Between the ages of 8 to 14, confidence levels in girls drop by 30%.
Yes, you read that right, thirty percent! As parents, it’s tough to witness girls once bursting with confidence begin to avoid risk. I’ve seen confidence drop to varying degrees in my daughters, as well as their friends and classmates.
So, I’m trying to gently nurture confidence in my girls, one loving reminder at a time. To start, I wrote this letter at the close of this past year.
The Confidence Code for Girls
Then, I added the book, The Confidence Code for Girls: Taking Risks, Messing Up, & Becoming Your Amazingly Imperfect, Totally Powerful Self to our family collection. We all need encouragement and inspiration from time to time. This book for girls ages 8-12 is loaded with activities, stories, and ideas that boost confidence.
Additionally, the authors of The Confidence Code for Girls, Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, shared ideas to boost confidence in a 2018 New York Times article. The good news is that confidence can be nurtured and developed, even during the tween and teen years. But this requires getting comfortable with risk and failure. Kay and Shipman suggest parents support their daughters in the following ways.
How to Help Girls Develop Self-Confidence:
1. Encourage girls to push their comfort zone. This could be something that seems small, like raising her hand in class. Or something bigger, like trying out for a new sport.
2. Take the fear out of failure. Failure is inevitable and the birthplace of resilience.
3. Help her retrain her brain to avoid rumination and over-thinking that leads to risk avoidance.
4. Do it yourself. Parents must be role-models for risk and failure. Admit your worries and go for it anyway.
5. Embrace the bumps. Remind yourself that there will be stumbles and challenges. It is the bumps that lead to growth.
Comparison is the Thief of Joy
Tweens and teens have always been drawn to comparison as they strive to fit-In, but in today’s social media world, kids find it hard to avoid comparison. As a result, constant comparison has taken a toll on girls’ mental health. According to recent studies, there’s a link between teens, social media, and increased rates of depression. If comparison is depleting your daughter’s confidence, this post may help.
Our Role as Parents
In conclusion, nurturing confidence is a journey with climbs and descents along the way. Some days our daughters may stand tall and shine. Other days, she may feel defeated and not good enough. Our steady reassurances as parents and our honest reflections about our own journey to confidence can serve as wind in their sails.
Above all, it’s important that our daughters know that we believe in them, that we’ll be there when they leap and when they fall and that we’ll be cheering them on…every step of the way.
Is there a girl in your life that needs help tapping into her confidence? How can you best support her growth?
PASS IT ON. Jessica Speer’s BLOG focuses on helping kids and families thrive. If you know someone who might appreciate this content, please pass it on! Visit http://www.jessicaspeer.com to learn more or connect via Facebook or Pinterest.