While our girls are not confined to housewife-dom anymore, navigating gender issues in our world can be more challenging than ever. Here are some tips to help our daughters.
Dr. Wendy Walsh: In this day and age, girls may have more freedom to pursue their dreams, but they also have more confusion. The working world they will enter is still not a place where feminine energy is rewarded, and the messages that women are being sent about sexual freedom may be setting them back. Because men and women are not equal, they are different, not one gender more powerful than the other. They may have many similar skills, but their reward system is very different. Women value relationships, and men value competition and power. So how do we help our girls "find themselves" as women in a world with so many choices and so few road maps?
This is the first of five blogs that aim to give moms a few clues, and the word of the day is RESPECT.
Respect her body from the get-go. Our daughters won't be able to respect their own bodies if we are intrusive. And this respect starts with the diaper change. When you change your infant's diaper, give verbal explanations for what you are doing, even if you think they can't understand. (Babies understand most of their mother tongue long before they ever have the muscular ability to form words.) Imagine you are a helpless being, captive in the land of giants. How would you like to be touched, cleaned, and bathed? As she grows older, give her privacy and teach her about good touch / bad touch and physical boundaries.
And, model self-respect yourself. We've all heard the adage that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. And Mama, you are the tree from which she will spring. Your actions will have a much greater impact on your daughter than your words. Trust me, soon she won't even hear you because of that darned iPod! So, it is very important that we respect ourselves. That may mean speaking up in defense of yourself or your family, protecting yourself from damaging relationships, or simply living the values that you hope your daughter will live.
How you live is the most important way you parent. Teaching your daughter to not give herself pain by being respectful of yourself can go a long way toward boosting her self-esteem.
Tomorrow: Teaching emotional intelligence along with an academic education.
|Dr. Wendy Walsh holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and her area of interest is Attachment Theory, a psychological, evolutionary and ethological theory that provides a descriptive and explanatory framework for understanding interpersonal relationships between human beings. As a psychological assistant registered with the California Board of Psychology, Dr. Walsh has treated individuals, couples and families for a variety of mental health concerns including personality disorders, anger management, eating and substance disorders, and depression. Connect with Dr. Walsh on Facebook.|