Ava Grace's Closet: Raising Our Girls: Let's Talk about Self-Esteem

Monday, October 29, 2012

Raising Our Girls: Let's Talk about Self-Esteem

I have shared my passion about this subject previously in this post, and was overwhelmed by the support it received. The Let's Talk Campaign and what it stands for couldn't be more timely.

As most of you know, my oldest daughter, Isabella, started high school this year; typically a time when your own self-esteem and values are tested time and again. With the likes of television and social media bombarding our girls {and women, let's be honest} with images of near perfection, what can we as mothers do to ensure our girls realize the difference between airbrushing and reality? It all starts with CONVERSATION.

I always wanted a baby girl. Don't all mother's even if we never acknowledge this out loud? Someone in our own likeness. Someone to dress up and do girly things with.
I don't think I ever remember worrying about having to have difficult conversations with that same baby girl. Or worrying about choices she would make eventually and how those would affect her.
Parenting is funny like that. Everything is a phase and whatever phase your child is in currently seems to be all-consuming. That is, until the next phase moves in.
The issue of self-esteem, confidence and body image isn't one that just moves on.
It stays with you. Always.
It is our job as mother's of girl's, critical really, to ensure the lines of communication are open and that dialogue is ongoing. 
If you are not sure where to begin, start with downloading the simple "let's talk" toolkit here. It's an amazing resource for everyone, even those who may feel that they're on the right track with the girl or girls in their lives.

I know I tell my oldest she is beautiful all the time. But more importantly, I also tell her she is SMART. And KIND. And a GOOD FRIEND.

The best kind.
Because she is. 
And it's my job to make sure she knows it. 
I want to see this girl grow up to be a smart, confident woman. A woman who is strong-willed and loving. And beautiful, inside and out.
Visit Dove on facebook to learn more. 
And then, share the story of your own experience on their self-esteem wall
I spent some time reading through other mama's stories this weekend and it's great to see women encouraging each other and their girls. 
Girls helping girls.

 Disclosure: Please note today's discussion was sponsored by Dove. All opinions are strictly my own. 

46 comments :

  1. Great post Susan. I couldn't agree more

    ReplyDelete
  2. Such a beautiful post! I don't have girls, but I think boys could use this sort of self-esteem too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Barbara, absolutely! As you know, I have a boy as well and he absolutely struggles with his own self-confidence. I think it may be an even TOUGHER go as boys aren't typically as "open to talk" as girls are.

      Delete
  3. Beautifully written and so very true. It's so important to just talk and be there for our girls.

    ReplyDelete
  4. So true - as a mom of three, two of them being girls, it's such an important topic, and such an important message to pass along. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Not having children, but being a daughter ~ I look back on growing up, My mother lost her mother when she was very young and that definitely had an impact on how she raised us (my sister and I) - I was fortunate to have been raised in my early years with my grandmother who was very open about speaking about confidence and self-esteem (gosh she was a wise woman- how I miss her). My sister did not have the benefit of my grandmother's wisdom, having been born here in Canada a not knowing our grandmother first hand. We are definitely two different daughters.

    The openness that goes on between mothers and daughters today is so important - with all the air-brushing of the media and social media pressure... to be "photo shop" beautiful.

    Great post ! Your Girls have been blessed to have you as a wonderful role model... Hugs, C. (HHL)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Glad that the conversation is starting. You know how I feel about empowering girls today. You're one of FLAG advocates by setting an example to her that there are many other girls around the world who are less fortunate. She is lucky to have you as a mom!I would love her to even talk to her friends about FLAG and other charities like BecauseI am Girl. She will do great things with supportive parents like you.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I LOVE THIS! I always tell elisabeth /// you are so smart, so pretty, and I think your funny like a bunny. she loves it ;)

    but it is so important to build self esteem. I banned the word "fat" from my house and all diet talk ... I don't like it around elisabeth she is like a sponge and gears everything ... I have so many family member that are always worried about weight and appearance.

    I want her to be healthy but I also want her to remember that her mom never talked about diets, built her up, and eat cupcakes :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great post. I also would love a girl but it seems it gets harder and harder to raise a well balanced one!
    Www.oneandoneequakstwunfun.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. SO true Leigh! Believe me, you have to learn to be the social media police in addition to everything else.

      Delete
  9. I just ultimately want my daughter to be happy. To be happy with herself enough to know the company she keeps. Happy enough to talk to me about anything and any feelings she's having - whether they are negative or positive.

    That's all I can ask for!

    ReplyDelete
  10. We got a double-dose of self-conciousness going on...my daughter started high school this year, and we moved from Texas to Florida! She is really feeling the need to fit in, and I'm really thankful for you sharing this site!

    ReplyDelete
  11. This is a very important message to pass on. These days there is simply not enough talking, person to person, and the lines of expectations and reality sometimes become blurred in the fog of this constant bombardment of our "target audience" on what is THEIR normal, and really, what IS normal.
    Hats off to Dove for associating themselves with this, and to you for promoting it. Well done.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Agreed. I posted on another site recently on my thoughts about raising strong women instead of being over protective. Don't get me wrong, protective is okay but I believe in raising a woman that knows what she wants.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I absolutely agree Gina. I do try to give her the freedom to express herself and in that, sometimes agree to certain things that I may not LOVE her doing/wearing but you have to pick your battles.
      I was very expressive (and not always in a good way) as a young girl and my mother gave me the freedom to the extent that she could without having me stray too far away from my core values. I look back and wonder what I was thinking sometimes!

      Delete
  13. We have had many talks about clothes, I have found that with my daughter and her friends, is when they would see a girl in an outfit that they liked and they would run out to buy one just like it, then be very upset when it didn't look the same on them. We had to discuss with them that girls have different figures and body types and what looks good on one doesn't always work for another. But, that is why they need to understand their body type and how to dress it. It has made a positive difference

    ReplyDelete
  14. I'm sure you're apples don't fall from the tree. Which means your kids are more than likely amazing. Did you finish the chocolate rocks?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Awww , great post. I couldn't agree more!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Dearest Susan,

    At least you communicate with your girls and show them reality. Guiding and reassuring them is so important and also emphasizing that those so-called Hollywood stars are NOT role models. They should not copy any singer or star for that matter because they don't represent a reality and certainly not high morals and ethics. As an intelligent mother, one always has to balance that out and teach them confidence. We live in a world of addiction to so many fake things. It's on TV ads and in magazines, everywhere. My husband Pieter and I often have conversations about TV ads, asking ourselves WHAT items we bought after watching a commercial. Frankly speaking: NONE. So whom are they targeting? Guess the biggest aim is at young people, they are so vulnerable and we should bring that up again and again. Make their minds strong so they can stand the pressure from nowadays environment. Even more so once they leave home and go to college... The foundation needs to be laid before than.
    As for fashion, or so-called fashion I agree with you 100%. Often those teens are dressed in inappropriate clothes, too flimsy to even leave the house in. A nightgown might be less sheer than dresses or tops you spot around you. Are all those mothers BLIND?! It is a rip off what they charge for those things and it certainly will not build confidence. As for beauty it is far more important to teach them natural care of their face. Eating e.g. plain yogurt will give a smooth and blemish free skin. That and plenty of fruits, veggies, water (not the sugar rich soft drinks!) and sleep will give them real beauty that is build up from the inside out.
    But you know... Just keep on that track and never give up.
    Hugs to you,
    Mariette

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Mariette! You are SO right. I often wonder whether many of them might need glasses and while they're at it, a course in social media so they can REALLY see what their girls are doing.

      Delete
  17. Love your post!! Agree that it is very important for both boys and girls to have healthy self esteems.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I too wanted a girl as my first child but God had other plans and we are so thankful! My husband is actually quite scared to have a girl as our child. He's seen how the kids nowadays talk/act/dress and he doesn't want to deal with that just yet. I guess it does all come down to talking to our kids, whether boys or girls since they are all challenged at some point of their adolescence life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I absolutely agree! This particular convo was girl-focused but our boys (I have one of those as well :)) are just as important. In some cases, may be even more difficult as they don't talk as much about how they're feeling.

      Delete
  19. I remember the few times my parents told me I was pretty...I rolled my eyes and thought to myself "Ya right, you're just saying that because you're my parents". But, deep down, it made me feel great! Sometimes our teens don't believe us on the outside, but honest compliments are always felt deep down inside.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Great post! My parents never really did this for me!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Great post, I'm not there yet but always trying to build self-esteem, even at an early age. I want our daughter to be well rounded from the inside out too. To let her light shine for Jesus and to be kind and loving to everyone.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I've worried since the day my daughter was born. I worry I won't know how to teach her to be strong and confident and keep her head up. It's so important and it starts right away. Thanks for sharing such a great post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Shannon. The fact that you think and worry about it means that you will be conscious of it. I think that's amazing!

      Delete
  23. What a great reminder! I have both boys and girls (2 of both). I have told each of them every single day since they were born-multiple times a day in fact- how beautiful (handsome) they are, how smart they are, what a good boy/girl they are, and I find so many ways to make them feel great about the little things they do. No one ever gave me compliments about anything in my home growing up, just discipline for what we didn't do right. I was mousy for years because I had zero self-esteem and never had confidence in anything I did I refuse to carry on that legacy with my children!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good for you Allyson. And it's true, we are all quick to point out what's wrong/what kids aren't doing right but it's the little things we need to remember to celebrate.

      Delete
  24. What a great message to share. I agree with you 100%

    ReplyDelete
  25. She is so pretty~ just like her Mama!
    I have 3 girls and this is something I am constantly worried about. I work so hard so they don't grow up looking for the conformation they never got from me. I am constantly trying my best to build them up so they know their value.
    Thanks so much for talking about this!
    Tiffany

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your kind words Melissa! And yes, I whole-heartedly agree. They need that love from us early on so they don't go searching for it elsewhere. Kudos to you.

      Delete
  26. My grandmother always told me that self esteem comes from what you do for others. What you accomplish by yourself for yourself and what you have done to make this world a better place. I love that she ALWAYS equated and taught me to equate actions with esteem. So when the media puts forth beauty I look for what that person did for others. If nothing then the beauty is diminished.

    I have tried to teach my boys to look for that in the women they choose as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Army of Moms,
      What a wise Grandmother you had!
      Hugs to you,
      Mariette

      Delete
    2. Wow. Just wow. I love what your grandmother taught you and even more, I love that you are teaching your boys what to look for and what to respect.

      Delete
  27. What a great campaign! Its important for not only moms to encourage their daughters and tell them how amazing they are but for society as a whole to show them they are amazing. It is so important to empower girls when they are younger so they grow up to be strong confident women.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Does she like her braces? I remember having them at her age. I didn't like mine, but needed them and they worked!! Great story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She didn't at first but now that she's almost done with them and her teeth look so great...she's all good. ;)
      Thanks so much Kim.

      Delete
  29. I couldnt agree more. It is so important for us to tell our children how amazing they are~ especially the little girls. We don't want them looking for that somewhere else. I have 2 girls and this is something my husband and I talk about frequently.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your statement is so true. Definitely don't want a girl, young or old, looking for validation anywhere else. Great comment.

      Delete
  30. I love this post Susan and I think this is such a wonderful campaign! My daughter is just a toddler but I'm absorbing all this for when the time comes. =)

    ReplyDelete
  31. I love this campaign and your post. It's so important for our girls to have confidence and believe in themselves. Tesa @ 2 Wired 2 Tired

    ReplyDelete
  32. This is just a great idea, and it is so beautifully written!

    ReplyDelete

I love reading every last one. Thanks so much for stopping by our little blog. xo.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...