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Style & Substance: Raising daughters into young women

Dear style & substance,

I attended your last winter series talk and loved the question you asked about what qualities the women felt were important to instill in raising daughters and young women today. I have been thinking a lot about it and have two daughters myself. What do you two think?

That is a question that too many parents are not reflecting on enough. Although it takes planning, change and discernment; we call this “intentional parenting”. The women’s response hit on two very important themes; SELF-AWARENESS and RESILIENCE. We highly agree with the thoughts shared by our speakers and share some additional thoughts from our experiences raising daughters.

Girls change as they grow, but do we as parents? Beginning with a plan of action to intentionally rear in a positive and empowering direction is great;but changing, adding, and developing that plan is crucial in giving her the tools she will need to come out as a well designed adult! We believe in letting them decide their ultimate outcomes; but giving them the tools they need helps them to make smart, unique, and heartfelt choices.

From Sally: When I had children, my plan seemed quite simple…I wanted my children to have a conscience, with spirituality as the guiding force, and to become happy, healthy, independent and productive adults. When having a guiding mantra, I could make those crucial decisions and measure my guidance by returning to my overall objective. I highly recommend developing a mantra, recipe, or code for direction at any point in your children’s lives! The simpler, the better. The three qualities that I would add to the first two are discipline, curiosity and spirituality.

DISCIPLINE: This works best if you are fairly disciplined yourself….which is hard to maintain when raising kids and is always a work in progress. Set the rules and the consequences and do the follow up. Don’t threaten what you won’t DO. Be consistent. This will give them self-discipline, the ability to regulate their own rules and consequences, as they grow. It also gives them a lot of freedom in the world. I thought of it more as, ‘this is what you CAN do,’ rather than, ‘ this is what you CANNOT do’. Saying ‘yes’ and ‘no’ as opposed to ‘maybe’ is part of the discipline of being able to make a decision. School and extra curricular activities can become easier for the child, because they are used to structure and team work.

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