How Can We Raise Confident Girls?

I am the daughter of a mother, and sister to two teenage girls. I have always considered myself lucky. I truly believe my mother and stepfather did an amazing job raising us, and I’m not just saying that in a way of “they did their best,” but in a way as even as a child I appreciated everything. My mother constantly put our needs in front of hers, and instilled that family was our number one priority.

Now being a mother of two little girls myself, I’m facing a world that constantly puts down women and girls, facing a world where I am still trying to instill confidence in myself. How can I instill confidence in my girls? Why do they even need me to do it? Because I will be the first, and no one else will. They do have their father and I believe that the father also has his role, but I believe it is my job as their mother to be an example and show them true confidence that they already have in themselves.

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1. You Can Become Anything

One thing I learned from my mother, and still do today, is that you can do anything. Teach your girls that anything truly is possible. I wanted to play piano, my parents came home with a piano. I wasn’t sure if I could sing in front of a crowd, my mother signed me up for the school talent show. It’s not a question of just telling these girls that they can do anything they want, it’s also about giving them the tools to make their dreams a reality. Truly and I were watching the Disney Channel where a little boy was an amazing soccer player.

She looked at me and said, “I bet I can run faster than him.”

“I’m sure you could if you practiced, it’s hard work” I told her.

The next day we bought her a $5 soccer ball and went to work.

Tell your daughters the world is theirs, but give it to them too.

2. Don’t Let Another Person’s Negativity Affect You

Like every other girl growing up, we dealt with bullies or people who were just plain mean for no reason. The truth is, your daughter is going to meet these people too. Even if they seem like they love school, love their friends, love their lives, you need to make sure they are ready for when those group of people want to gang up on your darling girl.

Take the time to let your daughter know how beautiful she is, smart she is, and friendly she is. Get to know her friends, her teacher, and her classroom. Tell her how much her friends love her, her siblings love her, and how much God loves her. Let her know that when someone isn’t nice to her or doesn’t like her, that that is okay, because this long list of people that do love her, is the one that counts.

Teach her that being mean back won’t make her feel better and that stooping down to their level just makes you like them. Teach her to go get help if she feels attacked and bullied.

Most importantly, instill in your daughter that laughing off remarks about her is a great weapon, because that girl in the mirror is amazing.

3. Extracurricular Activities 

The main thing I like about getting girls involved in sports, dance, and other activities is not only do they learn how to be a team player, but they can also learn how to be a leader. The last thing I want to do is spend my afternoons driving around the kids to all their different practices and games, but I do believe that being in an environment where you can meet new friends and have fun, is great for building confidence. The way you find balance is in putting them in activities only they are truly interested in, and that you have time for. No more than 2 activities at a time, and nothing that makes you miss dinner at the table.

Truly started school this year. She has been in ballet class for the past 3 years, since she was 2, but in addition to that we added cheerleading and soccer. Cheerleading is great because it is at her school, right after school in the gym, and with Soccer, it’s a real low maintenance team with the YMCA. Trying to talk her out of any one of these was impossible.

One of the most important things though, is don’t just be a spectator, get involved! Become an assistant coach, jump in with the girls during their practice laps, or help the teacher pass out flyers. These girls need to see that you want to be involved and invested in what they want to do.

Some other tips:

  • Use bedtime as a way to ask your daughter Who she looks up to, What makes her special, What is she afraid of, and What to do if she is bullied
  • Volunteer once a week or once a month in her school
  • Spend at least 15 minutes everyday doing something she wants to do: manicures, painting, woodcarving :)
  • Use plenty of praise words: That was very smart of you! I couldn’t have done that with out you!
I am just getting started with the process of raising confident girls, but I was lucky enough to see it first hand. I know I have my work cut out for me, but I welcome the challenge of molding my daughters’ confidence into something powerful for them.
11/7/2014
I wrote this when my daughter started Kinder. Now she is in 2nd grade, and she’s still growing beautifully!
Want to read more? Check out my daughter’s story about how her “friends broke up with her” and how she overcame it: http://www.stepfaniesdesk.com/2014/10/01/mom-my-friends-broke-up-with-me/

 

Comments

  1. Anonymous says

    This really helped me. I am having problems with my 11 year old daughter and these things will help. Thank you.

  2. Anonymous says

    Great suggestions! I came across this looking for how to help/what to say to my daughter in dealing with a group of mean girls. Thanks for taking your time to write this :-)

    • says

      Thanks for stopping by! I’m sorry to hear about your daughter :( I went through the same as a child and my advice that helped me is to stay close to your daughter and take the time to really hear everything she says. I’d love to stay updated!

    • Anonymous says

      I was bullied big time in middle school, and what helped me so much was finding somewhere else that I belonged and felt valued. My mom drove me to community theater play rehearsals 4 nights a week (and then back and forth all weekend when shows were happening!), and it was the very best thing she could have done for me. It showed me that even if I was tormented during the day, I could feel valued and worthwhile at night- and that helped me build confidence that I could bring to high school with me where things were a million times better. Best of luck and good thoughts to you and your daughter!

  3. says

    This post made my heart to warm! I have a 5 year old, who is very vibrant and confident, but has been have problems with a fellow female student in KINDERGARTEN! I keep telling her to be nice, and trying to explain to her that some kids/ girls will be mean and not like her, but she must still keep her head up and keep smiling! She has learned to handle her classmate and I see her confidence growing more and more very day! I grew up mixed race in predominantly white school, until 6th grade when the african american girls from other schools started to bully me! It sticks with you! And while it has made me a MUCH stronger person all these years later, I hate that we have to teach our children how to get along!

    Females, young and old must always remember we are beautiful and we MUST start a revolution to build up our young women, instead of watching them break each other down with bullying etc! This post is DEF going to be bookmarked, so I can remind myself and my daughter that confidence rocks!!

    (Sorry for the tangent comment!)

  4. Anonymous says

    Wonderful post – thank you! My mum has passed and was from the old school generation – very negative! My daughter is almost 3, high spirited & smart, I don’t want for her the same as I had. Whilst my childhood was happy & I lived my mum enormously, I can rarely remember her giving me a compliment. Children were to be seen and not heard.

  5. Anna F says

    Found you through pinterest. So glad I clicked on the link! I am a mother of two girls, ages 5 and 2 as well. Both different personalities, but both beautiful and funny. I can totally connect with you when you said “facing a world where I am still trying to instill confidence in myself. How can I instill confidence in my girls?” So true. It’s hard to build your own confidence and not let your girls get beat down too. They totally mirror everything we do and say. Thank you for your guidance and suggestions and I can’t wait until I can start as soon as they wake up in the morning tomorrow. Beautifully written!!

  6. Anonymous says

    I am having a really tough time with my 10 year old. I am definately gonna work on these, hopefully its not too late, thank you!!

    • Trisha says

      I really like this post, but there is also some merit to your comment. I can’t remember how this came about, but several years ago I heard that instead of “I’m so proud of you!” you should say “Aren’t you proud of yourself?” It’s supposed to instill self-confidence in one’s self that isn’t based on the approval of others. I started doing it with my own children (now ages 14 and 12) and using this technique, I’ve never noticed them being any less happy about the given situation. I always get an enthusiastic “YES!!!!” in reply.

      Anyway, just a thought. I wanted to reply since no one else did. I also wanted to say that this post doesn’t necessarily correlate with your articles because I didn’t see where she ever gave her daughter false praise. It’s “Sure you can do anything if you work hard enough” and not “You can do anything because you’re perfect and nothing will ever go wrong for you.” It’s one thing to praise someone on a job well done; it’s quite another just to lie to them about their abilities. Good advice though, both of you!

  7. says

    I loved this article, it helped me out alot my daugther turned 3 september and me and her dad are no longer together I am glad I read this so I can use it in the future, I loved the part of getting the girls involved in some kind of activities, im thinking I want to put her in dance class so she can meet new friends while she goes into school.

  8. Anonymous says

    wow i saw this on pintrest, and your daughter goes to the same grade school i did! I use to have that same shirt! I am 21 years old now and with a baby boy on the way. by the way i love your blog!

  9. says

    If any parent is in an area that has a junior roller derby team … seriously look into it. (girls can play, boys can ref!) The community builds positive self-image, team work skills and presents a new image of female beauty. In our community, strength is beauty and hitting like a girl leaves a mark. I may never have the joy of having a daughter, but I value the confidence and strength of every young woman. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with others.

  10. says

    God led me to you today! With 2 daughters ages 13 and 11, plus 2 boys ages 7 and 4, and a new night teaching job…. I’m super busy. But this was the perfect reminder to reconnect daily with them. I get home right at bedtime. I will put many of your ideas to good use. Sending Angel hugs and kisses your way.

  11. says

    My daughter is 21 and I am so proud of the confident young woman she has become… I would say it was everything from a shirt I bought her when she was 8 that said “Girls kick butt” to looking at her brothers and declaring in secret”Aren’t you glad to be a girl?” Sending her to Japan for her 16th b’day! Meeting the teen years with humor by us both putting a “Feeling witchy” shirt on each other’s beds when the other snapped at us…Not getting into power struggles and just saying, ” I don’t treat you that way, and I didn’t deserve that” And most of all talking about everything!!!!!! She is getting ready to graduate with her Bachelor’s in Psychology and heading towards a PHD program!

  12. Anonymous says

    this is awesome! as a 17 year old girl having been bullied all through elementary school and middle school these are the things my mother did to help me understand that it wasn’t really about me, The best thing to teach your girls is that when someone has a problem with you for no intelligent reason, that it is really their problem. You sound like your doing an incredible job!!

  13. says

    I am a single mother of three daughters, ages 15,11, and 3. I do exactly the same thing for them. Empowerment is the greatest thing we can give our daughters. Pushing them & motivating them helps them to strive for greatness. Reinforcing still that they are princesses but teaching them that is Strength in being alittle delicate because every delicate princess becomes a strong queen.

  14. says

    I am a single mother of three daughters, ages 15,11, and 3. I do exactly the same thing for them. Empowerment is the greatest thing we can give our daughters. Pushing them & motivating them helps them to strive for greatness. Reinforcing still that they are princesses but teaching them that is Strength in being alittle delicate because every delicate princess becomes a strong queen.

  15. Anonymous says

    I came across you on pinterest and decided to look at your website tonight as I was looking for quotes to put on the V-day cards for my girls youth bible study. Thank You.

  16. says

    I have a 2year and 4 year old daughter. ….both equally alike but different in there own way……one thing I teach them is its ok to be different and do your own thing (no matter what anyone else thinks)……I like to think that it will help when the oldest starts school in summer since unfortunately kids can be cruel to those who are different…..I praise them every day and let them chose an activity they would like to do and get them involved in helpi g others too…..my oldest spent last summer in kids hospital so we are donating there old toys to hekp the hospital both feel very proud to do this =) plus every little helps…..love your hints and tips and have repinned =) thanks xxx

  17. says

    I have a 2year and 4 year old daughter. ….both equally alike but different in there own way……one thing I teach them is its ok to be different and do your own thing (no matter what anyone else thinks)……I like to think that it will help when the oldest starts school in summer since unfortunately kids can be cruel to those who are different…..I praise them every day and let them chose an activity they would like to do and get them involved in helpi g others too…..my oldest spent last summer in kids hospital so we are donating there old toys to hekp the hospital both feel very proud to do this =) plus every little helps…..love your hints and tips and have repinned =) thanks xxx

  18. Anonymous says

    I have too girls. I have a 8 year old and a 3 year old. We play beauty shop and dress up. When my girls have a bad day I listen and remind them that they are beautiful inside and out.

  19. Anonymous says

    I’m going to use some of these tips with my second grade girls who just can’t get along. They are so unhappy and miserable, I think it would be beneficial to remind them of all the people who love them.

  20. Anonymous says

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  21. says

    I just found this through Pinterest and I think it’s fantastic! I think you really have some very important points. I’m raising 2 little girls myself (4 1/2 and 1 year old) and I constantly worry about their future. It’s a tough world out there and while I’m most definitely trying my best. I worry my best may not be good enough. This post is wonderful and I’m glad I found it. Thank you for writing it! =D

  22. Ginger Spitzmiller says

    One of my friends shared this on Facebook. I have 2 daughters, ages 9 and 12. This confidence thing has been easy (so far) with my 12 yr. old. She just knows she is awesome and always tells me that. Still trying to find the thing that my 9 yr. old really likes to do so we can build confidence in that. You gave some good advice.
    I would just like to say I don’t think you were “lucky” at all. You were BLESSED. The kind of parenting it sounds like you had, and you want to, doesn’t just happen.

  23. JAMIA BRYANT says

    This is so helpful!! I WILL be implementing EVERYTHING on your list into what I am doing now!! Glad I found this page!

  24. Alisa says

    Thank you for this post! My daughter just started second grade and it’s the first I have seen her confidence start to waver. Girls can be mean, period! And I just want to help her learn how to deal with that. This article had some great tips for me so thank you!

  25. Myka says

    Loved this article!! My daughter is 6years old and is starting to worry about how people see her. This article helps! Thanks!

  26. jd says

    I do not prescribe to the school of thought where you need to keep your kids that busy. I am a mother of two girls and a boy and they are all confident, capable people yet they do not do sports all of the time. They all have something they enjoy and when that time of year is here they do it. Growing up I did my own thing, was always outside playing and being a kid. I grew up to be very confident and a great leader and I was not kept busy with extra curriculas all of the time. Kids don’t need to be kept so busy, they miss out on so much when their schedules are packed.

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