Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture isn’t just “my latest book.” It is one of the most timely and important pieces I’ve ever written. In it, I address everything from self-esteem to anxiety to social media to sex. Everything your daughter is going to ask you about one day or ask her friends about it. This book will equip you for those moments as well as give you a framework for how to view, talk to and deal with your daughter at every stage of life.
From my pediatric practice, life experience, and being a mom to daughters myself, I’ve pinpointed four questions every daughter has. These questions are the big life questions. If you can help guide your daughter to the answers to these key questions, you will pave the way to raising a strong girl, no matter what the culture is like around her.
1. Where did I come from?
Every child wants to know where she came from, but for daughters, knowing this is key to building self-esteem and moral courage. I encourage parents who believe in God to explain to their daughter that she was carefully and meticulously crafted by a loving God whom she can get to know but cannot see. She did not come to exist because of an accident or a mistake. On the contrary, she was wanted. She was anticipated. She was meant to be your daughter. Whether by birth, adoption or foster care, your daughter was designed with a personality unlike any other girl alive and you are thrilled that she is yours.
2. Do I have value and significance?
You might think it is obvious that your daughter is valuable because she’s a human being. But she approaches this question more honestly than most adults do because when it comes right down to it, many of us don’t really believe that we have inherent worth. We believe instead that our worth comes from what we do: our success, our achievements, our good character, our ability to be kind and love others. These are laudable and important things, but ultimately our worth—and your daughter’s sense of self-worth—should not come from what she does or what others think of her.
You can instill an innate sense of value in your daughter by not focusing on her achievements or appearance and instead focusing on who she is and telling her to do the same.
3. Does morality exist?
A daughter’s sense of morality is intuitive but lacks experience. She will offset that by watching you. So beware of what you show her because she will follow your lead—initially, at least. If she sees you express frustration by shouting, she will likely shout when she’s upset. If she sees you indulge in “little white lies,” she will do the same. If she sees you act rudely, she will think that’s how you assert yourself. Model for your daughter the moral behavior you hope for her to have one day.
4. Where Am I Going?
We all worry or wonder about the next days or years of our lives. Beneath those thoughts lies a hope that life will get better. Our daughters, who have less experience than we do, can be anxious about the future. Many of the challenges they face (making new friends, changing schools, dating) will be faced for the first time.
Our job as parents is to help our daughters know that they can handle life. We must reassure them that they can get through mean comments, rejection from friends, failed tests, or not making the swim team. Many of us, with good intentions, get upset when bad things happen to our daughters and blame bad teachers or coaches. But one of the greatest gifts we can give our daughters is the belief that no matter what life throws at them, they can handle it. When we continually react to their troubles as though they are innocent victims, we cripple them.
If you can assure your daughter with answers to these questions throughout her childhood and adolescence, your biggest job is done. It won’t be easy. And you will most likely have to explore some of these questions for yourself as you guide her, but that’s ok. Your willingness to listen, respond and give answers when you can give your daughter the confidence, self-esteem, and assurance she needs to succeed in a world that doesn’t seem to want her to.
Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture is available wherever books are sold. Order your copy here today.