Growing up as a young female in the 2000’s is exhausting. With the addition of social media, more and more demands are being put on young girls to look “perfect”. As a result, there has been a dramatic rise of girls suffering from self-esteem issues. Any mother today will tell you it is a constant struggle to counter-act the unrealistic pressures society puts on their daughters.
It’s important for mothers to realize, that girls first start to doubt themselves as early as the age of eight. This means that the sooner a mother helps her daughter build self- confidence, the more likely she will grow to be self-assured and less likely to give in to the demands of society.
Below are some tips for moms to help them through this critical stage.
Compliments like pretty or beautiful are nice, but they tend to be so overused that they practically have no meaning anymore. In order to really make sure your daughter feels special and happy with herself, give her more specific compliments that relate to her uniqueness. For example, tell her like how she is stunning when she smiles or how her eyes twinkle. These few words can stay with a girl forever.
The worst thing a parent could do is compare their child to another child or sibling, even if this means putting your child in a better light. Comparison feeds competition, and at this age it’s important to teach your daughter to support her fellow females, not foster competitiveness. If you introduce comparison into your child’s life now, they will start to compare themselves to everyone.
Make time to spend quality time with your daughter and discuss not just how her day went, but yours as well. Communication and trust is a two-way street. Encouraging sharing and openness from an early age will develop a trust between you and your daughter, that way when the day comes she feels down or insecure, you will be the first one she turns to.
Accept the fact that your daughter will go through periods of time when she feels really bad about who she is, and you will not be able to change it. When this happens you have to try to understand why she feels this way rather than discounting it. Telling someone who thinks they are ugly that they are pretty, is not going to make them feel differently. The best thing you can do is comfort them and reassure them that things are much better than they think.
Many parents take the approach to disallow certain things they feel will negatively impact their child’s self-esteem. This can back fire and prevent children from learning how to react to certain situations. For example, when it comes to social media, the earlier a child learns how to deal with “not getting enough likes” or that most photos are photo shopped, the less likely it will play into their self-esteem as they get older. The earlier a child gets exposed to negative influences, the more time they will have to develop the confidence to deal with it.