Let's Hear It For The Girls3:05 PM
Today is International Woman's Day and I couldn't be more proud to be raising 3 amazing little ladies. They are strong, opinionated, kind, polite, smart, driven, and inspire me every single day to do better. As a Mother it is my duty to raise them up to do good. Never let the opinions of others determine their self worth. I must also teach them to build others up. How do I teach my girls to be kind to others and to themselves and know that what really matter's is on the inside? By example of course. I often remind my girls that beauty is from within. Beauty is in sharing their kindness with others, it's in that good deed no one knows about. That good feeling you get when you do something to help someone, being there for a friend that has had their feelings hurt. Complimenting a stranger because you know it will make their day. I gush with pride over this one. If you could only hear my girls while we are out and about...Just about every other person we pass, they can be heard telling someone they look beautiful today, or Willow's favorite, "I like your hair!" They have learned that making other's feel good makes them feel GREAT! I'm so proud of my girls. We are raising "Includer's."
Today I would like to share The 10 Commandments For Raising a Strong Daughter
1. Love your body
Oh, bodies. They are so hard. Dissatisfaction is expected. Fat talk is rampant. Self-worth, shame, confidence are all tied so closely to the size and shape of bodies. I don’t know if it is possible to prevent against some degree of body consciousness, but we don’t have to facilitate it. In our own homes, we should avoid talking about how fat we feel, or about the pounds we want to lose, or the disappointment with the way we look in those jeans. And as much as we can we should love the way we look in front of our daughters. They’ll take their body image cues from us, so give them good ones. We need to do our best to be sure they know that our self-worth is not tied to a number on a scale or a dress size. And theirs shouldn’t be either.
2. Beauty is in behavior
When we talk about beautiful people, we are often talking about their looks. Often, but not always. Many beautiful people are beautiful because of the way they behave: they are kind and generous, thoughtful towards others, willing to give of themselves. And when we talk about “ugly” people, while we often talk about appearances, we also often talk about how something was an “ugly” thing to say or do.
Teaching our daughters that it is the way they behave towards others and towards themselves that paves the way to becoming beautiful can free them from worrying about having (or not having) the perfect hair or the straightest teeth. With that extra freedom, who knows what good they can do in making the world a more beautiful place?
3. Sing your own praise
As parents, it’s easy to martyr ourselves for the sake of our children. And they are completely oblivious to it. Ungrateful little buggers. But what if we took the opportunity to point out to them all the wonderful things we do for them? What if we weren’t shy about letting them know that not only do we do a lot of amazing things, we are actually pretty amazing people?
I’m willing to bet that not only would we feel less resentment about doing those little things we never get thanked for doing, but we would open their eyes to the all of the things that we, and others, do for them. Gratitude, with all of its benefits for mind, body, and heart, would become a part of who they are, and our daughters would not be afraid to look for and own their own brand of amazingness.
I’m not going to be afraid to say, as humbly and genuinely as I can, “Isn’t it great that you have such a beautiful, talented mother?” to my kids. I’m hoping that not only will it instill a level of gratitude and respect, but also a level of confidence and pride in who they are.
4. Dad time is well spent
Girls need strong relationships with their dads. It’s important. Research shows that girls who don’t have strong relationships with their dads are more likely to develop destructive relationships, have unplanned pregnancies, suffer from low-self esteem, and less likely to graduate from college, and form stable relationships themselves. Dads have the ability and the responsibility to teach their daughters how they should expect to be treated by men.
So if we want to raise girls that are strong enough to walk away from abusive relationships, or that can demand respect from a roomful of boys, we need to give them the gift of a strong, healthy, respectful relationship with her dad. (Or, if he’s not available, with another trusted male role model.)
5. Own your smarts
Being smart is nothing to be ashamed of, but as girls grow up they are getting the message that their value lies in their bodies and in their looks, rather than in their brains. Intelligent women are mocked and ridiculed in the media and girls are left wondering if there is any value to their intelligence.
Our girls shouldn’t have to wonder if it is better to be smart or pretty. And they shouldn’t feel like they need to hide their intelligence. Research shows that girls often have an advantage over boys in language skills, and they are often more emotionally astute than boys as well. We can help our daughters take pride in their strengths (and bolster their weaknesses) by taking an interest in the things they are interested in, involving them in a variety of activities from fixing cars to making dinner, and by praising their efforts to do their best.
6. Fit is fabulous
Being physically fit not only keeps girls healthy and active, it can give them an added perspective and more confidence in their bodies by emphasizing what they can do, over how they look. It can also help them learn to manage stress, boost their performance in school, and teach goal-setting skills. Playing team sports lets her be part of a group, and see how she can contribute to a common goal and develop strong relationships with her peers.
7. Charity never fails
Charity is nothing more than love seeing others who need help, and giving that help to them. Doing that — seeing needs and filling them – gives girls immeasurable power to influence the world in ways big and small. But it will also teach them to trust themselves, and help them grow and flourish into women who can find fulfillment in whatever circumstance they are in, because there will always be someone who is struggling and who can benefit from their attention.
8. Walk your own way
It takes guts to go against the crowd, but that’s what we want, right? Daughters who are not afraid to follow their guts? Whether it be going after the dream job, or standing up to her friends when they are being unkind, there are a million situations both big and small that can benefit from having the confidence to walk her own way.
She’ll get that from watching you, of course, but also as you encourage her in her pursuits and praise her as she makes difficult choices and comes out on top.
9. Preach perspective
She may be the center of your world, but she’s not the center of the world. Teaching her humility gives her power to help others, to look beyond herself, and to understand that she is a part of a whole. What kind of part she decides to be hard-working, dependable, generous, thoughtful is probably up to her, but at least you’ve given her some perspective on her place and her potential power.
10. It’s on her
Taking responsibility for life for the little things as well as the big is a daunting and difficult task. We are not in control of everything that happens to us. And, in fact, a lot of bad things do and will happen.
But if we teach and model that happiness is not in the circumstances themselves but in our response to them, we are giving our daughters the ability to choose to be happy. Or to take charge in a difficult situation. They don’t have to sit back and wait for someone else to fix things. They can do it themselves.