When I heard I was having a daughter, I was thrilled. So was my husband. The first thing that came to his mind? "We're going to have to pay for a wedding!" The first thing that came to my mind? "We're going to have do deal with middle school!" I remember middle school like it was yesterday, the way that every girls' self-esteem was tenuous at best. Even those that seemed fine and confident had wavering moments.
My kiddo is still young, not yet in middle school, so we have a few years to go before that, but teaching my daughter to be strong started from Day One and is one of my prime jobs every day, 24-7. Combatting any self-doubts, fostering her passions, building confidence, encouraging her to be strong and feel strong is a daily focus. That's why we are all here, on this hub, right? To talk about, to trade tips, to swap hints, and share all of the ways we can raise strong, confident girls.
I find it hard to tackle this without every conversation becoming a lecture...or without her tuning me out. One thing I try to do is point out all different ways she (or somebody else) can be strong, how many different descriptions are under this "strong" umbrella. Here are a few I thought of:
Being strong is being resilient -- When your child has a setback, when maybe she doesn't get cast in the school play or gets fourth in the science fair or strikes out in softball or, heckadoo, even when she's small and her tower of blocks topples over, learning how to bounce back, trying again, exploring what she can do when this happens build confidence and inner strength.
Being strong is being smart -- Teaching her to value the way her mind works and not what is happening in her social circle is vital. Encouraging her that putting that brain to work, supporting her love of reading with trips to the library, exploring a museum together, allowing her to ask questions and be curious about her world can be an amazing way to be strong.
Being strong is being independent -- Believing in her own choices, feeling okay if her idea of what is cool or fun or interesting isn't what the group thinks takes a lot of strength. Having the inner fortitude to stick to what she thinks is right, even when it may mean being by herself, and feeling okay about that is an essential skill to work on with your girls.
What other ways do you see yourself or your girl being strong? What can we add to this list?