This can be a wonderful thing as your daughter grows up because she can try so many different hobbies, sports, trends, career paths, books, technology tools, and more. However, with the plethora of choices also comes the challenge of encouraging her to make strong choices.
This is why I founded my organization, WeChooseStrength, as a movement to bring women and men together to empower girls to choose strength for their bodies, minds, and hearts. As a teacher and tennis coach, I knew my passion was working with children, and I wanted to extend my influence beyond the classroom and tennis court to empower as many girls as possible.
So what does it mean to choose strength? Let's start with how we can help empower girls to make choices of strength for their bodies. Thanks to technology, we now have the ability to airbrush, edit, filter, and alter just about anything else we want with our photos. Many of the images that your daughter views do not reflect reality, particularly when it comes to images of women’s bodies. It is important to remind her that a strong body is not about being a certain weight, height, or size. It is about being strong and healthy, and that means different things for different people.
Praise her efforts in athletics, rather than her results. For example, rather than "You won the tennis match" or "Your dance was so pretty", try "I noticed how you hit the ball with even more power these matches" or "Your ballet dance was very precise after all the practice you put in." This will help to focus attention on the skills they have acquired rather than evaluating their performances.
To empower her mind, remind your daughter not to be afraid of education and hard work and again, reward her hard work instead of her results. Purchase books with strong female role models and offer to read to her. Expose her to many different ways of stimulating her mind, such as art, coding, children's engineering, theater, book clubs, foreign languages, and beyond. The love of learning and strong work ethic will carry on throughout her life.
Building a strong heart can never begin too early. Kindness never goes out of style; model kindness for your daughter. Volunteer with her at a local animal shelter or collect donations for a children's hospital. Teach her that being kind and strong go hand in hand, and are not conflicting values. Because not everyone will always be kind, discuss the importance of appropriate reactions that are both strong and kind. Remind your daughter that while generosity and patience are valuable habits, sometimes a strong heart means treating yourself with love and respect first.
Would you like to help support this mission for your daughter, and girls around the world? Would you like to be featured with your daughter? Follow @WeChooseStrength on Instagram today. We would be honored to have your support. Direct message us to learn how to get more involved!