Build your daughters self-esteem; what to say and the best way to respond to her.



It’s no easy task to raise a confident, well-adjusted little lady – especially in those rough teenage years.

They are sensitive, emotional, and intuitive and will take everything you say to heart – so how you talk to them is just as important as what you’re saying.

We want our daughters to run the world, don’t we? As mothers, our words are one of the most powerful ways to ensure that we build up their self-esteem. Our words can build them up or tear them down, enhance confidence or sow seeds of doubt. There is a great responsibility on mothers to guide and strengthen our daughters’ self-esteem and body image.

Here are a few scenarios you might find yourself in – this is what not to say and the best way to respond in the situation.

THE SCENARIO:

Your daughter is trying on a new dress for a friend’s party – which is deemed to be the party of the year – she’s excited and nervous and she wants to look outstanding. She steps out in a dress that is too tight and doesn’t flatter her body type.

WHAT NOT TO DO:

“Oh that’s tight, it makes you look bigger…” Using words like tight or bigger is a big no no!

THE BEST WAY TO RESPOND:

The best way to handle a situation like this is to focus on the positive. Instead of pointing out the negatives of your daughter’s body, point out her positive body attributes and the best way to show them off. Tell her the dress looks lovely but to really flatter her beautiful figure a different dress or outfit might look better. Make it fun and do it together and bond as you choose an outfit that looks lovely and makes her feel even more confident at the party.

THE SCENARIO:

Your daughter’s body changes as soon as she hits puberty – so now she picks up weight much quicker than before and she can’t eat like she used to.

WHAT NOT TO DO:

“You’ve put on weight, you need to go on diet.”

THE BEST WAY TO RESPOND:

This is a crucial stage of their development and building of self-esteem. For most women, their journey with food and body images starts from a young age and negative comments can have a lasting bad impression, without providing her with the tools and knowledge of how to make better heathier choices. We all want the best for our daughters but we need to provide tools and education. Avoid words like diet and weight gain as these can have a negative impact and result in greater problems such as eating disorders. Rather sit her down and talk to her about how a woman’s metabolism changes as she ages – explain that like everything in life, eating is about balance. Being healthy and eating well is critical to so many body functions and will make her feel her best. It doesn’t mean that you can’t indulge but everything in moderation – healthy in the week and a bit of indulgence on the weekends.

THE SCENARIO:

She likes a boy at school but she thinks the other girls are prettier and therefore more worthy. So she starts changing the way she looks and starts acting differently.

WHAT NOT TO DO:

Do not undermine what she’s going through and put it down to “teenage fun”. Do not say she’s being silly or ridiculous.

THE BEST WAY TO RESPOND:

We know that in retrospect, the problems we had in our teenage years look small in comparison to bigger things that happened later, but at the time those were the biggest problems in our life. Never compare. Pain is pain. Acknowledge and respect what your daughter is going through now and know that these lessons are critical and formative for her. You need to empathise with her and guide her. Important messages to land with her are that she doesn’t have to change herself to get any boy’s attention. Without being condescending tell her what she deserves and what she is worth. Try get to the heart of why she feels like she needs to be different to who she is now and work through that together. Realise how lucky you are that she is having this vulnerable conversation with you; you are privileged to be let in, so treat her with the respect that her story deserves.

THE SCENARIO:

Your daughter is being bullied at school by a few “mean” girls… she comes home with a heavy heart and feels deflated.

WHAT NOT TO DO:

Don’t tell her to “just ignore them and they’ll leave you alone in time”.

THE BEST WAY TO RESPOND:

Bullying is never ok and should not have to be tolerated. Talk to her about what the bullies are saying and why she might be their target. Perhaps they are fuelled by jealousy, perhaps she is a soft target because she doesn’t stick up for herself. Talk about possible solutions whether it be confronting them, or ignoring them for a while to see if they choose another target. It is important to make her aware that bullies are usually insecure or unhappy themselves, and she is not their target because of anything that she is lacking in herself.

If the bullying continues, it needs to be reported to the school and taken up with the parents before it becomes a serious issue.

Dove Self-Esteem Project has now teamed up with the Emmy Award-winning cartoon series Steven Universe. They believe that media is a powerful educational tool and that, by teaming up with entertainment, they are powerfully driving home their message that beauty is so much more than skin deep.

This revolutionary partnership between Dove and Steven Universe will come to life over the next two years through six animated short films – be sure to keep an eye out!

Find out more at dove.com


Top

Send this to a friend