How to help your daughters’ self-esteem flourish

As parents, we want to help our children grow and find their place in the world, and to do so with confidence. How do we teach our children, especially our daughters, to love and accept themselves as unconditionally as we love them?

Here are 5 ways to start doing exactly that:

The way you talk to yourself matters.

From a young age, girls begin to learn what self-image means by looking to their mothers and observing how we carry ourselves. It is important to exhibit confidence, to show our daughters that it is okay to embrace their flaws. Avoid negative self-talk whether it’s about looks, intelligence, relationships, talents, etc. This criticism will be heard and internalized, and your daughter will judge herself the same way she hears you judge yourself. Instead, teach her to speak positively, with love towards herself.

‘No.’ is a powerful sentence.

Teach her the importance of setting boundaries. It is okay to say no to something that she is uncomfortable with, that she does not want to do, or that she is unable to do – there is no guilt in saying no.

Allow her to make her own decisions and mistakes; give her a say.

One of the best ways to help build self-esteem is to encourage autonomy. Involve her in (age-appropriate) decisions that directly affect her such as choosing the clothes she wears, her hairstyle, the extracurricular activities that she participates in, household chores and responsibilities, etc.

Let her be proud of herself.

Celebrate your daughter’s successes with her. Did she score high marks on a hard test? Allow your daughter to be proud of herself and encourage her efforts and the hard work it took to achieve the result. The important part here is acknowledging the effort, not the result; many women find it difficult to accept compliments and downplay their accomplishments as ‘lucky.’ Teach her that when she works hard and achieves a goal (or doesn’t), she should always be proud of the effort that she made.

Teach her resilience and persistence.

Many of the storybooks we read as children depict women and girls as “damsels in distress.” It’s time to rewrite the narrative. While we want to make our children’s lives as easy as possible, this does not teach them problem-solving skills that are necessary to succeed in life. Allowing her to make her own mistakes, learn from them, and persist in the face of adversity will help her self-confidence soar.

We want to raise daughters who are kind, compassionate, and who will become future leaders of the world. We want to teach them to build others up, spread friendship, love, and respect. The best ways to teach her are to start right at home and be the best example you can to teach her self-love and confidence.

Looking for children’s books that highlight self-love, confidence, friendship, and respect? Check out Braiding Crowns of Friendship, a brand new book by author Christine M Aldrich.