Recently I read an article on Mashable titled 7 Skills To Teach Your Daughter By Age 13. Being a parent of two daughters and a son, I was interested to see what skills the author felt were important.
Before I read the article, I clicked on the authors bio to see how old her daughter was. Not only couldn’t I find a reference to having a daughter, her bio didn’t say anything about even being a parent. The only information listed was her education, work experience and what she does in her free time, which includes hiking with her border collie.
My daughter Jacqueline and I.
You’ll notice I used the word “model” in the title, instead of “teach” as the author of the Mashable article did. Leading by example and modeling what you want to see in your child, is a more effective way of instilling values you consider important. Being a role model for your children involves living by the principles you want them to learn.
1. Trust your intuition and avoid second guessing yourself
This is the most important lesson I learned from my mother. She didn’t criticize the things I liked. She never put down my opinions. She believed in me. As an adult, and later a parent, I realized by doing that she taught me to trust myself and because of that I listen to my instincts and can make hard decisions.
2. Handle your finances
When your daughter is still young, use financial language when you’re with her. Pay your bills while she’s sitting at the table doing her own thing. Let her see you handling your finances in a positive way. When she gets an allowance or part time job, talk about financial responsibility and help her open a savings account and discuss investing.
3. Be able to physically defend yourself
Being able to defend yourself is very empowering. Whether you take a self-defense class or learn to use a firearm, the ability to protect yourself promotes confidence that will be with you in every situation.
4. Be open-minded to other opinions
Be aware of how you express yourself when confronted with an opinion different from your own. Show your daughter that being open-minded to other opinions doesn’t mean you’re abandoning your own.
5. Don’t follow the crowd or popular opinion if it feels wrong
Just as important as being open-minded, is the ability to stand your ground when faced with a popular opinion different from you own. Don’t allow social media or the news to form your opinions for you.
6. Be your own person
Don’t let friends, the media, school or even your family dictate how you live your life. I became a vegetarian when nobody in my family was. I adopted three older children when all my friends were having biological ones. I was the first person in my family or among my friends to unschool my kids. Follow your heart and your daughter will be able to follow hers.
7. Embrace your femininity
Embrace your inner and outer femininity. Our feminine side is softer and compassionate. Our feminine side feels sexy in our favorite lipstick and appreciates a man who opens the door for us. Our feminine side nurtures our family. Show your daughter how you embrace that side of yourself while still having a voice and mind of your own.
It’s important to note that if I wrote this before seeing the Mashable article, the title would have been 7 Skills I Model For My Children. Having children of both genders, I modeled behaviors I wanted all my children to be influenced by, not only my daughters.