Ah, the mother-daughter relationship. Although it can be difficult at times to navigate through this bond, it can be a valued gift for teen and tween girls. Adolescent girls encounter many issues that make this time period very difficult. One of the issues is establishing self-confidence, which is not always easy considering the pressure girls feel they are under. In her article, Merel Bakker explains how a mother can help her daughter build self-confidence. According to Bakker, mothers are in a very unique position that allows them to help girls because of their own experiences. Bakker’s tips for helping daughters build self-confidence are:
- Dedicating a time each week to give each other compliments in order to learn how to give and accept compliments.
- We even have some tips for giving compliments to tweens and teens! (see below) Who knew that saying something nice could be so tricky!?!
- Set boundaries for how respect is carried out
- Live by example
- Watch TV together in order to critically analyze what is being shown on popular shows
- Be patient
Every mother-daughter relationship is unique and the struggles of every teen are unique making it difficult to follow a plan, such as the one just mentioned. However, by making little changes and seeing how they work, mothers and daughters can really make a difference!
Quick Tips for a Sincere and Meaningful Compliments or Praise:
- Focus on the work and effort put in by your teen (not the end product).
Ex: You gave your best during your theatre performance. I know you practiced so hard to learn all those lines!
- Be specific
Ex: You gave me goose bumps during your solo tonight when you hit that high note at the end. Wow!
- Be careful with what you compliment. Teens can be sensitive to things about their appearance or ability to perform (i.e. school). If you want to tell your teens she's really smart, refer back to the tips above - be specific and focus on the effort.
Ex: I'm so proud of your grades in Math. I can tell you've worked hard to get down those concepts!
- Say something nice and that's it! Don't follow a compliment with backhanders. (i.e. "You did an awesome job at your basketball game today...not like last week at all!" or "Wow, you actually got an A on this paper!"