6 important lessons to teach your darling girl

Your daughter is lucky. She has a mama who is mad about her and wants the very best for her. However, mums don't always get a say in what goes on in their kid's lives. Life lessons can arm your daughter with the knowledge she needs to face the world head-on, and we have come up with six such lessons to help you guide your little girl.

She is beautiful- but that’s the least interesting thing about her

We hear so much about body positivity these days, but body neutrality is a more important concept for younger girls. Yes, everyone is gorgeous. However, they will not always feel gorgeous. In fact, there are sure to be days when your daughter feels anything but pretty. The important thing is to allow for this. Teach her that her worth is not dependent on the way she looks. Her body will change during her life and she needs to be okay with that. It is wonderful to reach a point in your life where you love the way your body looks and feels, but this is not always realistic. Having your daughter focus on what her body does rather than how it looks, will allow her to face a world of bodily scrutiny without fear.

She can ALWAYS say no

And always means ALWAYS. Consent is not simply about sex. It's about unwanted hugs from distant family members. It's about jumping off the highest step at the pier with her friends. It's about a shot of vodka or a drag of a cigarette. No is a powerful word. It is a weapon she can wield to defend herself under peer or family pressure. Your daughter knew the power of the word ‘no’ when she went through the ‘terrible twos’ stage. It is time to reclaim that word and call back that feisty little girl to face the world.

Fat is FINE

This one is VITAL. Fat is something you have on your body to keep you snug. Some people have more fat and some have less. Teaching your little ones that fat is fine from a young age will mean they don’t have to unlearn the fatphobic narrative as we did. It will mean they won’t spend their lives at war with their fat rolls and wearing long tops that cover their thighs.

There are ways to do this without your child even knowing she is learning a life lesson. Show your baby videos of some curvy queens like Beyonce and Lizzo. Follow some body-positive influencers and spend time scrolling together. Be conscious of your own self-criticism in front of her. By teaching our daughters that fat is fine, we are gifting them with a bodily freedom that few of us had- and it will stand to them in years to come.

She is gifted- but not at everything

Einstein once said, "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."

Girls can be super hard on themselves. They compare themselves to others and this can be toxic when it comes to school, sports and extracurriculars. Your daughter needs to know that she cannot be good at everything. She may be creative, a real sporty spice or even the next Einstein. However, there is no way she is perfect and if she expects to be, she will be disappointed. Complimenting her efforts and unique values will stand to her in years to come.

Healthy body, healthy mind

This one seems obvious, but you may notice your daughter’s reluctance to continue with sport after a certain age. It usually happens when they hit puberty or when academics get in the way. The best thing you can do for your daughter is to encourage a healthy exercise routine- on her terms. Not every sport is for everyone. However, there IS a sport for everyone. Be it a team sport, a competitive individual sport, or simply an evening jog with friends. From dance to yoga, from Zumba for beginners to an hour on the treadmill. Shop around and help your daughter find a healthy- and more importantly, enjoyable way to exercise.

Supporting other girls is key

This doesn’t mean that your child should only pal around with other girls or blindly support the opinions of girls no matter what. This means mum should try to make a conscious effort not to judge other girls, especially in the presence of her daughter. Solidarity is key. In a world where we are constantly pitted against one another, us parents are responsible for encouraging our daughters to respect each other. Encourage them to love each other’s differences and accept each other for who they are.

Anna Murray is an Irish student mum to one little girl.

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