How do you raise a powerful girl and what does that mean?

Powerful girls grow up feeling secure in themselves. They learn to take action, making positive choices about their own lives and doing positive things for others. They think critically about the world around them. They express their feelings and acknowledge the feelings and thoughts of others in caring ways. Powerful girls feel good about themselves and grow up with a “can-do” attitude.

Here are some experts ideas to help you raise powerful daughters.

Encourage your daughter to pursue a passion.
“Full engagement with an activity she loves will give her the opportunity to master challenges, which will boost her self-esteem and resilience and affirm intrinsic values rather than appearance,” says Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out. “Having a passion lets her go shoot baskets or play an instrument, for example, instead of being swept up in online drama.”

Let her have a voice in making decisions.
“Whenever possible, let her make constructive choices about her life. Let her choose her own clothes, within appropriate limits. Give her a voice in what after-school activities she participates in and how many she wants to do (as long as it works for the rest of the family, too). Remember that knowing what she cares about most will come from trying some things and finding she doesn’t like them, as well as from finding things she loves to do,” recommends Jane Katch, Ed.D., author of They Don’t Like Me. “Your daughter might need to make a commitment for a short time for an activity (one soccer season) but when that’s over, it’s okay to try something different!”

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Identify the values most important to your family.
“Consider the ways you convey these values, especially by example. What are the moments in your daily life when you can model the values you want your daughter to learn?” asks Simmons. “What traits and strengths do you want your daughter to develop as she grows?” asks Meg White, M.A. “See if these qualities are reflected in how you parent.”

Encourage her to solve issues on her own rather than fixing things for her.
“When parents take over, girls don’t develop the coping skills they need to handle situations on their own. Ask your daughter to consider three strategies she might use to deal with a situation, and then ask her about the possible outcomes. Let her decide what she wants to do (within reason). Even if you disagree with her choice, you give your daughter a sense of control over her life and show her that she is responsible for her decisions,” says Simmons.

Get girls working together. 
“Girls who work cooperatively in school or who problem-solve together do much better in taking large risks or facing challenges. These girls report an incredible sense of accomplishment and feeling of competence, both of which give a huge boost to self-esteem,” says Deak. “Encourage your daughter to participate in team-building activities or join organizations that rely on teamwork.”

Enjoy her!
“Having a powerful girl can be exciting and energizing. Find activities you both enjoy and do them regularly together. Maybe you both like cooking or having breakfast together, hiking or reading books,” says Katch. “Try to keep this connection as she gets older — if times ever get tough, you’ll appreciate this special bond you share!”

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