Feeling like you are a person of worth—having good self-esteem—is essential for all of us, but especially for girls. Having high self-esteem gives girls the confidence they need to be joyful, which in turn helps them feel powerful enough to want to change the world
Very young girls often have a high valuation of themselves that declines over time. The elementary-school-age girls have good self-esteem, they do not have difficulty identifying and naming the things they are good at and things they like about themselves. Without shame and often with much pride, they quickly and easily respond to probing questions about themselves. “I am a really good speller.” “I can run faster than everyone in my class.” “I am really smart.”
As girls move from elementary to middle school and further into puberty, their positive self-evaluations decline. They become more self-critical and more aware and cautious of the ways they are perceived. They are concerned about being seen as too self-congratulatory, so they wait for others to congratulate them. The internal power they had when they were young begins to wane as external evaluations begin to have more value.
This process continues as they age, by the time they get to high school, girls have to be reminded that it is OK to feel good about their own skills and talents. Though the self-confidence of tween and early teen girls plunges, they continue to outperform boys academically. Consequently, many people mistake their success for confidence.
She will learn how to celebrate herself if you provide her with an example.
Create and surround your child with positive mental images or visualizations of success.
The phrases and words we choose should be those that can propel us toward our goals. These mental images create visual pictures of ourselves doing exactly what we say we want to do, and they create imprints in our minds. Fundamentally, they tie our beliefs to our actions.
Take a few minutes with your girl to visualize yourselves doing the things you want. Focus on the feelings you want to have at the end of an activity or experience. Let your thoughts linger on these images until the emotions become real for you. Practice these visualizations daily. They are useful in your fitness program, for your courageous conversations, on a work project, etc
Use these visualization exercises to create a yearly vision board. A vision board is an excellent way to help you and your girl identify, define, and clarify what you really want in your lives. Focus on goals and empower your girl to create the life she imagines through the identification of goals.
As a reminder, the purpose of these boards is to help you and your girl generate a new plan, develop different outlooks, and formulate alternatives.
Read also “Single-sex education: the pros and cons”