10 Secrets to Raising a Confident Daughter

One quality that all parents desire for their daughters is confidence. We all want it. Confident people take risks, conquer fears, and believe in themselves.

So why is it so hard to achieve?

The truth is that being confident in today’s world is challenging. It involves being uncomfortable, and it genuinely feels scary. Many times when parents want to raise a confident daughter, they silently want the same for themselves.

Raising a confident daughter changes two lives–your daughter’s life and your own.

So how do we walk alongside our daughters and teach them to believe in themselves and truly love who they are? How do we show them that taking risks can be empowering and failure is a part of life? Well, we walk the talk.

This post, which was originally an ebook, was written to give you ten secrets to help raise confident daughters and to teach you how to walk the talk!

In my opinion, this is one of the most challenging parts of being a parent. We tell our daughters “be confident,” “be strong,” and “be a leader,” but we don’t possess those qualities ourselves. We are the number one influence in our daughter’s lives, so it is critically important that we model this behavior.

Studies show that our daughters will mirror our actions before our words. Our daughters need to see us, especially mothers, taking risks and dealing with struggle and failure. If we tell them to take risks and be strong, but we have never modeled this as a parent, they see risk as unnecessary. Talk to them about your struggles and failures. Assure them it is part of life. Also, remember how scary life was at her age and follow the quote:

“Be the person you needed when you were younger.”

Growing up in today’s world is challenging. Social media allows kids to be hurtful behind a screen. This can result in a great deal of criticism from others, so parents must be the positive role model and the soft place to land. Many times when we correct our daughters, it may feel like criticism or judgment. If you say “I can’t believe you only got a C on your math test,” she may feel like she isn’t good enough. This feeling has the potential to remain in her heart for months or even years. We must be mindful of our words. This is where good communication comes in.

Growing up in today’s world is challenging. Social media allows kids to be hurtful behind a screen. This can result in a great deal of criticism from others, so parents must be the positive role model and the soft place to land. Many times when we correct our daughters, it may feel like criticism or judgment. If you say “I can’t believe you only got a C on your math test,” she may feel like she isn’t good enough. This feeling has the potential to remain in her heart for months or even years. We must be mindful of our words. This is where good communication comes in.

We all have imperfections, and our daughters are no different. The problem begins when parents are afraid to allow their daughter to make a mistake, assuming that she will feel like a failure. Consequently, if you allow your daughter to make mistakes and embrace her imperfections, this strengthens her confidence. Researchers have found that taking risks, making mistakes, and growing from the experience builds self-esteem. When we love and praise her imperfections, she begins to love and embrace them as well. It is never too early to show your daughter that everyone makes mistakes and has shortcomings. Also, sharing your own mistakes and imperfections is the perfect way to allow your daughter to know this is a part of of life and she should always feel like she ENOUGH!

A girl’s self-esteem drops significantly between elementary and high school. These are the critical years and your daughter needs encouragement about her individuality. Girls begin to separate from their parents and try to establish their own identity. This is the perfect time to help her build a foundation of self-love, which will also make it easier to navigate adolescence.

When my daughter was in 6th grade, she participated in cross country. Not because she loved running but because her older brother was a runner and her dad was the cross country coach. She became part of the cross country team because she felt that we wanted her to. Looking back, if I had taken the time to talk with her about it, I would have found out that she did not like running, and she would have preferred another activity.

Allow her to make choices that feel right to her. Remember, she may not choose to follow in anyone’s footsteps and that is what makes her unique. Encourage her to participate in something she enjoys so she can discover her passions. Talk freely about her interests and support her choices. Every daughter should be told that she was born an original….don’t die a copy.

Many times we become too focused on performance and not the effort. If your daughter does the best she can, whether it be in sports or academics, that is all you can ask. Focus less on the outcome and more on efforts and the development of new skills,” says Dr. Rooney. Mastery is what builds confidences, and learning to tolerate failure fosters resilience. Acknowledging effort will build confidence every time.

I will never forget the last day of 8th grade as my daughter walked out of school. The school year had ended with a program that awarded some kids a certificate for academic excellence. It was a happy day for her as summer vacation had started. I was there anxiously remembering that day when I was in 8th grade.

My daughter gave me a hug and I remember saying “I am surprised you didn’t receive an award”. Her facial expression told it all. She felt like she had let me down. I was ashamed. She did her best and I should have acknowledged her effort. I learned an important lesson that day. Effort trumps performance every time.

Being a risk-taker is genuinely scary for adults and children. So how do we help our daughters to get comfortable with being uncomfortable? This is not an easy task but is critically necessary when building confidence. Parents must acknowledge their daughter’s feelings. Never say “don’t be afraid” or “there is nothing to worry about.” These statements can be frustrating, and your daughter may feel alone.

Acknowledge her feelings and make sure she understands that you are there to support her. Talk about how brave she is and how you are proud of her for stepping out of her comfort zone. Possibly even take a risk together. It is also helpful to share the positive benefits you’ve experienced from taking chances. Risktakers develop confidence that far exceeds their challenges.

As parents, we say “you have what it takes” and “you can do it.” Those words may be setting your daughter up for failure. Many times if we set our expectations too high and unattainable, this can lead to overemphasis on perfection. Your daughter may feel like a failure if she is unable to live up to your expectations, or she may give up easily and not even attempt to excel.

The key is to set realistic expectations — ones that will develop a healthy sense of self-worth and allow your daughter to do well without putting too much pressure on herself. Healthy expectations will enable her to build confidence along with responsibility and independence. Talk to her and find out what she enjoys. Determine where her strengths lie and focus on her true gifts.

Don’t set your expectations for perfect grades if her gifts may be in music or the arts. Having appropriate expectations will build confidence and set her up for success.

We all want to encourage our daughters’ dreams. It allows them to know anything is possible. This feeling is no different if you allow your daughter to encourage your dreams. She believes in you and you are her hero. If she watches you follow your dreams, her heart tells her she can do anything.

I remember when my daughter was younger and I was asking her about her dreams. She then began to ask about mine. It was at that moment that I realized I was more than a mom…I was a person with dreams. Encourage her dreams and allow her to encourage yours. Together you will make them happen.

Every day in every way, words matter. If you are giving a compliment, criticizing another, or simply making a comment, the words you speak always matter. Be conscious of what you are saying. If you judge and criticize others in front of your daughter, she will carry on that behavior. If she watches you praise and compliment others, she will do the same.

Talk to her about the effect her words have on others. Ask her about a situation when she experienced hurtful words and talk about how it made her feel. Explain that written words in the digital world are no different than spoken words. If you write something negative or hurtful, it will have the same impact for the person reading it. Speak the words you would like to hear.

Remember…you are the most powerful influence in your daughter’s life.

These secrets I have shared will help you know what she needs most.

Confidence is a very personal thing for each of us and having honest, encouraging conversation with your daughter will help her to see that she doesn’t have to be perfect to be confident.

Starting those conversations isn’t always easy. This is why I developed the Letz Talk products. Over the last seven years, over 10,000 families have used my communication cards to build connection and confidence by opening up and sharing their thoughts and feelings.

For less than the cost of a family dinner, you can have 60 ways to a start conversation with your daughter.

Dee Dee Fanning, a mother of three and founder and C.E.O. of Letz Talk, Inc., says she has always had a passion to help children and teens build confidence. The Letz Talk, Inc. product ideas were inspired by raising her three children, volunteering her time in her local school district, mentoring hundreds of children, and her participation in charitable organizations in her community.

Letz Talk, Inc. is a Springfield, Illinois based company specializing in products and services that promote healthy emotional development and self-esteem building for children and teens. Letz Talk, Inc. has attracted the attention and positive reviews from educators, counselors, organizations, churches, and parents.

Letz Talk is built upon the knowledge that every child needs to feel important and worthy. Every feeling, every dream, every accomplishment starts with a thought. The thought becomes a reality when given a voice. When we take time to listen to our children, we are showing them that they matter. Intentionally connecting through communication is the most powerful tool that we have and the purpose behind Letz Talk.

Over the past few years, as Dee Dee was building her Letz Talk business, her heart became heavy around the struggle girls face with confidence. She has dedicated her future to bring her knowledge, experience, and mistakes as a parent to a platform that will create the next generation of confident girls This platform is known as Creating Confident Daughters.

When Dee Dee is not working and growing her companies, Letz Talk, Inc. and Creating Confident Daughters, she spends time with her husband and three children. She also dedicates a significant amount of time mentoring at local schools, participating in the Big Explains Brother/Big the Sister program, volunteering for Girls, on the Run, The Matthew Project and the youth program at her with church.



© 2018 Dee Dee Fanning

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