Raising our girls is harder and harder these days as everything in the media really only validates being sexy, thin, beautiful and rich. It is easy to see how our girls, so inundated with these visual programs, are confused about what is important about them. We need to teach them that true success lies in them liking themselves, in them being mindful of how they show up in the world, and in teaching them that less is more. It is our job, as their parents, to teach them that their value comes in working hard, being a good person, and striving to be the leader of their own lives. It is ok to want to be beautiful externally as well, and to have some of the "in" things, but the internal component is where their substantial value comes from.
11 Important Messages Young Women Need to Hear
1. She belongs to herself: We must teach our daughter not to allow herself to be someone else's property. No man or friendship should own, define, and control her self-perception. She is her own self and has voice to speak with which helps her to define and let others know who she is. She owns herself, she belongs to herself and she can lead herself. We need to encourage our daughter to say no when she needs to say no.
2. Her emotions are important: We must teach our daughter to share her feelings and beliefs with us--not eat them, purge them, starve them, cut them or drink/use them away. Our daughter needs to learn her thoughts and emotions are natural and best handled through some form of expression, even if that is through writing, art, music or sports.
3. Self-Acceptance is key: We need to help our daughter accept herself and teach her to embrace what she has to work with and to love what she's got--tall, short, fat, thin, our daughter is beautiful inside and out. She learns to accept herself through the eyes of our acceptance of her. We must make sure to tell our daughter she is beautiful all the time. Everyone is different and we must teach her to accept, embrace and to be empowered in her individuality.
4. Self-Respect is essential: We must model self-respect, as the adults in her life, and teach our daughter to expect respect from those around them. In expecting to be respected our daughter may feel lonely at times but she will not ever be letting herself be walked-upon. Our daughter has the right to value herself enough to stand up for herself in any way necessary.
5. Personal value is internal: Our daughter needs to understand her value does not reside, alone, in being sexy and owing every brand name designer. There is more to life than trolling the malls, taking selfies with fish-lip poses and being obsessed with her image. Our daughter is intelligent, going somewhere and has a purpose in this life. Being attractive and "in" is fine but we must show her that her longevity lies in what she is driven to become.
6. Failure is a stepping stone: We must teach our daughter to be strong and confident in her abilities and not be afraid of failure. Failure never feels good but failure will provide our daughter direction. We must teach her that opposition is often the sign that something amazing is right around the corner and to keep working hard for those opportunities. Teach her to let her fear be a motivator not an intimidator.
7. Anger is OK: Anger is a natural emotion and we need to allow our daughter the right to be loud and throw out "lady-like" behaviors when necessary. Many girls overuse fear, anxiety and sadness and underuse anger. Our daughter has the right to her opinions and to stand for them when challenged. She has rights to her voice and to use her voice to stand strong in who she is when the situation calls for it.
8: Never degrade herself: We must encourage our daughter to never text or email a naked photo of herself to anyone, ever. That picture could end up all over social media and the results of that are not worth it for her, her self-esteem or her reputation. She is a treasure to respected, not an object to be flaunted.
9. Having integrity is important: Integrity is the sign of good character and we must help our daughter to always see the bigger picture and to never to steal or go after the boyfriend of a friend. The end of a friendship is never worth the price of a boy. Friends last forever and boys tend to be temporary. It is important our daughter respect herself and her friends and to treat others how she would want to be treated.
10. Less is more: We must encourage our daughter not to wear clothing which is sexually inappropriate or clothes with cutesy sayings. How our daughter presents herself sends a message of how she values herself. We much teach our daughter that the attitude she takes of herself is the attitude others will take of her as well. She will be treated according to that attitude. She can win attention beyond using her sexuality. She needs to know she is intelligent, classy, and worthy of respectful treatment.
11. Being alone is OK:.We must teach that there is nothing wrong with staying home on a Friday night and reading a good book. Encourage her to read self-development books so she can see that her dreams are right around the corner and in proportion to how hard she is willing to work. She is here to be a leader and self-development books can start off as some of her first coaches. Teach your daughter that her choices in life are limitless--she really CAN do anything.
Girls are powerful. Girls are here to make tremendous difference in balancing out the world with empathy, firmness, elegance and maturity. Each young woman has purpose well beyond what they see on TV. Self-love is what will bring our daughters long-term happiness and fulfillment. Self-obsession will only bring her depression.
Sherapy Advice: Do not teach your daughter to shake her money-maker. Teach her to be a leader.