Empowering Our Daughters To Be Who They Truly Are Even When Society Says Something Else
Being a mother means constantly having your heartbroken at the same time as it’s being filled to the brim with so much love for your child. Every day we are bombarded with messages about who to be. As adults, we do better at filtering through those messages (although not always perfectly), but our daughters need to learn how to filter.
The TV programs they are watching portray girls who are mean, demanding, sarcastic, and obsessed with their looks. Social media consistently paints a picture of prosperity and luck in others’ people’s lives and has us constantly comparing ourselves to other people. Cyberbullying is on the rise.
So how do we empower our daughters to be who they truly are and ignore all the haters? Here are six important ways you can empower your daughters.
We need to set an example. Negative self-talk about our bodies or our lives only fuels the fire. We need to talk to ourselves as we would to our daughters. We’re always telling our daughters that they are smart, beautiful, sweet, kind, loving, helpful and more. But we don’t always say the same to ourselves. We are our children’s first role models. If we don’t model positive talk, they will learn negative talk.
We need to create an environment of open and honest communication. If your daughters know they can come to you, they will be more willing to follow your example. Besides, we can’t help them if we don’t know they need help. The more we are open to acceptance, they more they are open to acceptance.
We need to surround ourselves with like-minded women. Again, model for your daughters an open and accepting relationship with other women. If they are introduced to and surrounded by women who are successful, positive, and just being themselves, our daughters will see the possibilities for their lives. They will be less susceptible to the negative talk and examples. You can also do this by creating a media filter. When watching TV or movies, talk about the females that they are seeing. Introduce your daughters to strong women via books or television. There’s plenty of them to choose from.
We need to allow them space to discover who they are. Does she love to sing? Encourage her to join a choir. Does she love to make art? Encourage her to paint and create. Does she love math or science? Encourage her by enrolling her in courses or camps that allow her to do the things she loves. But most of all, encourage her to explore. Let her choose different activities and flit from one activity to another. Community education or your local library is a great place to start. It won’t cost you a lot, yet will allow her to test her wings to find what she really loves and is good at. Doing this will help build her confidence and help her grow. And by all means, if she chooses something that has a performance or recital, attend those performances and recitals. Happily. With a smile on your face. And never let her think these things are a burden to you.
We need to teach them to be independent. Can you change a tire? How about your oil? Can you jumpstart your car? Can you cook, do laundry, clean your house? Can you balance a check book? What if your toilet gets clogged or a light fixture needs to be replaced? Teaching your daughter these things helps them live their own lives and not depend on someone else to “take care” of them. So teach her how to mow a lawn or perform minor maintenance on her car. Make sure she knows how to balance a budget and the basics of house repair.
We need to show them how to set boundaries and say no. Sometimes, people get a little too close or make you feel uncomfortable. Boundaries are those imaginary lines we put in place to help protect us both physically and emotionally. They are fluid lines: meaning that they grow bigger or grow smaller depending on the person or situation. We need to teach our daughters to listen to their instincts and change things up if they ever feel threatened, unsafe, or just plain old uncomfortable. Being able to firmly set those boundaries and stick to them will empower your daughters to the nth degree. It puts them in control. Also, being true to your boundaries gives you power to leave a difficult situation.
Remember, empowering our daughters begins at home. If we feel empowered, we can empower them. And when we are empowered, the world is ours.