The One Thing Every Girl Needs (Does Your Girl Have It?)
May 27, 2019 | By: Jennifer Lebo
Last week, I shared with you a Top Five List of Women who I think every girl should learn about. Today I want do dive a bit deeper into that topic, but before I do, I wanted to share a list of Honorable Mentions:
I could go on forever. Truly there are so many examples of exceptional women who we can share with our daughters to teach them about strength, intelligence, integrity, courage, honor, humor, love, kindness, and so on. In fact, I would encourage you to create your own List of Amazing Women to share with your daughter- and add to it as you each discover more.
But today I want to talk more about that last name on last week’s list- you. As mothers, I believe that we can be the key to building confidence and strength in our daughters. Studies actually show that adolescents, especially girls, thrive most when they are connected to others. This flies in the face of what we believe we are supposed to be doing through the teen years, encouraging independence and disconnect. Our girls might actually find more comfort in their connections when the rest of their world is rapidly changing.
And what better connection for a girl to have than with her mother? We can be her safe space. As everything around her changes, from her body to her friends to her interests, we can be “home base”, the one constant in her life, a place for her to share, to vent, to cry, to laugh, to wonder, or to simply do nothing.
On the flip side, we must remember that in being her “safe space”, we potentially become the target. Being safe is not always easy. I once read the perfect metaphor to describe this phase of a mother/daughter relationship in the book Untangled by Lisa Damour. Damour likens this phase to time in a swimming pool. We mothers are the pool wall, our daughters are the swimmers, and the world is the water in that pool. As our daughters become more confident, they long to get out there into the world and swim. But just like a swimmer treading water, if our girls spend too much time out there in the world, they become worn out and tired, and they need respite in the safety of the pool wall. So they return to us for rest. Oh glorious day! You surely know that joy, when your daughter comes to you to talk, or to spend an afternoon with you. She needs a break from friends or drama or school pressure. It’s such a wonderful feeling.
But that time doesn’t last, nor should it. No girl becomes a stronger swimmer by holding safely to the pool wall. So off she goes again to tread water in the world. But moms, consider this. When a swimmer heads back into the water, what does she do? She KICKS off the wall, pushing off to get momentum and get back out there. So do our girls with us. They don’t simply head back out to their friends or their world. They push off us. They argue, they roll eyes, they rebel. It’s hard, but we must not only expect it, but encourage it. We must be ok with them pushing off of us to build more confidence. We must celebrate it even.
Yeah. No one said mothering a teen girl was easy. But oh, how important our presence is, how important the stability, love, and support we provide for our girls.
And to that end, wouldn’t it be great if we could equip ourselves better for such an important task? To prepare ourselves to be the strong wall they need, to celebrate as they push off, risk the waters, and grow more confident and strong? I’ve created such a course to help with that.
DAUGHTER BUILDER is a four week course to take moms from uncertain and worried, to prepared and empowered- moms who can help their daughters grow a positive body image, navigate girlhood friendships, and truly believe she is amazing just as she is.