It's Easier to Raise Strong Girls than Fix Broken Women
What girl didn’t dream of being a princess? Many little ones find the main characters of their favorite movies and books as inspiration for what they want to be. However, they don’t give young girls the tools they need to face life. To raise strong girls, you have to start from childhood.
Unfortunately, gender roles and stereotypes are still ingrained in society. Many times, without being aware of it, we send our daughters messages that will stay in their minds. Then, they start to shape their personality from within.
The little princess of the house
Practically from birth, kids receive lots of messages of what’s expected of them. Despite the fact that the situation is changing and more and more parents are consciously raising their children, some ideas are still harmful.
Girls are usually the most affected by these beliefs. From a young age, the idea is transmitted to them that to be good they have to be docile, obedient and sweet. To fulfill what others expect of them, they need to use a soft and discreet voice – they can’t yell, shout, or be aggressive.
From their earliest childhood, they’re praised for their physical appearance. People tell them they’re beautiful, but not that they’re intelligent, strong or brave. Then, they think it’s more important that they wear beautiful clothes and hairstyles than to be who they want to be.
Consequences of raising princesses
At first glance, it might seem like small comments. However, they show girls that their worth is based on how they look. It tells them that their greatest quality is self-denial and gentleness, and that they can’t express anger or disagreement.
When this girl grows up, she’ll become a woman fearful of defending her own rights. Setting limits, saying no, making decisions will be terrifying for her. In fact, she’ll feel that if she does, the people around her will stop loving her. In many cases, she’ll be dependent, and unable to put herself first.
This can also lead to abusive relationships, whether with a partner, friendship or in the workplace. Above all, they’ll feel dissatisfied and powerless, since they won’t feel free or capable. They’ll feel that fitting the mold of what’s beautiful is a way of life, and they don’t have the strength to challenge it.
By the time they want to become aware of what’s happening to them, they’ll have wasted a long time being unhappy. In addition, they might need professional help to rebuild their self-esteem and find their power.
Therefore, it’s really important to start giving your little ones the tools to grow up secure and empowered. It’s easier to raise strong girls than to repair broken women.
How to raise strong girls
- Show them references that enhance a healthy and complete image of women. Through stories and movies, you can bring wonderful stories of brave and capable women to inspire your daughter.
- Build her self-esteem with dedication. Be sure to give her the chance to try and fail, and to learn about different walks of life. Self-esteem is created through acts and self-improvement. Words are useless if you don’t support them with facts. Empty praise doesn’t create self-esteem.
- Pay attention to promoting all the qualities of your daughter. If you want to complement her, don’t always tell her how pretty she is. Instead, tell her how much fun she is to be around. Praise her intelligence or how well she does math. Also, tell her how brave she is, or how big her heart is.
- Encourage her to express and defend herself. Allow her to disagree. Listen and value her opinions. Don’t repress, restrict or invalidate her feelings.
- Be an example for her. Take care of your own self-esteem, your words and your actions. Try to be yourself, a free and complete woman, who lives without fear and pursues her goals. Be a strong and happy adult to look up to.