(This post was written by Heidi)
Week 10 of 10 in the Raising Girls Series
- Week 1 – Cultivating Solid Self Esteem In Daughters
- Week 2 – Questions In Every Little Girl’s Heart
- Week 3 – 10 Life Changing things a Father can do for his Daughter
- Week 4 – 10 Beliefs every Girl should have about Herself
- Week 5 – Building Confidence In Your Daughter
- Week 6 – Training Our Daughters
- Week 7 – Spending Time With Your Daughter – Loving Time Through Play
- Week 8 – Keeping Communication With Your Daughter Easy
- Week 9 – Teaching Your Daughter About True Beauty
(See Raising Boys Series here)
As our girls head towards their teenage years, small things begin to get more and more complicated to figure out sometimes – why they’re left out, how to juggle academics when there is the obsession with beauty amongst their friends every day, how to deal with irritating (and gorgeous) boys, how to manage time effectively; the list goes on.
As moms, we have a powerful role in our daughter’s lives as we lead them in making the best decisions they can.
Here are five important conversations you’ll want to think about having with your daughter at some point:
Why she is left out.
Of party invitations. Of ballgames at break time. Of shopping sprees (or clubbing) with girlfriends. After listening to her side, let her know that you are there for her. Then suggest that if anything, she is most likely left out of XYZ situation because of the other party, not because of anything about her. It most likely has something to do with their insensitivity or momentary bad mood; maybe they just didn’t think it would offend her, or interest her, the list is endless. It is not (necessarily) a rejection of her personally. Sometimes people do and plan things without thinking of others first; most often, the things we fear to be personal usually aren’t.
However, if there are valid reasons, such as the way she dresses, looks, acts, ADHD, underachieving or overachieving, etc. then planning to sort those issues out should be top priority if possible. Get braces, a good quality sports outfit or shoes, a hair straightener, talk to a school counsellor, discuss it with your spouse. Help her in any way that you can.
Why doing sports is important.
The temptation to sit at home in front of a soapie, or on the PC, or to be out with friends is always there, is always attractive to some kids (ahem, and adults..). Running around an athletics field in peak summer is just.. well, not attractive! While everyone has days they feel like being a couch potato, explain to your daughter that usually once something ‘boring’ or ‘too much effort’ is started, you usually feel glad you did. Think jogging, dishes, baking a cake..
The importance of goals – of setting and achieving them, is important in that they lead to personal ‘wins’ which give you a great sense of what you are capable of, and boost your self image. Trying to get as many of these as possible will only mould you into a confident young woman one day (or soon), and that is far better for your self esteem than being able to recite your favorite 10-season Sci Fi series. Even if her sci-fi loving boyfriend thinks it’s cool.
Have the sexism talk.
Depending on what your beliefs are, you may swing one of two ways – you either get bugged by mentions or suggestions of women whose ‘place’ is at home, raising kids and preparing warm meals for her man, or the idea of women in power suits climbing the corporate ladder makes you feel sorry for her kids at home in the afternoons. Either way, your daughter will be exposed to people, media and movies who paint the ‘role’ of women in one of these ways.
Having the talk about the value of being a half day/fulltime mom, hubby-supporter and homemaker, as well as the value in creating a career for yourself, with great independence and financial benefits; and how far toward one of these you lean, is your personal preference. But the talk should be had. The world will not view women as you do, and she will find that out, and fast. Let her hear what you believe, and challenge her to wrestle and work out what she believes.
The village and your daughter
As the old African proverb says: it takes a village to raise a child; you may feel a strong pull towards certain females in your and your daughters lives – women who you admire and respect for whatever reasons. Make sure you discuss with her the attractive attributes you see in these women. Have them over, strengthen your relationship with them and have your daughter learn from and interact with them.
It’s said that we become like the five people we spend the most of our time with. If this is true, you want her around women like this, not others whose life views, habits or moral standards you don’t approve of. Make it happen. You also most likely need a grounded, awesome woman in her life for your daughter to talk to about all the stuff she never talks to mum about. Rather a wise woman than a questionable peer, right?
The message your clothing & posture sends out
“41 Percent of girls age 13-18 bought 10 or more items of clothing in the past six months”
“57 Percent of teens saving said they were saving for clothes”
Research date: 7/8/2014 via Statistic Brain
Okay, so we know clothes are a big deal to girls. Especially teens!
A talk about dignity, virtue and personal respect is a tricky one, and having it earlier rather than later is best if you want to avoid a moody teenage blowout. The best approach I ever got told regarding my posture, and clothing choices was in seventh grade by a PT coach who told a hall full of us girls that depending on what a girl is wearing, and how she stands and carries herself, will determine what kind of guy she attracts.
If you walk tall, look up at people and life, and look people in the eye when you talk to them; if you carry yourself and dress with dignity and self respect, you will attract a decent guy. You deserve a guy who will respect you, not use you and walk all over you. Act, and dress, accordingly if you want anyone decent, and believe you are worth the best.
There are so many conversations worth having with your daughter.
What topics are you covering with yours at the moment?
We’d love to hear your stories!
Last week: Teaching Your Daughter About True Beauty
Check out week 1 of the Raising Girls Series!