Most mothers consistently praise their daughter on her physical appearance. These actions, though well-intended, sometimes take the forefront over other, more long-lasting adjectives that promote the beauty they hold inside themselves. The great news is that you can still tell your daughter how blessed she is for her looks AND focus on those internal qualities that make her so spectacular.
You think your daughter is the most gorgeous girl on earth, and she absolutely is. You’ve been telling her her whole life, from the moment she came into your arms, just how pretty she is. Heck, you’ve even been dressing her up in the most elaborate dresses, adorned with crowns and bows so she will feel like the princesses she adores so very much. But, is this enough to build her self-esteem bulletproof against all of the challenges she will face with peers as she grows into a mature, beautiful young woman? Here are some ways to build up her inner confidence.
Focus on capability
What is your daughter able to do and how well does she do it? Give her accurate, positive feedback in the areas she can grow and improve. Set expectations that she will contribute to the family, gaining a feeling of “I can do this” over small things starting when she is young. You want her to feel like a badass… able to conquer the world whenever she chooses!
Encourage balanced intelligence
Academics will always be important, but so are “street smarts.” Don’t you want your daughter to know how to protect herself in the world and be able to pay her own bills? Handling social issues, peer pressure and learning how to grow into a responsible adult is an equally vital learning experience. Surround her with positive female role models who set good examples of self-care and success for her to look up to and turn to when needed.
Stress the importance of honesty
Set expectations to always be truthful, while also being assertive without being aggressive. Honesty builds integrity and trust in relationships, which builds confidence with yourself and others. Plus, it’s just not nice to lie!
Help her to correct mistakes
Girls are under so much pressure (parental, academic, peer) that they want to do everything well and be liked by everyone. Sadly, it’s also a setup to feel exposed or vulnerable when mistakes are made. Encourage her to know her strengths and weaknesses and to do the best she can. When a mistake occurs, acknowledge it and turn it into a learning experience instead of berating her for what she likely already knows she did wrong.
Affirm her feelings
Want your kid to tune you out? Give her a lecture. Instead, practice reflective listening where you can understand and empathize with her experience. Instead of solving the situation or telling her what to do, have her think through whatever is worrying her so that she can feel empowered to handle the circumstances.
Turn your gorgeous girl into a smart, capable woman. After all, looks may eventually fade or change, and being a beautiful person on the inside will make her the most proud of herself. Plus, you’ll be proud of her too.
Dr. Lyndsay Elliott is one of Southern California’s most prominent psychologists in her field of expertise. Dr. Lyndsay maintains her clinical practice in Newport Beach, California. As a food and body image expert for the last 15 years, Dr. Lyndsay is known for her break-through work with children, teens and young adults. She particularly enjoys consulting with parents to help develop a healthy self-image for their children. Dr. Lyndsay empowers individuals with her ease, strength and experience, ultimately propelling her patients into a new arena of growth, control and balanced living. Check out Dr. Lyndsay’s daily tips and blog at www.DrLyndsayElliott.com, on twitter @DrLyndsay, and Facebook at Dr. LyndsayElliott, Inc.