Right, I know. This hub is about girls, daughters, nieces, friends and what we can to do raise them to feel confident and strong. But, for many of you, your life is all about boys - or at least boys and girl.
When talking about building self-esteem and confidence, and the issues our kids face with doubts and body image and pressure, those struggles are gender-neutral. Much of what we have chatted about already can be applied to raising healthy, confident, strong sons - praising him for what he is, not what he looks like or how he can throw a football, keeping conversations open about peer pressure and how to walk through this life feeling good in his own skin, supporting him in his passions.
And when we help our sons be confident young men, we help our daughters too. How your son talks about girls, what he thinks makes a "strong" girl, the opinions he shares on girls in his life and how he treats them - all of it makes a huge impact on his younger (or older) sister. Aside from the basics, here are some really great ideas to help your son (and therefore your daughter) build that foundation of self-esteem and inner strength.
-- Encourage him to go against typical male/female things. Maybe he loves baking chocolate cookies or making homemade pizza. Encourage him to do that and more typical girl things. Teach him how to sew a button, introduce him to ballet and dance. By showing him there is more than the "blue" things in life, that the "pink" things are fun too, that he can do anything he wants, it opens his eyes that girls can do anything too.
-- Talk about stereotypes and media messages. Don't just save that conversation about airbrushing and "dumb girls are cool girls" stereotype for your daughter. Informing him about how the media portrays women is essential so he understands what e sees is not really what girls are like r how they should be treated.
-- Point out positive role models. Bring up athletes that are good family guys, as well as strong females in politics or science. Discussing how these people (men and women) are strong and confident lets him see what great moles there are out there.
-- Have him read books with strong female characters (check out our list here).
-- Encourage him to show his feelings. Often, we want our boys to be boys. And I'm not saying have him weep at every sappy commercial he sees, but teaching him to talk about his feelings - whether it is how sad he feels about losing a ball game or how frustrated he gets doing math - and giving him tools to deal with those feelings is a key ingredient to building his inner strength that he will need in life.
Do you have sons? How do you help them have confidence and teach them about strong women and men?