Raising a Daughter With an Independant Spirit

This month has been a busy one so far. In my last post, I wrote about the passing of my father in law.  Click here to read all about it. Since then, both of my daughters got pink eye, my husband & I got the sniffles, and I picked up some nasty virus that made me sick as a dog. In between all that, I’ve been networking with other bloggers via Facebook and Instagram. What fun!

This week, I am pleased to have a guest post from Kwame Whyte.

design

At a young age my daughter, Kenya, knew with certainty what she liked and disliked. She hated pants and shorts and only wanted to wear dresses and skirts. When she was three years old this caused some bickering between us. I loved buying her clothes that I would wear, after all, she was my life-sized doll, my mini me…right?

image2
She hated almost every outfit I picked out for school. The bickering became more frequent as she got older, and to make matters worse, she would go limp every time I tried to dress in an outfit she didn’t like. Has this ever happened to any of you?
I was so focused on getting my way, that I couldn’t see the message I was sending my daughter. Her opinion didn’t matter; not even when it came to picking out what she wanted to wear. We continued down this path until my best friend asked me a pretty simple question, “why don’t you just let her wear what she wants to wear?” It was this simple, yet eye-opening question that caused me to reexamine how I treated my daughter. I reflected on how I reacted to her opinions and feelings. Why did her assertiveness bother me? Isn’t this the kind of young woman I wanted her to grow up to be?
image5
Listening to her opinions wasn’t what my ego wanted to do, but in my heart I knew I was squashing her independent spirit. She didn’t need hand holding at three, and doesn’t want it now at thirteen. I secretly envied her assertiveness because that wasn’t inherent in me.
image4
We’ve still had our bouts over the years. But more importantly, I’ve learned a great lesson from her on raising a daughter with an independent spirit.
Lessons I want to share with you:
  1. Let her voice her opinions. Kids know what they like and dislike. Give them an opportunity to speak without interruption. Don’t take their disagreeing with you personally. After all, you raised them to be their own person.
  2. Listen to her feedback. I’m laughing while I type this because I wish I had just shut up and listened sooner. Thankfully, I learned this lesson before her teenage years. Listening without judgement is the reason we are a close mother/daughter team now.  I’m happy that she talks to me and trusts me enough to share her dreams and fears. To think if I hadn’t silenced my ego, I would’ve missed this.
  3. Let her make her own fashion decisions. Now this is still hard, because girls clothing is mostly tight and short.  As a result, they can be sexualized by the media, their peers and even adults. But I’ve learned how to be supportive, and trust that she’ll respect herself like I’ve taught her. So far it’s worked, and she makes her own decisions about clothing. She just wants to look pretty and comfortable. I love this kid!
  4. Respect her feelings. As her mom, you may disagree with her reaction to a situation but its important to remember that we cannot tell anyone how to they should feel. Her feelings are her own. If she wants to be sad, I let her be sad while providing her with comfort. I’ve learned never to tell to stop crying, stop whining, or to get over it.
  5. Give her room to fail. This is especially important when you have a toddler whose go to phrase is “I do it Mommy!” As long as what she wants to do isn’t endangering herself or someone else, let her do it. When she needs your help, guess what? She’ll come to you and ask for it.

image1

It’s important for us to raise young woman who believe in themselves and their decision-making abilities. I want to leave you with some interesting statistics I found at banbossy.com:
  • Between elementary and high school, girls self-esteem drops 3.5 times more than boys.
  • By middle school, girls are 25% less likely than boys to say they like taking the lead.
Imagine how we could help to bridge this gap if we listen more. I’m happy I learned my lesson!
I hope you enjoyed Kwame’s post. To read more from her, You can find her on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook & Twitter.
Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Raising a Daughter With an Independant Spirit

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s