Raising an Emotionally Healthy Girl

As the days go by, I notice more and more that little girls don’t quite seem like little girls… When I was little, I was rocking my Winnie the Pooh shortalls into 3rd and 4th grade and I loved them. My friends and I had sleep overs, made forts in the yard, watched silly kids movies (which I still do), and you bet we didn’t go shopping without our parents or have a cell phone.

So many girls are out on their own, dressed up in inappropriate clothes and covered in make-up seeking attention and validation at any cost, whether they are exploiting themselves or striking someone down with words.

Which brings us to a stumping question: How can you raise an emotionally healthy girl in today’s world?

Teach her to love herself for who she is.

This one is hard. Making friends, especially among girls, is getting harder and harder. There are so many things girls judge before considering letting you into their clique. My mom gave me some advice when I transferred schools in junior high she told me to “fake it ‘til I make it”. Essentially this meant that I should pretend to be someone I wasn’t until they liked me, at which point I could slowly start acting like the person I really was.

I know that she only wanted to help me make an easier transition to a new school but this was very detrimental and led me to believe that no one would like me for the real me, so I kept to myself. Even though making friends can be hard, encourage your daughter to be and love herself by helping her do the things that she loves, be it reading, art, video games, lacrosse, D&D, paint ball and whatever else she may be interested in. Only she can make herself happy. People will not and a bad friend is worse than no friend at all.

Supportive families will do wonders if she is having a hard time with friends. Families can fill the role that friends do. As long as you listen, are supportive, and have fun, she will take comfort in the bond that she and her family shares.

Embrace silly not sexy

Girls are becoming more and more concerned about how their body looks and how sexy they are at younger and younger ages. They shouldn’t. Being a kid is fun. Dressing like promiscuous women will only encourage promiscuous activities.

When I was growing up, I remember when my little sister hit this point. Everything in her closet was short and Easter bunny pink and she stopped being fun. She stopped being silly with me and joking around and was up at 5am every day doing her hair and make-up and leaving a Pepe Le Peu trail of perfume through my room while I slept in until 7. She was only seriously concerned with how she looked and what people thought of her. This was not good.

Her Halloween costumes were even less appropriate and that seems to be a huge trend now for younger and younger girls. Take a look at this costume for tween girls and tell me you want your daughter going out in that. When I was a girl, girls dressed like witches and clowns. I know clowns aren’t as popular now but there are cute ways to do clowns. The clowns from clowns.com are adorable and I totally would do a costume like that.

Now that doesn’t mean that they can’t look cute in order to be well adjusted.

Have her make her own decisions

By letting her make her own decisions like what she can wear (within reason) and what sports or extracurricular activities she does is an important step on the way to developing independence. If everything is decided for you, you are going to have a very difficult time making your own decisions in the future.

Limited time on social media

Studies show that depression has risen since social networks have taken off. Knowing when things happen without you or not having your posts liked or commented on can easily make a person feel unpopular and insecure especially when likes and comments take only seconds to do. I can personally support this claim. A limited amount of time on sites like Facebook is very important.

So while the potential solutions to this issue are endless and good advice can be found anywhere, I do hope that this will help in your endeavors to raising an emotionally healthy and independent daughter.

about the author

Madeline works with Clowns.com writing about kids’ issues, parties, and parenting.

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