Goff Speak: Raising a strong daughter

Arming a daughter with confidence, strength and respect has to be done the old-fashioned way: by passing it on.

Photo courtesy of Konstantin Yuganov/Adobe Stock

One day while scouring the internet for a good quote to post for #mondaymotivation, I found a cartoon image of Wonder Woman holding hands with her superhero daughter. It was an ode to strong women: knowing them, being them and raising them. I loved that  super mom had her lasso securely tied to her belt while her mini-me held the little rope in her hand. I thought how cool it would be to give my 5-year-old a lasso of truth to whip out whenever in danger or in self-doubt. The reality is I know even Amazon can’t overnight an unsnappable lasso. Arming my mini with confidence, strength and respect would have to be done the old-fashioned way: by passing it on.

Although crazy in love with my daughter, I’ve found myself exercising self-control when it comes to complimenting her. Like most parents I tell her she’s pretty and looks nice, but I don’t do it every day. When I catch her admiring herself in a mirror or looking for approval or affirmation, I’ll often say: “You look so strong.” Over the years she’s come to associate that word with a feeling of confidence and pride.

I also want to touch on self-worth. It seems like such a complicated thing to teach early on. I admit it’s something I struggled with most my life and only really got a grasp on after having kids; maybe it was the natural feeling of wanting to be a role model and a good mom. When my daughter finds herself in a tough social situation or feeling of exclusion, that’s the time we dive into our insides. I’ve found focusing more on all that lies within itty-bitty her has been helpful. Together my daughter and I visualize our hearts and talk about how big they are and how they have so much to offer.

We’ve also found success in celebrating our flaws. I like to use my own personal mess-ups as teachable moments when I can. It’s another way to let her know mistakes are normal. I’ve found giving her little tasks she’s never done before and letting her figure it out has been an excellent confidence-builder. It can be something as simple as letting her crack the egg for baking. We’ve had our share of  shells in the batter, but most importantly I’ve seen her self-esteem grow.

With the invisible capes we all wear, it’s easy for us mamas to forget the tremendous influence we have in making positive choices every day. I think that Wonder Woman cartoon, though fiction, was a wonderful reminder that in all of us the power to raise strong girls really does exist.

(June 2016)

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