We’ve trained girls to be nice and sweet. We rewarded girls who show empathy and cooperation. Now, we have an issue on our hands. Young women are confused and conflicted about how to be there for others while also taking care of themselves. This is evident in the thoughts that arise from young women in recent times.
What can we do to help empower our daughters in today's world? How can we help them to develop self-worth?
Here are three suggestions: (3 keys to self-empowerment that every girl needs).
1. Foster Healthy Entitlement
Encourage your daughter to express needs and provide opportunities for her to make real choices. Girls need to feel that their needs are worth just as much as others, even if they don’t get what they want. Help them tolerate disappointments. Healthy entitlement grows from balancing self-care with caring for others.
2. Teach Boundary Setting
Too often girls are taught to take on the burden of other people’s feelings. Help your daughter to set healthy boundaries by saying no when she feels uncomfortable. She can stay connected in her relationships without complying with demands or becoming a caretaker. Relationships are more about give and take and negotiation rather than requirements.
3. Nurture Self-Worth
When adults share their feelings and own up to their mistakes, they are great role models for their children. They are demonstrating the courage to be vulnerable. Validating your daughter's feelings has big rewards. Teenagers are going through a confusing phase of life - it makes a big difference to them that you recognize their struggle.
Teaching and modeling compassion and acceptance of vulnerable feelings is crucial. Supporting healthy communication and inviting girls to make healthy choices that foster new beliefs offers opportunities to test out new ways of being. These experiences will embolden your daughter and give her the confidence to counter dysfunctional cultural norms.