Is raising a daughter different from raising a son? While many would like to say no, indicating that they do not differentiate between a boy or girl, the truth is no matter how progressive society has become; there are certain socio-cultural norms. Especially when you belong to a country with a dynamic and complex culture, young girls have to follow particular rules.
Furthermore, from an early age, they are taught by their family members to maintain themselves according to pre-determined directives. Girls face challenges and issues different from what boys face; hence parents need to guide them. Therefore, timely guidance provides them with the insight to deal with difficult circumstances and find appropriate solutions to any problem.
If you have a daughter, you know what is best for her, but sometimes the communication gap proves to be a barrier. Also, at times, they do not share issues they are going through; instead of getting angry at them, try to understand them. Below is some advice that is instrumental in raising a daughter.
Stand up for herself
According to studies, teachers and parents often teach the girls to be compliant and conciliatory; they urge them to be a “lady” and not be too outspoken. On various occasions, even when they want to speak and express their opinions, people around them may discourage them. But they mustn’t become demotivated; on the contrary, they should strive to do the right thing.
We don’t want to send our daughters into the world with self-doubt always bearing upon their subconscious minds. Also, we would not want to nurture an extremely defensive behaviour; however, it is vital to encourage them about standing up for themselves. Since charity begins at home, create an environment at home where your daughter can express herself freely without being judged.
Simultaneously, you should ensure that she is voicing her concerns or opinions respectfully; also, you need to tell her that if she is mistreated, she needs to stand up for herself and not be submissive towards any untoward behaviour.
Build a career
Women are working in high-ranking designations in different fields worldwide; for instance, Gita Gopinath, an Indian woman who served as a Chief Economist, became the First Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund on January 21, 2022. In addition, Leena Nair became the Chief Executive Officer of a renowned French luxury fashion house, Coco Chanel.
Companies willingly hire skilled individuals who have the right attitude, talent and aptitude to do a job. Hence, girls have the freedom to choose whatever career path they want to follow, so inspire your daughters to work towards their dreams. But when they are on a journey of self-discovery, be by their side and let them learn from their mistakes.
Marriage is one of the primary aspects that parents keep pushing their daughters for, but if they want to make their career a priority, let them. If she wants to settle down and become a mother, she will, when the time is right for her. However, if you force her to marry a guy she barely knows, she is more likely to end up in an unhappy relationship.
Choices about sex
The word “sex” is still a taboo and a less discussed topic of conversation for many families, especially for conservative Indian families. However, as your daughter gets older and enters teenage, you should ensure to have a healthy discussion about sex. Although they will be embarrassed to share their opinions about it, you need to make it address the issue without any awkwardness. Also, the consequences of unprotected sex and the concept of consensual sex are sensitive topics that you need to handle thoughtfully.
You must have heard of the phrase, “treat people the way you want to be treated” the meaning behind the sentence is significant as it relates to how you behave with others. We must treat a person as a human being irrespective of a person’s gender, age or ethnicity. The world is already chaotic; we don’t need to add to it by being unkind and disrespectful to people.
We all are going through personal or professional problems in our lives that do not mean that every walking person needs to be at the receiving end of your fury and frustration. Furthermore, kindness and meaningful communication can make an impact on a person’s life.
Regardless of whichever country you live in, women and girls are victims of violence and subjugation worldwide. This is largely due to the patriarchal system and mindset that has been inherently a part of society. However, women now more than ever are empowered; hence, you should advise her accordingly.
Whether she is in pre-school or high school, give age-appropriate lessons to your daughters, as she has the right to protect herself. Unfortunately, despite the rise of feminism and increased awareness regarding their safety, crime against girls and women is a significant problem. Hence, if you have a son, teach him to respect girls like any other human being.
The concept of women or girls being overly emotional is untrue, although they express emotions myriad emotions on several occasions. However, no matter the circumstances, you should teach your daughter to express herself calmly and maturely. For instance, she could be upset about the fight or disagreement with her friends or bf/gf; you need to enable her to vent out her repressed feelings and then decide.
When a girl has a period for the first time, it feels surreal; it may become a challenging task for her if a mother is not there to guide her. So, it is your responsibility to enlighten her that the period is part of her life where she is transitioning to womanhood. Simultaneously, address that hormonal changes would impact her physically and mentally. So, she should be prepared to adjust to sudden moodiness, tiredness or sadness.
The concept of beauty has changed over the years; what people considered beautiful ten to fifteen years back, they don’t now. Fashion trends and pop culture play a significant role in describing beauty, so if you see your daughter mooning over models in magazines and social media platforms, tell her to not fall for them.
We see young girls idolising women and eventually want to become them, but it negatively affects their self-esteem in the long run. Consequently, girls in their pre-teens and teen years start showing dissatisfaction with their looks and develop body-image issues. So, you need to point out that nothing more beautiful than being confident in their skin and looking different from others is what sets them apart.
Deal with boys
Due to different biological factors, girls and boys are indeed different. Hence their thinking styles and strategies are disparate. But, at the same time, we need to understand that boys are not better than others and vice versa; there is no competition between both genders, although we often see debates about them.
Tackling the online world
As if dealing with the real world was not enough, now we have virtual media to consider. Make sure that your daughter does not spend too much time on the internet or the online community as it has its disadvantages. Although we cannot forbid her from exploring the online world, we can certainly ensure that she does not get addicted to it.
In addition, you need to encourage your daughter to maintain a balanced connection between the virtual and real world. Also, online trolling and body shaming is a recurrent phenomenon that contributes to low self-confidence and self-esteem.
Having faith in oneself
All the training, education, and consistent hard work will be unproductive if we do not have faith in ourselves. Because if we do not have confidence in our talent or skill, we will not be able to accomplish the goals. Therefore, you as a parent need to create a support system that will give a push and simultaneously inspire her to have faith in herself. Also, when she faces obstacles in her life, you won’t always be there to guide her, so the wisdom and strength of her character will work as a life force.