I am a mom of two girls. I remember like it was yesterday when I brought my firstborn to home seven years ago, not having much clue about the journey ahead.
Nothing I read or learned from people could prepare me for the real experience. To experience motherhood in its glory, you have to live it. It is an adventure that stretches you beyond your comprehension.
When I see moms of boys and their challenges, I can’t help but wonder if raising one gender is easier or tougher than the other. I consulted moms who have kids of both genders, and what I could conclude was there are equal challenges when it comes to raising both girls and boys and it changes according to different parenting seasons, ages and their personalities. (If you have a different opinion, do share in the comments below. I am curious!)
Boys are usually more adventurous and fearless to satisfy their curiosities, while girls are emotionally more expressive and like to play safe.
Two things inspired me to write this post:
- The world has changed a lot since we grew up as little girls. So as mothers, we need to equip our girls with the right tools and knowledge to thrive and survive in this technology-oriented world.
- To share what I would have liked my own mom to give me while I was growing up and the things that she taught me that I want to pass onto my daughters.
So let’s begin?
10 THINGS THAT A GIRL NEEDS FROM HER MOM
1. SHE NEEDS YOU TO TEACH HER THAT SHE IS GOOD ENOUGH
The number one thing I would like to instill in my daughters is self-confidence and unconditional love for herself. I grew up with lots of limiting beliefs and I know the struggle of the constant fight with self-doubts. I don’t want my daughters to be unable to follow their dreams because they think they don’t have the potential in them to fulfill their ambitions.
And what usually stops us is the fear of judgment. The society is usually obsessed with finding faults. No one reminds us of our good qualities and so we regret about the qualities that we don’t possess.
But let’s break the cycle today. Help your daughter to find her strengths and the qualities that make her the special person she is. Help her to strongly believe in them. She will be easily believing in what others say about her, but as a mother, you can change the story of her life by brushing off the negative comments.
Girls usually start getting conscious and obsess over their body image in the teenage years, or even earlier. That’s when they start to notice their dark complexion, crooked nose or misaligned teeth.
But mothers can teach her that she is more than her bodily features and what she is, is good enough. We can teach her to rise above society’s skewed standards.
I always tell my daughters that, in life what matters is what you do and how much kindness you can give to others. What matters is, whether you follow your dreams and how much light you can fill in your loved ones’ lives. And no one should define how you should look.
External beauty fades, but the inner beauty remains till we die.
2. SHE WANTS YOU TO BE HER BIGGEST SUPPORT SYSTEM
The special bond between a father and a daughter is often talked about, but for a girl the support a mom can provide is immense. There are many things in life that she can confide in her mom.
A girl goes through a lot of tough stages in life including teenage (the surge of hormones), pregnancy, delivery, etc. She can go through a lot of emotional turmoil when she has to face life-changing events like breakups, divorce, etc.
Moms can play a role in supporting them through all these tough phases in life. It is hard enough for a girl (or a woman) when all these hormones are raging inside her creating mood changes and other symptoms. Instead of scolding her for the “misbehavior”, offer support, patience, and understanding.
Don’t judge or criticize her for making wrong decisions, but let her know that you are always there for her no matter what and she can call you anytime to talk.
Women deal with stress differently from men. Women like to talk about their problems and that’s how they find stress relief. More than men, women can fulfill this need “to be heard” as they are natural empaths. I think no one else can do this role better than mothers.
Because moms have lived life a lot ahead of their daughters and they have seen it all. “Mom knows better” is not a cliche phrase, but a truth.
Mothers should be able to make her daughter believe that she can always count on her mom to be there when she needs emotional support.
3. SHE NEEDS YOU TO BE A PRESENT AND ENGAGED MOM
We know how hard it is to keep up with the housework and still spend quality time with kids.
But as we know, girls are talkers. They like to talk about what happened in school and the little troubles they have to face. No matter how busy you are, always try to find time to look in their eyes when they talk and truly listen.
Because let’s face it, we are never gonna finish our chores and truly get free time to spend with them. So always make use of the time you get here and there, even if it’s 10 minutes. And don’t always rush them off saying you‘re busy when they want to share something. If you have to, promise you will listen to their problem when you’re done with your work and make sure to follow through.
They are becoming bigger each day and each time when you turn them off, it creates an emotional distance between you two.
And also always make sure you free yourself up for the events that mean a lot to them. And take each of them(if you have more than one daughter) on mommy-daughter dates where you get to do special things. They will remember it forever.
4. SHE WANTS YOU TO BELIEVE IN HER
The self-beliefs that form in the first twenty years of life are crucial for a human being. These beliefs decide the path that we take in life and determine whether we have the courage to follow our passions.
Whenever she declares she wants to do something, never discourage her with your own doubts. If you express even a shadow of a doubt, she might hesitate to believe in herself. And when she has a limiting belief, you can point out why she might be thinking wrong.
Limiting beliefs can be changed at any age, but a mom can play a huge role in nipping them in the bud.
We are often quick to criticize but never tell them openly about the qualities we like in our children. For a change, try telling them “I like how you looked after your sister while I wasn’t home. You can handle responsibilities well.” She will feel so proud and will believe it. And that will truly reflect in the way she sees herself.
Always, always talk to her about the qualities you like in her.
5. SHE WANTS YOU TO BE A CALM MOM
A parent’s anger issues affect children badly. Research shows that yelling makes kids aggressive, insecure, develops anxiety and has low self-esteem.
When you are quick to get angry, it becomes difficult for your daughter to confide in you when she makes mistakes. So it is important to work on your anger issues.
I am constantly working on my short temperament because I don’t want to be a mom who is hard to approach when my daughters make mistakes. And reducing anger is beneficial for your well-being too.
6. SHE WANTS YOU TO LET HER MAKE MISTAKES AND FORGIVE HERSELF
To raise her as an independent girl, you need to stop hovering around her so that she doesn’t make mistakes. Let her make her own choices and experience success and failure. When she makes mistakes, do not condemn her. Instead, console her by pointing out how everyone makes mistakes.
And most importantly teach her to forgive herself. You don’t have to take all your mistakes seriously and be embarrassed about them for a long time. Instead, teach her to take things lightly and laugh at herself for the silly mistakes she made.
7. SHE NEEDS YOU TO TEACH HER THAT HER BODY IS HER OWN
This lesson is so important for a young girl. Childhood sexual abuse is more common than we think.
It is important for young girls to know to differentiate between “good touch” and “bad touch” because many kids don’t have an idea when it happens, either because they’re young or ignorant.
Not only that, they should be taught self-defense strategies if such an unfortunate event takes place. This is a must-have conversation between a mom and a daughter. And we must talk to them about their private parts in an age-appropriate language, starting from when they are toddlers.
You can begin by telling her that her body is her own and no one has the ownership to it except her. And it’s her choice and decision about who should touch her body and who shouldn’t.
And the most important thing, tell her that she should talk to you if she experiences any misbehavior of this sort.
8. SHE NEEDS YOU TO TEACH HER GOOD VALUES AND LIFE SKILLS
Some good values and lessons that you can teach your daughter:
- Kindness and empathy
- Love for self and others
- Hard work
- Respect to self and others
- Standing for self
- The importance of financial independence
- Gender equality
- Facing criticism
Life skills that you can teach her:
- Running a home
- Money management
- Doing laundry
- Communication skills
- Simple home repair skills (this article has resources to get started)
- Basic first-aid
- Basic car repair
- Problem-solving skills
These are some basic life skills. If you want more, you can read the article, 17 basic life skills your child must learn before leaving home.
9. SHE NEEDS YOU TO HELP HER WITH EMOTIONAL UPS AND DOWNS
Girls go through a lot of emotional ups and downs, thanks to their hormones. They might not be able to understand why they feel the way they do. It is hard to deal with lots of anger, irritability, and mood swings when they don’t know why it’s happening to them.
From a young age, it’s important to acknowledge her emotions and empathize with her. When she approaches you to talk about something that’s bothering her, name those emotions like, “You are sad”, “You are angry”, “You are irritated”, etc.
What she needs is “not disciplining”, but “understanding” of her emotions. The connection between you two will help her to talk about it than suffering alone. Finally, teach her effective coping mechanisms to deal with the emotions on her own and not take it on others.
Coping mechanisms include doing mediation, taking deep breaths, getting engaged in activities she loves, walking in nature to get fresh air, etc.
10. SHE WANTS YOU TO TEACH HER ABOUT STAYING SAFE IN THE DIGITAL WORLD
The world is going more technology-oriented and it’s essential to teach kids about staying safe from the possible dangers of internet usage.
We hear horror stories about deadly online games, cyberbullying etc. all the time. While it’s safe to think it happens only to “others”, know that our child can become a victim too.
So here are some actionable steps to help her (or him) use the internet safely:
- Talk to them openly about the possible dangers of the internet and social media usage
- Update them about the deadly online games and ensure they know how to not fall into the trap
- Make sure you have set limits on screen time
- Help them stay disciplined about the balance between the online and real-world
- Ask them not to share their private details to strangers on the internet. Teach them they have the option to block people they don’t know.
- Ask them not to follow anyone’s instructions online without consulting you first
- Teach them how to use social media responsibly. Tell them the life portrayed on social media can be deceiving and fake
As evident from the tips above, open communication and building a strong connection is key to raise your daughter as your best friend. I don’t necessarily believe in raising kids to be my friends, but I want them to be able to rush to me if they have even the silliest or the most troubling news in life.
I want my daughters to know that my heart and my house are always open if they need a break and a shoulder to cry on.
I am far from a perfect mother, but every day I try to make myself a better mom than I was yesterday. How about you? What is it that you find it necessary to teach your daughter? Let me know in the comments below.
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