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7 Tips To Help Your Daughter Build Confidence
By
Cassandra Mack

What do girls need to succeed? To feel confident, capable and whole. For starters, they need to learn how to feel comfortable in their own skin, to develop the inner strength to deal with the demands of peers, school and society and to love themselves just the way they are. But it's difficult. Because girls receive so many conflicting messages that it's difficult to distinguish between what really matters and what's media fed hype. On one hand girls are told, "You can do and be anything if you believe in yourself and follow your dreams." On the other hand they are given the message that the ideal girls is one who behaves like a sex object or acts so composed and masculine that she scares off anyone who crosses her path. If girls are made to feel like they do not have any real value beyond their looks or that they have to fit the media's cookie-cutter image of a "real girl," or they have to act like men to be taken seriously; then they will grow up confused and insecure. The good news is as a mother and woman with life experience under your belt, you already know a lot about what it takes to help girls become strong and secure. Here are seven tips to help your daughter build confidence. 

1. Help Her To Believe In Herself 

If girls believe in themselves and have a healthy sense of identity, they will be able to assert their needs and see themselves as capable and lovable individuals. Show your daughter that you her and enjoy her company. Give her special tasks that enable her to feel significant, noticed and successful. 

2. Value Her Uniqueness 

Every girl needs to be accepted for who she is. This builds her confidence and her ability to stand her ground when pressured to stray away from her values. Let your daughter know what you admire about her. Encourage her to pursue her own unique interests. Make a conscious effort to understand her, even if you don't agree with her. Teach her how to speak up for herself, even if others disagree with her point of view. 

3. Help Her Feel Like She Belongs 

Girls have a profound need to be accepted, to be part of a social circle that she fits in with. When she fits in socially, it meets her need for a social identity and helps her not to feel like an outcast. Help her meet her need to belong in a positive way by including her in family decisions. Get her input about decisions that will impact her. Help her to find social clubs, community groups and extra-curricular activities that allow her to nurture her interests and expand her social world. Be on the look out for signs of loneliness and social isolation. 

4. Acknowledge Her Feelings 

Feelings are fundamental. They help us make sense of the world. The sooner a girl learns that it's ok to express her feelings, the better able she will be to communicate with others and stand up for herself. Acknowledge your daughter's feelings and give her feelings validity. Share in her joys and struggles. Help her to put a bad day into perspective and not obsess over what other people think. Help her to trust her intuition. 

5. Understand Her Social World 

The social world of girls presents many opportunities and challenges. Ask her about her friends and interests. Teach her how to handle emotional bullying, sarcasm and the other kinds of subtle and not so subtle behaviors that girls often engage in to exert their influence, boost their status within the peer group and socially intimidate other girls. But also explain to her that there are many girls who do not engage in this kind of behavior and the best rule of thumb to live by is: Treat others as you would like to be treated. 

6. Deal Sensitively With Peer Pressure 

Throughout history girls have been faced with the pressure to confirm. But nowadays this pressure is happening at a younger and younger age. Help your daughter to feel accepted as she is. Discuss the issue of peer pressure and the dangers of engaging in behaviors that go against your values or lead to negative outcomes. Try not to be overly critical of her. This only makes her want to be more rebellious. 

7. Be Realistic In Your Expectations 

Every mother has her own set of expectations for her children. However, it's important that your expectations are age and ability appropriate and not so rigid and unrealistic that your daughter feels like nothing she does will ever be good enough for you. If she feels like she can never measure up, she may stop trying all together. Encourage her to put her best foot forward, but give her room to be human.

Copyright 2008 by Cassandra Mack. 

About The Author: Cassandra Mack is a girls empowerment expert and the author of, "Cool, Confident and Strong: 52 Power Moves for Girls." For more information go to: http://www.coolconfidentandstrongcampaign.com

 

Source: EzineArticles

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