You Are More Than Pretty…Building Our Girl’s Self-Esteem

As far as I can remember I have always had my struggles with low self-esteem. I have had my share of picking apart certain parts of myself that I wish I could do away with or run away from. From the moment the doctor informed me that I was having a girl, I vowed that I would never project any of my insecurities onto my daughter. I promised that I would never magnify her insecurities but celebrate those things that make her different and unique.

As mothers it is very easy for us to project our own insecurities onto our girls. For example, if your weight is something that you are insecure with you may find yourself focusing on your daughter’s eating to ensure that she does not gain to much weight. You may call it protecting her from the things you had to deal with, but in fact mom, you are projecting. Yes, I agree as mothers we should be mindful of what our daughters are eating; however, we should not direct it towards her weight. We have to be mindful of the things that we say and do as it pertains to our girls.

Young children have relatively high self-esteem, which gradually declines over childhood. Self-esteem continues to decline during adolescence, perhaps due to a decrease in body image and other problems associated with puberty, academics and social challenges (Apgar, 2018, p.74-75). As children develop cognitively, they begin to base their self-evaluations on external feedback and social comparisons. Adolescent boys have higher self-esteem than adolescent girls.

I mentioned that I have always struggled with some form of low self-esteem. I can pick myself apart better than anybody on this earth. Give me 5 minutes and I can run down every one of my imperfections. However, because of this I am extra cognizant about talking with Khristian about her self esteem and its importance.

Talking to Khristian about her self-esteem made me realize that our children are literally born with a blank slate. From the minute our daughters are born we write on the slate of who they are and who they ultimately can become. As mothers, we have a small window of time and opportunity to build and shape our daughter’s confidence so that she can pursue her dreams no matter how big or small. Self-esteem goes far beyond how often we tell our girls how beautiful and pretty they are. Self-esteem is about our girls knowing who they are and how capable they are of achieving anything they put their mind to. Self-esteem is our girls knowing and realizing that they are enough…more than enough.

During Khristian and I last “Sundae Sunday” she made it very clear that her self esteem was off the charts. Her self confidence was recently boosted to an all time high when she was placed in the academically gifted program this school year. Y’all’s niece thinks she is the smartest thang walking around the house. Her swag has literally been on a thousand since she found out. Although, I am very pleased that she thinks very highly of herself I had to remind her that she may also want to serve a dose of humility along side all of that confidence. Do I want her to tone it down a notch, not at all. I just want her to stay humble. There’s definitely a fine line between high self esteem and humility. As mothers we have to model to our girls where that line is. But in the meantime let us not dim their light of self-confidence because I can assure you that the world will try.

Yes, the world will try to dimmer our brown girl’s light of self-confidence. You can bet on that!! This world will try to eat them up and spit them out if we do not instill in them their value and their worth. As a mother of a little brown girl it is my responsibility to model to her what self-esteem and self-confidence looks like as well as how to define it.

From one mother to another here are a few tips on building your growing girl’s self-esteem and self-confidence:

  • Encourage your daughter to learn new things.
  • Allow your daughter to take risks and challenge herself.
  • Allow them to make age appropriate choices and take responsibility for their choices.
  • Do not project your insecurities onto her. That’s your stuff, not hers.
  • Focus on your daughter’s strengths.
  • Remind her that she’s more than pretty.

Building your daughter’s self-esteem is an ongoing part of parenting. The way we interact with our daughters will determine the type of woman they will become.

I hope you have found this blog to be helpful. What tips can you share that you have found to be successful in building your daughter’s confidence.

Best,

Alexia

A Conversation Worth Having: This School Year Will Be Different, Are You Ready?

Going back to school is traditionally a time when our children are excited about wearing their new outfits, new shoes, and rocking their new bookbags. They are overly excited about seeing their old friends from last year, meeting new friends, and meeting their new teacher. Everything about the first day of school screams “FRESH & NEW”!! As parents this is the time of the year where we beam with pride at how much our babies have grown. Yet, we still have a moment of sadness because our kids are getting older and they are no longer those cute little babies they were the year before. On the first day of school we pose our kids in the front yard with their cute little outfits on and take their “obligatory first day of school” picture. Some of y’all are probably exhaling a deep sigh of relief because you know this is your kid’s last year of high school and you are beyond ready for her to go…#nojudgementzone.

Whatever your feelings are about the first day of school or whatever traditions your family has been accustomed to, this school year will be different. This school year our kids will be starting school in their pajamas and/or leggings. Instead of pretty pink notebooks and unicorn bookbags they will have Chromebooks and WIFI’s. From a kindergartner to a senior in high school this will be a lot to understand and surely a lot to process. For me it is hard to process so I can only imagine what a child may think about all of this.

During our last “Sundae Sunday”, Khristian and I talked about how her upcoming school year will possibly look. At the time we didn’t know who her teacher would be; therefore she was still in “summer mode” and didn’t really give me any concrete thoughts about returning back to school. She was pretty nonchalant about it all until her teacher assignment letter came. When the teacher assignment letter came in the mail it became real to her. She ran up to her room and grabbed her yearbook from the past school year to look up her new teacher. She was ecstatic about meeting her new teacher until she remembered that she wouldn’t physically meet her until mid October. At that time I knew by the look on her face we needed to have an impromptu “Sundae Sunday”.

She and I grabbed some leftover Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and discussed her feelings about not physically seeing her friends and meeting her new teacher for approximately 9 weeks into the school year. I listened to her as she processed her thoughts about things being different for her this school year. “Sundae Sunday” is a time where I do more listening rather than talking. She stated that she was excited about going back to school and that she was excited about eventually meeting her new teacher. She mentioned that she did not have any major thoughts about not seeing her friends or meeting new friends for the next 9 weeks. She stated that although she misses school; she is okay with starting back to school virtually. We have enrolled her in a remote learning support program. The program will allow her to maintain her schedule and routine as well as provide her the social interaction that she needs for her overall wellbeing. Sometimes you have you have to do what works for you and your child. Overall, I would say that she appears to be pretty optimistic about the upcoming school year.

Now, trust me I understand that all children are not going to handle this conversation like Khristian. There are some children who are currently experiencing major anxiety behind not starting school within the next few weeks. There are some children who are aware of their personal circumstances and because of that it makes them very uneasy about not returning back to school. There are some children who thrive off having peer social interaction and not being able to go to school can lead to some form of depression for them.

Now parents as you are having this conversation, make sure you are doing more listening than talking. Listening is always the key!! I know that we can be quick to offer a solution to our children’s problems but often times our own anxieties can fuel our children’s anxieties.

So as you are having the back to school conversation with your child, I would encourage you to do the following things:

  1. Remain calm and try not to project your anxieties or fears onto your child.
  2. Review their school schedule and their new routine prior to the 1st day of school.
  3. Try to maintain as much normalcy as you can during this time. Take the obligatory 1st day of school picture!! Wake them up just as excited as you were if they were heading to the bus stop on the 1st day of school.
  4. Encourage them to communicate with their peers during this time.
  5. Always make yourself available if your child needs to talk. Remember less talking and more listening.
  6. Show yourself grace. This is new for everyone, including you. Things are different for everyone and its okay not to have all of the answers.
  7. If your child is not handling the changes very well, I would encourage you to seek out professional assistance.

So as we gear up for the 2020-2021 school year, one thing we can bet on is ourselves. We can bet that we will do whatever we need to do to make sure that our children will have their BEST school year yet!! Despite the changes that may come our way we will always show up for our children and be our best selves in spite of it all. But in the meantime, show yourself some grace mama!! WE GOT THIS!!!!!!

Sundae Sunday’s Favorite Products For The Growing Girl!!

As I conclude this blog series regarding our growing girls and the changes in their body, I will be remised if I did not share some of my favorite things while on this journey through puberty and such. These are a few of our favorite things that have proven to be a healthy benefit for my daughter, my growing girl.

  1. Luxe Fragrance Bar- 100% Shea Butter Soufflé This 100% shea butter is perfect for ALL SKIN TYPES. This product helps to keep Khristian’s skin hydrated and moisturized especially during the winter months. I begin using this product on my son when he was experiencing dry skin on his legs and back. It is very airy and light. This product is highly recommended for people with Eczema. This has become a Mitchell family favorite!! Check out the website at http://www.luxefragrancebar.com!! Use the code “sundae” for 10% off your purchase!!!

2. Lizzie’s All Natural Products-All Natural Deodorant This deodorant is baking soda free, aluminum free, paraben free and non toxic. I purchased the Lemongrass-Bergamot scented deodorant for Khristian and I. It smells so good and citrusy!! It comes in Lavender as well. Moms and daughters can both use this deodorant to smell and feel fresh all day!! Check out the website at http://www.productsbylizzie.com. Use the coupon code “sundaesunday” to receive 10% off your total purchase!!

3. Dove Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar I know that Dove has caught a lot of bad publicity over the years in regards to their marketing and lack of diversity. Yet, I am the first to say that Dove works very well for my daughter and I. Dove is a product that is suitable for daily use on her face and body. The Dove Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar is hypoallergenic and does not dry out her skin. Dove products can be purchased at any big box retailer.

4. The Honey Pot Feminine Wash- Moms, I am recommending this product for us!! Thank Me Later!! The Honey Pot Feminine Wash is a product that I love, love, LOVE!! This vaginal wash formula is 100% all natural and is made with all herbal ingredients. This amazing product can be purchased at Target!!

These are some of my favorite products for my growing girl Khristian. I also threw in one for my moms too….I can’t forget about us!! If you have any products that have worked for your growing girl or products that you are currently using. Please share!!