Raising daughters is not an easy task. There are constant worries and struggles that we as “girl mom” parents.
As we all know Roe vs. Wade has been recently overturned by the Supreme Court leaving the decision of abortion rights to state goverments. This means a huge change in the way we have to raise our daughters.
There have been a lot of questions about where we are going as a nation since this decision has been made.
I can’t deny there is some major work that needs to be done with the way the world views women.
Most importantly we have to change the way that women view ourselves.
These perceptions start at a very young age. It’s just not television and magazines influencing our little girls anymore. Now we have to worry about the constant messaging that comes from social media.
We have to start teaching our daughters early how to find self-worth, how to protect themselves, and how to create their own paths in life.
I have compiled a list of things that I believe are not being taught anymore, not being taught enough or simply not being taught at all. I believe these key principles shape a woman’s future, and the decisions she will make as an adult.
Principle #1: Teach our daughters to Love Themselves the Way They Are.
There has been a lot of focus on a woman’s body and what society deems is beautiful or valuable. This has been a common theme throughout history but something has shifted.
Women used to combat what society said was acceptable. We used to protest marching in the streets showing our contempt by burning our bras. Now, women have started to become complacent with what the media deems as beautiful all in the name of popularity.
Some influencers like Rihanna and Khloe Kardashian have attempted to combat this issue.
Rihanna created Fenty beauty. A makeup line that includes a diversified line of makeup foundations that cater to the many different skin tones from light to dark.
Her lingerie line, Savage Fenty includes full-figured models to show that women do not have to be “one size” to be sexy.
Khloe Kardashian has followed a similar formula with her Good American clothing line which also includes full figured models.
She even stated on a recent episode of Hulu’s Kardashians that she refuses to sell her brand in stores that want to separate the full figured line from the rest of the line.
Although women like Rihanna and Khloe are working to change the perception of beauty, there are still several women who are chasing after the “perfect body”.
According to a New York Times article discussing the surge in a popular cosmetic surgery the Brazillan Butlift also known as the BBL.
It states that despite known risks, There were 40,320 buttock augmentations that included both implants and fat grafting in the year of 2020.
Here’s the unforgiving truth. Our daughters have the desire to want to feel wanted and seen.
Unfortunately, the women that are seen the most have those hourglass figures. And most of them accomplished this through cosmetic surgeries.
What message does this give our girls? It says that unless your body looks a certain way, no one will notice you. No one will like you, and that you are not important.
How can we combat this?
- Talk to your daughter about what she thinks about her body.
- Ask your daughter about what she thinks is beautiful and why.
- Introduce your daughter to influencers that have different body shapes.
- Discuss women in history that have instituted change.
- Put your daughter in groups that include girls with similar interests as her.
Principle # 2: Teach your daughter to Uplift other girls
The 2004 the movie Mean Girls became an instant blockbuster hit. It gave a somewhat exaggerated vantage point into the mindsets and lives of teenage girls.
Although the movie was fiction, it showed how girls can become obsessed with being popular. Viewers saw how the girl that doesn’t agree with the viewpoints of the popular girl, can become a target.
The movie also showed us something else. It showed us how one person’s influence can have an effect on how others are viewed by the majority.
For some reason, society has established this unwritten rule that power and influence cannot be shared amongst women. We see this narrative play out over and over in movies and on tv.
We all know this narrative is false. However, we have to consciously teach our daughters that there is room for one more.
Here are some ways to teach this
- Teach empathy: Explain to your daughter that everyone has feelings. We should try and understand where other people are coming from even if their experience is different from ours.
- Observe how your daughter plays: If you notice that your daughter is “bossy” when playing with other girls stop her. Explain that maybe Stacey has a different way to play the game, and that she should give her a chance to lead.
- Sensor your conversations: Be careful when you are on the phone speaking about other women in front of your daughter. Our children get their behavior from what they see us doing. If we are always talking negatively about other women in front of our daughters, they are learning that behavior.
- Celebrate Other Women: The best way to teach a behavior is to model it. If we want to teach our girls how to be uplifting to others they need to see us doing it. If your friend starts a business, don’t criticize her. Celebrate her bravery and encourage her endeavor more importantly let your daughter see it in action!
Principle # 3: Teach your daughter not to put themselves in compromising positions.
The world we live in is a scary one. Long gone are the days where our kids can wander the neighborhood. We cant just tell them, “be home before the streetlights come on.”
According to the Rape Abuse, & Incest National Network, (RAINN), younger people are at a higher risk of sexual violence, and women, in particular, are at higher risk for sexual assault compared to men.
Some sexual assault is unpredicted, but other times women are finding themselves in very compromising positions.
Being put in uncomfortable situations can cause girls to feel pressured to participate in activities they are not ok with.
How we can prevent this
- Teach your daughter about the “buddy system”: teach your daughter early to never go anywhere, or leave their friends alone. My friends and I all had a rule when we went out, “If we come together we leave together.”
- Watch Your Surroundings: Teach your daughter to pay attention to her surroundings. Educate her to observe as she is headed to her car, or walking home from school.
- Have a sober friend: At least one person in a group should be designated sober friend. Uber and Lyft have eliminated the need for a designated driver. It is still important for one person to be sober. A sober mind makes sober decisions.
- No late night visits: Teach your daughters that visiting men in the middle of the night is unsafe. Unfortunately, some men think that if a women agrees to a late night visit then they are automatically agreeing to sex. Teach your daughters that if he wants to see you tell him to take you to an early breakfast.
Principle #4: Teach your Daughters not to Settle
There is nothing wrong with having high expectations. Not setting does not have to be solely directed at relationships. Settling can be related to multiple aspects of our lives.
Women often get used to settling for things that are less than what they deserve. Often women are in unhappy marriages, careers, and situations in general because they have settled out of fear that they cannot find anything better.
Teaching our daughters not to settle helps them get comfortable using their voice and trusting their judgment.
Here’s some small ways we can do that
- Have them practice using their voice: If your daughter ordered something and it wasn’t made properly or they simply don’t like what they ordered, teach them to politely send it back or ask for something else.
- If you’re not happy, move on: This can be a relationship, a career, a college, a life decision. Teach your daughters that it is ok to move on from something that does not bring you happiness any more.
- Stick to your standards: This one is not to say that we should set superficial standards in relationships for others to have to jump through. Like 6’2, tall, dark and handsome.
However, we should teach our girls to have non-negotiables standards that relate to our moral compass and overal life goals that we should not have to compromise on.
Principle #5 Teach your daughters that It’s Ok To Be Single
We have to teach our girls that not being in a relationship is ok. Women have come to believe that unless they are in a relationship they are not valuable.
This is very dangerous thinking. In fact, it can cause young women to look for self-worth in a relationship.
If a man feels like you need them in order to feel valuable, some men may use this as a way to be physically, and mentally abusive.
What we can do
- Explain to your daughter the benefits of being single such as only having to worry or consider yourself first.
- Teach your daughter to go through a “cool down” period of 6 months to a year after a break up.
- Teach your daughter to get to know herself because relationships can take so much of our focus and direct it on the other person.
- Hang out with your daughter and encourage her to do things with her friends even if she is in a relationship.
Principle #6 Teach your daugher The emotional effects of sex
When I was a teenager all my mother really told me about sex was that it was between a husband and wife, and that I should save myself until marriage because that is what the bible says is right.
I heard where my mother was coming from, but quite frankly I was a teenager who was very hormonal and curious about sex. Needless to say I didn’t wait before marriage.
What I wished my mom did tell me was the emotional effects of having sex. I wish she would have explained to me her past experiences and been honest and open about why I should wait from an emotional standpoint.
How we should approach the sex talk with our daughters:
- Teach that sex is emotional not just physical: Often times high school relationships do not last, and that first heartbreak is a lot more drastic when you’ve been sexually involved with the other person.
- Be transparent: Sometimes we don’t want to tell our kids about our mistakes but that is the worst mistake you can make as a parent. Not telling your kids about your first time, your first heartbreak, unfaithful relationships, etc. makes your child feel that you are hiding things and that you can’t relate.
- Don’t approach sex as a shameful: If we correlate sex with shame it builds a wall between you and your child around that topic. We have to be open and honest that sex is a good thing when it is with the right person, and when we are mature enough to be able to make that type of decision.
- The emotional effects of teen pregnancy: Being a single mother is no joke. I have two kids and I’m married and it’s hard for me. I can only imagine not having a spouse to help my children. Teach them that being a teen parent means missing out on things other kids their age are able to do, and that if the proper support is not there that means that raising a child will be very difficult.
Raising girls is not easy, which is why I thank God every day that he blessed me with two boys. However, I have 3 beautiful nieces and so many female students that I feel the obliged to share with you what I feel our girls need. Teaching them these principles early will help ensure that they find themselves worthy, loved, and valuable. It teaches them to confirm themselves inwardly and not seek to seek these things externally.
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