One of the biggest concerns moms have for their tween/teen daughters is their loss of confidence. Social media, friendships and simply going through adolescence can contribute to girls comparing themselves to others and, in many cases, ending up on the short end of the stick. Our girls need their moms now more than ever! If we properly guide and support them, they will begin to trust themselves more. When they trust their own beautiful intuitive nature, they have a better shot at becoming confident, mature and self-assured women (newsflash!, it’s only a few short years away!).
Here are 8 sure-fire ways to help your daughter increase her sense of “I’m Worthy”:
- Model the behavior you want to see. Moms, we are our daughters’ most impactful role models. But we’re so busy; we may be unaware that we’re unwittingly exhibiting the behaviors that we’re telling our daughters NOT to do. We trash talk ourselves and our own bodies and then wonder why our daughters don’t feel good in their own skin. We get frustrated when they’re on their cell phones too long, but we don’t think twice about checking our social media multiple times a day or taking a call during dinner. We tell them to speak to others with kindness but sometimes what comes out of our own mouths is anything but! TIP: Start noticing in yourself the things you tend to correct in your daughter. If your own actions don’t align with what you claim to value, then make a conscious change. Believe me, your daughter will notice.
- Give her more responsibility. If you want your daughter to have more confidence, you need to offer her activities that will give her that confidence. She may not like getting extra chores (or any chore, if you haven’t yet given her some!), but having a sense of accomplishment, no matter how small, is a confidence booster. Explain that she, too, lives in this house and she needs to contribute. If she puts up an argument, you can remind her that she enjoys many benefits of you being her mom – like driving her everywhere, buying her nice things, taking her to dinner and all the other awesome things you do. She can certainly spend a few minutes helping out where it’s needed. TIP: Make her set the table, clean up after dinner, make her bed, take out the garbage, rake leaves or fold some laundry (at least the socks – I HATE THE SOCKS!).
- Let her make her own decisions. Depending on your daughter’s age, start letting her make decisions for herself. If she’s in the 11-13 age range and wants to stay home alone and you believe she’s mature enough, then do a trial run. Go do some errands for an hour and see how it goes. If she’s 14-16 and starts experimenting with different clothing styles to assert her individuality, then let her (I’m not talking about wearing skirts short enough where you can see crotch – that’s definitely a NO GO!). TIP: Allowing your daughter to start making decisions for herself, even if you think they’re embarrassing, is a great way to build her self-esteem. Don’t worry, she may decide that orange hair really isn’t for her anyway!
- Allow her to fail! Let me ask you a question: have you ever failed at anything in your life? Of course, you have. What was the biggest lesson you learned from it? If you answered, ‘it taught me how capable I was to bounce back and ultimately succeed’….you are correct! If we deny our daughters the gift of failure, we’re setting them on the fast track to low self-esteem! I’m not sure why this generation of mothers has a penchant for saving their daughters from misery, pain or struggle. Please keep this in mind: if you don’t allow your daughter to fail and get back up on her own two feet, she will never know how capable she is and the chances are also good that she’ll resent you when she’s older. I know. I’ve seen it a million times! TIP: If your daughter fails a test and you immediately offer her ice cream or dinner out as a consolation prize, put on the ‘mouth’ breaks and simply say something like “Sorry, honey, that really stinks. I know how hard you studied.” Or if she befriends someone who you see is ‘bad news’, don’t insist on breaking up the friendship (unless there’s danger involved, of course); let her figure out on her own that maybe this person is not trustworthy.
- Ask her opinion on important matters. Your daughter is in school for so many hours taking direction and spewing facts. How about you get her input on things that you normally wouldn’t ask her. Next time you have a conflict or dilemma, think about asking your daughter for her opinion on what you should do. You never know what creative, thoughtful solution is lurking in her mind. Even if you don’t take your daughter’s suggestion, the mere fact that you’re asking her shows her that you value her opinion. That can go a long way toward making her feel cherished and appreciated – two key ingredients to feeling good in one’s own skin. TIP: If you’re considering two job options, discuss the pros and cons of each or ask her opinion about a political issue that you believe is important.
- Encourage her to get a job (if she is age appropriate). Once your daughter is of the age where she can get a part-time job, I highly encourage you to have her get one. Not only will interviewing and putting a resume together give her a sense of accomplishment, she’ll get a nice boost to her confidence from doing a job well done and learning a new skill. In addition, it will also help her manage her own finances, an area we need to teach our daughters about from a young age. TIP: Encourage her to get a job that plays to her strengths. If she’s good with numbers, perhaps, a cashier. If she’s good with kids, how about babysitting? If she loves animals, maybe she can help out in a pet shelter. And, by the way, volunteering counts!
- Pay her a sincere compliment. If your daughter looks particularly beautiful when going out or if she happens to be having a good hair day (Lord knows life is great on those days!), simply acknowledging it can make her feel great. If you’ve witnessed her accomplishing something that she’s been working on (from learning to play a new instrument or acing a mid-term), let her know that you noticed the effort she put in and the positive results she experienced. You never know how your words impact others – when our daughters hear us sincerely acknowledge the people they are, it can lift them up in meaningful ways. TIP: Your daughter knows when you’re giving her lip service. Make sure you mean what you say and that you’re not just doing it for the sole purpose of making her feel good about herself.
- Set a goal together. An effective way to ensure your daughter reaches her full potential is for her to set goals and then take small, measurable actions to reach them. While your teen daughter may not want to do an activity with you, she might change her mind if the prize for reaching the goal is awesome! For example, suggest to your daughter that you start a weekly (or daily, if you can) meditation ritual to start your day off on the right path. Five minutes is all you need to start. TIP: Set a benchmark for a month. If you do it consistently for 30 days, the reward is lunch and a manicure. It’s not a bribe (although sometimes those can work like a charm!); think of it more as a prize for a job well done!
Sheira Brayer is a motivational speaker, coach, author, and award-winning songwriter. She offers innovative solutions and strategies to help moms and their tween/teen daughters reduce stress, increase awareness, boost confidence, and improve decision-making. To find out more about Motiv8 coaching, visit sheirabrayer.com