If our daughters were as confident as our sons (comparing itself is a shameful act in the first place as both are equally talented individuals but restricted to different levels of exposure because of which the scenario today compels us to do so!) there would be no place for campaigns such as P&G’s ‘Like a Girl’ and Dove’s ‘Real Beauty Sketches’. These campaigns purely clicked as they harnessed people’s emotions in the right way. P&G’s ‘Like a Girl’ campaign became a viral sensation worldwide as it shed light on sexism and reminded the long-forgotten phrase that being ‘like a girl’ means being fierce and confident-attributes that today’s girls lack notably. The world might hold a modern outlook and girls might feel more independent these days, but can we nurture a Rani Laxmi Bai, a Joan of Arc or a Rosa Parks now? The so-called modern women nowadays lack the courage, confidence and attitude to accomplish many of their dreams that women of previous generations achieved despite their restrictions and a male-dominated society.
Choose Your Destiny
The world is an open gate and each of us have the right to choose what we want to be-a doctor, pilot, fighter pilot or a teacher. Strangely, girls don’t get the vaguest idea of sex differentiation until the age of 8 after which they start developing inhibitions and lose their confidence as they near puberty. A survey conducted on nearly 1500 girls aged between 8 and 18 years along with their parents showed that confidence levels of these girls dropped by almost 30% and three of every four teens were worried about failing. Adolescent girls experience a colossal physical change as they enter puberty that causes a heavy blow to their confidence levels but aren’t we all something beyond flesh and blood? Our minds are what must rule us and it must never be our body that does the talking. Social media, movies, newspapers and magazines hold a ripe role in confining women to physical attributes and limiting their thoughts to nothing beyond beauty.
Try incorporating the suggestions given below to nurture girls into confident women who are empowered with great abilities and bring out the best in themselves.
It is always recommended to get our girls out of their comfort zone and help them explore various stuff they have always wished to but have been hesitant to work on. This instills a new confidence in them as they find themselves equipped with the ability to finish tasks that they have been afraid of failing at. Even if they fail initially, it depends on the parent to lift the child’s spirit, confidence and motivation to take up the task again and try completing it. As a parent, you can help your child maintain a list of risks she had taken up and keep track of the ones she had succeeded. This will be a reminder of your daughter’s abilities in times of diminished confidence levels. They can look into their success list and keep boosting their positive vibes to achieve further goals in life. The same can be done in the case of failures too. Parents can sit down with the child and discuss various ways to tackle these failures and this would empower the child with a new level of confidence in life.
Parents must constantly remind their children that failure and success are part and parcel of life which none on this earth can avoid. The main solution to this lies in finding the right way to deal with the problem. As a parent, you can rebuild the entire failure program from a different angle and expose it to your child or even try to add a sense of humor to the otherwise grave situation at home. Finding humor in a bad situation, especially when your girl is behaving as though the world had sunk, is not an easy affair but needs quick wit and a super-speed brain.
Our daughter’s confidence and strength greatly rely on how strongly mothers deal with struggles and failures in life and don’t mind taking risks. If you, as a mom feels anxious about your forthcoming presentation at office, there is no need to hide your worries. Discuss about them openly with your daughter and figure out a way to overcome them-all of this in front of your daughter. This makes your girl too understand that hurdles are common in life and what matters the most is the way in which we handle them. Parents are any child’s first and best role model. Children mimic parents in many different aspects in life and to realize how strong your actions can influence your child, please visit the website www.firsteatright.com.
Above all, every girl needs to be constantly reminded that she is not brought into this earth to please others all the time. Not everyone can be satisfied all the time and girls need to understand this. They must be taught to evolve into citizens who also do things to please themselves. Getting good grades for mom’s sake, being disciplined to please daddy and satisfying your brother’s requirements by making him some coffee/tea is ok. But, also do something to please yourself-maybe spend some time reading your favorite novel or get a new nail paint done.
Follow Your Instincts
Listen to what your daughter has to say. Don’t assume things and pounce onto her right before she speaks up anything. If your daughter is worried about her body image, self-esteem or peer pressure, listen attentively and come up with practical solutions. Each of us have gone through similar phases in life. Try to encourage your girl to be with other girls of her age group and let her do activities that she wants to pursue. If she loves to ride a horse, let her do so. If she is interested in taking up mountaineering, accept her wishes with a warm heart. In fact, you must also encourage your daughter to pursue hobbies such as building a model aircraft, joining bootcamps or trying to row a boat. These might sound strange, but who knows! Maybe your daughter could become the best fighter pilot or a civil engineer someday. The whole point here is that don’t try to curb her interests or divert her attention to something that does not attract her. Accept her as she is, encourage her good things and quietly try to correct her wrongdoings in the best way possible.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.
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