Raising children can be tough, especially for first time parents. But even for the seasoned, things often change a little when the first girl comes along. Sometimes, they’re a bit more complicated than boys, and that’s perfectly OK.
But if you need a little help, here are eight vital rules for raising girls that every parent should know:
1. Teach her the value of money
It’s important to teach your daughter the value of saving money, and show her the consequences of spending money on things she doesn’t really need. It’s fun to splurge every once in a while, but if you can teach her the value of money, she won’t have to depend on anyone in the future to take care of her financially.
2. Don’t let her grow up too fast
Make sure your daughter gets the chance to enjoy being a kid for as long as possible. Today’s society pushes makeup, hair products and fashionable clothes on young girls, at a time when all they should be worrying about is how late they can stay up to play. Set boundaries, and don’t let your daughter grow up too fast.
3. Be careful not to body shame
As parents, you set the first example of self-love and self-acceptance. Speak kindly about your own body in front of your daughter, and don’t body tease or talk negatively about weight. At just a few years old, your daughter is already aware of her body size and society’s view of what’s beautiful. Remind her that she is beautiful, that being healthy is important, and set a good example of self-love and self-acceptance.
4. Encourage a father/daughter relationship
Some girls tend to be closer to their moms, especially when boys and the birds and the bees talk come into the picture. But establishing a strong father/daughter relationship is just as important. Girls need to have a good example set by their fathers, and realize the strength of their unconditional love, so that they don’t need to fall for a boy who’s just pretending to love them.
5. Compliment her
Your daughter needs to know that there is more to her self-worth than her looks. It’s great to tell her she’s beautiful, but be sure to compliment her on things other than her appearance. Tell her she’s smart, funny, talented or kind. Point out all of her amazing qualities.
6. Protect her, but teach her to stick up for herself
As a parent, there’s nothing you want more than to keep your children safe. Stick up for your daughter when she’s young, and make sure she knows that you’ll always be on her side, but as she gets older, let her find solutions to her problems before you swoop in to save the day. Teach her to be strong, independent an unafraid to voice her opinion. If she knows that you’re in her corner, but she can do it on her own, she’ll be that much stronger.
7. Give the birds and the bees talk
Giving your daughter the birds and the bees talk may be slightly awkward and uncomfortable, but it’s necessary. When her period comes, you want her to be prepared. If mom is taking on this role, be open, and explain to her the changes her body will go through. You want her to be comfortable talking to you in the future. Teach her that her body is beautiful, and it should be valued and respected.
8. Set boundaries with how people treat you
Setting a good example is often the best way to teach someone. Let your daughter see that you have morals, boundaries and beliefs, and that you refuse to let people treat you poorly. Explain to her the meaning of a true friend. If you are strong, respect yourself, and don’t allow negative people into your life, there’s a better chance she’ll grow up and do the same.