I adore having a daughter. I love that I innately get her and I know what to expect with her. I know that as she gets older I can help her through a lot of issues because I’ve been through them.
But one of the things I have dreaded for my daughter was the eventual meanness she is bound to experience. I know all too well the horrible feelings of being excluded, talked about, laughed at, and more. It’s damaging and while I can’t prevent all of the nasty things of the world from happening to my sweet girl, I can do my best to raise her to be kind to others and strong so she will stick up for herself.
I know you want the same for your daughter and it can be pretty daunting to think about that stuff when your daughter is so little.
Here’s the thing:
You can’t put off discussing this until middle school because it starts when kids are so young. There was a specific incident when my daughter was at a park and some other girls were mean and excluded her. She was 3!
It may be hard to try to figure out how to start explaining this to your daughter especially if she has never experienced this before. I also don’t think it’s enough to just teach them to be kind. Your kid could be the kindest person, but she will still need to know how to be confident and stick up for herself.
If you’re struggling to figure out how to start discussing these things, here are some helpful tips so you can start teaching your daughter to be kind and strong even if others are mean!
Talk about the characters in the shows she watches
Sitting with your child and talking about what is happening can help them understand what they are seeing. Many times a show, (even a lot of cartoons for kids) will focus a lot on the problem of the show with a quick wrap up at the end. For young kids they may have a difficult time remembering that quick wrap up and instead may remember the problem or bad behavior that was prevalent for most of the show.
I’ve seen this with my daughter who watched a cartoon and remembered the bad behavior. In this particular show the character was going to run away from home because he was mad and in the end talked to his grandpa about his problem, felt better, and decided not to run away. My daughter only remembered running away so for awhile after that, she would say she was going to run away when she got upset.
What you can do to help prevent them from only remembering the bad behavior is by talking about what is happening while they are watching the show. You can talk about the feelings and problems the characters are having, the positive and negative ways they are dealing with them, and point out how the solution worked out.
Read books with strong girls
Hearing stories about girls who are strong and kind can reinforce those values within your own daughter. Again, you can talk about how the characters may be feeling, how they positively dealt with the situation, and what the outcome was. These are some great stories that highlight strength, kindness, and bravery in little girls. This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
These are characteristics that little girls need to hear about and learn early on. Being kind and strong can give them better armor against those who are mean spirited as they go through life.
Something my daughter and I discuss when we read books is she should never let someone make her feel bad. She has always been a strong girl and sticks to her convictions. I want my strong-willed girl to stay that way and to continue to stand up for herself. The way to do this is by showing her every example I can that highlights strong girls.
This is a good tool to use because you can ask your child how they would respond in certain situations or what they think the best way to handle a situation may be. By getting them actively involved in the conversation they are more likely to remember what you guys talk about.
My daughter and I talk about what you can do if someone isn’t kind to you. She needs to know she can always come to me, her teacher, or another trusted adult so she doesn’t feel unsafe. I know kids are mean and that she isn’t exempt from those experiences, but I don’t ever want her to feel like she can’t tell someone if those feelings become overwhelming.
You should role play often because as your daughter gets older, the scenarios will certainly change but she will know you are there to guide her through any issues that arise.
Yes kindness is a wonderful trait to have. Teaching them to be kind to everyone is necessary! But as I said earlier, kindness alone isn’t enough. You should also be empowering them to be strong and confident so they can stick up for themselves. As I’m sure you well know, it can be hard to stick up for the underdog or make your own decisions that goes against what a group tells you to do.
Talk to them about how it’s good to give people chances even if that is not what the other kids are doing. My daughter and I talk about how each person is amazing and special in their own way. I want her to know just because there is a kid that others don’t talk to doesn’t mean she shouldn’t talk to them. She will know that everyone has value, including herself.
Let them know their gut and their voice are important. If they feel like something is wrong, don’t do it and speak up! Or if they see something happening to someone else and they think it is wrong, speak up!
It may be nerve racking to think about the drama that comes with raising a girl. But by talking about what they see on TV and in movies, what they read in books, role playing, and empowering them, you are setting them up for success!
These are things you can do to prevent your child from excluding others, allowing them to stand up to peer pressure, and feeling good about themselves despite what others do or say to them.
Don’t think it’s too young to start because teaching kindness, strength, and confidence are necessary characteristics that will benefit your daughter for life!
Leave a comment! How do you teach your daughter to be kind, strong, and confident??