Throughout history women have made strides in everything from education to fairness and equity within the workforce. Unfortunately, these impactful gains have done little when it comes to the struggling self-esteem of the young female population. Below are ways to proactively build the self-esteem of young girls, which in most cases start right at home.
What exactly is Self-Esteem?
Self-esteem, in essence, is the perception of one’s own self. In a young, female adolescent this can be emotional turmoil surrounding how they look on the outside and feel on the inside, in addition to, the confidence they exhibit via their talents and abilities. U.S. statistics show that the most common mental health issues in girls starting at age 10 are eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression. Today’s “tween” generation (girls aged 10-12) are already plagued with issues such as dating and sex. The pressure is on for these young girls and the key is intervention by strong, female role models.
Leading by example…
It is easy to succumb to pressure with media displaying sexy images of the ‘ideal” female and beauty being a main driver for success. The need for positive female role models is evident and the tips below can lay the foundation for a more promising future.
· Filter, filter, filter… this is extremely important when you are in the presence of your young female sponge. If you are critical of what you wear or how your hair looks every morning this will eventually have an effect on her. Instead of saying “These pants make me look fat” say “I think the other pair might compliment me better”. The delivery makes all the difference.
· Don’t limit yourself to the stereotypical female roles. Cooking dinner and doing laundry is great, but show her that you can roll up your sleeves to mow the lawn.
· Let your female protégé know that failure is a natural occurrence and that it is OK. The real fault is not trying at all which will hinder a young girl’s confidence.
· Baseball, cheer-leading or basketball??? Why not have her try them all! Don’t let her limit her potential just because an option may not be the “norm”.
· Enlist in the assistance of a male role model. Have him share his experiences with life and success and how it has made a positive difference. Men can be great mentors as well.
· Be an open door. If she is confused about an image she has seen on television or something she might have overheard, be available to counteract these occurrences.
The women within a young girl’s life have the responsibility to foster and nurture the person that she aspires to be. Any breakdown in this cycle will have an adverse effect on her physical and emotional well-being. A positive female role-model can come in the form of a mother, grandmother, teacher or friend. Through guidance and increased knowledge these young girls can one day develop into strong, independent and self-confident women.