Many young girls struggle to be accepted by their peers. One day they have a friend, only to find that the next day they are left out. Many girls feel they have to be a certain way or look a certain way, and if they don't, they will lose the few friends they have.
The frightening reality is that girls start to feel this social pressure in pre-school and kindergarten!
Although this behavior can be developmentally normal, it can also be damaging. Many girls take to heart the feeling of being excluded or of not being accepted for who they are.
Later in life, the feelings your daughter adopted as a little girl can cause her to settle for less than ideal relationships with men, jobs that are not reflective of her talents and passions, bosses who don't respect her, and so on.
How can you strengthen your daughter’s sense of self so she can confidently navigate social pressures with her peers and not settle for less than she deserves?
1) Allow her to make choices and decisions
From a very young age, you can give your daughter choices. The red dress or the purple one, a banana or an apple, draw a picture or have a tea party, these are all simple choices you can offer.
When you give her the freedom to choose and expand her choices as he grows, she will develop a strong sense of what she likes and what is important to her. This will go a long way toward helping her be true to herself and her feelings when navigating social situations with peers.
2) Ask her how she feels
How often do we hear “Mom, look at my picture…do you like it?” Of course our response is always that we love the picture, the colors are great, etc. However, to teach your daughter how important her feelings are, ask her what she thinks.
When she asks you if you like her picture, turn it around and ask her “What do you think of it? Or “What is your favorite part of this picture?”
Having your child reflect on how she feels about her own work before hearing the comments of others will teach her to have self-appreciation, which will build up her self-esteem from the inside out.
3) Create a daily gratitude practice
The way we experience life is all about our perspective. Teaching your daughter to keep a positive perspective can do wonders for building her resilience and confidence.
One of my favorite ways of doing this is to play the gratitude game. Before you send your daughter off to school, ask her to look for 3 specific things she really likes about her day. Then, at dinner or bedtime, have each member of the family share the 3 things they most appreciated about their day.
When you train your daughter to look for what is good, she is more apt to encounter joyful experiences. Plus, this can be a great addition to the dinner conversation or bedtime routine.
4) Create space for open communication
February 04, 2013 at 4:54 PM
The more you can instill positive communication with your daughter when she is young, the more likely she will confide in you as she gets older. Create a daily space where she can open up and share her thoughts and feelings. Even a few minutes a day of being in each other’s presence can do wonders for your relationship.
I create this space with my son at bedtime. I will lay with him for 10 minutes or so each night, and inevitably, if he has something on his mind, it comes out then. He knows I am always fully present with him during that time, and that gives him the trust and confidence to share his feelings with me.
If you want to learn more creative methods and strategies to help your daughter cultivate the confidence, self-acceptance, and inner strength she needs to deal effectively with her peers, then please join me on a free 2-part training call series you can listen to from the comfort of your own home and phone... "Secrets of the Powerful Girl Within: Building Confidence, Self-Acceptance, and Inner Strength in Girls". Click here to register for free for this training call series.