"No" and I mean it.
The evidence of the potential risks for our daughters are all too apparent. We cannot ignore this but we need to prepare them for it, not protect them from it. We need to decide what skills and competencies they will need to survive and help them to develop them
We all feel at times that we are living in an unsafe World. In order to protect our young women we may teach them to be compliant, charming and nice to get them out of trouble rather than to be confident, competent and assertive. Knowing what she wants and does not want empowers our daughters to say "No" and mean it.
The evidence of the potential risks for our daughters are all too apparent. We cannot ignore this but we need to prepare them for it, not protect them from it. We need to decide what skills and competencies they will need to survive and help them to develop them.
Early / Late Childhood
1. Teach her what a stranger is – they will look ordinary but it is more about what they say and do that makes them strangers. However it is not necessarily someone who is not known to the child that is the danger
2. Role play safety situations, teach them their phone number, show them what a policeman looks like etc. Tell them to speak to the person at the till if they are lost in a shop
3. Emphasise safe behaviour over the dangers! The positive over the negative. Tell them that Mummy must always know EXACTLY where they are at all times
Early / Late Teens
1. Developing a sense of strength and power
We need to teach them to rely on their inner strengths and resources in times of trouble. If we believe they are fragile we will not challenge them to be the best they can.
We need to protect them when they are small, educate them about drugs, alcohol and unsafe sexual practices as they grow – this is right and proper. But protecting them through thinking for themselves or solving their problems helps them to rely on their own strengths in protecting themselves.
By allowing them to experience the thrill of solving their own problems, to feel the power of what they want to happen and going for it we equip them with the ability to say no to the things they don’t want and yes to what they want out of life.
2. Physical strength
We need to encourage our daughters to take part in sports and exercises that confirm their physical strengths and abilities. Developing a competency in a physical skill increases self esteem. Help them find a sporting activity they love and support them in it.
Self defence classes may be a good idea – they tend to be about attitude and saying "No" rather than being a black belt in karate! This is powerful stuff for our daughters.
Angry women are labelled as "witch, shrew, bitch or nag" these labels encourage women to stifle these feelings and not show their true emotions about things. This may also lead to a fear of anger in themselves and others which will hamper them in later life. We need to allow our daughters to feel angry and help them channel that anger constructively.