Nepal | July 05, 2020

Opinion: How to raise empowered daughters

Shruti Sharma
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KATHMANDU: How do you raise a strong girl and what does that mean? First and foremost, strong girls grow up feeling secure. They learn to take action, make positive choices for themselves and do positive things for others. They take a critical view of the world around them, express their true emotions and acknowledge that of others.

A strong girl feels good about herself and grows up with a “can-do” attitude. Of course, strong girls may have times of insecurity and self-doubt, but these are only transactional because they have learned to walk a tight rope. At the end, strong girls will grow to lead full and valuable lives.

Even though we try to set an example for how we want our girls to be, they are their own people. And that’s a good thing! Part of raising strong women is nurturing independent, creative thinkers with confidence to forge their own paths.

Here are some tips that could help raise strong women:

Don’t tell her what to do. Let her make her own decisions. Let her come to you for advice. Let her develop her decision-making strategies. Her choices are her own, as are the consequences.

Help her look past the appearances. There are many other stigmatised appearances, and we look for the beautiful human being in everyone.

Show her the beautiful human being in herself, too. Emphasise the things you see her doing right. Often we place heavy focus on correcting our children, correction is important, but it has to be balanced by encouragement and building confidence in strengths.

Demonstrate a sense of humour about yourself, and help her have one about herself. When you can laugh at yourself, you’re much less worried about others laughing at you.

Get your kids used to using their voice and speaking up for what they want. This too is a practice. And the more they do it, the more competence they will achieve. Encourage them to speak their mind to you. Yes, they should be respectful but create an environment where your kids speak up for what seems unjust or unfair. This is a practice for what they can bring in to the world. Let your kids have a voice in the family and be a part of decision-making.

We can’t expect our daughters to be strong leaders if they are always being rescued. Gone are the fairy tales about damsels in distress. Be careful not to rescue your heroine in real life. Let her struggle. Let her see what happens when she works hard. Every time she overcomes a challenge, she becomes stronger. Encourage her to do something courageous. Urge your daughter to go beyond her comfort zone. Even if your daughter is not particularly athletic, give her the opportunity to gain physical confidence.

It is rare to feel confident in something that we have no experience in. So, to give your child confidence, they need the ability to experience. Gift your child the ability to experience and try new things. Through experience and practice, they will start to develop confidence. One of the best gifts we can give our kids is the appreciation of learning and growth. Encourage your girls to practise something they have a passion for. Help them recognise how they’ve grown and improved at something they have worked on. They will build confidence in their abilities to grow.

We are lucky to live in a society where our girls are, for the most part, being raised with empowerment and hope. But, our world is far from perfect, and there are still threats, hate, doubt, violence, abuse, depression, anxiety and bullying. These   are very real threats of the day.

Our girls need to see that our own self-worth comes not from our appearance but from our values, our passion, our purpose, our vision, and our hope for today, tomorrow, and their future. And our boys need to see that respecting women is the norm, only then will the world be a better place for a woman where she can live with dignity.

 


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