The first example of a self-confident, empowered woman your daughter will encounter is you. In my last blog I spoke about how women need to be in touch with their identity. How they must embrace themselves mind, body, and soul. This strength and awareness needs to be passed on to our daughters so as to create a better future where women stop accepting moral degradation towards their gender. This walk is meant to curb all false mentality that’s associated with women and relationships and general respect towards them. It all begins with you, then you pass on the examples, then we become global empresses.
A mother daughter relationship is one of the most powerful bonds between humans. When I was growing up, this relationship had a lot of restrictions with topics that were not ideal or “appropriate” for discussion. This unfortunately falls more in the African society hence I’m focusing on black women. We need to create an atmosphere of acceptance and open communication. Engage your daughter in conversation on a variety of topics including body image, sex, relationships and bullying. She has a unique voice and valuable perspective, her thoughts and opinions matter, and where you find fault, you need to correct. Encourage her to speak up about what she believes in, but also ask her why she believes what she does. This is not a challenge to her intellect but rather a way to provide a platform to practice defending her position.
Be an example
The most powerful of all ways to teach your daughter the way of life is to lead by example. Children are like sponges, they soak up everything around them. Be sure that your words and actions always line up. A practical example is, if you choose to stay in a marriage where your husband is physically abusing you and your kids are watching, your daughter will grow up thinking that’s ok for a man to inflict pain on her. Crying because of a man becomes acceptable to her. I doubt many of you would want that for your children so address yourself first, correct that mistake first then show your daughter the right thing.
Part of being a good example includes watching the words that come out of your mouth. And that doesn’t mean just swear words! Unkind, hurtful and mean gossip is something you don’t want your daughter to take part in. Even just talking down to or about authority or those around you is something to be avoided. Habits form quickly at young ages, so try to keep words positive and uplifting!
An attitude is everything.
A little girl can be as cute as a button, but if her attitude is bad, no one will notice the cuteness! There is nothing better than being around a pleasant, polite person. Teach your child to be a lady, that will get her respect in return.
Who is your daughter’s role model? First person she picks is you, what do you think about yourself? Very few girls are playing with dolls and paying attention to fairy tales in this generation. Most are exposed to the socialites and glamorous women on TV. It is your duty to control who she sees and what she perceives as role model material.
Encourage your child to have a balanced life of family, friends and alone time. This balance is important and alone time shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing for them. When they are taught to be dependent on people for happiness, they grow up to become those women in relationships that can not leave a bad relationship in fear of being alone so they accept any nonsense thrown at them.
Tell your daughter that she is beautiful. Every single day call her beautiful. Regardless of what she has, freckles, crooked teeth, funny skew legs, squint eyes, it is all beautiful. And just because she has a flaw, doesn’t mean anyone out there now has the right to mistreat her. Her imperfections are perfect just the way they are. And if it’s something she can get fixed, it should be because she wants to and not because someone else has instilled the idea in her head. Her worth and value is no less than the perfect model in the couture magazines. She needs to know this. A daily reminder of this and how much she is loved will really go a long way.
Be her friend
Your child will have friends, friends her age who are equally learning about the world. Don’t allow your daughter to learn her life skills from her peers, try by all means to be her best friend. Reprimand her when she does wrong, punish her when necessary, but maintain a bond and channel of communication so you are her first thought when she faces an issue. Develop a friendship. Have alone time together. Create mommy and daughter moments. Be her first point of contact.
Raise an independent woman. You brought her into this world, therefore provide for her and get her educated. Teach her to fend for herself and not depend on the rest the world. Most women stay in abusive relationships just because the man is catering for her every need. It’s a good thing to be taken care of, but be your own individual. Be in a position to fend for yourself whether or not the man is there. I’ve always said this, there’s nothing more sexy than an independent woman. Apart from teaching her how to earn her own money, also teach her how to be wise with her money. She may earn it but use it foolishly and wind up back in square 1.
We don’t always find life lessons at school or in books, therefore make time to teach your daughter how to cook, clean, and change a car tyre for instance. She doesn’t need to be a guru or a domestic goddess but the basics will go a long way.
Most of the things she will figure out on her own, but she needs you to create a solid foundation for her. Upbringing is the shape of your life, choose to create an upbringing that is conducive for your child. You can see a child who had a proper foundation and can easily differentiate them from ones who were neglected. Choose the life you want for your child, you can make it happen.