Although we say this with each generation, I truly believe that raising daughters today is more difficult than it has been in years past. This is because we are raising daughters amid a social-media-crazed world where image is everything and character doesn’t count unless you have a lot of Instagram followers.
On top of this, we live in a post-modern, post-absolute truth society, where the only truth that counts is your truth. This has made for a confusing, cut-throat, anxiety-inducing place to raise strong girls. Still, I believe, and I know it can be done.
This is why I spent the last two years writing and researching how we can successfully raise girls today. The result is a collection of stories, data, tips, and advice to help guide you as you raise your daughter in a toxic culture.
Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture isn’t just “my latest book.” It is one of the most timely and important pieces I’ve ever written. In it, I address everything from self-esteem to anxiety to social media to sex. Everything your daughter is going to ask you about one day or ask her friends about it. This book will equip you for those moments as well as give you a framework for how to view, talk to and deal with your daughter at every stage of life.
From my pediatric practice, life experience, and being a mom to daughters myself, I’ve pinpointed four questions every daughter has. These questions are the big life questions. If you can help guide your daughter to the answers to these key questions, you will pave the way to raising a strong girl, no matter what the culture is like around her.
1. Where did I come from?
Every child wants to know where she came from, but for daughters, knowing this is key to building self-esteem and moral courage. I encourage parents who believe in God to explain to their daughter that she was carefully and meticulously crafted by a loving God whom she can get to know but cannot see. She did not come to exist because of an accident or a mistake. On the contrary, she was wanted. She was anticipated. She was meant to be your daughter. Whether by birth, adoption or foster care, your daughter was designed with a personality unlike any other girl alive and you are thrilled that she is yours.
2. Do I have value and significance?
You might think it is obvious that your daughter is valuable because she’s a human being. But she approaches this question more honestly than most adults do because when it comes right down to it, many of us don’t really believe that we have inherent worth. We believe instead that our worth comes from what we do: our success, our achievements, our good character, our ability to be kind and love others. These are laudable and important things, but ultimately our worth—and your daughter’s sense of self-worth—should not come from what she does or what others think of her.
You can instill an innate sense of value in your daughter by not focusing on her achievements or appearance and instead focusing on who she is and telling her to do the same.