Every Halloween, little girls all over the country choose costumes that reflect what they want to be when they grow up. And each year we see many girls choosing to dress as princesses and fairies, kitty cats and maybe the odd superhero. Rarely do we see young girls dressing as executives, scientists, or world leaders. It can seem benign enough, but it does beg the question: are young girls still under the impression their choices in life are limited? And what can girl moms do to set a good example for our future generation of leaders?
The Importance of Role Models
If you are a runner, you probably know that for most of human history no one was able to run the 4-minute mile. In 1940, someone actually got to 4:01, and for nine years that is where the record stayed, with not one runner in the entire world being able to break it.
It seemed to everyone that the human body, no matter how fit and trained, would never be able to break that record. But then on May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister broke the 4-minute barrier, running the distance in 3:59.4.
And then a very interesting thing happened: barely a year after this feat, someone else ran a mile under 4 minutes, and then more runners did it, and then even more. Now it’s common practice for runners to run the mile in under 4 minutes.
Role models show others what is possible, and that’s powerful. Humans tend to not attempt things unless we believe it can be accomplished.
Our children learn from watching us. They learn how to think, act, and feel about themselves and the world around them. Here are some ways mothers can set a positive example and serve as a strong female role model for their daughters:
It’s important for girl moms to encourage their daughters to be healthy and strong, but not to obsess over beauty. It’s not enough to talk the talk, moms have got to take care of their bodies and health and accept themselves as they are. Mothers and daughters should discuss that value and self-worth should not be based on your reflection in the mirror, the fit of your clothes, or the number on the scale.
Unless they are shown otherwise, young girls may grow up assuming they must constantly please others and never say no. Girl moms, it’s important to show your daughters that setting boundaries is healthy and necessary. Young women should learn early that it’s okay to put their needs first.
Confidence comes from a mindset that failure and mistakes are merely chances to learn. It also comes from knowing strengths and abilities as well as limitations. In other words, confidence is a byproduct of knowing and accepting our true selves.
Are you having a hard time being the role model you’d like to be? Maybe you’re a stressed-out single parent who could use some coping strategies. If you’d like to speak with someone, please be in touch. One of our licensed therapists would be happy to discuss how they may be able to support you.