We had just finished cleaning up after dinner the other night, and my husband had taken out the ice cream for some dessert afterwards. I was making lunches for the next day, and setting up the coffee.
As the kids lingered in the kitchen, waiting for Dad to scoop them a little cookie dough, my daughter asked me, “Hey Mom, do you want some ice cream?” Without thinking too much about it, I replied, “No thanks.” Her next words caught me off guard.
“Oh that’s right. Are you on another diet?”
“What? No!” I quickly said, nervous that this was how she saw me. “I don’t eat ice cream because I don’t like the way it makes me feel.” I answered. “Oh. I didn’t know that.” she said back, only half listening.
The conversation was just a few moments, but it has been playing in my mind for a while now.
My daughter is watching me. She is listening to me. I don’t even realize it most times, but she is. And your daughter is doing the same with you.
Which leads me to my point today.
When it comes to your daughter, the #1 most impactful way to build her confidence is through you. Simply put, what you model for your daughter will teach her more than pretty much anything else around.
MODEL CONFIDENCE FOR YOUR DAUGHTER- BUT HOW?
One of the most powerful ways to build confidence in your daughter is to model it for her. But how? Today I want to share THREE specific ways that you can do this.
1. MODEL THE WAY YOU TREAT YOURSELF
In a recent post, I shared with you how important SELF TALK is when it comes to modeling confidence for your daughter. You can read that post right here. It bears repeating here today. I have rarely met a woman who hasn’t agreed that the meanest woman she has ever met is the one who lives in her head. The one who berates her every day, who criticizes her from head to toe.
If you want to build confidence in your daughter, you have to model the positive self talk. That’s not to say you should go sprouting positive affirmations all day long, in her presence. Rather, what I’m suggesting here is that you take seriously those positive affirmations in the privacy of your own space, which will change the way you see and value yourself.
That will show up in tangible ways, which your daughter will see for herself. Be authentic in treating yourself kinder, and see how your daughter picks up on it.
2. MODEL THE WAY YOU TREAT OTHERS
Women struggle with how they treat themselves, and with how they treat other women, and the two usually depend on each other. Women look at other women and see how they don’t match up, or how they are better. It’s often a comparison game, and no one wins.
Girls learn this from the women in their lives, often at an early age.
For example, the other day, I was with a group of 30 girls, leading our Girls Leadership Club. We were playing this fun game where I would offer a statement, and if it was true for the girl, they would walk across the room, from one line to the other. There were some statements like “I don’t like to play sports” where a few girls would cross, and others like “I like doing homework with music on”, where more girls crossed. But there was only ONE statement read, where EVERY SINGLE GIRL IN THAT ROOM CROSSED OVER TO THE OTHER SIDE.
“I compare myself to other girls.”
The girls noticed that, and we talked about it for a bit afterwards. But they saw it, they noticed it, and they were perplexed by it. And guess what, mom? They learned it from us.
So Tip #2 for modeling confidence for your daughter. Model how you treat other women, and how you treat yourself around other women. When women build each other up, instead of tearing each other down, we will raise the next generation of women to do that and more.
3. MODEL IT WITH YOUR ACTIONS
This tip goes back to that story I shared before, the one about my daughter and me. It struck me that my daughter watches what I eat, and why I eat. That she listens to what I say, why I behave the way I do, and my reasons for my actions.
The same goes for your daughter and you.
So consider this. If you want your daughter to love her body, you need to show her how. Quit using words like “diet” and “lose weight”, and try “healthy” and “feel good” instead. Express that you’re working out because it makes you feel energized or because it makes you feel strong and capable. Share that you are skipping the junk because it gives you a headache, not bc it makes you look fat.
And there’s more. If you want your daughter to stand tall and take up space, then you have to show her how. Model confidence out in public. Instead of trying to take up less space (something women and girls do often), stand up and be ok with taking up more space.
Use your voice if you want her to use hers. Speak your truth. Pick up your chin. Smile at your reflection. Be proud of your opinion or your suggestion. Raise your hand. Become present.
Truly, the most important way that you can boost your daughter’s confidence is to model it for her. That is the foundation upon which all other ideas will grow. You simply cannot skip this step and then hope that you can help empower your daughter. She will hear what you tell her, but will see your actions much more clearly.
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