Soar is a new guidebook for teenage girls that aims to instil confidence and resilience in them so that they can grow up to be strong and confident women who have fewer insecurities and feel more comfortable in their skin.
We got in touch with the author, Despina Senatore and found out from her what she feels are essential guidelines to follow in raising a daughter. As women and mothers, we should all rally around one another to help and strengthen the sisterhood.
1. Help her build confidence
Irrespective of social upbringing, somehow the message the girls receive from society, culture and media is the message that says that failure is not okay. Unfortunately, as women and young girls, we internalise these failures to be a reflection of who we are. However, if you show your daughter that there is so much learning that can take place from failing and that by changing her mindset to that of “what can I learn from this and do it differently next time?” she will build resilience over time. Teach her to always try her best, but not to fear failure.
2. Show her the importance of taking risks
Linked to fear of failure, is the fear of taking risks. It can be quite scary to try new things. As adults, we fear taking risks too. Staying in our comfort zone is easier than facing rejection or failure. However, taking those risks can be so much more rewarding and result in personal growth too.
It takes courage to take a risk. But with that courage will come confidence. Encouraging her to try something new and showing her that you are there to support her will also build her confidence.
3. Social comparison is dangerous
Social media and magazines barrage us with images of perfect people living their best lives with their perfect bodies, and that’s what our expectations become of ourselves. Behind the scenes, even celebrities’ lives and bodies aren’t perfect or ideal, we just don’t see it.
It’s important to teach your daughter that not everything that she sees on social media is real. There is beauty in imperfection too. She is unique and the world needs unique. She needs to know that she is worth so much more than a ‘like’ on social media. Find ways to teach her to love herself as she is, flaws and all.
4. Let her know that self-compassion is essential
Not everything will turn out the way we want it to. When things don’t go our way, we tend to beat ourselves up a lot. It’s a lot easier for us to show compassion to others, than to ourselves. Teach your daughter that it’s okay to give herself a break. This is something we as adults struggle with too.
Teach your daughter to be kind to herself. Tell her to say things to herself that she would say to a friend after she’s not achieved what she’d hoped. Part of being human means embracing mistakes and learning from them.
5. Help her find her voice
It’s so important for young women today to find their voices. By teaching your daughter to have a voice she will learn to realise that she is as important as anyone else: that she matters, that her opinions matter. Teach her the saying “I am no better than anyone else, but no one else is better than me.
By staying silent we are teaching them that they don’t deserve space in society. As her mother/parent help your daughter to find her voice in a way that is comfortable to both of you.”
Despina’s book, Soar! Is available for purchase on her website: purposefulwoman.co.za/online for R150 excluding postage