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How Can We Raise Strong, Confident and Independent Daughters?

International Women’s Day is a good time to think about how we, as parents, can equip our daughters with the tools they need to navigate life and thrive as strong, confident, and independent people

But how do we do this effectively?

How do we instil in them the values and skills they need to succeed in a society that still grapples with gender stereotypes and biases?


Here are some key strategies that may help; 


Be Mindful

One of the most important aspects of raising strong daughters is to be mindful of our actions and the messages we convey to them; our daughters are always watching and absorbing everything we do so it’s essential to model the behaviour and attitudes we want to instil in them.


Give Them Examples 

Educate your daughter about women who have done inspiring, brave, or remarkable things. They could be famous women such as Emmeline Pankhurst, Amelia Earhart, Malala Yousafzai, and Greta Thunberg, or women they know personally such as family members, friends, teachers etc. When children know that women have already achieved great things, they will be inspired to do the same. 


Avoid Paying Gender-Specific Compliments

Always calling your daughter ‘princess’ or ‘baby-girl’, and giving her gender-specific compliments, especially those tied to her physical appearance, is not empowering. Complimenting her on how brave, strong, or hardworking she is will have a more positive impact on how she sees herself and what she is capable of.


Stop Gender Stereotyping 

Many adults today were exposed to gender stereotyping as children, making it challenging to break the cycle. However, try to see your child, whether female or male, simply as a child and allow them to explore their interests and abilities without gender limitations.


There’s No Such Thing as Girls’ Toys 

Children are born with equal potential regardless of their sex, so by only giving girls dolls, prams, tea sets and princess dresses, a divide is being created between them and boys. It’s fine for girls to play with these toys, but they must be balanced with toys like construction sets, balls, vehicles etc to avoid limiting their potential. How will a girl ever find out she is an amazing football player if she’s never given the opportunity to play?


Let Her Say ‘No’  

Let your daughter know that it’s perfectly acceptable to say no to something she doesn’t want to do (within reason). She should be allowed to assert herself and establish healthy boundaries, as long as it doesn’t harm others. Teach her that it’s ok to put herself first and not feel guilty about it. 


Don’t Put Too Much Worth On Physical Beauty 

Steer clear of placing too much emphasis on your daughter’s appearance to help her foster healthy self-esteem. Instead, direct your attention to her personality, talents, and capabilities which will help her to develop a strong sense of worth that isn’t dependent on society’s unrealistic beauty standards.


Promote Positive Body Image

Teach your daughter that all bodies and skin colours are beautiful. There’s no such thing as skinny enough or too dark when it comes to ‘beauty’. Encourage her to accept and celebrate her body’s strengths and abilities, and discourage negative self-talk and dieting habits, emphasising the importance of overall well-being. 


Same Rules, Same Standards

Sometimes girls can be treated as fragile and helpless, but this is far from the truth, and shielding your daughter to the point of overprotecting her will do her no good. She will venture into the world as an unprepared adult, not able to cope with the challenges of life and expecting different or special treatment to men. Encourage her to aim high, teach her that she can do whatever boys can do, and allow her to make mistakes and learn from them. 


Teach the Value of Friendship 

Teach your daughter the importance of having genuine friendships and how to build a supportive group around them. Lead by example and let her see how you actively listen to, offer help to, and celebrate your own friends’ successes.


Encourage a Growth Mindset

Nurture your daughter’s confidence to develop and progress through effort and persistence. Show her how to welcome challenges and try to see setbacks as opportunities to improve. Encourage curiosity, a love of learning, and praise her hard work.


Sex Education

The sex education girls receive is often focused on biology, but there is so much more they need to know, especially around the emotional and psychological aspects of relationships, consent, and self-worth. It’s important to carefully consider when to have the ‘sex talk’, as delaying these conversations risks exposure to misinformation, so it’s essential to empower your daughter with accurate information early on.


Be a Good Role Model

Above all, be a positive role model for your daughter. Demonstrate confidence, resilience, and self-respect in your own life. Show her what it means to pursue your passions, stand up for yourself, and treat others with kindness and respect. Your actions will speak louder than words and will shape her understanding of what it means to be a strong, confident, and independent woman.


So let’s empower our daughters to face the world confidently by setting positive examples and encouraging self-belief. Raising strong women who know their value, trust their abilities, and fearlessly pursue their dreams will help shape a brighter future for all.