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?