This month’s theme at Choo Choo Train is ‘Girl Power’. Even though things are not like the usual currently, the ladies at Choo Choo Train still find a way to uplift each other through text messages and video calls. It is admirable to see their sisterhood spirit. On normal days before the pandemic, they have always been powerful role models to the children they take in, care for, teach things, and return to parents in the evening. It is admirable to see how they are able to do so much for someone who is not a family member every single day. This observation led to a curiosity: how can parents nurture ‘girl power’ in their daughters from a young age?
Turns out, it is pretty much common sense. The foolproof three things to do to raise independent, confident, and empowered daughters (sons alike!) are praise, encourage, and listen. However, beware of overpraising or overindulging your daughter as it will result in entitlement instead of ‘Girl Power’. You don’t want to give in to her every demand.
Praise your daughter often when it is warranted and resist the urge to criticize her. If you consistently tell your daughter that she is determined because she practiced something really hard, she will come to believe it. Avoid pointing out her flaw like she is clumsy or she is not very good at art because she will believe it and it will be hard for her to unlearn the negativity.
Encourage your daughter to do things on her own and be independent, take risks and learn from her mistakes. Teach her how to wear her clothes, set the table, tie her laces, and prepare her own snacks. When she is not successful with something, gently push her to keep trying. Autonomy, perseverance, and resilience are cornerstones of self-esteem in both children and adults.
Listen to your daughter. Ask her about her event and truly listen to what she has to say. Look at your daughter. Don’t sweep any negative emotions under the carpet. Let her know that she can talk to you about anything and she will always have your support.
All these sounds simple enough, don’t they? May you be able to empower your girl every single day. But, even on some days when these get difficult to practice, remember that it’s okay. You are not just a parent; you are also a human being who have your ups and downs. If you screw up, accept it and start again. Let your daughter see that you haven’t stopped and you are not giving up. When you model that, you are showing her how to rise from a fallout. You are showing her you’ve got ‘Girl Power’.