This One’s for the Girls: Tips for Empowering your Daughter

March is Women’s History Month and Decade2Connect wants to not only celebrate the women of the past but encourage the daughters and adolescents who are the women of the future. Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, coach or mentor of girls, your presence in their life is pivotal.

3 girls sitting on sidewalk

It’s no secret that those “awkward teenage years” are dreaded, especially for young girls. And with the added pressure of social media, social pressure and cultural expectations, girls are entering into a high stress, highly vulnerable season of their life.

Barbie Movie mother and daughter

Unfortunately, you can’t shield your daughter from adversity. You can’t prevent her from experiencing hardships or the added barriers she will face as a woman (if you haven’t seen it, check out this scene from Barbie for some perspective). Your presence can be, however, a safe space for her. And as she makes the transition from child to teenager to young adult, how can you foster her confidence and nurture her identity? Below are some tips:

Listen, Listen, Listen

This is one of the most important, most simple ways you can love your child well. Listen to what she has to say. Validate her emotions. Ask questions about her unique ideas, feelings and give her your undivided attention. Many girls lose this safe space in school or social settings. If she has a safe place to be heard, her true identity can be nurtured instead of suppressed. She will more likely be connected to the beautiful traits that make her who she is when she feels safe to do so.

mom and daughter talking on bed
young girl playing violin

Encourage Self Expression

What does your daughter love to do? Is she an artist? An athlete? Does she love to sing? It is crucial to invest in the things that make her “her.” The social pressure to fit in is something we all know too well – and it is vital that her individual passions don’t get lost in the desire to fit in. As she begins the journey of discovering who she is, your support creates a strong foundation for her to stand on.

Trust Her Journey

We have so much to learn from our children – if we let them teach us. The world your daughter is growing up in is vastly different from the one you experienced. While you can offer guidance, you can’t know her experience. Ask questions, open you mind to things you don’t know about and support the journey she’s on, not the one you want for her. As we grow up, we often lose touch with our gut instinct; and this is a woman’s strongest asset. Encourage your daughter to stay in touch with her gut by seeking to understand it yourself.

intergenerational women hugging
girl looks in handheld mirror

Promote Positive Body Image

The impact of social media has drastically increased body image issues in teenagers, specifically teenage girls. And as her body is changing, it is so easy for insecurities and low self-esteem to take route, leading to unhealthy body perceptions and often eating disorders. Be mindful of the language you use around body image and avoid making negative comments about your own or others’ bodies. 

Encourage Healthy Friendships

Friendship only gets more complicated as we grow up. People change and it’s important to make sure your daughter has friends that lift her up. Take note of how she talks about her friends; and encourage her to press into friendships that make her feel good. Depending on the friends your daughter has, the feeling of belonging can either be threatened or fostered; work with her to foster those healthy friendships.

3 girls in softball uniforms high fiving

As I write these tips, I myself am encouraged and reminded of caring for myself. With all of this in mind, one of the most impactful ways you can support your daughter’s journey is by nurturing your own. Your children are watching the way you live your own life; and walking out your own identity with confidence will empower her to do the same.

mom kissing girl with backpack on the cheek

Celebrate your daughter! Daily remind her who she is. Let positive affirmation be a daily practice in your home. It’s your presence and the love you show that will have a lasting impact on the woman your daughter becomes. As difficult as the teenage years are, your love for her goes a long way in supporting a strong, capable woman.

For more parenting tips, check out Decade2Connect today!

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