There are many times when we wonder if we’re being good parents and if we are saying the correct things to build our daughters up to become strong, independent and beautiful women.
Here are 10 things your teenage daughter needs to hear from you.
You’re amazing, talented, strong, unique and powerful
Telling your daughter she has beautiful talents and strengths should not be left to those times when she tells you that she’s feeling ugly, finds out her clothes are getting tighter or hasn’t done as well as she had hoped in sport or in academics. Telling her “you’re amazing both inside and out” is probably almost as important as telling her that you love her.
You can follow your dreams
Your daughter’s dreams may not be what you expected them to be, but you have to give her the opportunity to follow her dreams and her own personal passions.
They are her dreams and they make her who she is. Forcing someone to become something they’re not can be detrimental to them, and to your relationship with them.
I’ll help you whenever you need me to
And don’t be afraid to ask for help, either. Showing our children our own vulnerability gives them permission to be vulnerable themselves. We all need help sometimes and we shouldn’t be too shy (or too proud) to ask for it. Problems can seem insurmountable until you have someone to help you unpack it. Most of all, let her know that you’ll always be there if she needs help.
I am here for you, no matter what
Friends may come and go, but the one thing your daughter should always be able to count on is your unfailing love and empathy, even if you don’t always understand her.
Although it’s much easier said than done, especially when it comes to wanting to fit in with the crowd, there is no better lesson than to learn to be true to yourself.
Once you’ve started to master this skill, a whole bunch of other things also fall into place. As her mom you need to show her that you do this yourself; being her role model and ‘modelling’ behaviours does more for your daughter than ‘telling’ her.
It’s important that she sees you act it out in your own life as she will learn from what she sees more than from what she hears you say.
If you don’t respect yourself, chances are that others also won’t respect you or your boundaries. By knowing what your boundaries are, sticking to them and through respecting yourself and others, you’ll find that you grow and also make the right decisions in difficult circumstances.
I value your opinion
Let your daughter know that you value her opinion, even though that doesn’t mean that you should always agree with her. By taking her opinion into account, however, you will find that she learns that you not only value her opinions but that you also trust her.
It’s OK to say no
Peer pressure and things that are done to “fit in” can have devastating effects on people’s lives.
Knowing that it’s OK to say no, whether it be to sex, drugs, or simply a party that they don’t feel like attending puts the power in their hands. In this way, they can learn from an early age that they are allowed to break away from the group and do their own thing and be their own person.
It will also help her to learn that she doesn’t need to be a people pleaser to the detriment of her own needs, happiness and intuition.
You don’t have to be “always on”
These days our phones never seem to stop beeping and buzzing. But it is good to show (by example) that it is possible to break away from technology for a length of time every day – and that this is actually good for you and your relationships and connections! Let your daughter see friends in real life, do sports or cultural activities, and simply sit down and enjoy a hobby or read a (paper) book!
It’s human to mess up – and sometimes moms mess up as well. Accepting this and letting your daughter see that you also make mistakes is one of the most important lessons you can teach her. Explain to her how you learnt from your own mistake and help her to see that no one is perfect and that everything can be recovered from.
The Dove Self-Esteem Project has now teamed up with the Emmy Award-winning cartoon series Steven Universe. They believe that media is a powerful educational tool and that, by teaming up with entertainment, they are powerfully driving home their message that beauty is so much more than skin deep.
This revolutionary partnership between Dove and Steven Universe will come to life over the next two years through six animated short films – be sure to keep an eye out!
Find out more at dove.com
Digital Editor at woman&home magazine, F1 Fan, Chocoholic.