RAISING RESILIENT GIRLS

MOTHERHOOD, THOUGHT-PROVOKING, USEFUL

This list from Jo Wimble-Groves is packed full of advice about what we can do to help the next generation build their self-esteem, self-belief and resilience so that they may become confident, well-rounded adults. And although Jo has written this specifically about girls, I think everything she says can be applied to all children and young people. It’s a list to keep coming back to.

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  • Your daughter might not know this yet, but she is part of a bigger story. Around the world, we see with our own eyes that girls are driving change. From activists who campaign for social and racial equality to influencers who promote positive values – they are rising up.

  • As parents and caregivers, we are under increasing pressure to raise confident, well-rounded children because we want them to be confident, well-rounded adults.

  • We read article after article, both online and offline, telling us this. But, despite reading these articles, the question is how do we put this into practice? Particularly for our girls today.

  • As I’ve said many times before, being a parent is the hardest job in the world. We have an overwhelming responsibility to teach our children the ways of the world.

  • We need to help our children learn to be kind, strong, how to stand up for themselves, how to stand up for others and, crucially, how to get up when they fall.

  • Our children must learn to foster resilience – so much hinges on what we teach them. What words of comfort will we give our kids when they fail? And what will they learn from those experiences?

  • Raising a girl is not easy but I believe we can build confident, kind daughters by supporting them well.

A MORE EQUAL FUTURE

  • Girls are making their voices heard, and they are calling out for a more equal future. They are leading the way to create a world we all want and that our girls deserve.

  • Empowerment messages and incredible achievements are everywhere, yet poor self-esteem, peer pressure, and fear of failure are very real threats.

  • This essential parenting guide shows you the seven most common issues holding girls back from reaching their full potential. In our modern world, we want to raise girls to feel they can go out into the world with their best foot forward. To do that, we need to raise our girls to believe in themselves.

  • It may sound cheesy, but self-belief and self-esteem are crucial to raising girls to go out into the world feeling confident and resilient for what lies ahead of them.

  • And while raising girls with high self-esteem despite their being surrounded by digitally altered images is no easy task, it is possible. Here are some of my tips and advice on how we can take small steps to make a big difference.

BUILDING SELF-ESTEEM

  • Have you ever asked your daughter to visualise themselves as a blank canvas? Ask them to draw a self-portrait and all around the edges of their picture, they should write all the things that they feel they are ‘good at’ or ‘capable of’.

  • It is important to help our girls to determine their strengths, put some muscle behind them and keep pushing those strengths forwards. Many of our girls will thrive from the inside out and that is where they find their strengths, their inner confidence, and their self-esteem.

  • Today, with social media’s coverage of women appearing ‘perfect’, our daughters are exposed to a world with ‘ideal’ body images and appearances. However, appearance isn’t the only thing that determines our self-esteem.

  • Most of your daughter’s personality will not show in her clothes, but instead her characteristics. Is she brilliant at sport, is she always making you laugh? Or maybe she is really kind and always helping her peers out?

  • It is important for our next generation of girls to know that trying hard at school, at sports, or at being kind is the best self-achievement we can accomplish.

  • In reality, no one is ‘perfect’ and building our daughters to be confident in their appearance and personalities is ever important.

  • As a parent or caregiver, you are an important role model for your daughter. By showing positive role modelling, you can really help her build self-esteem and develop her confidence to try new things.

BUILDING SELF-ESTEEM IS AN ACT OF EFFORT

  • It’s not about always doing things right, but about recognising your own strengths and believing in the things that make you, you.

  • My parents encouraged me to be confident, to be kind and to celebrate myself. I am now trying hard to instil these messages in my own daughter.

  • Self-esteem seems to change all the time and the same applies to our girls. One minute they are drowning in confidence, and the next minute, they might find that someone has said something in passing that completely crushes this confidence.

  • Without a doubt, this has happened to me many times. The important part is how our children learn to get back up again, to rebuild their confidence and have those crucial internal, positive conversations with themselves.

ENCOURAGE HER TO BE HER OWN CHEERLEADER

  • Encourage her to come out of her comfort zone. We want to instil confidence in our daughters to have the courage to step outside their comfort zones.

  • Encourage your daughter to move beyond what she does well and tackle something different.

  • Risk looks different to every girl – for your daughter it might look like joining the football team, reading in front of classmates or trying that new dance class when she doesn’t know anyone.

  • In the case of my daughter, Erin, she came out of her comfort zone to join a rugby team that had very few girls.

  • However, playing with a boy-heavy team has helped her understand that, firstly, she is just as good as them, and, secondly, the experience of feeling different has made her feel stronger and braver. By sticking it out and playing well, she has earned the utmost respect of everyone in her team.

  • For our girls, school years can be a real resilience test. Now I sit here with a twelve-year-old daughter of my own and we chat about the good days and the bad days. The days when she feels like she has failed. I gently remind her that she never fails – she only learns.

  • Many girls worry about whether they will get the top grades they strive for, and it is important to remind girls that grades do not have to define them. Doing their best should always be enough.

  • Dr Carol Dweck, a prominent psychologist at Stanford University, is famous for her pioneering research on growth mindsets. Dr Dweck speaks of a high school in Chicago that required students to pass a certain number of courses to graduate.

  • If they didn’t meet the criteria, they would receive the grade of “Not Yet”. She loved this idea because, in a traditional classroom, a failing grade would far too often define the student in life.

  • But Not Yet was a learning curve that gave them a path into the future. The process of Not Yet opens the door for perseverance, endurance, and strength building an endless number of possibilities for our girls.

  • It values the meaning of effort over failure. Remember, at times your girl will feel like she’s failing, tell her that her time isn’t now.

  • Some of the best advice I would give to help children overcome their fear of failure is for parents and caregivers to praise effort over ability.

  • Have open, honest conversations about success and failures in your home and share some of your own experiences. Shine that positive light on how your failures have helped you become who you are today. Without failure, we don’t learn.

  • Together, we can raise a new generation of strong, confident young women.

  • Together, we can empower girls and women to realise their inner strengths to dream and do.

  • We recognise the strength in our girls, their creativity and inquisitiveness, and we hear their voice. We must not allow old ways or social obstacles to stop them from reaching their full potential.

  • If we want our daughters to reach their full potential, we need to start at home.

  • As parents and caregivers, we have a key role in opening our children’s eyes to show them what they are capable of. This sometimes feels like an enormous pressure, but we can shape and influence our girls to help them become happy, healthy, capable and confident young women.

  • Sometimes this starts by showing our girls that we, ourselves, don’t perform strongly all the time, that we are not perfect, and we make mistakes too, no matter how old we are.

  • We have to give ourselves and each other permission to stumble and show our daughters how we gently adjust our paths when we do. Because through the stumbles we learn resilience, courage, and personal growth.

  • We must guide our girls towards finding their purpose. We should show them how to use it to lift themselves up, and help them realise that they, in turn, will lift up the next generation beyond them.

  • Perhaps if we can change one girl’s future, we can create a chain reaction to help thousands more. Gently remind your girls never to underestimate their own power.

** Rise of the Girl: Seven Empowering Conversations to have with your Daughter’ by Jo Wimble-Groves is out now. 

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FANCY SOME MORE?

–  READ How Our Childhood Makes Us Who We Are by clinical psychologist Dr Lucy Maddox whose list is full of wisdom on this important subject.

–  READ Natalie Goodacre’s A List About Childhood Anxiety where she shares her experience of her daughter and the steps they took to make life easier for her. 

–  READ How I Finally Learned To Be Kind To Myself by Zoe Blaskey, which highlights how we can never really know the internal battles other people are facing, and how they journey through them.

–  READ Quitting the 9 to 5 to Show Our Kids The World by Jo Forel who explains their decision to spend time together as a family in different countries and cultures around the world. 

–  LISTEN to Camilla Thurlow discuss the topic of courage on Honestly podcast, and how her experience of it took her to places way out of her comfort zone.

–  LISTEN to Jessica Jones on But Why? podcast talking all things Confidence: what it actually means and how self-confidence really is attainable for everyone. 

–  LISTEN to professional explorer Belinda Kirk on But Why? podcast as she talks all things adventure, including why it’s essential for our wellbeing, the joy it brings and the long term impact of ‘choosing challenge’.

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OR HOW ABOUT WRITING A LIST?

Find submission guidelines here. All writers and topics are welcome.

 

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** ‘But why don’t I feel happy all the time?’ ‘But why do people die and are they just sleeping?’ and “But why do adults drink beer and what does it do?’ are some of the tricky questions I tackle in my debut book BUT WHY? which is available to order now and also on audiobook.**

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