Increasing self-esteem in young women is more important today than ever. Parents want what is best for their daughters — they want them to have friends, make good decisions and be strong enough to endure whatever life may throw at them. The problem is that our rapidly changing world makes it increasingly hard for girls to become self-confident women. Parents often wonder how best to instill confidence in their daughters to help them endure the perils of young adulthood. Research suggests that the average American girl’s self-esteem peaks at 9 years of age. Following are some simple but important ways that you can boost your daughter’s confidence and self-esteem throughout her adolescent and teen years.
Identify Confidence Busters
One of the best things parents can do to bolster a girl’s self-esteem is to figure out what is hurting it in the first place. In today’s society, the unfair perception exists that a confident girl is conceited or prideful. Parents must instill in their daughters that knowing their strengths and using them is a positive behavioral pattern. Girls’ confidence wanes as they transition from childhood to adolescence. Girls tend to focus on their outward appearance and how they perceive their looks as they grow. Parents must remind their daughter frequently that she is more than just a pretty face.
Show Concern by Sharing
Parents must tread carefully when it comes to showing concern for adolescent girls. There is a definite “Goldilocks zone” when it comes to expressing interest and concern in their daughter’s lives — too much will do harm, but so will too little. As a girl starts to go through puberty, she often is faced with other issues concerning her social group and academic demands. This can result in stress. Moms especially can help girls put this stress into perspective by sharing their own stories and describing how they got through challenging times in their lives. If a girl knows she is not alone in her struggles, that can go a long way toward boosting her self-esteem.
Open the Line of Communication
Communication must start early, before a girl enters puberty. The further down the road a teen girl is, the harder it will be to establish baseline communication. Parents must show their children that they are their lifelines, and that is something that doesn’t start at age 10. Start early and be persistent. From the day she starts school, ask your daughter about her day, every day, and really listen to the answer. This way, as she encounters challenges throughout her young life, you will better be able to identify potential red flags.
Help Her Find Her Voice
Girls need to be encouraged to use their voices, both literally and figuratively, because the more they use it, the stronger it will be. Parents shouldn’t speak on behalf of their daughters, but let their daughters speak for themselves. Understand also that knowledge is power, especially when it comes to a girl understanding her own body. If a girl has a good understanding of the powerful and changing role of hormones in her body every month, and the impact they can have physically, emotionally and psychologically, then she can learn to protect her body and her feelings.
These are just a few suggestions for helping to bolster your daughter’s self-esteem. If your daughter or another young woman in your care develops an unhealthy level of self-esteem, seeking professional help is the most effective way to get her back on track toward a healthy, happy life. Havenwood Academy offers a variety of residential treatment programs designed to help girls and young women navigate the confusing road to adulthood. Contact them today to discuss strategies for increasing self-esteem and confidence.