Splashed across every social media site are popular memes encouraging women to be kind to each other, to build each other up, to encourage each other, to not compete, etc but when does that empowerment begin? Is it an attitude we adapt to when we hit our 30’s and realize that being nice is far easier than being unkind? Absolutely not!
It’s something that has to be ingrained in us from an early age. As mothers, we have to stop being the ones to facilitate the “mean girls attitude” from our daughters. We have to stop being complacent and passing it off saying they are only kids; but more importantly, we have to teach our daughters the value of self love and self respect, and we have to start empowering them with the ability to make good choices and to stop settling for friendships that are unkind.
Here are the top 5 ways I believe we can empower our daughters:
1) STOP dismissing her feelings. Don’t say things that allude to “it’s not a big deal”, “don’t worry about it”, “she didn’t mean that”, etc. These statements inadvertently force your child to believe that the way they feel is wrong and they begin to suppress those feelings until it can no longer be held and is released as anger. Allow the freedom of expression when it comes to emotions and do not disregard them. Help them to figure out how to deal with that conflict.
2) Teach her to be brave, to try new things and to meet someone new. Encourage your daughter to step out of her comfort zone and have new experiences.
3) Remind your daughter of how loved and valued she is within your home and teach her to love herself.
4) Help her to gain confidence by allowing her to make choices for herself and by allowing her to have opinions that differ from yours.
5) Teach by example. Parents: be strong role models for your daughters. Fathers have the exclusive role of showing little girls how they should be treated by men while mothers have the lengthier list of showing girls everything from how to treat others to how to treat themselves.
Here’s to all strong women: May we know them, may we be them, may we raise them!