As a life coach and a psychologist I’m often asked how to raise a great daughter without using a cattle prod or boat loads of inappropriate language. Any quick Google search will tell you the answer lies in self esteem, sports, academics, friends, and family stability. Those are all extremely important and very useful in raising that fantastic daughter but they are not the super secret ingredient. The super secret ingredient (to be shared right now) is YOU, her mom. Yes, it’s true; Mom (or a mother-like figure) is the key to that fabulous daughter you are all hoping for. No, it’s not genetics either (which for some of us could be a really good thing), it’s Mom as her daughter’s window to the world.
First, let me ask you this, what qualities or characteristics do you hope your daughter might have. If you said, “large breasts” please call me for some intensive therapy or consider having yourself committed immediately. I’m hoping you said things such as, “strength, kindness, wisdom, a good friend, a great mother, a committed partner, creative, dedicated, and hard-working.” So how is Mom the secret ingredient in her daughter’s ability to achieve these characteristics? You are her role model for all of these behaviors. Your daughter will watch you to learn how to interact with the world. So what in the world are you teaching her?
If you tell her that it’s most important to be beautiful on the inside as you run out for your Botox or plastic surgery appointment, she won’t believe you. Not that there is necessarily anything wrong with Botox or plastic surgery but if you aren’t accepting your own appearance than why should she accept hers? You are without question the most beautiful woman she has ever known and she wants you to know that. Do you criticize your own appearance, complain about your weight, make fun of the appearance of others, judge yourself and others based on their appearance? You’ve just taught your daughter that beauty is limited to a certain group and that it is based on superficial appearance only. You’ve also taught her to judge others harshly and to not be kind. Next time you watch her behave in that manner you might want to do a quick check on your own actions.
How do you treat her and others in your home? Do you speak harshly and with condescension? Are you critical and quick to point out faults? You’ve taught her to do the same and don’t be surprised when she does just that. Do you have kind, loving words for her more often than not? When you first see her do you comment on her appearance, either positive or negative? Lesson taught! How do you let others treat you? Is your spouse or partner belittling, aggressive, rude, or dismissive to you? If so, you’ve taught your daughter how to be treated in relationships. You can lecture her all you want on insisting boys treat her with respect but if she sees you receiving less, she will mimic that relationship in her own life. Does your spouse treat you like a second class citizen because he is the bread winner and you are the home maker? You (and your spouse) just taught your daughter that being a stay at home mom is not valuable in our society. Remember this; your actions, not your words, will speak volumes to your daughter.