(This post was written by Heidi)
Self esteem is a fragile thing. We know that. We have all been pre-teens, teenagers and are adult women, with certain things that affect our self esteem. So how do we raise our daughters to be self confident women, who have a deep sense of certainty about who they are?
Week 1 of 10 in the Raising Girls Series
(See Raising Boys Series here)
Part Of A Bigger Picture
From a young age, show her that she is part of a bigger picture. Make a family collage of people in your family who love her – granny’s, grandpa’s, aunties, cousins, friends, siblings. Let her feel the sweet feeling of being ‘cushioned’ by loving relatives and close friendships. Speak well of them. The issues you have with them are between you and them, not your daughter. Issues you grew up with, say, with your father, will not necessarily extend to your daughter – obviously judge it closely but chances are, grandpa will just delight in being that – a grandpa. He won’t be a short tempered thirty year old who works too much. He’s chilled and retired at sixty five. I say give him a chance at being a great grandpa!
A Role In Her Family
Apart from knowing she is loved within her family, let your daughter know that she has an important role to play in it. She is a big/little sister, a cherished daughter, a niece, a granddaughter, and each relationship in her life is enriched by her being in it, in nurturing it and giving of herself in it. The family would not be the same without her; she is valuable and special and needed. Let her know that!
You can affirm her in this – “I like the way you were caring with your baby sister today. She is lucky to have an older sister to take care of her”, “I like how you helped granny shop today, she needed someone to accompany her at the mall, keep her company and help her pack the car, and I am glad it was you.”, “I like how you respected your father this evening, even though I know his comment irritated you. You are a treasure.” You know the relationships in your daughter’s life, and you know her character. Be sure to look for and encourage her role in family.
Unique Talents That Are Valued
Focus on her uniqueness. If she is not homeschooled, she’ll probably be spending a lot of her day doing things that are not necessarily her passion. Help her to make time in her weekly/monthly schedule to focus on her hobbies – a writers weekend away at a friend’s house/retreat, music practice, special athletics training at a private club. Let her know that her hobbies and passions are so important and that she should look for ways to work at them. Help her define what they are as she grows up – ask her leading questions about her interests and see what she tells you! Expose her to a wonderful variety of activities, hobbies and sports too, and see what she loves doing.
Something Special To Offer The World
Each person, I believe, has something unique and deeply personal that they can share with others, and the world. Perhaps she will be a motivational speaker; a caring paediatric physiotherapist, a doctor, a professional athlete who inspires young children, a great writer. Help her to know herself, to develop her talents and to share them with the world. Brendon Burchard’s book The Millionaire Messenger talks on how to use your experiences and gifts to help others (as well as make an income).
Chosen & Known Before Birth
If you are spiritual, you most likely are familiar with the scripture in Psalm 139:14, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Actually, a lot of Psalm 139 is lovely for a young girl to know. That God knows all her ways, and knows her completely; that she is fearfully and wonderfully made; that He saw her before she was made.
Read the entire Psalm 139 for a fuller picture!
Some of the most confident girls I know are ones not yet out of school, who know what they love doing, know what they want to do once out of school and are happy in themselves. They are also the most driven. Help your daughter realise who she is, who she was created to be, and what her strengths and gifts are. That in itself will help solidify her self esteem and self image, and ground her.
Next week: Questions In Every Little Girl’s Heart. Subscribe here to follow by email.