Whether we admit it or not, having a daughter is the most cherished feeling for a mother, anywhere in the world. We can always see our own younger image in our daughters, and wish from the depths of our heart that our little angels grow up to be strong, smart, empowered individuals who lead a happy and contended life.
Being an Indian mother, you’ve to understand that you have a greater responsibility over your shoulders to raise confident girls in a patrician society like ours. With TV, magazine, and internet, further glorifying their versions of society, the challenge we have at hand is graver than the one our mothers did.
1. It all begins with one thing – Communication.
Most of us underestimate the power of words, but dear mothers, words are a powerful weapon to get closer to your daughters. Talk to her more often. Always lend her your ears for any problems she may have. Gain her confidence and trust. Be someone she can openly communicate with and whose advise she values.
The more she values what you say, the safer and happier she will feel by your side and as years pass, she will carry the same feeling when roaming in the world outside, all by herself.
2. Teach her that saying “No” is absolutely fine.
While we Indians still fancy the concept of having obedient daughters, obedience is almost always the one virtue that makes women in our country lay lower than they should.
Teach her when to obey and when to stand up and say, “No”.
3. Encourage her to express her opinions, without fear.
Don’t we all have opinions? Well, so do our daughters. Let them express freely what’s on their minds, and be a good adviser to them.
The more she expresses her opinions, the more empowered she will feel.
4. Switch from a simple “Good job!” to “Really impressed with your science project!”
Give meaningful compliments. That will boost her confidence. If she has done something good (and she will), make an effort to say something nice.
Did she learn the nursery-rhyme in just 10 minutes? Has she made a cute little first aid box? You should appreciate every sign of your little one growing up to be a confident young woman.
5. Is your daughter learning something? Let her know that she is improving every single day.
Never say to her that she is average. I mean, give her the truth but don’t be cold. You have to nurture her talent with love and care.
6. Teach her to embrace both success and failure with the same positivity.
While success makes all of us proud and boastful, failure could do just the opposite. But, since failures are also an integral part of our lives, the only way to live happily with them is to embrace them.
Teach your daughters how to knock off failure in its own face, and move on.
7. With every passing year, encourage independence and ambition. Sissies are no longer in vogue.
Don’t do her homework for her, don’t polish her shoes; let her do these small things, and encourage her to be independent. Train her how to make her own bed, how to do new hairstyles, how to cook basic meals, do some laundry as she grows up.
When the time comes, she’ll use these skills and remember you.
8. Teach her how to make responsible choices in friends, hobbies, career, life partner and so on.
Most parents in India like imposing their perceptions upon their kids. So if you want them to be a doctor, you start influencing their thought process in that direction. Don’t do that.
Let her choose the friends she likes and hobbies that make her happy. Prepare her for a career she aspires for. Advise, but don’t impose.
9. The worst thing that you can do to her is to assume her weaknesses and strengths.
Your times were different. Just because girls did not take up physical training in your days, do not assume that your daughter won’t be good at it.
Observe closely, and try to offer her every opportunity to succeed.
10. Teach her how to love herself – how to love her own body, complexion, height, weight, figure and more.
Tell her when woman’s smile originates from her inner happiness, she always looks beautiful. Not all of us can have a pretty face (as per the ridiculous beauty standards set by the society), be tall and slim.
11. Engrain in her mind that men and women are equal; she is in no way inferior or superior.
It is your prime duty to teach her that man and woman are equal. We can bring about a revolution, by teaching this rule to our daughters.
But that does not mean you stop her being girly. Let her have all the fun she wants as she grows up.
12. She will yearn to be confident and successful, if you give her real examples of women who have been successful.
Give her positive examples to make her confidence soar. Get her books in which the main protagonist are women. Let her dream, you give her the strength to make those dreams come true.
13. As she grows up, teach her the significance of being financially independent.
Financial independence is the ladder to an empowered life, therefore, no matter how much patriarchal your surroundings may be, encourage her to take up a career and be serious about making money from it.
She must also know how to manage her finances once she has them.
14. Show her that you are a winner in everyday life yourself.
What better way to inspire your kids than by example?
Even when your daughter grows up to be a 50-year-old woman, you will still remain her first and most important role model. Try and set a good example.
15. Show her how to love and care.
A mother is the best person to teach her daughter the right way to love, care, and share and become a good human being.
Teach her the right values of a human being, so that she can have a happy and content life.
16. Teach her how to be kind and compassionate.
Is she growing up to be someone who is kind to the house maid, driver and kids younger to her – all those she is not obligated to be kind as such? If not, you need to work on this front. Kindest souls are the bravest too.