12 Ways to Raise Confident Girls and Avoid the Princess Syndrome
12 Ways to Raise Confident Girls and Avoid the Princess Syndrome
12 Ways to Raise Confident Girls and Avoid the Princess Syndrome

#TheresABetterWay

I’ve done a lot of research on ways to raise confident girls, and how to fund college without going broke (because my girls at this stage). After all I’ve learned, there are times when I am taken completely by surprise! Here’s one of them.

Who would ever think to fund college with a Sugar Daddy!

I was straightening up some things in my mom’s home, when the news came on. This story stopped me in my tracks! Sugar babies are looking for sugar daddies to help them fund their college expenses. The girls look to these men as strategic partners who help offset expenses, help them find internships, and jobs after graduation. With the crazy high costs of college, do you think this is a smart option?

First, what exactly is a sugar baby? According to the Urban Dictionary, a sugar baby is a “young female or male who is financially pampered/cared for by a sugar daddy or sugar mama in exchange for companionship (i.e. sexual favors).”
Personally, I wouldn’t want any of my kids looking for a sugar daddy or sugar mommy. (Boys are doing this as well.) While I believe there is a better way to obtain a college degree without incurring a ton of debt, this is not a solution I endorse.

The internet has made it so very easy to meet people. If used correctly, it can be a fun and productive connecting with others you might have never known. Extreme caution is also advised because, let’s face it, there are some weirdos out there!

A website called SeekingArrangment boasts that it has over 1 million college girls signed up, looking for their perfect match. These sugar babies are looking for funding, not necessarily a relationship. But when the man is paying the money, he can pretty much ask for what he wants. 40% of these men are married. The girls can agree to their terms, or keep looking.

While many might think this type of arrangement is harmless, I can help but think about my own children. My husband and I have worked hard to help our children develop into confident and resourceful individuals, knowing that hard work pays off. We believe that relationships are based on respect, integrity and honesty. Being paid to accompany someone sure sounds a little off to me. The website does not promote their members as looking for sex, but let’s get real!

While we all know that college is expensive, there are better ways to get an education, without attending the School of Hard Knocks. There are healthy options to work toward your goals; ways that reflect who you are and who you want to become. Some college girls see this as a simple business transaction. One story I read actually identified these girls as entrepreneurs. While that might be a plausible explanation, there are many others that might come to mind.

A documentary was made about this very topic called “Daddies Date Babies” with award winning journalist, Lisa Ling, This is Life. It’s very enlightening, on all perspectives. Like Lisa, I have no idea where these girls come from (in terms of their backgrounds and situations) and it’s not my place to judge.

What I do know is that I’d never want my own kids to ever go down this dangerous path. Entering into a relationship, where money is exchanged for companionship, can be a slippery slope. So what can we do as parents to empower our children to be confident in themselves, and develop into who they want to become?

Here are 12 ways to raise confident and empowered girls.

1. Believe in them. It’s said that behind every young child who believes in themselves, is a parent who did first. Achievements come in many forms; each and every one is worthwhile. When your child understands that she is a masterpiece, with her own unique talents, there will be nothing that can stop her.

2. GTFO…Get The Family Outside! I actually saw this on a T-shirt, and I cracked up when the designer told me what GTFO could mean. I took his option, and ran with it (not literally, but I did buy it.) Get your kids outside to explore different experiences and to exercise the body (and mind). Your kids will learn to embrace new adventures (big or small), and see what their bodies are capable of. They might just find a new passion!

3. Empathize vs. criticize. We all want to feel understood and heard. I recently listened to a pastor who talked about how we should be a student instead of a critic. It’s easy to make a quick judgment about someone, without taking time to understand what they are going through. Step back, listen and learn from your daughter. You’ll build trust and encourage communication, which will be a lifelong skill she’ll take with her as she grows.

4. Make her passion your priority (even if it kills you.) As the mother of three, each one of our kids has similar and differing interests from us. It’s so fun to see them develop in their own unique ways. Even though it might seem challenging (because it might not be your cup of tea), get involved and learn with her. If your daughter knows she’s got your support, you’ll see her blossom in big, beautiful ways. She might even find her “calling” in life.

5. Princess to Real Lady. My girls had a “Pretty Pretty Princess” game when they were little, and their father was a very willing participant. If he played his cards right, he’d end up with earrings and a tiara. I can still see the girls embellishing his head as they took turns trying to acquire these special trinkets. While the game was cute, I believe it’s more important to help them develop into young women who are confident in their own abilities, instead of dreaming about finding Prince Charming. Spare them from the Princess Syndrome.

6. Teach her to love her outward beauty, as much as her inner beauty. My mom used to count her calories, as she popped Dexatrim. Watching her struggle with body issues, I took the road of bulimia for a bit. After a while, I decided throwing up wasn’t too much fun, so I stopped (thank the Lord!) When I became a mom, I never wanted my girls to doubt themselves like I did. We worked hard on how we spoke to them and about them, never using labels. We focused on their abilities, accomplishments, who they are in Christ, and who they are becoming. We do tell our girls they are beautiful, because in our eyes they are, but it’s not what makes them special. Help your girls take a healthy pride in their appearance, their health and how they show up in the world.

7. Sports build character. We always encouraged our kids to pick a sport each year and try it. We never pushed them into any one thing because we believed that when they found one they liked, they’d stick with it. Some played out well, and others did not. No matter the choice, we cheered them on! As a child, I was never really encouraged to be athletic, but today I absolutely love being active and trying new things. I want my girls to feel the same, embracing activity and a healthy choices part of their lifestyle.

8. Academics matter. Our kids are in school for a long time; just think of how many lunches you pack! Grades aren’t everything, but they can be a great indicator of how hard our kids are working. Are they using their full potential, or skating by. It’s important to know and to support them through these years. Get active in knowing what they are working on, how they are doing and how you can help them develop lifelong study skills. Get involved with other parents and teachers, whether in the PTA or other school related activities. Attend their events, and show up in all areas of their life.

9. Communicate, communicate, and then communicate so more. We get so busy in our days, but they aren’t always productive…right? In order to touch based with each other, make time to talk with each other…even if it’s 10 minutes, during your drive time or prepping for dinner. By asking great questions about her life, friends, and struggles, you’ll help your daughter to find her voice and share what’s in her heart. As they grow up, it can be a struggle if they don’t learn how to speak about what they like or dislike, if they agree or disagree, etc. In a world where there is so much noise, it can be so easy to go along with the crowd when you can’t find your voice and be heard. We were designed with two ears and one mouth for a reason. Wisdom will be gained when we take time to communicate well.

10. Have her back, in all things. We preach respect in our home, which breeds trust. I loved learning the different stages of parenting when my girls were little. The first stage of parenting is “parenting”; this occurs from the time they are born until about middle school. As they enter their teen years, you can shift to more of a mentor role. Kids at this stage need guidance as they learn to formulate opinions, develop skills and relationships, etc. When your child becomes an adult (and that term is used loosely because remember when you were first on your own…yikes), you can then be their “friend”. If you get these roles reversed, you can really mess up your kid. I’ve seen it happen. They need to know they can trust you’ll be there for them, as they develop and mature. Some kids aren’t as fortunate to have loving and engaged parents. But no matter what the time or situation is there is always someone they can trust.

11. Guide her into healthy relationships. Relationships have a huge impact on our kids. They can be positive or negative. Get to know who she’s hanging out with, and get to know their parents. If you have confident trust in one another, she’ll listen to your guidance. We’ve had discussions about our kid’s friends, and how they are showing up in the world. Some started down a slippery path (drugs, alcohol, and sex). We discovered that their family foundation was cracking apart. When we teach our kids to seek out relationships with people who match their morals and values, they will find rich and rewarding friendships. Jim Rohn wisely said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, so help them choose wisely.

12. Hard work pays off. Today’s generation is used to getting what they want immediately. Fast food. Social media “likes” and “hearts”. Text messages. Etc. While technology helps us in so many ways, it’s important to remember that not everything comes in an instant. Talent may open a door, but it’s perseverance and determination that will help you pay your way through life. Nothing worthwhile comes for free. Those that work hard, contribute to society and make a difference in the lives of other people reap rewards much bigger than a paycheck. Yes, we need money to survive, but it’s the daily discipline where priorities and dreams are organized. Proverbs 12:24 shares, “Work hard and become a leader, be lazy and become a slave.” Teach your daughter to become a leader. There is great freedom in discipline and hard work.

Helping your daughters (and sons) to build solid values, good friends and a healthy lifestyle, will give them the foundation they need to show up beautifully in the world. Each day is full of new opportunities, and with that comes a desire to want it now. Teach them to be patient and work hard toward their goals. They’ll realize that taking what comes easy has its consequences. And the only sugar they should be getting is through your love (and your cooking).

How do you instill confidence in your child? We’d love to know!

Blessings to you all,

 

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