The tween-age years can be an awkward time, leaving girls to question everything about their changing bodies, minds, and social scenes. As her mom, you’re often tasked with boosting her self-esteem on the bad days and keeping her confidence up in all kinds of situations. That’s no small feat, especially since there are days when you can be pretty hard on yourself. Boosting your girl up to be her best means never letting tough times take you down. Use these tips to set the self-confidence example and thus help your girl love who she is and see herself for the perfectly imperfect person that you completely adore.
The truth is that it’s nice to hear when others acknowledge you’ve done a job well or have a creative eye for putting together an outfit. Instead of refusing other people’s good words—or worse, presenting a negative to balance out their positive—revel in the moment. Accept the compliment gracefully so that your daughter can see how to do it for herself in the future. A simple “thank you” is all it really takes.
When’s the last time you looked in the mirror and only saw faults: a new gray hair, the laugh lines, or a bit of belly bulge? Focusing on what you see as negatives not only causes you to think of yourself as less than, but also may lead to you being more verbally self-critical. Try celebrate the things you love about your body and your brain. Your strong legs, your bright eyes, and your ability to remember people’s names in an instant. See the positive in yourself, and you’ll be a positive force in your daughter’s world.
Sometimes just trying something you haven’t done before can boost your confidence. Set a goal and take one step at a time toward it. The steps may be practicing, studying, or rehearsing. And it might not always be fun, and will probably get boring or frustrating at times. But when you reach your goal—or a milestone toward that goal—get ready to see your self-esteem soar and your girl pumped to try new things of her own.
The more friends and family that are around to support you, cheer you on, and help you up when you fall, the better. Surround yourself with people who are positive and raise you up, so that your girl will look for the same characteristics when creating her circle of closest friends.
Doing good for others can also be good for you. Being kind and generous with your time, your talents, and what you have is a great way to give your self-image a more positive makeover. Look for ways to involve the whole family, be it participating in run/walks, raising money through bake sales, or serving food at homeless shelters.
It may be a simple gesture, but the more you smile, the more others around you will likely smile, too—even daughters who might be dealing with new mood swings.
Adapted from A Smart Girl’s Guide to Liking Herself—Even on the Bad Days, by Dr. Laura Zelinger. American Girl Publishing, 2012. All rights reserved. Learn more about this book that provides the secrets for girls to trust themselves, be their best, and never let the bad days bring them down.