As girls grow and develop, their overall sense of self-worth and confidence grows and changes. Sadly, in adolescence, a girl’s confidence and sense of self-worth often plummets. This is due to the fact that beginning in the preteen years, body image becomes the barometer by which many girls measure their self-worth. Confidence becomes one with how a young girl looks, and as a result, how she feel about herself. The message our young girls receive is this: Women in our society are valued based on their physical attractiveness. A mother is the main role model in her young daughter’s life. Her daughter subconsciously takes in how her mother carries herself, regards herself, and thinks about herself. For this reason, mothers play a pivotal role in how a young girl navigates this challenging time.
Mothers can raise confident daughters in the following ways:
- Be a positive role model. Don’t talk negatively about your own body.
- Show her what it means to take pride in a project or piece of work, not just how she looks.
- Listen to your daughter and encourage her to speak her mind.
- Don’t praise solely for appearance. Praise should be focused on your daughter’s accomplishments (what a good friend she is, how smart she is, etc.)
- Be aware of how you respond to other people. Are you judgmental of how others look?
- Send the message that it is what is inside a person that defines them and makes them who they are.
- Encourage your daughter to take on new challenges, and give her the tools to master these new endeavors.
- Teach your daughter to use her body for sports, running, yoga or any athletic endeavor that separates her body’s appearance from it’s many amazing functions.
Mother’s play a critical role in their daughter’s sense of happiness and self-worth. For tips on how to increase your or your daughter’s happiness, click here. If your worried that your daughter’s lack of confidence may be causing depression, click here to download our Childhood Depression Checklist.
Gurian, Anita, PhD. NYU Child Study Center. “How to Raise Girls with Healthy Self-Esteem.” Updated June, 2012.