How do you raise a powerful girl and what does that mean? Is there really power in your praise?

Powerful girls grow up feeling secure in themselves. They learn to take action, making positive choices about their own lives and doing positive things for others. They think critically about the world around them. They express their feelings and acknowledge the feelings and thoughts of others in caring ways. Powerful girls feel good about themselves and grow up with a “can-do” attitude. Of course, strong girls may (like all of us) have times of insecurity and self-doubt, but these feelings aren’t paralyzing because the girls have learned to work through their problems. Powerful girls will grow up to lead full, valuable lives.

Our daughters first learn the power of praise from their Mothers. They are the women in their lives that teach them self respect, how to be mindful and respectful of others, how to love themselves and find a positive self image from a very young age. In today’s society that platform has now reached out across social media, movies, music and peer pressure making praise from the home from and even more difficult task, but still stands to be the best defense in empower our daughters to travel the best paths for creating positive self images.

Encourage your daughter to pursue a passion.
“Full engagement with an activity she loves will give her the opportunity to master challenges, which will boost her self-esteem and resilience and affirm intrinsic values rather than appearance,” says Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out. “Having a passion lets her go shoot baskets or play an instrument, for example, instead of being swept up in online drama.”

Let her have a voice in making decisions.
“Whenever possible, let her make constructive choices about her life. Let her choose her own style, within appropriate limits. Give her a voice in what after-school activities she participates in and how many she wants to do (as long as it works for the rest of the family, too). Sports, music, drama, debate team and other organizations are critical to social skills. Remember that knowing what she cares about most will come from trying some things and finding she doesn’t like them, as well as from finding things she loves to do.

Encourage her to solve issues on her own rather than fixing things for her.
When parents take over, they don’t develop the coping skills they need to handle situations on their own. Ask your daughter to consider three strategies she might use to deal with a situation, and then ask her about the possible outcomes. Let her decide what she wants to do (within reason). Even if you disagree with her choice, you give your daughter a sense of control over her life and show her that she is responsible for her decisions. Too often as Mother’s we want to keep our daughters from harms way, we choose for them, we live through them and sometimes create the very monsters we are trying to prevent. You can give your daughter room without letting go of the rope.

Let your daughter know you love her because of who she is, not because of what she weighs or how she looks.
Encourage your girl to eat in healthy ways, not just by saying it, but because your lifestyle and eating habits and health/ fitness habits also supports the image. Remember, you are fighting online photo shopped images that she thinks are reality. Between the hair weaves, make-up tutorials, boys at school mounting pressure and the magazine media images, you have a tall bill to fill being her voice of reason about her self image.  Listen to her opinions (about food, and other things) and show appreciation for her uniqueness, to help her develop herself into the person she wants to be. Comment on the way she carries herself into a room or the ideas she is expressing before commenting on her looks. She needs you to know her insides and validate the developing person within, as well as noticing her emerging young womanhood.

In the end, as Mother’s we have to be the voice and the image of empowerment for our daughters to find their first role model in life for before she take the images of social media to model her life, image and behavior. There is empowerment in our praise and power to her and your relationship that only you can provide.