By: Annabella Feeny
How do you foster leadership in your daughters and what does that mean as a parent?
The process of becoming a parent is a vulnerable journey that cannot simply be learned by taking a first time parenting course. For many of us, there is a sense of a loss of control when our child is born and a dawning realization that she will one day take on the world with or without us. It is easy to be shaken by this, to feel fear that she will one day be on her own —moving into her college dorm, starting her first job, travelling, the list goes on. We feel fear, but as parents it is our job to prepare our daughters for these milestones. Here’s what you can do to build your daughter’s leadership skills and confidence to ensure that she’s ready to take on the world.
Encourage your daughter to pursue a passion
Help your daughter find a passion that she enjoys and encourage her to pursue it to the highest level. Let her have a voice in making decisions on what sports and activities are right for her. If she wants to try out for soccer, give her a chance to get in the game and find out what she’s capable of.
Establish the values that are important to your family
Take every opportunity to show your daughter what values are important to your family. Model those values and one day she will too.
Practice unconditional love within your family dynamics
When parents show love and care for their children even when they have made mistakes, that is unconditional love. It is a type of love with no strings attached. According to Professor Christopher Cordner of the University of Melbourne, unconditional love is one of the most important gifts that we can give as parents. Unconditional love has a significant impact on the parent-child attachment bond and can influence a child’s ability to form future healthy relationships.
Encourage her to take healthy risks outside her comfort zone
Teach your daughter that its okay to take healthy risks outside of her comfort zone like trying a new sport or speaking in front of her class. These healthy risks help us grow and show us that we are capable of things we had never even dreamed of doing.
Address rumour spreading and gossip
Explain to your daughter that relational violence like excluding other girls, rumour spreading and gossip are not appropriate and pit girls against girls. Encourage her to practice more direct ways to convey her feelings in peer relationships.
Introduce her to positive role models
Reading books with strong, assertive female characters is a sure way to show your daughter that women can do anything they set their minds to. If you are unsure on what books to add to your nighttime reading list, many bookstores publish online lists and recommendations, so that you can choose a book that is right for your family.
Create time in your schedule to listen
Just listen! Listen to her thoughts and feelings. Create a safe space where she knows she can go whenever she needs advice or someone to talk to.