We MUST make them strong!!! Survival Skills for Raising a Daughter!

Oh my, friends! Today, I had a 16 year old patient that I am worried may be in an abusive relationship…  I want those of you that have daughters to understand how important it is to make sure they are physically and emotionally healthy enough to make it in this difficult society!

I’d like to share a list of things I have come up with to help us all raise strong, capable, confident, and emotionally secure daughters!

Here are a few tips:

  • Teach Do unto others, this is the ultimate golden rule! Treat her with respect and set the example when dealing with others!

    My girl

    My girl

  • Always tell your daughter that she is beautiful! Let her know that the most important beauty is on the inside!  
  • Always use manners! ‘Yes, please’ and ‘No, thank you’ show kindness and respect!
  • Communicate openly! Talk to your daughter often, and let her know you are always there to listen. Regardless of what she tells you, never act surprised, anything and everything is open for discussion. Remember, if she doesn’t talk to you, she will talk to someone else.
  • Explain that everyone has flaws, that is what makes us all human. As a parent, set an example, don’t criticize yourself or your self image. Children often follow in our footsteps.
  • Encourage her to pick the right friends. The “cool” girls are only cool if they are nice to other people. Teach your daughter that true friends respect her choices and decisions and won’t make her feel inferior or left out.
  • Encourage involvement in sports and other group activities. Sports, playing an instrument, girl scouts, etc. teaches life skills and builds self confidence.
  • Teach your daughter to dress appropriately. It is best to leave what is underneath covered up, only to be discovered by someone that truly cares and respects her.
  • Limit social media! Today’s children can be cruel, and social media is an easy outlet for bullying.
  • Encourage your daughter to speak for herself. Don’t speak for her! Allowing her to speak and express herself prepares her for the future.
  • Teach your daughter that knowledge is power. Doing well in school really does pay off when it comes time to prepare for the future.
  • Encourage her to Read!! Reading makes you smarter!
  • Encourage her to bring her friends home to meet you. This will pay off when the boyfriends start coming around. Meeting your daughter’s friends is crucial to knowing what is going on in her world.

These are just some suggestions, please feel free to let me know of any suggestions you have to help us all raise healthy and happy young women!

Now, let me tell you why I felt so strongly about sharing this information with you. I am hopeful that Janie isn’t in as bad a situation that I fear she may be….

Janie came in because she had an “eye that was bruised” from hitting it on a table picking up her baby’s bottle. Janie is 16, has a 4 month old daughter, and was brought in by her fiance, aka, her baby daddy. When I first walked into the room Janie didn’t say a word, but the guy with her asked “how long would she look like that?” I informed him that bruises can take a couple weeks to go away. He immediately said that he needed me to write a note to keep her out of school for a week or two until this went away, because “he had a reputation to uphold!” Red flags immediately went off in my mind!! HE had a reputation to uphold… I refused to write an excuse to keep her out of school for something that is not contagious. Her education was important, and this bruise did not interfere with her learning. I continued, saying that appearances are not how we judge people. Someone’s value and self worth is not from outward appearances, but from what they can give to those around them and their community. He shrugged, and gave me a “humph” and it was obvious he didn’t like my answers. Janie proceed to tell me she had a little bit of pressure and watering from the eye, but otherwise was fine. Her fiance proceeded to tell me that he was going to move Janie a few states away to where his family was after she finished high school. At this point, all kinds of warning bells were going off in my head.  I had to figure out a way to talk to Janie one on one!!

I was worried that Janie was in an abusive relationship! How could I help???  I’m not sure why, but Janie’s fiance left the room, and I took my opportunity. I told Janie I had looked up the ER report and was not worried that there was something serious going on with her eye. I did ask her if anyone had ever hit her or hurt her? She said no, and the ER asked the same thing. I told her that I thought her fiance seemed a little controlling, and NO ONE should control another person!! I encouraged her to consider her situation. I also told her that emotional abuse is just as bad as physical abuse, and she should be in control of what goes on in her life. I invited her to come back and talk with me at anytime if someone hurt her or if she was worried about being in a relationship that she needed help getting out of. Janie responded by asking, “What’s your name again?” I told her, and she smiled, and said “Thanks.” I hope I see Janie again soon, and hope that I can help….

I am sharing this with you because odds are at least 1/2 of you are raising daughters.  There are too many young women in our society that end up in physically or emotionally abusive relationships. 

As parents, it is our job to raise daughter’s that are strong enough to avoid partners that are going to be abusive or controlling.

And, if you are raising a son, make sure you teach him to treat girls with respect at an early age. Raising strong, confident, mentally healthy men is a huge responsibility too, but that’s for another post. 😉

No one said it was going to be easy, but I can promise you it will be worth all the effort and hard work! Enjoy the journey! 😉

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