My heart goes out to all of the mothers of young daughters in the current society we live in. As more stories break about women being sexually assaulted and raped in our culture, it is hard to believe that we can keep ourselves safe, let alone our daughters. You may be asking yourself “How can I teach my daughter to keep herself safe and to stand up for herself?” You might get on Google or ask some of your friends. The advice I have is different than what you might find on Google or from a friend. I invite you to look at yourself and ask “Am I empowered?”
We women are role models for the young women in our lives. How we carry ourselves and present ourselves in the world are mimicked by the young women we come into contact with. If you are not a mother, you will most likely come into contact with a little girl or young adolescent in your life. Non-verbals are very important. Children and adolescents are more in tune with what is not said then we give them credit for. If you want to raise an empowered daughter or young girl, you have to look at yourself and pay attention to the areas in your life where you don’t feel empowered. Below are some tips to help with this process.
Identify the areas in which you feel your power has or is being taken away. This can be a journaling prompt or a question you can meditate on.
Think about the communication you have with your female friends. Are the conversations around diets, foods, and/or physical appearance? If so, I invite you to direct the conversation to moments of inspiration, rather than moments of disappointment around physical appearance.
Engage in Self-Care. Most women, especially mothers, put self-care on the back burner. They think “When everyone else’s needs are met, I can rest.” Unfortunately, this is an unrealistic goal and will set you up to fail. In order to take care of your family, you have to take care of yourself. Also, the young girls and women in your life will see the benefits of including self-care in your routine.
Allow yourself to be vulnerable. We women believe that we have to do it all. When we can’t do it all, we blame ourselves and tell ourselves that we are not good enough. The young girls and women in our lives take note of this and make perfection a priority. Ask for help when you need it. Allow yourself to cry and share how tired you are. It will strengthen your relationships.
Have honest conversations about body image and worthiness with your daughter. Share moments when you felt like your value was how you looked, rather than who you are as a person. Share what you learned and the growth that came with it.
Pursue your dreams. Your daughter may find you to be a hypocrite if you tell her to follow her dreams but you verbalize every day how you can’t. Start out with following through with a small dream, such as running a 5k or starting a blog. You are showing your daughter that dreams can become a reality.
The change really starts with us.
Do you need help implementing some of these steps and live in the Kansas City area? I would love to meet with you to discuss you and your daughter's specific situation. To make an appointment, you can reach me by email.