Girls face different challenges than boys do. They’re expected to be nicer, and no one makes excuses for their bad behavior. While you probably haven’t ever heard anyone say "girls will be girls," there’s that popular saying, "boys will be boys."
To help your daughter feel strong and confident, here’s a few tips you might want to consider.
Put Her in Sports
To give your daughter a lot of confidence and feelings of self-worth, sign her up for sports. If she loves activity, sign her up for as many sports as she wants to do. If she is on the fence about participating, let her know it’s a good thing to try new activities and to challenge herself. Tell her to try it for one season, and if she doesn’t like it, she can find a new activity.
Don’t wait until she’s in junior high to do it either. Many recreational groups or gyms offer sports for smaller children. Whether it’s a basketball league or tumbling, sports will make her feel powerful. Even if she isn’t a star player, she’ll enjoy playing as long as you are present at her games, cheering her on.
Let Her Be More Than Cute
It’s fine to tell your daughter she’s beautiful – to you, she’s probably the prettiest girl on earth. But she needs to be more than that, and she needs to see herself as more than that too.
If you find you’re constantly telling her how pretty she is, or if her relatives do that, look for something else to compliment her about. Tell her how smart she is, how strong she is.
Relying solely on her looks won’t take her as far in life as her mind will. And while her looks will fade, her intelligence will continue to grow and give her confidence for the rest of her life.
Teach Her to Stand Up for Herself
Girls are expected to be sweet, kind and peacemakers. But the most confident girls speak their minds. Tell her to respect herself and demand that others respect her as well. Giving her a voice will help her get what she wants out of life, and she won’t feel the need to apologize for speaking her mind.
Show Her How to Do Things
Feeling competent will make her self-confidence grow by leaps and bounds. So show her how to do things. She doesn’t have to be a teenager to learn this lesson either. Even when she’s a toddler, you can help her believe she can do anything she sets out to do. Let her help around the house, and give her responsibility. It will do her developing ego a world of good.
Don’t Praise Her Too Much
If your child isn’t the best singer in the world, don’t call her the next Adele. Nothing can shake your confidence faster than realizing you’re horrible at something you thought you were good at. If you spend too much time building her up with false praise when she is little, she’ll realize it someday and wonder what else she is terrible at doing.
Shannon Serpette is a mother of two and an award-winning journalist and freelancer who lives in Illinois. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.