Raising a daughter who is confident, well-mannered and has a good self-image is not easy, especially in today’s uncivil world. Growing up, I was not the most confident person, but I’ve come a long way since struggling with my own confidence growing up. As a mother of a 13-year-old daughter, she watches everything I do, I say and I wear, so I’m very careful about what my impression is on her every single day.
As a corporate trainer who teaches how to build confidence through communication, etiquette and image, my hope is to instill in her a feeling of self-worth. For a young teen to feel good about herself is an accomplishment in itself and I want her to have a better experience than I did in those trying middle and high school years.
When I was growing up, my parents supported me in everything I was involved in. My father was my basketball, softball and volleyball coach. They never missed a game or activity I was involved in. But I was a target for getting picked on and bullied as I was the “coaches” kid and it wasn’t always easy. My daughter does not play sports, but is very active in music, dance and theatre and I can see her confidence build through these activities. It makes me feel so excited and proud of her every day.
Kids want their parents to see them succeed. They want you at their sporting events and choral concerts. It makes them feel good for you to see their accomplishments. I praise her at every possible chance I get.
My daughter knows who is popular and who isn’t, and who is smart and who isn’t, but treating everyone with kindness and respect no matter what they look like, who they are or what they’ve done is an important aspect of learning confidence and good etiquette. These are the aspects of confidence that should be praised, not by how we look.
There is no one way to teach confidence, but here are some ways to help you raise your daughters into bright, successful confident women.
Model Confident Behavior. Always be aware of how you act and speak as your daughter will be looking to you as an example. Girls are influenced at a very young age, so be careful! When she sees you as confident, she is more likely to be that way herself.
Body Image and your Body Language speak volumes about you. Girls will pick up on this immediately. Be mindful and careful about what you say about your own body. I may not like the way jeans fit or how I look in a swimsuit, but make sure you are not too critical of yourself in front of her. Discuss healthy food choices and keep snacks around the house to encourage healthy eating.
Don’t’ complain that you need to go on a diet and lose weight. It will only encourage her to look at herself and criticize her own body. Show her that by being comfortable about your body no matter what size or shape you are will make your daughter feel confident in her own skin.
Self-image perspective. Your daughter’s self-worth should not be tied to her appearance. Teach her how to respect her body by how she dresses it. Praise her for her kindness she shows others, her determination and her positive characteristics. My own daughter prefers to just fit in with the others and not stand out too much. Many girls in middle school want to experiment with makeup and wear clothing that may be too revealing. Show her how what she wears is directly associated with how she is perceived by those around her. Dressing for success starts at a young age.
Self- worth is not about accomplishments. It’s always easy to praise her accomplishments, but it’s even more important to show her that hard work and determination are just as important. This is crucial for her success later in life. Perseverance and facing challenges is what builds character. We live in a world today where everyone gets a medal and there are no losers in sports. This is not the real world. You get the job, or you don’t. You sell the product or you don’t. We don’t win every time. It’s how you handle defeat that will build her self-worth and character.
Support her passions. If she loves a sport or the flute, support it! Encourage her to try new things and other activities to see if she has an interest in it. If your daughter does not seem to show an interest in anything, try something together! Take guitar lessons together or go for walks or jogging. You just never know what might happen.
Monitor social media. This can be such a difficult thing because young girls are so intrigued by what they see and read on all social media channels. Their phone is their best friend and are lost without it. Monitor their Snapchat and Instagram accounts. My own daughter has limits and I stick to it. No phone after 7pm.
A daughter who is confident with herself and her abilities will be less troubled by peer pressure, social environments and less concerned with her appearance.
To learn more about Treva and her work, visit her at http://www.trevagraves.com/