There will always be Donald Trumps in this world. Sadly, there will always be boys who are disrespectful, demeaning, and degrading to girls, and we have a big job to ensure that our boys (I have two of them) don’t go down that path…that we raise them to treat girls and people from every race and culture with respect, but what about our girls? Isn’t it equally important to empower our girls to value themselves, stand up for themselves, and never accept anything less than respect, kindness, and love from another human being?
I also have a daughter – my precious little girl – who I just want to bottle up, keep in my pocket, and never let her go out into this world. I want to keep her little and innocent, naive and trusting, optimistic and joyful–swinging on trees, playing in the sandbox, picking flowers, collecting rocks, and reading books.
She knows nothing about politics or poverty, suicide bombings or sexual assault. She knows nothing about what really goes on in this world, and I’m so glad. I want to protect her from all of that as much as I possibly can. But I also have a responsibility to her and to her future—to prepare her for the “real world” and to teach her how to avoid negative men and situations – to equip her to be a strong, confident, and assertive woman.
Moms, this is serious. It is our duty to empower our girls to stand up to the Donald Trumps in this world. I believe that the little things that we teach our girls now in our homes can have a big impact later in their lives…
- Let’s teach our girls to make confident choices: Sometimes I really struggle when my daughter chooses to wear clothes that don’t match, but I also want her to be confident in the choices she makes. I do have to be honest and tell her that her outfit doesn’t quite coordinate, but I also let her know that if it is her opinion that it looks good then that’s what matters.
Our girls need to be able to make confident decisions and value their own opinions. They deserve to know that what they think, feel, and observe is something that is worth sharing.
- Let’s teach our girls to be assertive: It is not OK for my two year old to hit my daughter. I stop him and re-teach him about the importance of gentle hands, and instead of allowing my daughter to cower and scream, I teach her what she can do:
- Say it kindly–“No! Please don’t hit me. I don’t deserve that!”
- Walk away—Leave the room. Get as far away from him as possible.
- Go get help—Find someone you trust if he doesn’t stop.
Our girls need to know that it’s not OK for someone to hit, mistreat, or disrespect them in any way! They deserve better than that.
*Let’s teach our girls to value themselves outside of their appearance: When my little girl gets on sparkly dresses, puts on pretty bows, and bounces around the house, I remind her every single day that she is definitely beautiful, but shiny bows and sparkles don’t make her beautiful. What matters – what really makes her beautiful – is what is in her heart!
Our girls need to know that their true value comes from the kindness and love within. They deserve to love themselves for who they are and not what they look like.
*Let’s teach our girls to trust us. When I snuggle up next to my daughter and do our bedtime questions—I realize the magnitude of this time together. We are building a foundation of trust and preparing for moments when our conversations grow deeper—where I have opportunities to empower her to make good choices, to help her see her value outside of any boy or circumstance, and to encourage her to be confident in who she is no matter what anyone else says.
Our girls need to know that we are someone that they can trust and talk to about anything. They deserve the opportunity to share their heart and know that their concerns matter.
It is my prayer that when our girls encounter boys who haven’t been taught to value them, we have taught our girls to value themselves. When boys say inappropriate things to them, we have taught them to be assertive and stand up for themselves. When boys try to force themselves upon them, we have taught them to make confident choices and be able to walk away. And finally, when our girls need someone to talk to about anything, we have taught them that they can trust us, and we will always be there with support, advice, unconditional love, and a hug.
Our girls matter. Let’s empower them!