How to Raise a Confident Daughter
With cyber bullying, sexy tween stars and an ever-present pressure to be thin, real moms talk about bringing up girls in today's world.
2. Look Beyond the Mirror
Women are largely measured by their appearance, says McFadden, and even little ones get that message loud and clear. Try to dilute its power by praising, noticing, and validating her other attributes, like "Great job with your homework" or "You were so kind to share with your friend." That way, being pretty won't take center stage. "Whenever Elle gets new clothes or shoes, I try to point out how it's going to help her accomplish something: 'Wow, I think that's going to make you dance even better/jump even higher/run even faster,'" says Lorelei. It's also important to be a role model for these other virtues yourself: "I had an amazing day at work today, I'm so proud of myself!""
3. Don't Put Yourself Down
When a kindergartner starts talking about dieting, you can bet that idea is coming from the grown-ups in her life. "Women are raised to be self-deprecating, and mothers unintentionally play into low self-worth with critical comments about their looks," says McFadden. "Saying 'I hate my hair' or 'I was bad today because I ate cake' seems innocuous but it has an effect." We all have moments of piercing insecurity about our bodies—particularly after pregnancy— but for the sake of your girl, try to keep the negative self-talk as an internal monologue.