Like most Moms and Dads, I want my children to be healthy, happy, confident, and joyful, and I work hard to provide them with an environment that offers them the opportunity to do just that. Of course, there are days when nothing seems to work, and well, we just chalk that up to a “bad day” and move on.
I am also dead set on raising “strong” and empowered girls that are comfortable in their own skin and who believe that they can accomplish anything they set out to achieve. I want to keep negativity out of my home and encourage them that the sky’s the limit; no negative self-talk is allowed.
Here are a few things that I do, and I would love to learn about what you’re doing to foster self-reliance in your girls (boys, too!):
Communication is My Middle Name and We Talk A Lot
In our house, the doors of communication are always open and no topic is off-limits. I want my girls to feel comfortable telling me about what is going on in their lives, and sharing the good, but perhaps even more importantly, sharing the bad. If there is any bullying, I want to hear about it from them. If they are starting to question their appearance, I want them to not hold back, and tell me about their concerns. I feel there is nothing I can’t work on and hopefully fix just as long as I know about it. I know that it’s not any guarantee, but I am hoping that our open communication at their young age will help pave the way to open communication when they get older, and issues can turn more serious.
I Encourage My Girls to Engage in Sports and Physical Activities
“Girly-girls” is a term usually mentioned when a female is interested in “girl” things, like playing with dolls, baking cookies, having a manicure, and other female pursuits. Well, I’d be the first to tell you that my girls (and I!) enjoy all of those things, but they also enjoy soccer, don’t mind getting dirty, try to surf with the best of them, and enjoy pretty much everything referred to as “boy” activities. Why the heck do we make this kind of distinction? It’s almost like we make our kids self-select and choose rather than encouraging them to try everything and see what they enjoy.
Who Me? A Role Model!
Kids learn from what they see and hear, and they will often try to emulate the behaviors they observe. With that being said, parents must be cognizant of the messages they send out, sometimes without meaning to. I am very careful of my words, of course, but I also strive to for my girls to learn by my actions. They see me hard at work and will sometimes sit across from me at another desk and watch as my day unfolds. They see me going out for a jog, riding my Peloton, doing yoga, and trying to stay strong by doing weight training. They also actively participate in some of my volunteer activities and understand that, for some, I am the organizer and leader of the events. Their eyes are on me, and if I falter, and trust me I do, we talk about it, and I get them to understand that being strong doesn’t mean being perfect.
No one is perfect!
It’s difficult being a parent to boys and girls alike. I take the job very seriously and I think my girls know that. I also think that right now, they’re in a great place and at 6 and 8, they are on their way to becoming strong, vigorous, and secure women. I couldn’t hope for more.