Here are some parenting strategies to help fathers and mothers raise daughters who will be successful in all aspects of their life:
Moms and dads strive to raise daughters who will be independent, confident, and self-reliant. In a society where it can be more difficult to achieve success as a woman than a man, parents often feel the need to start their girls on the right path at a very young age.
1. Allow your child to be her own person.
2. Allow your child to see fully who you are.
3. Always know where your child is, who she is with, and what she is doing. Know her friends and the moms and dads of those friends. Have regular check-in times.
4. As a parent, try to be a coach – not a judge. Coaches encourage, have high expectations, praise, criticize, and set limits, but kids accept coaching because they believe coaches are in an alliance with them and on the same team. Judging parents direct their efforts at finding misdoings and punishing appropriately. Moms and dads who are continuously judgmental alienate their kids because kids feel like they are against them.
5. Attend your child's school events and recreational activities. It will make your teen feel loved, help her maintain good grades and increase her enjoyment of school.
6. Be a Good Example. Whether we like it or not, kids learn from what we do, not from what we say. Dads should treat all women with respect and equality and moms should demand the same from men. It is also important for moms to show their daughters that they are proud to be a woman and embrace imperfections (that means no derogatory comments when you look in the mirror). Being in a healthy, loving relationship yourself will help your child to expect the same when it's her turn to select a partner.
7. Be an active role model for learning and developing your own career. However, regardless of how busy you are, preserve time to talk with and listen to your children daily.
8. Be determined for both of you to think outside the box.
9. Be opened-minded about your child's career path, whether it is traditional or nontraditional.
10. Bring them down a bit. While there are certainly many times when going with the flow will, in the long run, do more good than harm, I think it’s also important to keep them grounded in reality. Obvious ways to do this are through chores, rules, enforcing manners and holding her accountable for her actions. You can also do this through fun methods that can show her that her Old Man is still a force to be reckoned with. Activities like beating her at a video game; teaching her something new that will blow her mind like Chess; and, playing sports with her are all good examples. If they’re always handed a win or get their way all the time, they’ll never learn how to deal with the unexpected.
11. Consider traveling with your children—the whole family, mother-child, or father-child excursions. By high school, encourage independent trips with school groups. Travel provides a spirit of adventure, enrichment, family bonding, and self-confidence.
12. Demand equality for your child. Certainly, the United States has come a long way in terms of women’s rights, but there is still much work to be done. Demonstrate to your child your belief that females should be treated the same as males by showing her. Work to end violence against women and media sexualization of females by making your opinion known. Talk with your child about how you feel about abuse toward females and the unfair images the media uses to make females feel insecure about their bodies. Your child may or may not act like she’s listening – but be assured, she is!
13. Do not show up at Parents’ Night in slippers.
14. Don’t assume that just because you’re both female you and your child will be twinsies. Early on, I made the mistake of assuming that – just because she was a girl – my child would be a mini-me. I thought we’d share similar interests, personalities, and coping strategies. Boy, was I wrong!
15. Don't let birth order get in the way of giving each of your children leadership opportunities, responsibilities, and some of your time alone.
16. Don't pressure your children to fit in socially. Many females feel different during adolescence. Help them to feel comfortable with their differences and redirect their energies toward positive activities like music, drama, debate, science, sports, or religious activities.
17. Emphasize intelligence, hard work, independence, sensitivity, and perseverance in your children. De-emphasize the importance of appearance. Relationships that are appearance-based fade as may pretty appearances. Relationships based on shared interests and values have much more potential for depth.
18. Encourage competitive activities.
19. Encourage her to seek leadership opportunities.
20. Encourage Independence. Although it can be hard for moms and dads to let their little females go, it will inevitably happen. Prepare your child to be able to handle whatever life throws at her so that you won't have to worry about her 24/7 (although you probably will anyway).
21. Encourage Interests. The only way for kids to learn what they are passionate about in life is to try different things. Encourage your child to participate in different activities and let her decide what it is that she likes. Don't limit her to traditional "girly" toys and activities. If she wants to try skateboarding or football, let her go for it.
22. Encourage your child to be realistic about her strengths and weaknesses.
23. Encourage your child to develop an identity based on her talents and interests; downplay appearance and weight, and tell her a beautiful body is a healthy and strong one.
24. Encourage your child to develop dreams, focusing primarily on those that are obtainable.
25. Encourage your child to select a mate who will respect her choices.
26. Encourage your child to speak up for herself and not let her back off from difficulties.
27. Encourage your daughters to be involved in all-girl activities like Girl Scouts, and consider all-girl classes or schools if males cause them to lose confidence or distract from their learning.
28. Encourage your children to read stories about successful women. The successful women in the study found such stories inspiring. Help females to be comfortable with math from preschool on including counting, measuring, and scoring. Teach spatial skills through puzzles, games, and building activities.
29. Enjoy her for the person she is. Just so you don’t think all my interactions with my child are combative (they aren’t – not by a long shot), today’s final tip is just to enjoy your little girl for who she is. Let go of your preconceptions. Pull away the veil of assumptions. See your child for the unique and amazing individual that she is. Revel in her differences and cherish her independent spirit. Though you may be raising her, she will teach you a great deal along the way – about being a mother and about being a girl.
30. Fake it till you make it. As dads, we usually don’t “get” what the big deal is with things like pony tails, accessories or that one “pretty” outfit.
31. Find ways to connect while she’s still young. “They grow up so fast.” As a mom, you hear those words constantly, but until you’ve experienced 0-to-sixteen for yourself, you don’t get it. I’m still riding the rollercoaster up the hill, but I’ve already watched so much come and go in her personality. I try to find things we can do together – ways to build connections and memories that will, hopefully, provide a solid foundation for our future relationship. I can’t see over the top of the track to the plunge that lies ahead, but I figure the closer we are now, the easier that ride will be.
32. Get involved in your child’s activities whatever they may be. Whether it’s carpooling, volunteering at your child’s school, or coaching – females need their father’s to “lead the way” by role modeling and showing an interest in their lives. Dads who are actively involved in their child’s lives enjoy sharing unique experiences with them and demonstrate that they care about what their child says and does.
33. Get your child familiar with the three important words – honest, honesty and honestly.
34. Help her feel pretty. Even if she can do things on her own, sitting down with her and helping her brush her hair, paint her nails and helping her pick out better matching outfits will not only help her feel good about herself, but it will also show her that it really is okay for men to do those things with/for them.
35. Help her to bounce back after the unexpected.
36. Help her to develop traits that are considered primarily masculine traits—assertiveness and proficiency in math and science—that will help her in life.
37. Help your child to discover the things she likes to do, wants to try to do, and doesn't like to do.
38. Help your child to remain strong and happy through the period of adolescence by holding onto a strong self-image.
39. Help your child to see the value in creativity, challenges, and contributions.
40. Hold your ground. Once you choose to take a stand on something, never give in. I repeat – Never. Give. In. Sometimes, raising a child is like playing a game of chicken. If you flinch, if you even blink, she’s going to see your weakness and go in for the proverbial kill.
41. Introduce many and varied activities into your child's life and help her learn to balance them.
42. Let her feel pretty. I’ll be the first one in line to put my foot down about not wanting my little girl dolled up like a streetwalker, but sometimes, when you stop to think about it, does it really matter if she wants to get decked out once in a while?
43. Let your child be free to make her own solid choices.
44. LISTEN to your child. Many females are verbal by choice and emotional by nature. The beauty of having a child is understanding that she will most likely communicate her dreams, fears, feelings, beliefs, and hopes. That means that dads should pay attention to not only the words that come out of her mouth but also her emotional state. Focus on what your child says to you and, more importantly, what she doesn’t say. Females are notorious for giving cues when they are in trouble, hurting, or hiding something. Watch her body language, behavior, and eye contact. Dads, whether they realize it or not, have a profound influence on how their child views herself. As females get older, body image and self-esteem struggles are weighty on her mind. When dads take the time to genuinely value their child for who she is, it gives her confidence to face the world and the knowledge that a man she loves accepts her inner and outer beauty.
45. Make education a high priority and stress the need for her to stay academically challenged.
46. Make special time each week to talk and enjoy each other's company.
47. Make sure you give your child as much direction and time as are given to sons.
48. Make sure your child stays productive, not idle and wasteful of time.
49. Never criticize “the boyfriend”.
50. Never diminish a broken heart.
51. Participate in sports with her. Dads and daughters can often find “common ground” by participating in sports together. Play a game of softball with your child or, better yet, volunteer to coach her soccer team. Females who have dads who are actively involved in their sports are more likely to stick with it and less likely to act-out sexually (per research that females who participate in sports are less likely to be sexually active than females who do not). In addition, physically active females are less likely to drop out of school, get pregnant, or tolerate abuse. Females, like males, are often more likely to open up to their dads when playing a game of catch. You’ll be amazed at the things she’s willing to share with you!
52. Pick your battles wisely. They say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, but perhaps they’ve never encountered a girl who didn’t get her way. The trick to surviving what can often feel like a never-ending series of parries and thrusts is to learn when to engage and when to walk away. Think carefully, for example, about whether you really want to invest your time in a battle over whether she can wear her princess Halloween costume to summer camp … for the third day in a row. It may be an affront to your personal fashion sense, but if it’s not doing her irreparable harm, you may want to save your energies for another day.
53. Practice your anger-management techniques. You’re going to need them. All kids like to push buttons, but little females are especially adept at pushing their moms’ buttons. You may find that the Lamaze breathing techniques you learned for childbirth come in handy more often after your child is born. You see, what people really mean when they say that females mature more quickly than males is that females are first to get a handle on emotional warfare. While males are still expressing their feelings physically and directly, females are experimenting with guilt, jealousy, passive-aggression, and the fine arts of selective hearing and misinterpretation.
54. Praise your child as often as possible. Show love, warmth and interest in your teen, but set clear “no-drug” rules, limit time spent watching TV and using the Internet.
55. Promote healthy activities, such as exercising or doing community service. Teenagers enjoy giving to others, but they need your support.
56. Promote Self-Worth. Show your child that she is special and unique. Applaud good grades and success in sports and activities and don't focus on failures. Remember that all kids are different and your child's interests and accomplishments may be completely unlike what you had envisioned when she was a baby.
57. Provide a healthy example.
58. Provide Good Role Models. It's important for females to have other women to look up to. Help her to find strong, successful women whom she admires (in addition to her mom, of course).
59. Provide meaningful roles for your child in the family. Treat your child as a unique individual, distinct from siblings or stereotypes.
60. Really listen to what your child is saying. Make the time to ask your child about her school, friends and activities and interests.
61. Reinforce how wonderful and worthy your child is of her own life.
62. Resist the urge to say, “I told you so.” They may taste momentarily delicious coming off your tongue, but those four little words can sever the lines of communication between mother and child faster than you can trip over the pile of dirty clothes on the bedroom floor. I don’t have a perfect record in this department (sometimes, the opportunity is just too good to resist), but I’m working on it.
63. Respect your child’s uniqueness and teach her to love her body. From a young age the media and society bombard females with images that make them feel insignificant and often insecure about their bodies. As females get older they are flooded with messages that “thin is in” and beauty is what you see on the outside that counts. Dads, even more so than moms, have the ability to combat these unhealthy and unrealistic images in the media. Research has shown that females listen to their dads more than moms when it comes to body image issues so make sure you pay attention to teach her to praise her body for what it can do, not how it looks.
64. Set as high expectations for your daughters as for your sons. Expect post-high school education whether or not you attended college. The American Dream is real for women too.
65. Set Educational Expectations. Make it clear from a young age that you expect your child to attend college. Make learning a priority and try to make education something fun rather than boring. At the same time, be prepared to accept that your child's career choice may not be traditional. That is okay, as long as she's motivated.
66. Set high educational expectations.
67. Set positive examples on how to cope with stress, such as setting realistic goals, learning to prioritize, getting enough sleep and engaging in physical activity.
68. Show your child that you are proud to be a woman.
69. Spend Quality Time. Make sure that each parent spends solo time with your child. This gives you a chance to bond and gives her the opportunity to talk about anything that she wants to talk about without worry of her little brother or sister butting into the conversation. It can also help you get to know her better and recognize the things that make her unique.
70. Stress the unimportance of popularity and the value of independence from peers.
71. Talk to your child about tough issues, such as the dangers of drug and alcohol use.
72. Teach healthy competition. Encourage the exhilaration of winning, but don't always let females win. Winning builds confidence; losing builds character.
73. Teach your child it's possible to be smart without being the smartest.
74. Teach your child money management. Help your child learn to manage her money when she gets a job and open a checking account before it’s time to leave for college. Finance is another area where dads can really have a big impact on their children. Teaching your child to be “smart and savvy” with her money is a lesson that will serve her well throughout her life. Raising a youngster is never “easy” but it is a unique and wonderful journey that father’s get to take with their children.
75. Teach your child skills to handle negative peer pressure, such as how to say no.
76. Teach your child to familiarize herself with women who are active, productive contributors.
77. Teach your child to find the value in qualities that separate her from others or make her different.
78. Teach your daughters that sports are a good thing.
79. Try to focus on her strengths, intelligence, and problem-solving ability; don't dwell on her inadequacies.
80. When in doubt, ask her mother. Not only will she have your child’s best interests in mind, but she’ll hopefully be able to give you honest, straight-forward answers.
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