SheBrisbane came across a recent article on Mashable Australia talking about the 7 skills to teach your daughter before she turns 13. It got us thinking in the SheBrisbane office as to what skills we wish we were taught prior to puberty or what skills we were taught that we think should be passed onto our future SheTribe.
Mashable Australia interviewed author Rachel Simmons who imparted the below skills that we read and agree should be passed onto your daughters, nieces, neighbours, etc. Impart the knowledge and let’s aid our girls with information to take them into the future with confidence & girl power.
1. How to respect and express her feelings
Popular stereotype portrays girls (and women) as in touch with their feelings and naturally good at communicating them. That idea, however, has a harmful corollary: When girls and (and women) are overcome by their emotions, they become incapable of making decisions.
We so frequently assume that girls and emotions are a natural pairing, for better or worse, that we neglect to actually teach girls emotional intelligence. That skill, says Simmons, means having the ability to describe and convey the full range of human emotion. But when girls are taught to value being happy and liked, they often suppress or can’t acknowledge their more difficult experiences.
Instead, parents need to show their daughters how to “flex the muscle of expressing their strongest feelings,” says Simmons. They can do that by modeling their own emotions with an expansive vocabulary using words like happy, nervous, excited, scared, angry, frustrated and confused.
2. How to feel self-compassion
It’s easy to be one’s most unforgiving critic, no matter what gender. But girls, says Simmons, get a lot of messages that it’s important to please others. So when they experience a setback, it often feels like letting someone else down.
Research shows that adolescent girls may be exposed to more interpersonal stress than boys. That makes them more likely to ruminate on negative feelings, which puts them at greater risk for depression.
Which means teaching a girl how to relate to herself and practice self-compassion in a moment of crisis. It’s important that instead of criticizing herself harshly, she focus on the universality of disappointment and practice self-kindness. By realizing others share that experience, she’ll be better prepared to treat herself compassionately and develop resilience.
3. How to develop a positive relationship with her body
Lost in a sea of selfies and reality television, where the lines between self-objectification and self-empowerment are frequently blurry, girls might not know how to view themselves beyond objects of desire.
One way to help them develop a holistic, positive relationship with their body is to introduce them to sports. The physical activity gives them an opportunity to see their bodies as capable of strength and stamina, rather than being defined by appearance only. Research shows that sports can directly affect a girl’s self-perception and self-confidence.
But even girls who feel physically capable and confident might still feel ashamed of their body and its sexuality. Simmons recommends talking with girls about their bodies from toddlerhood. Parents should know and use the right names for genitalia and do their best to “represent sex as a healthy, beautiful experience that should be had with joy and consent.” And yes, that means talking about what consent means early on and emphasizing that a girl’s body belongs to her alone.
4. How to learn from friendships
Girls are frequently told that friendships are paramount, and that may be why they can be so singularly focused on those relationships. There’s a reason why Taylor Swift’s “squad” was the subject of numerous news stories and think pieces this year.
But we shouldn’t take female friendship for granted, says Simmons. Relationships help girls learn to assert themselves, compromise and set boundaries.
5. How to deal with bullying
No parent wants to learn his or her child is being bullied — or has become the bully.
Dealing with either situation is challenging because it involves so many factors: communication, friendship and a parent’s own emotional intelligence. Digital bullying, the subject of multiple education campaigns this year, adds another layer of complexity.
“Girls will bully because they don’t have the tools to deal with their feelings,” says Simmons. And when girls are bullied, they often feel powerless to stand up for themselves. In both cases, Simmons recommends making sure they ask for help from an adult as needed and practice assertive but respectful communication. She admits, though, that approach won’t always work, so girls must know when to step away from a situation that is “unkind” and “unethical.”
6. How to embrace her gender identity
From exposure to stars like Caitlyn Jenner and Ruby Rose to Facebook’s 50-plus gender identification options, girls are learning about gender identity and fluidity at increasingly early ages.
Parents need to use language that expands the gender binary beyond boy and girl to include identities like transgender, gender queer, gender-fluid and gender-neutral. It’s also important to describe human characteristics and emotions not just in gender-based terms. For example – ‘girls are such sooks.’
Portraying girls as weak isn’t healthy for the gender identification of any women let alone a pre pubescent girl.
7. How to lead
We have more powerful female role models than ever before:
Quentin Bryce, Ita Buttrose, Anna Meares to name a few. But girls still find it difficult to develop leadership skills amidst the stigma of being called aggressive or bossy or our most popular Australian cultural degrader – Tall Poppy syndrome.
It’s even harder when they don’t know how to communicate their honest feelings, assert themselves, practice self-compassion, handle bullying or embrace their identity will probably have a tough time becoming a leader. That’s why it’s so important for a girl to cultivate a diverse set of life skills.
It doesn’t matter if you’re passing on these life lessons to your daughter, your niece or your best friends daughter, what matters is that we give our future female leaders the skills they need to be who they need to be and live in the this world that is a forever changing landscape.
Embrace our future #SheTribe and give them the skills to become tomorrow’s women!
Read the original Mashable article here!