During all my childhood I lived in Murree(a hillstation in Pakistan). Because of its hilly landscape people don’t ride bicycles over there. I loved bicycling but by the time I came to a place where I could I was unable to fulfill my desire because being a girl I was too old (18 years to be precise) to ride a bicycle outside my home. It might look something very small but I hated it then. There are many such things in our culture which unnecessarily hamper girls to fulfill their dreams. . Things like these made me dislike my womanhood and the sad part is I am not the only one I have talked to many friends who feel resentment in one way or other over unnecessary restrictions by our culture.
How I found my pride in being a woman is a long story but today I want to pour my thoughts on how to raise your daughter so that she can fulfill her dreams and love her womanhood.
Be Her Role Model
Think for few seconds, how you want to see your daughter to grow up? What are the qualities, values and virtues you want to see in in your future grown up daughter? Make a list of these qualities and values and model them in front of her. Being a parent you are the ultimate figure your young daughter looks up to, make yourself worth following. This is the best and most reliable method to inculcate whatever you want in your daughter.
Intentionally Tell Her That It’s Great to Be a Woman
Our literature and our culture subtly ingrain minds of our daughters as if they are lesser beings as compared to men. When people have to taunt someone of his cowardice or weakness they say, “Churian pehne hue hain? Mard bano mard (Are you wearing bangles? Be a man)”. When a small boy cries we say “Ab larkeon ke tarha mat ro (Don’t cry like girls)”.
It’s your duty as a parent to never use such statements and if somebody else uses them in front of your daughter then ask them not to say so as it is not right.
If you are a mom show her how happy you are to be a woman and if you are a dad tell her how amazed you are by women.
Tell Her That Marriage is Not The Ultimate Achievement in Life
When a girl is about 10 she starts getting comments like “Aglay ghar jao ge to….. (when you will go to your husband’s house…)” What are such statements telling our girls? That marriage is the ultimate achievement to have. Marriage is beautiful but if we condition the minds of our young girls around it, it might be counterproductive.
There are many woman who wait for an appropriate proposal and if they can’t find one they are considered a lesser being and as a result they feel worthless.
In your homes and your interactions with other people around you always be conscious of your words. Never pity those around you who are not married as your daughter is watching you and listening to you. Unintentionally you are conditioning her mind give her something good to hold on to. Whenever you talk about other women make it appoint to always talk positively.
Teach Her To Be Her Own Hero
There are tons of stories for children where a prince charming saviors a girl and then they get married and live happily ever after. Keep away your daughter from such stories as much as possible. Tell her that the most reliable and most powerful hero for her is herself. Teach her to be her own hero.
Teach Her to Believe In Herself
Always tell your daughter that you believe in her ability to achieve whatever she puts her mind and heart to. Overtime it will become her inner voice and it will help her all her life to believe in herself.
Show Her what True Beauty Is
In everything from people to literature to media a woman’s beauty is sexualized. No wonder girls brought up in such environment are conscious of their complexion, their body weight and their looks.
Make it a point to praise your daughter for her kindness, respectfulness, integrity and intelligence.
Tell her that true beauty lies within herself and that’s where she should put her efforts to improve and excel.
Be Selective In Her Exposure of Media
There is a ton of crap in media around us be that in story books and magazines or television or internet. Be very selective what you yourself are watching in front of her and what you are letting her watch.
Crying women waiting to be rescued are most common in our plays, movies and even stories for children. Keep your daughter away from all these negative influences. Show her only the quality stuff.
Teach Her Self Defense Skills
Physically boys are stronger than girls and at times girls feel that they can’t speak up even if they are right as they are physically weaker. My own 5years old daughter told me once that a boy was bullying another one in her class. I asked her “why didn’t you stop him?” She said that boys are stronger I can’t fight him if I have to that’s why I kept quiet.
To help your daughter feel at power with the boys around her enroll her in an appropriate institute for self-defense classes. This will make her physically strong, boost her confidence level and be a tool to help her in any impromptu scenario all through her life.
Teach Her To Be Independent
Encourage your daughter to be confident, responsible and independent. Tell her that girls are powerful, smart and strong and they can achieve whatever they want if they put their hearts and minds to it.
There is a lot of crap around us which may hamper proper upbringing of our daughters but the good news is we as parents are powerful enough to take control and change the destiny of our daughters and our society.
Would you like to add anything to the article? Give your feedback in the comment section.