Heading: What’s Standing Between Your Daughter and Confidence?
If you have a daughter, it’s pretty safe to assume that you want her to grow into a strong, courageous, and self-assured woman.
As straightforward as that may seem, building up confidence in your daughter is a very nuanced and delicate task.
This week we will focus the potential barriers to your daughter’s confidence, also known as the ‘Four Key Fears’, and how you can navigate these conversations with your daughter.
What follows below is a top-line overview of the 4 key fears.
For deeper information, check out our Courageous Parenting Program.
Fear of Failure
Failure, very simply, is when a person sets an objective and does not meet it. Daughters feel the pressure of failure very intense not wanting to disappoint their parents, teachers, sports coaches, nor even herself when setting her own expectations. Girls fall under two categories when they are afraid of failure.
The first involves girls who are afraid to even try, caught up by their fear of making mistakes or seeking perfectionism which can be brought on by external influences such as social media or friendship groups at school. The second involves girls who are fearful of the aftermath of failure and her ability to bounce-back after something goes wrong. Negating unhealthy thought patterns can show her that even when facing failure, she has worth, she is strong, and she can solider on from a setback.
Fear of Judgement
For many teenage girls, confidence can be diminished easily through fear of judgement. As teenagers go through adolescence, they become increasingly egocentric and believe that everyone is watching them. They become conscious of which music, sports and clothes are deemed cool by their peers, which is perpetuated by social media, and will forego participating in enjoyable activities to avoid judgement. If this is the case for your daughter, give her opportunities to see that she is valuable, gently nudge her towards her areas of strength and help her to understand that receiving judgement from others often has nothing to do with her and everything to do with them and their own personal issues.
Fear of Rejection
The feeling of rejection is demoralising, and teenage girls have the capacity to feel that very deeply without having a long-term perspective of whether it will continually affect her two or three months down the track. Although we know that being rejected is not the be all and end all, it can certainly feel like it, especially while your daughter’s emotional regulation centre is not yet fully developed.
Whether it be straightening her hair every day to match the girls at school or watching the latest Netflix show to fit in with lunch time talk, conformity is recognised to be the most common tool girls utilise to steer clear of rejection. Consistently reinforcing her own value to her is one of the most productive things you can do to remind her that she is valuable without having to conform to the standards of others.
Fear of the Unknown
As unpredictable as life seems to be, it does not stop our brains from creating future scenarios both good and bad. Teenagers can have a habit of imaging the worst of situations and unfortunately for our daughters the uncertainty reduces her cognitive ability to take risks. This is wildly unhelpful as risk taking assists our daughters in developing confidence in problem-solving skills. Despite there being so many unknowns in our own lives that we wish to protect our kids from, as parents it is imperative to resist the urge to bubble wrap our girls. Seek out safe yet, uncertain situations for her navigate independently to prove to her that it will be okay and that she can problem solve in ambiguous scenarios.
Our girls are stronger and smarter than they believe themselves to be. Heading into adolescence is terrifying, they are faced with new experiences, people, and lessons around every corner – it is easy to be swept up in fear of failure, judgement, rejection and the unknown. Your job is to recognise when she is stuck in a rut with these fears holding her back and guide her along a path of self-belief, self-advocacy, and confidence.
Next week we will be discussing the challenges that defiance and disrespect can bring to the table as she enters the argumentative era of adolescence.