How to raise happy, confident, strong girls

08 March 2023, 09:15 pm | Updated: 30 March 2023, 11:45 pm

How to raise happy, confident, strong girls
Photo: collected

Anita (9) hardly finds the scope to play after school, as her parents don’t allow her to leave their home alone on the pretext of security concerns. She can only visit relatives during holidays. Such restrictions are negatively impacting her mental and emotional health.

Neli’s (15) parents always emphasize good grades at school. Participation in creative activities or hanging out with friends is not encouraged by her parents. Neli often feels confined, bored, and lonely. Besides studying, Neli wants to explore new places and take up creative hobbies.

Rita (18) has self-esteem issues over her looks. Negative comments from relatives and neighbors about her appearance are only making it worse.

After completing her master's degree, Zerin (25) wants to focus on her career. But her family wants her to stay home and carry out duties traditionally associated with women.

These scenarios are not uncommon for girls and women in Bangladesh. Parents often try to limit the liberty and potential of girls due to a range of issues, like insecurity, social prejudice, traditional mindset, etc.

How can we address this situation?
“Nothing in life is to be feared; it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more so that we may fear less,” according to Marie Curie, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. In the twenty-first century, women are participating and taking on leadership roles in health, science, sports, technology, commerce, business, education, agriculture, politics, law enforcement etc.

What is the secret to raising strong girls who can defeat fears and develop themselves as confident, happy, and independent persons?

Set positive examples for your girls
Parents should be cautious about their impact on their daughters. Every mother or father who wants to raise a strong daughter should first try to set good examples.

When daughters discover great qualities like honesty, kindness, hard work, perseverance, confidence, etc in their parents, they try to emulate those qualities and develop their personalities accordingly.

Demonstrate the value of inner beauty
In today’s world, many girls and women become prey to the marketing strategies of the beauty industry. Many girls tend to suffer from inferiority complexes due to their skin complexion, height, weight, and many more reasons. They waste time, effort, and money in the race to meet the social standards of beauty.

Parents need to teach their daughters the value of inner beauty instead of focusing on physical beauty. Introducing daughters to successful women of substance can help them in this regard.

Living with disabilities
According to WHO, about 16% of the total population on earth has some kind of disability. In Bangladesh, many parents fail to equip their children born with disabilities — physical or intellectual — the skills needed to live a fulfilling life.

If a child has some kind of inability or limitations, like a learning disability or physical disability, the parents should try to accept it and encourage their daughter to overcome the barrier.

Not limiting her potential
To raise a confident girl, parents should remove the words “that’s for boys” from their vocabulary. Women are exploring careers in diverse sectors that were previously associated with men. If a young girl is told that some professions and tasks are suited only for men, she gets a message of inequality. Such way of thinking can make her emotionally weak and destroy her potential.

When a girl gets mental support for following her dreams, she will never give up. Parents need to encourage their daughters to explore their opportunities. Praising her success will also help her feel unique.

Teaching her the value of self-advocacy
Many women tend to feel shy to protest discrimination or humiliation. During problems or dangers, many still suffer from the ‘Cinderella Complex’ — waiting for a savior to rescue them from the situation. To avoid such a mindset, parents should teach their daughters self-advocacy from a very young age.

Teaching a young girl self-advocacy helps her develop the ability to speak for herself, make decisions for herself, be conscious about her own rights and responsibilities, and be courageous in solving her own problems.

Teaching her to seek help when needed
Parents should be there for their daughters when they need help. It will make them feel safe and secure.

Daughters should also be taught that it is okay to ask for help when necessary. They should not feel shy or worried about taking assistance from individuals, institutions, or organizations when they need any kind of support. However, girls need to be able to identify who can support them without breaching their safety and dignity.

Introducing positive role models
Parents should introduce their young daughters to positive role models of both genders. It would be an encouragement for their development if the girls can see what independent, strong women look like in the real world.

For instance, pioneering women in science can encourage young girls who are studying science and want to develop their careers in the STEAM fields. In the same way, successful sportswomen can give inspiration to young girls interested in sports careers.

Supporting her education
In this hectic world, students are experiencing tough competition to get admission in high-ranking educational institutions. Without a strong academic background, it is quite difficult to secure decent jobs.

Parents should support and encourage their daughters to study hard, earn degrees, and gain knowledge.

When a girl gets encouragement and support from her family for her education, she gains the confidence to build a strong academic career and write her own story.

Instill Social Confidence
Some young girls are often confused about their physical appearances. Some spend huge amounts of money on beauty products and makeup to get social acceptance. Some withdraw from social interaction after some missteps.

Many women suppress their desire for higher studies and career due to their families’ conservative mindset, social prejudice, and judgemental mentality.

From childhood, parents should help develop social confidence in girls. Women and girls at times need to leave their comfort zones to explore their scopes in diverse sectors. Socialization and spending time with friends can help women develop confidence.

Understanding rights & the right to say “No”
Every young girl needs to understand her rights. Women have rights according to the respective judicial systems and laws of their respective countries. But they are often deprived of their rights due to lack of consciousness and unawareness.

As a human being, a woman has the right to say “no” in every situation.

Bottom Line
Women are not the “weaker” gender. To raise happy, strong, and confident girls, parents need to provide equal care and support to daughters as their sons. When a girl gains confidence and encouragement from childhood she can develop the courage to overcome difficulties and fulfill her dreams.

Category : Lifestyle