Raising girls can feel like a daunting task now because there are so many facets of their personalities that we want to cultivate – the ability to be a confident woman, the ability to be independent and care for themselves, the resiliency to overcome hardship and challenge and the presence of mind to know that certain phases in their lives are just that – phases, and the best is yet to come.
Additionally, I am mindful of raising empathetic daughters and women who will lift others up rather than bring them down. I want to encourage them to be their best, but not if it means taking a negative or degrading approach. I want them to have confidence in their abilities and be honorable in their approach to life and their personal successes.
Sounds like the perfectly well-rounded girl doesn’t it? Sounds like a fairy-tale approach when attempting to raise my kids, but I think that when we set our expectations high, we have the potential to reach most of what we set out to do.
As a mother to young daughters, I am constantly on the look out for resources and ways to support my efforts to raise my young girls into lovely, confident, empathetic and strong women.
While I feel I have a handle on these things now…it took me a long time to grow into them myself because I lacked in the role-model department and I didn’t have anyone making my emotional well-being a priority – so I have my eyes and ears open constantly to ensure I can be at my best in this motherhood game.
So here are a few books I’ve picked up recently:
Cinderella Ate My DaughterÂ & Schoolgirls both by Peggy Orenstein – Each of these books examines young girls and women and self-esteem issues as well as the girl-girl culture and how that can affect our girls and their perspectives of themselves.
Growing a GirlÂ by Dr. Barbara Mackoff which provides seven strategies for raising a strong, spirited daughter. And as Peggy Orenstein is quoted on the book saying:
“Mackoof’s strategies for enhancing girls’ self-esteem and creating equal opportunity are clear, practical and most important,Â achievable.”
The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and ConfidenceÂ by Rachel Simmons.
I’ve also downloaded on my iPad a few of the titles that discuss the dynamics between girls in groups and school cultures:
Little Girls Can Be Mean: Four Steps to Bully-proof Girls in the Early GradesÂ by Michelle Anthony, M.A. Ph.D and Reyna Lindert Ph.D.
Queen Bees and Wannabees: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends and the New Realities of Girl World by Rosalind Wiseman.
As you can see, I have a bit of a book addiction when it comes to reading up on how to help my girls be as confident and resilient as they can be. Additionally, I like to look for ways for them to get into group settings and work on these skills once they get older.
One that I’ve found which I love is:
The Girls Leadership Institute has great camps, classes and general curriculum that supports and fosters the development of a confident girl. Your daughter can go on her own and there are also classes that are designed for mother and daughter together, which I love. This is what they have to say about their program:
Girls Leadership Institute’sÂ Real Parents, Real DaughtersÂ Workshop series allows parents and daughters to laugh and learn about themselves in a safe environment. We encourage girls and parents to have fun together while learning about friendships, feelings, apologies and healthy approaches to conflict. Families learn techniques and establish healthy practices that will serve the girls well in elementary school and beyond.
The only down side of this particular group is they are limited in locations – San Francisco, Colorado, New Jersey, Massachusetts and New York City are the primary locations while others can be done on request.
Are you raising daughters? What resources have you found to help you with your goals to have strong, confident girls?
Image: barbourians via Flickr