Daughters bring joy into our lives, but it takes a lot of work and responsibility to nurture a relationship with them. While girls are believed to be sugar and spice and everything nice, they are not necessarily born that way. Mutual respect has to be taught and modeled at a young age so that mother and daughter can feel that they belong together in their relationship and as a leader in the world.
Strong women of all ages need to feel empowered. Mothers can build up their daughters so that they can:
- Develop a voice
- Have confidence in themselves
- Stand up in the beliefs they feel strongly in
- Nurture the feeling of power
- Love themselves for who they are
- Trust their instincts
- Follow their dreams
- Say no with conviction and not waver
- Be respectful yet strong in the face of injustice
- Be ok with vulnerability
- Take care of themselves in times of stress and chaos
- Believe that there is good in everyone
- Be aware of the feelings of others, use empathy as a guide
- Give compassion freely
- Follow the path of the life they choose with confidence
Empower Girls By Saying Statements Like These
1. “I love you no matter what.”
You love your daughter unconditionally, so be sure to show that every day. Do not make it conditional by using love and its examples as a motivator for good behavior. Things like “if you are good today, I will read you an extra book tonight” or “be a good girl and do the right things today”. Making mistakes is human and everyone has days that do not go so smooth. Show them your love and allow them to learn from those mistakes.
2. “You are beautiful, inside and out.”
Beauty is subjective, and the world is full of messages about what beauty is and is not. But these expressions of beauty only highlight what shows on the outside. You can tell your daughter “Your hair is beautiful today. I can tell that you brushed it well”, but it fails to remind her of true beauty that comes from within. Beauty also includes confidence, kindness, compassion, and optimism. It is a glow that radiates from women. Female role models that represent deep beauty on the inside and outside through their big hearts and good deeds are great
examples. JoJo Siwa, for example, may be a megastar with her bright wardrobes and big bows, but she also inspires young girls to follow their dreams with courage and confidence.
3. “You got this! I’m here when you need me.”
Problem solving is a life skill that everyone needs, especially young girls. For example, school is about figuring out academics as well as social nuances. Other children are working on establishing their power and role in the social hierarchy, which can come with some conflict. While it is easy for a mother to intervene, either directly with the other child or indirectly through the teacher or parent, it is important to empower a girl to solve her own problems. You can have her brainstorm ideas that can help her find some resolution, but your support and feedback will boost her courage and know that she is not alone in the situation.
4. “How are you feeling?”
Processing and expressing feelings can be challenging for many, but it is an important part in developing emotional literacy, agility, and strength. By thoroughly feeling and communicating your own emotions, your daughter will come to understand that there is no right or wrong because everyone has to navigate them. Identifying and understanding emotions can set them on the path to understanding them and how to feel better when strong emotions bring them down. Sadness, anger, and hurt are all feelings that we ALL experience. Rather than say “everything is going to be ok” every time she is feeling down, listen to what she has to say and empower her to solve her problems. Model how you deal with emotions. Do you take a walk when you are stressed? If she likes to ride her bike, remind her how she feels when she rides around the block a few times.
5. “I love my _____ (body part)! What is your favorite part of your body?”
Body image puts a lot of pressure on young girls. Sometimes mothers and other female role models express negative messages about bodies like “I need to lose this muffin top” or “These arms are so jiggly”. Teach girls to focus on one thing that they love about their bodies. You can say things like “I love my strong legs. They help me to jump high and run fast and I’m proud of the muscles I’ve worked so hard to build.” Guide them to find something they love about themselves and keep that first in their mind.
6. “Really? What happened then?”
Mothers often love to share their own recommendations and solutions, but sometimes it is time to be more of a listener. This enables your daughter to use their voice and express themselves. You may be tempted to interject with advice such as “You should try this…”, but you may miss hearing about what she has already tried or the opportunity to allow her to discover her own answer. When you allow your daughter to express herself, you let her learn to trust her voice, communicate effectively, and open up more. When she needs your help, she will know that you are ready to listen and will come to you more freely.
7. “How can you turn this situation to be more positive?”
No one wants to raise “the mean girl”. However, friendships and social interactions can flip flop from positive to negative in an emotional minute. Instead of correcting your daughter with negative terms like “mean” or “bad”, focus on her better qualities that make her stronger in these trying times. Peaceful problem solving will become second-nature when it comes around again later.
8. “It is good that you want to feel powerful.”
A strong-willed girl is a gift, but it can come across as bossy. When it becomes especially trying, you may get exasperated and say things that diminish her feelings of empowerment. Rather than say things like “Stop being so bossy!” or “What is wrong with you? I am the parent so why do you have to challenge me?”, teach her that her strong desire to lead is healthy. She just needs to learn how to lead with integrity
She needs to be reminded that it is important to express your feelings and interests with respect to others. For example, when she tries to get her friends to play a game with her, she needs to ask them if they want to play a certain way, rather than give them orders. Respect for others and their interests can turn into strong leadership skills if they are modeled and mentored in a positive way.
9. “How will you be the change that you want in this situation?”
When things seem unfair, your daughter may express her concern and complain. This can be bullying at school or a problem in the community or family. Where you may see an inability toward change, your daughter has the opportunity to be the voice or vision toward making a positive difference. She may be the influence when you support her by guiding her to come up with ideas that are respectful and kind while developing her character and self-esteem.
10. “I’m not okay with that.”
When your daughter is doing something that you don’t want her to, does she stop when you say, “STOP IT NOW!”? Often times, the answer is no. She may not see the problem with whatever she is doing. The way you express your emotions and desires is a model to how she can do the same without blaming others or shaming them. Using “I” statements such as “I don’t like it when you ____” gives you the chance to calmly express yourself. “I don’t like it when you leave the door open while the air conditioning is on. I need you to close the door every time you go in and out so that the house stays cool.” This enables them to understand what the problem is and how they can cooperate rather than just telling them what you don’t want.
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