ONE. Let her know that not only is she your child, but let her know that she is a child of God. Tell her that God loves her; that his Holy Spirit resides within her; and that Jesus died for her. Let her know that she is very important to God and He created her because He wants her to live with Him forever in paradise.
TWO. Give her honest praise for hard work and accomplishments. Don’t offer her empty, meaningless flattery–she knows insincerity when she hears it! Teach her that effort reaps rewards. Tell her that she may not always ‘come in first place,’ but she will have a victory and live with few regrets if she knows that she did her personal best in every situation. Encourage her to give her best to everything she attempts (living excellently) and to accept compliments with grace expressed as a simple “thank you.”
THREE. Perform charity work together. According to Harriet Mosatche, adviser to Uniquely Me! The Girl Scout/ Unilever Self-Esteem Program, “You will teach your daughter that she can have a positive impact on other’s people’s lives, which will make her feel capable and important.” It can be as simple as walking a pet for a neighbor, reading at a nursing home, or running an errand for a shut-in. You can also consider supporting a food drive, participating in a church out-reach project, or joining a volunteer organization as a mother-daughter team.
FOUR. A mother’s validation is critical to a daughter, so be sure to recognize her voice. Ask her to give her opinion about things. Ask her what video she thinks the family would enjoy or what game you should play at the next family game night. Incorporate some of her ideas in organizing the house, planning a special meal, or arranging a family trip. Show her that her ideas matter and reassure her that what she has to say is important.
FIVE. Physical fitness is very important to developing a positive self-image. Encourage your daughter to appreciate her body not only for how it looks, but for what it can do. Girls who regularly engage in sports or other fitness activities generally feel more self-confident, make better grades, and are more resistant to negative peer pressure. Set a good example by working out regularly (or playing a sport) without complaining and invite her to join you. Also, incorporate some unscheduled physical activity that is ‘just for fun’ like dancing through a few videos, kicking a soccer ball around the yard, biking, jumping rope or roller skating.
SIX. Help her explore a variety of activities to see what she likes best and where she can excel. Give her an opportunity to find her gifts and talents. If she likes to doodle or sketch, invest in some art supplies. Let her try knitting or tending a small flower garden; take a day trip and go hiking; pay for piano lessons; get a library card and check out a variety of non-fiction books. Let her try different things and let her decide if something is right for her – or not. The point is to let her see new possibilities for her life. Any hobby she enjoys or skill she develops will reward her with a lifetime of pleasure.
SEVEN. Compliment her on her inner beauty. We live in a world where we are often judged only by our appearance. We have to let our daughters know that self-confidence is truly based on developing a beautiful character. Let her know you see her kindness. Discuss how important it is to be a loyal friend. Tell her that her faithful participation in a club or organization is one of her strong points. Be sure she knows you appreciate her sense of humor, her determination, her honesty. Let her know she is a daughter that you are delighted to have been blessed with.