Raising girls is hard work, well, raising kids in general can be hard work. My daughter is eight and I have prepared for her to enter the tween and teen years. It can be frightening because as parents, we want to protect our children but the reality is, there is only so much we can do. So, I have put together the 12 things I think mothers of girls should know.
1. Your makeup is now her makeup
My daughter really likes doing makeovers on herself. With time, lessons will have to be taught on applying less but for now, it’s just for fun.
2. Telling them about periods is really uncomfortable and awkward, but I want her to be prepared for when it happens.
It’s my job to be open about my body and what’s going to change with her body. She needs to be comfortable talking to someone about it and it should be me.
3. The world will try to get them to grow up too fast and it’s your job to keep them girls as long as possible.
That’s why even though my daughter hates it, no makeup when we go out, only appropriate clothes, no cell phone yet. It’s my job to set boundaries.
4. Encourage and support the relationship with their father
Your daughter needs you as her mother but she needs to know a man loves her so she doesn’t fall for a boy pretending too.
5. Teach them the value of saving money so that hopefully, someday, they won’t have to depend on anyone to take care of them financially.
6. Be careful how you talk about your body in front of them
You will become their example for how women should view their bodies. Speak kindly about yourself in front of them. I also try to limit body teasing or talking negatively about weight as much as I can in front of my daughter. At 8 years old, she is already aware of body sizes and worries about them. I reassure her that her body is the right size and healthy.
7. Protect them but also teach them to stick up for themselves
The world needs more strong women. My daughter knows I’ve got her back but she has to attempt dealing with a problem a couple of times before I step in.
8. Compliment your daughter on things other than her beauty or appearance
She needs to know there is more to her self-worth than beauty. So tell her she’s smart or funny or kind. Things that won’t fade with time.
9. Set boundaries in your life with how people treat you
We are their greatest teachers and they learn from what we do more than what we say. So, if you are strong and demand being treated well, there is a better chance she will grow up and do the same.
10. Follow your own dreams and passions
Set the example that what you love to do is important so she will believe in her own dreams and passions. It’s why I share with my daughter my blogging goals and achievements so she can know that I have goals and things I do that I work hard to be proud of.
Read: 6 ways to protect your daughter from p****graphy’s least discussed tragedy
11. Teach them to be smart when it comes to being around men and boys
Leaning to trust your instincts and gut feelings is important.
12. Help them realize that their body is to be valued and treated with respect
Have open and honest conversations about relationships and how they should and should not be treated.
I hope my list will help those of you raising girls to have an easier time. As moms, we all need extra support and guidance from other moms, especially those that have been doing it longer.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on Karissa Ancell’s blog.