Childhood is a time of self-discovery. Kids and teens are continuously trying to figure out who they are and how they fit into the world. While this process is tricky for all kids, it can be especially tricky for girls.
Despite great strides made towards gender equality, research has found that girls as young as 6 years old are already affected by gender stereotypes about intelligence and capability.
Fortunately, there are plenty of strategies you can employ to make sure your daughter grows up knowing just how amazing she is. Here are 5 ways to boost your daughter’s self-confidence.
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1. Praise her personality, not her appearance
One effective way to promote a healthy body image, according to the Mayo Clinic, is to focus on your daughter’s personality traits rather than the way she looks. Instead of telling your daughter how pretty she is, compliment her intelligence, her kindness, or her courage. When talking about yourself or others, the Mayo Clinic recommends following the same guidelines. De-emphasize the importance of physical appearance in general by talking about people’s personal qualities rather than how they look.
2. Encourage her to play a sport
Research has found that joining a sports team can improve girls’ self-confidence and even lead to positive academic outcomes! While some kids simply don’t enjoy sports and shouldn’t be pushed to participate, many can benefit from the confidence boost that comes with being part of a team. Athletic activities can help girls feel more physically capable, while the team element can give them social confidence.
3. Show an interest in her interests
Creative hobbies like painting, playing music, reading, and building things have all been linked to higher self-esteem in kids, according to one study. The same study also found that when parents participate in kids’ interests with them, it can boost their self-esteem even further! Whatever your daughter is interested in, encouraging her passions and even participating in them with her can help grow her confidence.
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4. Validate her feelings
Encourage your daughter to speak her mind! Make sure your daughter knows that her feelings are valid and that it’s okay for her to express them. According to the Mayo Clinic, kids who feel comfortable expressing themselves are more likely to grow up to be confident adults. When your daughter is upset, encourage her to talk to you about how she’s feeling and help her work through those negative emotions.
5. Teach her about the media
Media—whether it’s TV, magazines, or social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram—can have a negative impact on girls’ self-esteem. WebMD recommends talking to your daughter about how the media portrays women, and help her to develop a critical eye when it comes to media. Especially when your daughter is young, consider limiting her exposure to social media or encourage her to take breaks from spending time online.
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