I want every little girl who is told she is bossy to be told she has leadership skills. ~ Sheryl Sandberg Click To Tweet
Becoming a woman has never been an easy task.
Women constantly get contradictory messages: magazines designed for them tell them they should be themselves, while instructing them about adequate shape and behavior; law tells then they are equal to men, but they face discrimination based on age, looks or their family situation, and will generally be paid less than a man to do the same job.
Thus, as parents, instilling true self-confidence in girls as they grow is one of the most important things we can do. It gives them the power to think for themselves and become the women they’re meant to be.
But what to do, exactly? Questioning yourself as an adult can help (and this goes for more than just the parents — teachers and relatives listen up!).
Here are a few things we all can do with the girls in our lives, as they grow from toddlers into teenagers and young adults:
- Praise their thinking and intelligence instead of their looks
- Encourage them to play with a diversity of toys and propose diverse sports for them to try
- Allow them to choose their own clothes and leisure activities
- Allow them to express the complexity of their personality and the whole range of their emotions-including ‘anger’ and the other so-called ‘negative’ ones
- Make it clear to her she is fine just as she is
- Avoid any focus on physical appearance when you talk about them/to them
- Allow them to decide what they like and feel instead of assuming you know better
- Never link gender with worth in any way
And last but not least:
- Apply all the latter with the boys in your life!
These few simple things will help your children to become freer, stronger and happier adults, contribute greatly to the building of their self-esteem, and prepare them to take their place within a complex, sometimes hard world.