How can we help girls build their self-confidence?
One of the most fundamental parts of our mission at A Little Annafaith Kids is to help all little girls feel completely confident in themselves. It’s been proven that, while little girls and little boys may start out in life with equally high self-esteem, it’s girls’ confidence that begins to plummet as they grow, and by the time they reach adolescence, a shockingly high percentage of girls experience issues with body image, depression, and worse.
As frightening as it is, there are things that parents and other caregivers and supportive adults can do to help foster our little girls’ sense of self-worth:
- We can watch what we say to the girls in our lives. This means complimenting them more on what they do (showing off their talents, demonstrating acts of kindness) and who they are (smart, funny, interesting) more than what they look like. After all, our girls are always beautiful to us, but we want their confidence to come from much more than that. We also can, and should, be mindful of the way our comments about ourselves and other people are interpreted by our little girls. When they hear us valuing others for beauty and sexuality, or devaluing ourselves for not meeting a certain standard, that affects their own self-image on a very fundamental level.
- We can encourage our girls to embrace their own unique personality, their interests, and their passions. These might include sports, art, singing and dancing, animals, community causes – you name it. I know my three daughters are as different as they could possibly be, and in my family we try to celebrate each of their individual qualities and to let them know they’re accepted and loved exactly as they are.
- We can create a safe space in which our girls can talk about how they feel and about the messages that popular culture promotes in our society. Being open about what our children are seeing on TV and in movies, or hearing in music, or observing amongst their peers, can help the little girls in our lives process the often-confusing information that’s being presented, before it damages their confidence.
I created A Little Annafaith Kids because I wanted my own daughters to have clothing options that allowed them to move freely and to feel special and beautiful, while still respecting their bodies. It’s so important to me that they grow up feeling self-confident and perfect just as they are. I wish the same for every little girl, and I hope every grownup is willing to consider how we can help to positively shape girls’ self-esteem.