Raising Happy Girls

Raising Happy Girls
Girls make up half of the population and yet they still face hardships in the workplace, on the streets, in the hallways of schools. It is important to raise strong, happy, and confident girls to prepare them for what they are up against. The first thing is to focus on the child’s abilities, not just her looks. Women get so many messages from the media about their weight, their appearance, their worth being tied to their appearance, and one way to raise happy girls is by showing them that they are beautiful in their own way, first, but, second, by showing them that their worth is not at all tied to how they look.
Another important factor in being happy is through healthy living rather than sticking to diets and fads to lose weight. Denise Schipani writes, “Moms with a negative body image are more likely than those who are happy with their appearance to have daughters who don’t like their bodies, according to a recent Western Oregon University study. So avoid commenting on your own unhappiness with your size, advises child psychologist Nancy Mramor, Ph.D.” She adds, “Explain that the real world is full of girls and women of all sizes and shapes, and that what we see on TV or in magazines isn’t reality.” (http://www.womansday.com/sex-relationships/family/raise-confident-woman#slide-6)
The other thing to teach young happy girls is to be confident. This will come from praising them on their skills, embracing their abilities and expanding their hobbies so that they are outgoing, social, and engaged with their peers. In “Raising Confident Girls” on Women’s Daily, Denise Schipani quotes Mramor who says, ‘“Girls who find what they like early are more likely to stick with it and cultivate long-lasting and confidence-boosting friendships,” says Mramor. Sports are especially helpful to girls. “Athletics encourage body awareness, so girls grow up knowing what feels good and what doesn’t,” says Mramor. “They also learn how they can change their bodies through exercise and get better at sports through practice, which leads to self-assurance,”’

Furthermore, another step that is crucial in raising happy girls is in educating them early about sexuality and puberty. Schipani writes, “You don’t need to have a full-on birds-and-bees conversation with your daughter at age six (though if she asks questions, answer them honestly and in an age-appropriate fashion), but the more you talk about the ways the female body changes over time, the more you normalize the experience for her, giving her a healthier body image and setting the stage for comfortable sex and dating chats later on”

Schipani reminds us that it is also important to have balance and rely on males to be part of young girls’ lives to help them be more confident, happy, and independent: “When girls have a close relationship with their father, it can help promote successful relationships as adults, says Mramor. Fathers naturally pay a different kind of attention to their daughters, she adds, such as engaging in more physical activities together” Raising a happy girl takes a lot of work, plenty of planning, but mostly: an open mindedness and a willingness to listen, and learn.