3 Strategies for Raising Successful Daughters

ann school pic 19663 Strategies for Raising Successful Daughters

As young adults, our daughters will face a world far more competitive than ours. If we want them to succeed in an age of lingering unemployment, corporate retrenchment, and tight credit, we need to offer them more than support and encouragement. We need to help them acquire the power of self-efficacy: the belief that they are capable of handling whatever comes along.

At the Girls Now! conference sponsored by Girls Empowerment Network last weekend, I urged parents to be more than cheerleaders or helicopters. I urged them to consider these three strategies for raising successful daughters:

1. Recognize your daughter’s mastery of skills/knowledge and encourage others to do the same
because girls need recognition in order to embrace their ambition
(Resource: “Necessary Dreams: Ambition in Women’s Changing Lives” by Anna Fels)

2. Supply her with experiences that challenge gender stereotypes
because gender stereotypes are created by environment, not biology
(Resource: “Pink Brain, Blue Brain” by Lise Eliot)

3. Encourage her father (or father figure) to increase his parental involvement
because the decisive factor for successful children is an actively participating father
(Resource: “Getting to 50-50” by Sharon Meers and Joanna Strober)

Tell me, what strategies have worked for you?

2 Responses to 3 Strategies for Raising Successful Daughters

  1. cvharquail November 17, 2009 at 10:49 am #

    Ann, this one is rather obvious, and surprisingly challenging…. I think a lot about being a good role model, not just in the day to day stuff, but in terms of the arc of my ‘career’ & life…When I tell my daughters about my choices I’m thoughtful about how I frame them. Usually I try to emphasize my decision processes, especially overcoming various obstacles. And, when I talk about current challenges, I try to link them to the big picture… like, “I’m going to be very busy these next 3 weeks finishing my research paper, and it’s important enough to me that I stay focused on that, so I’m not going to the PTA lunch” or whatever. I also try to talk about the choices of other women we know, so that they see options.

  2. Ann Daly November 17, 2009 at 1:17 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your strategy! Your kids are lucky to have a mom that’s constantly showing them that life is a series of choices and that we try to consciously make them the best that we can. I think that especially helps kids learn that, if they meet an obstacle or a dilemma, they have the tools to work out the best choice! Brava.