The “best” approach to raising a girl is always changing. Recently, the idea of creating a “good girl” was appealing and served as a kind of model to strive for. But today, it’s likely to cause a bit of push-back since being a “good girl” has become synonymous with being a “convenient girl.”
Hi! My name is Anastasia and I have 2 daughters. I would like them to grow not only into happy people but into women free from stereotypes that say all girls’ life objective is to get married. I’ve started to form a few tips on how to achieve this, and I’m ready to share them with Bright Side readers.
Praise girls correctly.
The notion that what’s inside is more important than one’s appearance seems obvious. But when it comes to girls, they’re first praised for their beauty, as if it’s their main achievement. Experts recommend to primarily pay attention to your daughters’ ideas, creative skills, and behavior. It doesn’t mean that a girl can’t be told that she’s beautiful — I say this to my daughters several times a day. But I only do this after I praise them for something more important.
Praising a kid for their talent or intellect is also not the best option. In this situation, you’ll complement your daughter for something that doesn’t depend on her, as it’s something she has no influence on. Researchers recommend praising the childrens’ efforts that they applied to get things done. This encourages them to develop further and put forth even more effort.
Allow her to dispute with you.
“Good girls” always listen to their moms and never dispute with them. But is the mother always right? Even if she is, why should a kid undoubtedly agree with her? After having become a parent, I understand how often I can be mistaken, and it’s unlikely that I will stop doing it in the future. So why should my words be the only correct ones in the family?
Experts believe that a girl should be able to challenge you in order to learn to do the same thing with classmates, teachers, romantic interests, and future bosses. When having a sensible conversation with your kid, you’ll not only teach them to say “no,” but also to explain their point of view. You’ll see that you will learn many new things as well.
Let her choose things by herself.
It’s important to be able to make quick choices in the modern world, and many people find it difficult to do this because they were not taught it in childhood. I try to give my daughters the opportunity to choose things for themselves whenever possible. Once they were around 2 years old, they could decide which toy they wanted to buy, what color dress they wanted, and what to have for breakfast.
In the future, they will opt for hobbies and extracurricular activities themselves. Yes, they will likely quit many of those activities, but it’s better to try things once rather than regret never doing so later on. After all, how are kids supposed to know activities they like doing and which ones they don’t?
Encourage her hobbies.
The photo above shows singer Billie Eilish and her mom who shifted her kids to homeschooling so that they could do what they really wanted. She has always encouraged her kids’ interest in music and has even joined Billie Eilish on one of her international tours.
I would like my daughters to have some interests and hobbies — like dancing, freestyle wrestling, playing in a punk band, drawing, studying nuclear physics — the type of hobby doesn’t actually matter. A person who has shining eyes is always more interesting than the one who feels eternally bored. Still, keep in mind not to overdo it with these.
“Full engagement in an activity she loves will give her the opportunity to master challenges, which will boost her self-esteem and resilience and affirm intrinsic values rather than appearance,” says Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out. “Having a passion lets her go shoot baskets or play an instrument, for example, instead of being swept up in online drama.”
Encourage her to solve her issues herself.
I want to protect my kids from issues, but I’ll often have to fight with myself over it. Letting a kid cope with a difficult situation on their own means not only rehearsing for scenarios of adult life but also teaching them to take responsibility for their decisions.
The author of the world bestseller, How to Raise Successful People, Esther Wojcicki, believes that parents are too overprotective nowadays. It all resulted in getting a generation that is not able to take responsibility. Many young people simply are not aware that they can solve their issues themselves, without parents.
She says that being a teacher at Stanford, she sees many parents moving to this city to help their “kids.” They moved here and changed their lives because their offspring enrolled in the local university! She says Russian parents look like snowblowers to her because they are ready to clear their kids’ way so that they never face any difficulties at all. The scariest thing is that kids are well aware of it and count on it.
And you know what? I trust her. She has 3 daughters: the eldest is the CEO of YouTube (in 44th place of America’s Self-Made Women 2019, according to Forbes), the middle one is the head of an innovative company for genetic testing, 23andMe (in 33rd place on the same list), and the youngest daughter is a professor of pediatry at California University.
Teach her to take risks.
Here is another thing that’s difficult to do as a parent but I do my best. “Girls who avoid risks have poorer self-esteem than girls who can and do face challenges,” says JoAnn Deak, Ph.D., author of Girls Will Be Girls. “Urge your daughter to go beyond her comfort zone — for example, encourage a girl who’s scared to ride her bike downhill to find just a small hill to conquer first.”
It sounds a bit scary at first. But the elder generation is surprised by the timidness of today’s zoomers whose parents are obsessed with their safety. They don’t know how to take risks in adulthood, which means it’s more difficult for them to succeed. No, I’m not saying to teach your daughters to go for extremes, but I think I’ll try the trick with a bike that JoAnn Deak suggests.
Oftentimes, I read to my kids on autopilot, not thinking about the content of the text, and the girls start to get bored. But my goal is to engage my daughters in the process so that they become interested in books and, in turn, in knowledge as well.
Experts recommend engaging in active reading to help your kid to take part in the process, not just as a passive reader. For example, you can offer your daughter to read some passages by herself or ask what turns, in her opinion, the plot will take, or what she would do if she was the main character. If the girl is still little, ask her to turn the pages for you.
Tell her fairy tales.
Yes, I know that it’s popular to censor fairy tales nowadays because they show outdated models of behavior and are full of sexism, abuse, and other types of shaming. But first and foremost, fairy tales are simply cool. Plus, you can always find many other meanings in them. For example, Cinderella reached success only when she got tired of being obedient.
Do you have any secret methods for raising kids? Can you share them with us?