Please Note: When considering these guidelines, take into account the age and maturity level of your daughter.
Listen to who your daughter is, not whom you want her to be — It’s a natural tendency for us to want our girls to make all of the “right” choices because, of course, we have all of the right answers. Unfortunately, what is right for you may not be best for your daughter. Although it’s difficult, respect your daughter’s inner wisdom as she chooses interests and begins to establish her own identity. She will be far more determined and confident in following the path she has chosen for herself.
Be your daughter’s mom, not her best friend — A healthy relationship between you and your daughter is one in which she can depend upon you and open up to you, as she chooses. Taking into account her developmental stage, respect her right to privacy. On the other hand, don’t confide in her about your personal problems. Her healthy development will be derailed if she feels she needs to worry about you!
While providing love and support, establish rules of conduct and enforce them — Believe it or not, setting structure and meting out discipline is another way of demonstrating that you care. It is important to note that giving her external structure allows her to develop an internal sense of order and security.
By example, teach her to be compassionate with herself — Help her to assess her personal strengths and areas for development. Assist her in determining what she can change or enhance. Model an acceptance of what can’t be changed — without self-criticism.
Encourage her to establish and maintain a sense of personal power — We women naturally put others’ needs before our own. We also tend to avoid conflict, even at our own expenses. By example, teach your daughter that it is healthy to find a balance between self-care and concern for others. Also, encourage her to become assertive — to speak up appropriately on her own behalf.
Support her in developing her intellect and other abilities — Urge her to pursue hobbies and sports of her choosing. Further, insist that she develop good study habits and that she apply herself academically.
First of all, your daught needs to establish healthy eating and exercise patterns, in order to take care of the only body she will ever have. Good health will allow her to be more intellectually and physically adept, thus boosting her self-confidence. Secondly, our first impression of others is still based on their outward appearance. I think it’s really OK to encourage an interest in clothes, hairstyles and — in an age-appropriate way — makeup. Good looks will never compensate for a lack of character or ability, however. The key here is balance!
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