This is a topic I have been learning more about since having my daughter 4 years ago. It has been interesting watching her growth and seeing how she has really become her own little person. My small madam is definitely not a child who will take "no" for an answer, sometimes it can be frustrating, but I have learnt to embrace who she is because I can see that this is all a part of her calling. I love my daughter's personality, she is a very strong-willed little lady and I have often been told that this will become an asset to her when she is older. I see the truth behind it because when my daughter turned one, I knew she would one day grow up and become a leader although I am not particularly sure about the in's and out's of what her leadership will entail, I know that it will involve God!
Following on from my previous post regarding raising young kings which you can find here, it is only right that I drop some gems on what I have learnt and apply it to raising young queens. I hope that you are able to take something away from it. Please share your comments below!
It is important for us to affirm our girls. Society already puts so many demands and pressure on child(ren) from a very young age telling them what is acceptable. They need to know that they are already accepted regardless of their physical attributes, personalities and skills. Our daughters have a special place in society, and we are not just raising little girls. We are raising women who will one day change the world. If your daughter has done something good, speak it and let her know. Don’t leave things to chance, it may seem silly to always say, “well done,” but believe me, she needs to hear it. She needs to know that you believe in her, so tell her.
Collaboration Over Competition
As mothers, it is up to us to teach our daughters that they are in competition with nobody. They should only strive to be better than they were the day before. This mentality of competing with the next girl is why there are no seats at the table. Teach your daughter(s) to create their own table if necessary and to save some seats for others too. They can go so far if they learn to collaborate and not compete. Other girls are not their competition.
Embrace Being A Girl
To be a woman is a beautiful thing. I once read, “a woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.” ― Diane Mariechild. Your daughter should learn from you that being a woman is amazing. Women have come so far from days where we had little to no say, now we have women in the house of parliament helping to spark change and making decisions. 2018 marked the 100th year anniversary where women won the right to vote. For so long women were taught to be quiet, women were told their place was in the kitchen and that they should strive to be housewives and mothers. Not any longer! Oh how, women have evolved!
Your daughter has a voice and she should feel that she can use her voice to do amazing things. Teach her that womanhood is to be embraced and that she has the ability to grow and transform herself as many times as she feels necessary. As she grows up you can share with her what it was like for you growing up, impart some wisdom to her and life lessons. Every interaction you have with her should leave her with something to think about.
Encourage her to have standards, morals and principles, teach her to never settle and to grow through what she goes through. Most importantly let her know that she will have challenges in life, but she will overcome all of the challenges she will face because she is strong. Every experience she will have will enable her to grow and to learn more about herself. She will discover more of her abilities and she will learn to tune out from the noise and negativity of others and to focus on only the positives.
Prepare Her For The Future Encourage your daughter(s) to look to the future and not just the present. This does not mean that they should not enjoy their lives and worry about the future. It means that they need to be prepared for the future. You can do this by teaching them the necessary skills, like having good studying practices, learning to cook, being self-sufficient, being independent, managing her finances, looking after herself and her body, making the right choices and helping around the house, etc. What other skills do you think are important for girls to learn as they are growing up?
Communicate With Her There are so many opportunities for you to communicate with her and to find out what is on her mind. Have conversations with her during breakfast, go for lunch and dinner dates. Spend time together doing things she loves and find out what is happening in her world. You can be more than her mother, be her confidant and best friend.
Positive Messages, Positive Vibes & General Positivity So, Wizkid and Beyoncé have released a song called, “Brown Skin Girl” and it is definitely a big thing right now because of the positive message behind the song. Of late there have been more black Mamas and black women around the world doing their best to get positive messages and representations out in the world for their daughters, nieces, goddaughters, etc to see.
Representation matters and it is vital for my daughter to see dolls, celebrities; actresses, singers, etc who look like her and positive messages about being black. The media has a big part to play in the way black people have been perceived over the years. There was a time when the stereotypical term “the angry black woman” was used to describe strong-willed black women who know their worth and refused to settle. They refused to be quiet and used their voices to get their messages out, but they were portrayed as being “angry!”
For years some have tried to keep black women in a box and tried to suppress our views, but this generation is different, and I am proud to be a part of this generation. My daughter has so many amazing women to look up to. It makes me happy when we are reading a book and she can see that the characters share her skin tone or features. Or when she is watching a TV show or a film and she says, “that little girl has hair like mine!”
We need more of this, we need our little girls to know that being black is a very beautiful thing. Our skin colour and who we are is nothing to be ashamed of. I would hope that as she grows up there will be a lot more positivity surrounding our black brothers and sisters because the culture needs this, we need this!
I speak on the above very passionately because growing up I did not have many black dolls and if I did they had straight hair and maybe blue eyes. I am so happy that my daughter can play with dolls with curly hair and brown eyes just like ours. It is a BIG improvement. It was also a blessing when Destiny’s Child, TLC and SWV came out, I am sure that young girls everywhere felt elated because we had sisters in the spotlight to look up to. It is a nice feeling to know as a young child that you are not alone, there are other people outside of your immediate family and friends that you can relate to.
In short little girls and little boys of all ethnicities and backgrounds need to see more representational images, toys and people, etc whom they can relate to. It is important for them to also understand that there are people in the world who do not look like them, who derive from various backgrounds, but this is what makes us all unique. This is the beauty of the world, we do not all have curly hair, we do not all have brown eyes, some of us are shorter than others, some are lighter than others and some may be a different shape to others. We are all important and we are all beautiful, no matter what we look like and where we originate from.
Rest assured knowing that you have raised an intelligent young girl who will make wise decisions a young adult. From as little as 1, I gave my daughter the freedom to make small decisions. She has always picked out her outfits and I have only ever intervened if they were not appropriate for the weather. It is important to me to allow my daughter to know that she can make her own choices because she is strong-willed, I was told that this trait will be an asset to her in the future and I believe it will be. I embrace who she is and I allow her to learn from her mistakes, it is called growth.
Family Time Family time can range from doing activities at home to doing activities outside of the home. If you want to make it fun and more spontaneous, write a list at the beginning of every month with what you would like to do with one another. If your daughter can write let her write her own list and then compile both lists and write a number from however many points you both have. Then take it in turns to pick a random number, check your list and go with whatever activity is associated with the chosen number.
Encourage Her To Explore.
Allow her to assess the risks before taking the next move. Naturally we want to always protect our children, but how will they learn if we are always rescuing them and never allowing them to measure the risks?! Encourage your daughter(s) to discover new things, try new hobbies and learn more about her likes and dislikes. A great way to do this is by introducing them to a bucket list and encouraging them to make their own in their journal.
Work Together Build on her strengths by encouraging them and extending on what she is already learning between school and home. You can do so many different educational activities together. Establish her weaknesses and in the same way support her with them. Be patient and praise her for her efforts.
Body Confidence I have not got here as yet because my daughter is only 4, but it is important for us to not only love and embrace the skin we are in, but to also love our bodies. Do not think that your daughter(s) do not see the looks you may give yourself as you stare in the mirror at yourself or that they do not hear what you say to others about yourself, because they do. Speak kind words to yourself, so that your daughter(s) can embrace their looks also. Teach them that God created all of us to be beautiful and different. There are petite people, tall people, slender people and people of a larger stature. We are all special and this is what makes us beautiful.
Lunch/Dinner Dates It is lovely to set aside some time to have lunch/dinner dates with your daughter(s) so that you get to have that 1-1 bonding time with you. In the same way family time is very important. Reduce the use of technology during this time unless it is absolutely needed. Ask her how her week has been, what she is learning at school and if anything, exciting happened. Share your week with her too.
You Are Her Role Model If we want our daughters to grow up and become great women, then we need to be great role models to them. They learn by example, so reflect on the example you are setting for them.
Are we teaching them to compete with others or are we teaching them to work together?
Are we teaching them to give up when the going gets tough or are we teaching them to persevere?
Are we teaching them to suffer in silence or are we teaching them to be bold enough to ask for help?
Are we teaching them to accept when others are treating them badly or are we teaching them to stand up and defend themselves?
Are we teaching them to be kind to others and play with the children who are alone or are we teaching them to ignore them like the others?
Are we teaching them that it is wonderful to be unique or are we teaching them that they should follow the crowd?
Be Affectionate And Express Yourself I think it is important to not only use words to express yourself, but to use actions too. I had a saying in my teenage years, “say what you mean and mean what you say.” I love that phrase because there is no point in saying something and not meaning it. Use every opportunity that God gives you to tell your daughter(s) how loved they are. Don’t allow a day to pass without showing her that you love her and telling her that you love her. A lot of people may not have heard this growing up but try to do it for your child(ren). If your parent(s) or guardian(s) did not say this to you growing up, I want you to remember that you are not your parent(s), you are an individual.
Have I missed anything? Please share your tips for raising your mini Queens below, I would love to hear your perspective on this topic.
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