Last week we celebrated International Day of the GIRL because Girls are valued ! As the world celebrates this day and ponders on how to make a difference in empowering girls, I believe that it is the responsibility of every parent to ensure that their girls are in safe spaces and that they grow to become healthy, fruitful, fulfilled individuals that make a difference in their sphere of influence in order to Live, Love and THRIVE, because you deserve it!
One of a girl’s greatest challenges is low self-esteem; Several Psychologists have explored this topic extensively. Erick Erikson, a humanistic psychologist, there is plenty of room for continued growth and development throughout one’s life. He puts emphasis on the developmental stage of Identity/Autonomy vs confusion, citing it as a crucial stage for developing a person’s identity. It is at this stage that the young ones transition their path for integration of life skills and the abilities for individuals to function efficiently within their autonomous self. Failure to successfully complete a stage can result in a reduced ability to complete further stages and therefore breed confusion an unhealthy personality and sense of self. When one does not have a good sense of their identity, they seek their relevance from significant others particularly the opposite sex. Girls are at greater risk of unplanned pregnancies as they seek their identity through validation through relationships. Unplanned pregnancies occurs while the girls are vulnerable, before the age of 20 years when they are not ready to be mothers but purely seeking a connection and a sense of identity and acceptance and self-worth. It is shocking to learn that in the last year, 3,000 girls sat for their Level examinations as expectant mothers.
Studies indicate that there is a craving desire not only to find the self, but also to feel loved, accepted and valued. It is not uncommon for individuals at this stage to be vulnerable and seek self-seeking relationships in search of validation and identity. It is important that parents play their affirming role at this point in helping the young girl understand herself and find meaning to her existence. It is at this stage that values, beliefs and traditions are engrained. Family relationships are important, and meaningful relationships at home give a sense of security and comfort to the girl which affirms them giving them a good sense of worth and value. This gives them power to make the right decisions that influence their lives for a lifetime.
Every parent should practice these tips;
- Model body acceptance. Parents play a significant influence in ensuring that their girls have a good body confidence. The remarks they make have a huge impact on their perception of self and consequently their self-esteem. Do not emphasize or discuss areas of sensitivity without her giving you permission.
- Be Her Mentor
Every girl is looking up to her mother, to understand about vital things about simply being a girl. Be generous with information and find the right opportunities to talk about them. Whatever you do don’t bring her ego down by challenging her at the wrong places and particularly in the presence of her friends. She needs a mentor, and her mother makes the best of them all. Do not hesitate to talk about boy’s, they matter and teaching her how to relate with them appropriately makes all the difference when the opportunity does present itself.
- Teach her to stand up for herself
Encourage your girl to stand up for herself. Opinions may vary but your girl should be able to stand on what she believes in. It is strength and not a weakness to be able to say no to what she does not want to participate in. Teach her that it’s ok to say no and yes when it is appropriate.
She should not engage with company that does not edify her simply for the sake of conforming.
- Let her know how much she matters to you
Your girl needs to know that you love her, no matter what the circumstances are. She needs to feel secure in the spaces that you have provided for her. It is therefore in order to affirm her, appreciate her, and acknowledge her.