It is difficult to boost your daughter’s self esteem when you are struggling with your own. While you may be consistent in telling her that she is worthy and capable of anything she sets her mind to, she may struggle to believe it if she listens to you talking negatively about yourself or doubting your own worth. Role modeling healthy self esteem helps your daughter internalize positive beliefs about herself.
Origins of Low Self-Esteem
Young girls are very observant and sensitive to their surroundings. They place a lot of value on other people’s opinions and worry about how they are perceived. For some, this is more adaptive than for others. Many people who base their self-esteem on external validation or accomplishments struggle with seeing their worth as something that is fixed rather than contingent on performance or social acceptance. Doubting their self worth often leads to doubting their ability to succeed. Girls who struggle with depression, anxiety, body image issues, and attachment issues are more likely to have low self-esteem. By learning to love yourself, you can help your daughter avoid or work through many of her own self-worth issues.
How to Help: Role Modeling Self Esteem For Your Daughter
Your daughter learns a lot from the way you treat yourself and the way you treat other people. As a parent, you play a key role in lifting up her self-esteem to help her fight social pressures and the belief that she will never be enough. Many studies show that adaptive traits are passed down more often than bad habits. It is up to you to create that foundation.
- Allow yourself to feel. While many emotions may feel overwhelming, they are not all bad. Many parents believe that their daughters should not have to see them when they are emotional, but instead of this being a sign that are mature enough to cope with negative emotions, it often sends an unrealistic message that feelings should be avoided or that her emotions are wrong. While emotions can be painful, letting yourself experience a range of emotions around your daughter without expecting her to “fix how you feel” shows her that it is okay to be vulnerable and feel feelings and that many of them are just temporary.
- Stop the cycle of overthinking and negative self-talk. We may start off with positive beliefs and goals, but the more we overanalyze them, the less we believe them. When you start telling yourself that you are not good enough or that you should have done this or that differently, challenge these thoughts by replacing them with more positive ones. Consider whether thinking about a situation helps you feel like you have more control over it. If it doesn’t, then it doesn’t serve you.
- Make yourself a priority. This is one of the hardest parts for parents. This does not mean prioritizing yourself before your daughter or other relationships, but it means incorporating self-care into your daily routine. Sometimes this looks like setting boundaries, saying no, or giving yourself a break. It also involves knowing your worth in relationships and deciding how you want to be treated. This teaches your daughter how to build independent self-esteem rather than depending on people-pleasing to feel worthy.
- Don’t expect yourself to be perfect. It’s important to set goals for yourself, but it is just as important to be kind and forgiving when things don’t go as planned. While you may have high hopes for your daughter and believe in her potential, it is unrealistic to believe that she can be perfect either. This doesn’t necessarily mean lowering your expectations, but rather having a more open attitude toward the outcome. Praise her efforts, not her accomplishments. This creates a more lasting sense of confidence.
How Asheville Academy Can Help
Asheville Academy for Girls is a therapeutic boarding school for middle school girls ages 10-14. Our students commonly struggle with anxiety, depression, ADHD, learning differences, and attachment issues. We incorporate meditation and mindfulness practices into our students’ daily routines to help them improve their social-emotional learning skills and well-being. We are a relationship-based program that focuses on building meaningful connections through teamwork, group therapy, experiential activities, and small classrooms. Our goal is to empower young girls to recognize their worth and pursue their personal passions confidently.
For more information about building self esteem in young girls, call 800-264-8709. We can help your family today!