Social influences and even parenting can inadvertently cause young girls to question their natural abilities. Society at large tends to reinforce gender stereotypes, causing most girls to grow up with the notion that brilliance and smartness is essentially a male trait. Research suggests that young girls unconsciously direct themselves away from actions perceived to be male-dominated. In such a scenario, parents need to promote a sense of worth in their daughters by building a positive image and confidence in her abilities for lifelong success.
Tips to Raise a Happy Confident Daughter
Parents can significantly shape their daughters’ personality and empower their self-esteem with encouraging words and actions, as kids generally take cues from their elders. Some helpful tips which may be the answer to questions like ‘how to boost my daughter’s confidence’ or ‘how to help my daughter with self-confidence’ can be:
1. Model Confident Behaviour
Parents have a huge impact on how kids think and act. Kids tend to imbibe their parent’s beliefs and traits. Therefore, it is essential that parents set an example for their daughter about confidence and self-worth. Your actions, as well as words, may help her form her views and character. In case you succumb to social pressures, show self-doubt or respond negatively to difficult situations, she is likely to imitate it. On the other hand, she will absorb when you take pride in your achievements, conduct yourself with confidence in life-situations, and display courage and fortitude while fighting the odds.
2. Encourage a Healthy Self-Image
Your daughter may note in what terms you define yourself. Do you constantly talk about your physical appearance and criticise your apparent flaws, or do you accept them and appear relaxed? She may also observe your body language – whether you are confident and comfortable in your skin or always conscious. For example, if you are tempted to give up swimming because you are uncomfortable being seen in a swimsuit, she may get a wrong signal about body imaging. Similarly, if you give up certain foods for dieting reasons, she may be inclined to make similar choices later on.
3. Downplay Appearances
You may like to impress upon your daughter that how she looks doesn’t matter, but what she does certainly counts. Paying undue attention to mere appearances is not desirable. Instead, the focus should be on setting goals in life and then striving hard to achieve them. Her worth is not tied to what she wears, but to things she is motivated to do in life. Praise and highlight your daughter’s qualities like determination, integrity, problem-solving abilities, and kindness, rather than her physical characteristics or body.
4. Foster Passions
Guide your daughter tactfully to figure out what she likes to do. Helping her find interests can push her in the right direction, which can aid in strengthening confidence in her abilities. Expose her to as many possibilities as you can through school-clubs, hobby classes like sports, playing a musical instrument, painting, and so on. Allow her to explore all options instead of restricting her to gender stereotypes. Give your daughter the wings and then watch her soar high.
5. Speak Well of Other Women
Refrain from gossiping or talking ill of other women to your daughter, particularly about their body types, appearances, choices. Try and emphasise the positive features of people or encourage empathy by urging your daughter to put herself in their shoes. Compliment other women generously for their grit and determination, hard work, and ability to fight their situations. Focus on building up others rather than tearing them down.
6. Neutralise Media Effect
Different forms of media like television, magazines, movies, and books play a crucial role in forming opinions and norms. The negative portrayal of womankind in objectifying ways or in derogatory connotations can badly influence the impressionable mind of young girls. It can trigger unhealthy trends like body shaming, bullying, and self-doubt. Therefore, it may be wise to screen media exposure and carefully consider your daughter’s choice of books or television shows. Also, have an open dialogue with her about how things work in the real world to suitably prepare for likely sexism, and means to deal with it.
7. Teach Essential Skills
Train your daughter to be competent and independent. Equip her with different skills like repairing her bike, money matters, changing a tyre, basic survival tricks, and building things around the house, which may instil in her the necessary confidence to take on life situations. Encourage her to take up adventures like fishing, bug collecting, tree climbing, and camping. At the same time, demonstrate the importance of academics by taking a keen interest in her school activities, projects, regularly checking homework, and showing up for school events.
8. Belief in Herself
Try and infuse in your daughter an unshakeable belief in herself as a person. Repeatedly telling her to believe in herself can help ingrain the message in her mind that she can do anything she desires. Developing faith in herself may strengthen her resolve to never give up and boost her confidence to attempt harder to do well in life. It may assist her to push herself outside her comfort zone, face challenges with self-assurance and take healthy risks to progress in life.
9. Constructive Female Role Models
Inspire your daughter with success stories of women who succeeded despite struggles. Providing her with books having impressive female characters may convey the point more effectively than lecturing. You can enlist the help of a librarian to make apt recommendations. Take every single opportunity while watching television or reading a newspaper to point out to her women in the role of doctors, athletes, senators, sportscasters, business leaders, lawyers doing well in their respective fields. Talk about women you admire to make your daughter realise that the only factors which can control her life may be her own decisions or actions, and not any external factors.
10. Allow Her a Voice
Motivate your daughter to stand up for herself and for what she believes in. Be supportive of her opinions and views by letting her voice them. Giving value to her words may boost her self-worth. But keep in mind not to give in to unreasonable demands or whims. Allow your daughter to make her point, give her a patient hearing and address her arguments, but let her know that the final decision rests with you. Also, communicating to her your acceptance and appreciation of who she is and not what you may want to make of her can build up her confidence and dignity.
Societal pressures and gender stereotyping can undermine a girl’s confidence, prompting her to question her beliefs about her ability and intelligence. Parents’ role in imparting their daughters with faith in themselves and instilling them with pride in their accomplishments becomes all the more vital. Your daughter needs to believe that she can make it out there in the world all by herself!