Telling your daughters what not to do isn't as effective as guiding what they should do for success.
Miley Cyrus had us all talking after the MTV-VMA Awards, but the talk wasn’t positive. A woman who had grown up influencing girls as Disney's Hannah Montana doesn’t naturally choose twerking unless she has run out of artistic options, or is rebelling against the crowd that helped make her a childhood legend.
I am over the story of Miley, but unfortunately moms, girls and young women are not. Young people need guidance, and parenting is the perfect place to start. Young people feel as though Miley was like them, and if Miley is desperate for fame, what will they resort to? Inappropriate selfies, body parts texted to boyfriends, and other risky behavior damages young women’s self-esteem, self-respect and body image.
We talk frequently about the bad things happening to women and young girls, but focusing on the things that help set successful women apart from those sinking into desperation are just as well studied. In fact, there are so many qualities that successful women engage in that sets them apart that I decided to remind parents and girls once of their success. If you adapt these qualities and practice them each day, you will have the confidence to handle the success you earn.
The key to being a successful woman is not dependent on your looks or your body, but rather how you feel about yourself and believe in your abilities.
1. Find things you are interested in and explore them.
2. Be willing to take risks, but prepare for possible consequences.
3. Take good care of your body with exercise and diet. Girls and women who are successful take time to schedule their own self care.
4. Educate yourself and have a career goal and dream.
5. Women and girls who succeed have parents who are on their team of success.
6. Befriend women of all ages, careers and ethnicities.
7. Choose wisely before you begin dating someone.
8. Get a job, if not a paid one then volunteer for an organization you are passionate about.
9. Try to shadow someone in a career of interest you share. This will help you explore dimensions of the career you may not have thought about.
10. Focus on what you want, instead of how you look compared to your friends. Your looks (although they seem important now) aren’t as important to your happiness and success as your drive to be successful.
Telling your daughters what not to do will not be as helpful as suggesting things they can do. Embracing these ten suggestions and practicing them with your child will put you in a position to be their number one mentor and on their team for success. Girls have to believe in themselves, and that is a lot easier to do when their parents believe in them too.
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Mary Jo Rapini
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