Today we are celebrating Molly & Polly’s ‘first birthday,’ because I released their book The Cherry on Top on Amazon exactly one year ago! (Download the free ebook here as my gift to you.)
More importantly though, today is also my daughter’s 10th birthday. Double digits. It’s a big deal, right? All she wanted was to have a big slumber party to celebrate, but of course that isn’t in the cards for this year.
It’s also a big deal because, according to most studies I have read, a girl’s confidence level peaks at age nine. If this is the case, we are now heading down the other side of the slope.
I am afraid for my feisty, self-assured, competitive-dance-loving girl. I hope that she can face her teen years with all the grace, resilience and courage that she has today. But, if these studies are correct, that likely isn’t the case.
I know that when I was 10; I had one of the major roles in the school production of Cinderella (granted it was the less confidence boosting role of ugly stepsister, but I still got up on that stage with nothing but small butterflies in my stomach.) However, by the time I was 12, I can say with all certainty that I would not have been able to do what I had two years prior. Once I started middle school/junior high, I completely changed my group of friends and was unsure of myself with almost every step I took.
"Letting kids see us fail, but then rise again is a powerful lesson."
So, how can we as women help our young girls navigate this tricky terrain - especially when we often struggle with our own self-confidence? I think the best way is to model or provide examples to our girls of imperfect action.
I’d argue that because you have your own battles with self-doubt, you are especially well-equipped to exemplify the traits she needs to be successful in life. Letting kids see us fail, but then rise again is a powerful lesson. Sharing your imperfect action ensures that they don’t hold themselves to too high of a standard. And if they see you owning your individuality and strengths, then they won’t put as much value on what others think of them.
Author Christopher Moore said, “children see magic because they look for it.” Let’s make sure their own unique magic is something all girls can see for a lifetime because we have taught them to look for it within...
I’ll leave you with a few confidence-boosting tips that I plan to use more often in my home:
Remind them often that they are capable and brave.
Tell them to focus on effort, not results, and emphasize that no matter the outcome you will still love them.
Encourage them to challenge themselves, and if they fail, to see mistakes as a part of growth and learning.
Share an inspiring story of a time when you met a goal that seemed out of reach.
Choose a positive affirmation together that they can repeat whenever things seem tough (e.g. I can do hard things OR I am enough)