Raising girls(6 Posts)
giving birth to my daughter 4 weeks ago has opened my eyes to a whole new world of worries that I never considered.... Being a teenager, self esteem issues, body confidence, cyber bullying, clique girls, bullying in general, boys/men, drinking and drugs ect... Quite frankly, I'm terrified!
I'm just wondering what tips you all have? Things you do or things you feel maybe your parents did wrong and that you'll do different ect?
1) I am never going to talk negatively about myself in front of her. I was at least 5 sizes larger than my mother as a teenager and she would constantly comment about how fat she was... In front of me... Whilst telling me I'm slim and have a lovely body and actively encouraging me to gorge on chocolate and take no exersice. This led to me having horrible body image issues which I have no interest on projecting into my own daughter. I want her to grow up living a healthy and active lifestyle and seeing and believing that she is beautiful.
Hello. Lovely to see someone thinking ahead! Don't be too scared, girls are lovely, even of they do play psychological games
that drive you nuts and do your head in that are a 'challenge'. There's stuff to be scared of, but lots to look forward to. Enjoy as much as you can. It's the best thing I ever did.
Theres a really good site called 'mighty girls' that shows you where to get toys, books etc that really encourage girls to do whatever the hell they want with no gender boundaries. It's fab and really helps to value girls for who they are - a fundamental step to confidence and protecting themsleves from the nasties you are worried about. And what it will do is immerse you into a world of parents who think in the way that you seem to want to- should give inspiration and ideas for years to come.
With my DD (now 16 but I swear it was 3 days ago that she was born, it goes soooo fast ) I've tried really hard to think about the language I use , particularly whe praising or telling off. Specifically,
- not ever using the word 'bossy' (only ever used on women and generally for strident women who have their shit together and threaten the poor chaps surrounding them),
- not starting praise with 'you're so pretty ' or 'don't you look beautiful' . seems counterintuitive, but think about how many to times people praise boys and start with 'you're so handsome '. Just doesn't happen. Its all about praising the act on not how they look. This builds confidence in what they do And confidence builds self esteem, which protects her from so much later on (being able to confidently say no to sex , being able to stand up and lead a group of boys and girls without worrying too much about whether she looks good enough to do it etc) . To be clear I'm not saying you can't ever tell he she looksbeautiful, it's about telling her that she is beautiful, however She looks, unconditionally and always. Think on 20 years - you want her to feel beautiful and good about herself even when she's in baggy Pjs with no makeup and her boyfriend turns up unexpectedly. Equally, knowing that she looks stunning just before a big night out, all glammed up.
- talking about 'fitness' and'health' rather than 'beauty' eg Not eating too much sugar /fat because it's 'bad for your heart' Running around because 'it keeps you strong and healthy' rather than 'you'll get fat if you eat too many doughnuts'. It's subtle, but an important difference I think.
- and finally, always saying 'yes you can' 'of course you can try that/do that' to whatever it is she wants to have a go at, even if you or other think it's a bit odd 'for a girl'. That builds confidence too, and encourages her to try anything and everything which makes life so much more fun. Gives her confidence to hold her own in boy/male dominated situations too.
Oh,and reassuring that your unconditional love for her will be there, always. That's the very easy part because I'm guessing you're already smitten.
Despite your post title, I'm going to say that the most important message is to forget that you're raising a girl and concentrate on the actual person.
Boys and girls needs the same things from their parents until puberty.
So yy to the idea that you don't stereotype (by referring to beauty of whatever).
Agree with Edith. I have a DD and DS who are remarkably similar and both get taught the same things when it comes to self-worth, relationships, consent etc.
I find with young children it's best not to teach them about the negatives - sexism, racism, homophobia etc until they're old enough to bring it up themselves. Just show them that all toys and interests are for everyone, people have different coloured skin and that's lovely (and no more significant than hair or eye colour), and that grown-ups sometimes fall in love (without bringing gender into it).
Yes, parenting is a whole world of worry, whatever your child's gender! And statistically young men are more likely to be assaulted/ robbed than young women. My little boy doesn't think before doing things, is confident to the point that he'll speak to anyone and curious to the point that by the age of 18 months he'd fallen downstairs and pulled a small bookshelf on top of himself.
Parenthood to me has been about giving him confidence to explore his world, but doing my best to help him understand the consequences of certain actions. I've helped him to articulate his feelings and cultured trust so that one day he might tell me if someone is bullying him. I've signed him up for taekwondo to channel his energy and learn self defence - a key life skill. I've explained how his actions and words can make other people feel. I've taught him that if someone is upset he should help them. We're currently grappling with teaching him about his personal safety, his body and which secrets are good and bad to keep - hopefully without scaring him, reducing his confidence or making him feel ashamed or embarrassed about his body. And we're reinforcing 'no means no' if it's playful tickling or rough and tumble - thus making him aware of both his and other people's boundaries. I would have done all of this had he been a girl.
The post title wasn't the greatest I admit
I already have a lovely DS and I just feel so much more confident with him (probably because he is nearly and I know his personality more than my 4 week old!) I know what values I already want them both to learn
*) respect for themselves and for others
*) confidence in their abilities to do anything they put their mind to
*) confidence to say no to peer pressure and to stand up to bullies
*) equality/ regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation ect
*) financial responsibility/taking responsibility for themselves
*) the importance of a healthy lifestyle
*) that all actions have consequences
*) independence and how to look after themselves
I just know what I was like as a child/teenager/young woman and want to be able to handle my own children as well as possible! preparation is key!
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