her have a voice in making decisions.
Giving your daughter the opportunity to make decisions in her life will help her build her confidence and trust her instincts. Of course these decisions come on gradually and are age appropriate, but even giving her the opportunity to learn from bad choices in a safe environment is a great place to start.
My daughter is in kindergarten and we will talk about the weather and what might be appropriate to wear in those conditions. Some days she hits the nail on the head and knows exactly what would be the right amount of layers to be comfortable. Other days she tries to wear shorts in 35 F degree weather. It may seem much easier to pick out your daughter’s outfit for her every single day, let’s be honest it is easier…but that doesn’t give her the chance to grow and build confidence in her decision making.
Praise her imperfections. Beauty comes from the inside as well as on the outside. Embrace those small quirks that only your daughter has and tell her that you love it about her. Missteps are a part of life and should be seen as such. Girls are so often expected to reach a level of perfection that they are often unable to get past blunders that happen along the way. Talk about your own mistakes and let her see you move past them. Messing up a recipe, dropping your phone, missing an appointment? Recognize your own mess ups and let her see how you move forward to resolve them.
Just this morning I forgot an appointment that wasn’t set in my phone. My daughter knew I was stressed about missing the appointment and I explained to her that I needed to re-set it and makes sure that I had it set in my phone calendar with an alarm so I don’t miss it the next time.
Create challenges that you can overcome together. This could be something like making a fried egg, brushing her hair, reading a book, doing a push up, painting a wall…and have fun with the journey and bumps along the way.
Tell her you believe in her.
The way we speak to our children will become their inner voice and the way they talk to themselves in the future. As I parent I know there are times that I could handle situations better. For example, labeling the behavior rather than labeling the child.
Give her opportunities to challenge herself physically and mentally. Confidence is built by doing new things that you may think you would not be capable of doing. Get her outside to hike that mountain, try out for the team, or compete in the science fair. Life comes with the ups and downs of failure and success, but it is through both of these experiences. I heard an interview once with a woman who’s father always asked them about their failures that they had every night at dinner. The idea was that if they were trying new things and living a brave life they would experience failure and that is okay, in fact it should be celebrated. Allowing your daughter to see failure as part of the journey can create a healthy relationship with the bumps in the road and to keep on going.
“Girls who avoid risks have poorer self-esteem than girls who can and do face challenges,” says JoAnn Deak, Ph.D., author of Girls Will Be Girls. “Urge your daughter to go beyond her comfort zone — for example, encourage a girl who’s scared to ride her bike downhill to find just a small hill to conquer first.”
Show interest in her passions. Showing interest in your daughter’s interest can deepen her understanding of self and enjoyment of life. This may be a stretch if you aren’t into the same things she is, but it will allow your daughter to seek and find what is best for her. Offer a wide range of opportunities from karate to ballet, and see what speaks most to her.
Build her emotional vocabulary. Teaching your daughter how to voice the emotions she is having is a strong tool to hold in her arsenal. If she tells you she is feeling fine ask her if that means she is feeling “fine-good” or “fine-sad”. If you are working with a young girl ages 3-5 it can help to have her draw out her emotions and then talk about what those emotions might be. What does it mean to feel frustrated, scared, embarrassed, lonely, sad, insecure, happy, excited, overwhelmed, or confused. Talk it out and describe what those emotions mean, there are books that can help you do this if you feel you need help to teach them properly. Name the emotions in the moment, “I can see you’re feeling frustrated.” Then let her talk it out and tell you why. Oftentimes listening will solve problems far beyond trying to fix them ourselves as their parent.
Help her love her looks. Believe it or not this is when our influence as parents comes in more than ever. Oftentimes it is the voice we use for ourselves and our own self love that our daughters will apply to themselves. What do you say about yourself? Do you call yourself fat, ugly, or stew over not looking cute enough? Our daughters will mirror our behavior and learn from our own self love/self hate.
When your daughter looks in the mirror what does she see? My daughter has long, beautiful brown hair. It is fine hair so it tangles extremely easily, it kinks when it’s slept on, it has a bit of a wave to it and it tends to be a bit frizzy. It is just like mine. I don’t fuss over my hair too much, but I know that power that hair can hold on special days when you are wanting to look extra special. My daughter loves her hair and loves it most when I “leave it long” and let it do it’s thing.
I love Dove’s #LoveYourHair campaign because it is all about loving what we are naturally given. Too often as women we develop the “grass is greener” mentality of wanting what the other person has rather than loving what we were born with. Dove Hair believes a positive role model can greatly impact a girl’s confidence. In fact, a recent Dove study found that 82% of girls learn to care about themselves from their mother. Help your daughter love her hair today so she will love her hair tomorrow.
Recently I met a beautiful woman with a full head of tight curls. It had so much volume, personality, and shine. I complimented her on her hair and told her how much I loved it. She laughed and told me that it was only in the last few years that she’s really started loving her hair and how she had tried straightening it for so many years. I related to that in the opposite way of always using a curling iron and sleeping on curlers night after night. We laughed and understood instantly what the other was saying because there were so many similarities just on opposite sides of the spectrum.
Our daughters have so much ahead of them and lives full of potential. Let’s give them a healthy start with sending messages of love and acceptance through the flight of success and the blunders. What are some ways you like to encourage your daughter?
This is a sponsored post on behalf of Dove. Opinions are 100% my own.
Hello! I am Camille, a wife, mother of four, Disney obsessed, certified teacher, and reality optimist. Motherhood comes with its ups and downs, and I hope while you’re here you’ll find something that makes your #momlife easier!