The sweetest admiration in my life comes from my mini me, my precious and fearless Scarlett! As time passes, she not only looks more like me but she also strives to be more like me. As she gets older, I am more thoughtful and cognoscente of the fact that I am THE most important role model in her life (at least for now) and every thing I say and do makes a difference in her outlook on life, how her personality develops and ultimately her behavior. After all, these are formative years.
I have been reflecting on the ways I encourage her to be strong, independent and confident in her own skin. Her generation will stand on the shoulders of today’s she-roes and I want her to own her power early on, she will not be “pushed around”not if I can help it! Here are some subtle ways in which I empower my girl:
I show her she has choices
It may seem that a six year old doesn’t have many choices to make and that’s partially true, but there are a handful of exciting things she can choose in a day like her outfit, her hairstyle, her meals etc. and I LET HER choose whenever possible. Every morning we go through the exercise of selecting a uniform combination (her school has a flexible uniform policy), we decide on her hairstyle and she sprays her “disney” perfume, before dashing out of the door. My life would be a lot easier if I just gave her an outfit that I demanded she wears, but allowing her to wear what she picks out helps her develop her own sense of style and to learn to express herself creatively. And let me tell you, the girl has got flare! But most importantly, she learns to makes decisions for herself based on how she feels and how she envisions herself.
I let her speak her mind
We allow our kids to chime in and contribute to adult conversations in our household as long as they are respectful and polite. I allow them to form and defend their opinions despite how funny or outrageous their statements may be. I explain my point of view and provide context to our conversations (when appropriate) but I never prompt them to apologize for speaking their mind! Her opinion matters and it should be heard. Not only does this simple gesture help her interact with adults in the future but it teaches her how to listen to different perspectives and be OK with simply agreeing to disagree.
She wants everything I have….and I share
She is behind the scenes in most of my blog photo shoots and she joins me in every one of my shopping expeditions. She likes to be “twinsies” and whenever possible I try to arrange for twin looks. Its not always easy but I want her to know, she is very stylish and I am happy to follow her lead. Although my shoots take twice as long when I bring my tiny production assistant, I know the experience is chock full of fun and inspiring for her. I want her to creatively develop her thoughts and ideas early on.
She is naturally fearless…….. and I let her be
I don’t know if she is just plain fearless or she admires her older brother and wants to do all the brave things he does, but she didn’t seem to inherit any of my phobias or fears. Of course, her safety is always the priority but when she opts to climb a up tree or jump off of a tall balance beam (both of which I wouldn’t do), I try not to instill my fears on her, because as she gets older there will be plenty of unsolicited statements that begin with “you can’t” and “you shouldn’t”. I will raise her to believe “she could” and “she should”.
So how do you empower the young girls in your life?