We live in a society where ‘females’ are generally portrayed as weak and undeserving of certain things simply because of their gender. Right from childhood young girls have been exposed to movies where princesses helplessly wait for a prince or warrior to come and save her. This alone can leave with such a girl child the impression that she lacks strength and will always need help to achieve even the simplest of things.
But, it’s now a relief that so many young ladies and women are constantly raising the bar, taking over respectable positions and living out their fullest potential. So, when faced with questions such as; Can she be strong and feminine at the same time? The answer is a resounding yes!
However, some parents are oftentimes plagued with the thoughts that their daughters may grow up to become a timid and shy woman. If you’ve ever thought of this, you are not alone. You can certainly be intentional and take necessary steps to help boost your girl’s inner confidence and strength.
According to Mrs. Yetty Williams, parenting coach and founder and CEO of LagosMums, there are certain things we can do to ensure that we raise strong girls and women. Some of these include
1) Boost her self worth. Make her understand that she is not inferior. She has all the abilities she needs to excel.
2) Help her change the narrative. The idea that she is only complete when she has a husband is wrong! Help her understand that she is a complete woman even before she becomes a wife or mother.
3) She is more than how she looks. Make her understand that true beauty is not just skin deep but involves several other components such as her general attitude and confidence.
4) Challenge them with examples of other strong women.
5) Teach her to use her voice. She must respect herself and teach others how to treat her. She should speak up and not be scared to share her opinion.
6) Today’s world requires life long learners. She must read widely and keep learning.
1. Help her understand the true meaning of strength
It is very easy to equate strength with fearlessness. But strength is so much more than that, and it’s important for your girl to understand this. Help her try out new things; even if she’s not great at it, make her understand that trying her best takes strength.
Creating boundaries and standing up for herself takes strength. Team up with your girl to create a list of things that makes her strong. It’s very important for her to discover these attributes she possesses that makes her strong and powerful. Lastly, make her understand that she is not inferior and doesn’t need anyone’s permission to live her best life.
2. Be a confident parent yourself
Your daughter looks up to you as an example, and so you must always be aware of how you react to certain situations. What sort of words do you say when faced with challenges? Do you encourage yourself or you always give up when the going gets tough? She becomes more confident with herself when she notices that you have a growth mindset and open to learning and trying again,
3. Lift other women up
Instead of tearing other women down in her presence. Celebrate the achievements of other women; compliment and speak well about others because if you speak badly about them, chances are that your daughter will do the same. By doing this she will understand that there is great strength in supporting others. When women support each other it is the best kind of support.
4. Teach her how to properly use social media
This is a digital era, and we have come to realize that social media, when used the right way, becomes one of the most important spaces on the internet. However, improper exposure to social media may create harmful effects such as; comparing oneself to others, body shaming, F.O.M.O and even cyberbullying.
There is strength in giving your audience valuable content, in knowing when to post, what to post and how to reply online. Let her know the importance of courtesy and how to respond to online trolls or bullies. Let her know the various ways to manage a business online and build reasonable relationships with the online community. Teach her how to use social media; rather than let social media use her.
5. Expose her to successful female role models
To be strong and successful, you will need a good example, not just a teacher but a role model and mentor! Teach young strong girls and even women alike about successful women that excelled in all areas. Ten Notable Heroines In Nigerian History.
“A girl who is thirsty for knowledge will grow into a woman who keeps learning”
— Mrs. Yetty Williams.
Finally, we have to understand that raising strong girls and women is a process that entails taking one step at a time. Think about the behaviour and attitudes you reflect, and make an effort to display the confidence and strength you would like to see in your children.