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Activities for Boosting Confidence in Girls

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With 24/7 social media it’s difficult to escape the barrage of celebs posting selfies. And it’s even more difficult for girls and young women to not want to be fit in with the cool crowd-if they don’t, it can really suppress or even destroy their self confidence.

We touched base with licensed clinical social worker Aisha D. Pope LCSW, co-founder of Roots and Wings Consulting in La Mesa, California, about confidence-boosting activities. Pope stresses “Even if your young one already displays an air of confidence, she may be conveying it falsely to put up a strong front amongst her peers. Don’t let your girls pin their pride on their traits that are surface, changeable or things they can’t control (i.e.: looks). Encourage them to focus instead on things they can continually develop: problem solving abilities, perseverance, physical strength, kindness and so on.”

1. Ask who her favorite celebrities are and why. She might love Oprah because she’s wealthy or Beyonce because she’s pretty and can sing. Pick a trait that you know your princess shares with Oprah and help her understand it. This way, she’ll be able to identify with the celebrity in a positive way and discover her strengths as well. Pope stresses that you “Remind your girl that we don’t really know much about these ladies-we see what they want us to see. Balance their interest in visible celebrities with less visible women worth looking up to, such as a grandma who put herself through college later in life or female athletes, entrepreneurs, and advocates to show your girl that strength lies beyond looks and artistic talent.”

2. Gather your little girl’s friends together and hand out index cards. Give them a time limit and ask them to write down general positive traits. Then they can comment on ways that each other shows each trait.

3. Buy a journal, one that it’s just for her and completely private. Tell her it’s OK to write about anything she wants. This is especially effective for shy, introverted children who find it hard to verbally express themselves. Written expression is at least one way for kids to let off steam so they’re not as likely to hold it in and become angry or resentful and act out. Pope explains, “It helps girls learn to identify their feelings, wants and opinions. It’s the first step to help them speak out and advocate for themselves.”

4. Play the “Balance” game. “It’s easy to get lost in the maze of self-criticism,” Pope says. If your love is feeling down and self critical, don’t just tell her she’s perfect. Ask her why. If she replies with “I don’t like my hair. It’s always tangled” or something similar, remind her that her peers might covet her hair because it’s curly and luxurious. Adds Pope, “I don’t discourage kids from looking at things they want to work on and making efforts in that direction but I don’t want them to forget that they are more than their flaws.”

Confidence is a delicate trait to establish and build. And it’s even harder to maintain. Take little steps every day to instill your child’s understanding about her importance in this world. Pope notes, “It’s hard for a not confident and harshly self-critical mom to raise a confident girl. Of course we mamas can be insecure too – so do some of these confidence boosting activities yourself and let your girl see parts of your own growth process.”

Shelley Moench-Kelly, MBA, is a New England-based writer and editor whose freelance clients include Google, L’Oreal Paris and

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