She’s not as “into athletics” as I am (or as I wish she was), but she’s a strong young lady with lots of physical potential, and I love it when I can get her to join me at the gym. When I do get her there, she likes to dance more than lift, and her burpees look more like breakdancing, but we have fun together, and I love the feeling of the girls of the house, and getting it done together.
I love the idea that I’m encouraging my daughter to get stronger.
But I want my daughter to become stronger on the inside, too, so I’m always looking for ways to build her strength from the inside out. If you’re looking too, here are five ways that we can build strong daughters up from the inside out.
1. ENCOURAGE RISK TAKING & MISTAKES
In the same way that our muscles tear and regrow when we lift weights and exercise, your daughter’s confidence grows when she takes risks (healthy risks!) and makes mistakes. She is flexing her confidence muscles whenever she tries new things. So encourage her to try new things, take healthy risks, and make mistakes.
2. ENCOURAGE CONVERSATION
As our daughters move into their tween and teen years, the lines of communication often shut down a bit. Keep working at it. And just like when we hit the gym, don’t start so heavy! Go lightly or you’ll pull a muscle. In other words, if you go too heavy on the topic, you’ll shut down the communication all together. Start with something as light as “How was your day?”
Now I know, I know. I’ve asked that question and I’ve gotten the same answer you did. “Fine”. (I used to ask my son each afternoon how school was. He’d answer the same way every day. “Schooly”. Ugh.)
So become a silent student of your daughter. Know when she has a quiz that she’s nervous about. Notice when she starts talking to a new friend, or has a new crush. Observe her interests. My daughter has discovered baking, and with it, a YouTuber who “cakes everything” (she bakes cakes that look like books, winter hats, buildings, the works). So I ask her about Ms. Cake It. I’ll even watch a video with her (they’re really cool!). If I can find out what interests my daughter, I can start a light conversation around it.
Once I’m comfortable with the light stuff, I can “increase my weight”. (OK, I’ll stop with the body building metaphors!)
3. PROCESS PRAISE HER
In a past blog post, I explained the difference between person praise and process praise, and how going heavy on the process praise can be helpful to our daughters. (By the way, if you missed that post, you can read about it HERE.)
Pointing out our daughters’ efforts, thinking strategies, and attitudes can help build their confidence, and create stronger girls.
4. UNPLUG! THEN ENCOURAGE HER TO DO IT TOO.
Notice I said you should do it first. We cannot expect our daughters to disconnect from the pull of technology, if we ourselves cannot. So set the example for her, then encourage her to do it WITH YOU.
Take it a step further and go on tech free dates together. Coffee and a browse through the local book shop is one of my favorite mom/daughter dates, but if that’s not your jam, don’t worry. I’ve got you. Here is a list of FIFTY mom/daughter dates that you can take together- none of them require technology- or at least smartphones!
5. MODEL IT FOR HER
You knew this was coming, didn’t you? In the same way we need to model health, self care, and fitness for our girls, we need to model inner strength as well. If we want her to be confident, we need to learn self confidence ourselves. Want her to love herself? Guess what- you gotta do it first. You know the saying- don’t just talk the talk. You gotta walk the walk.
If she sees the example in you, she’ll be more likely to buy in. No way is my daughter going to set off on a morning run by herself. I have to show her how much I enjoy it, and then invite her along. So if I want her to be confident and have a strong sense of self, I have to show her how it’s done.
This idea of modeling self confidence for our daughters is one of the 7 steps in my Confidence Building Checklist. If you want more ideas on how to build a stronger daughter, you can grab that checklist right here.
Building confident, strong, happy daughters takes time. It’s a forever journey. But with a little modeling, some conversation, and a lot of process praise, our girls will grow strong and mighty.
Next week, let’s dive a little deeper, and consider some powerful women we can share with them.