• Levels of confidence and self-esteem typically drop in young girls as they leave childhood

  • Jo Wimble-Groves offers 3 ways that parents can encourage continued confidence and resilience in their daughters

  • We have therapists and counsellors who specialise in working with adolescents – find them here

As parents and caregivers, we are under increasing pressure to raise confident, well-rounded children. We read article after article both online and offline telling us this. But, despite reading these articles, the question is how do we put this into practice? Particularly in our girls of today. Some say that being a parent is the hardest job in the world and I believe that to be true. We have an overwhelming responsibility to teach children the ways of the world.

Life is never plain sailing and for our girls, there will inevitably be struggles along the way. Whether it is moving home, moving schools, difficulties at home, friendship changes or losses, some of us manage better than others. But the struggles we face in life can make us stronger which is something valuable we have learnt through these written pages. When our daughters worry about what they fear, we must guide them to visualise breaking through that fear barrier.

I know I have spoken a lot about raising girls but the more I think about it, are we raising girls; or are we raising women? As we take the journey from teenhood into womanhood, each day we gain a little sense of self. With every new year that comes, social media tells us to consider a new year and a new you, but maybe it was always about the original you. An opportunity to embrace who you really are.

In my book Rise of the Girl, I discuss through seven conversations around why it is so important for girls to put their hand up from a young age. Because, if they don’t, they risk not raising their hand in adulthood, when they should put themselves forward for an opportunity, any opportunity.  

Here are three ways to build resilience and confidence in our girls:

1. Embrace her strengths

We must remind our girls of their strengths and remind them of how far they have come already. Life is a constant reminder that we can only ‘control the controllables’ and although we may not be able to control what happens in our lives; we can view every event as a stepping stone to a brighter future. 

Reframing is a powerful way for our girls to build their positive mindsets. The power of positivity will go a long way in supporting our girls on their road to success. Whatever success looks like for them.

2. Try something new 

Claire Shipman, co-author of the Confidence Code said: “If your daughter is always wanting to be comfortable, she's not in the right place. You've got to push her out of her comfort zone and that might be literally walking to the library, it might be ordering in a restaurant, it might be cooking an egg and messing it up 400 times. There are a million different ways to force her to use that risk-taking muscle, but if she's not doing some failing—it doesn't have to be failing her junior year, every class, but it’s just ‘targeted failing’; she's really not learning or more importantly, I think, building confidence.”

I love this quote from Claire because it is so relatable. Sometimes, just walking into a restaurant first or asking your daughter to ask for the bill can be small steps to encourage them to build their confidence. Everything starts with a willingness to try, without being afraid of failure. We have learnt that sometimes experiences have their worth. We learn so much through our setbacks and after all, if we had never failed, how would we learn to be resilient?

3. Find positive role models 

It takes courage to stand up for what you believe in, at any age. With the right role models around them, our girls can learn how to grow and nurture their own self-confidence. Learning how to say yes to things; and how to say no. In equal measures, our girls need to learn how to stand up for themselves and to stand up for other people. We need to teach them to walk into a room without having to compare themselves with anyone else. Great role models can teach her the value of good friendships, of kindness and of patience. Teach her how to manage self-doubt, help her to find her voice, strengthen her self-confidence and find the things that she loves.

Raising a girl is not easy but I believe we can achieve it with the right support. Small steps and milestones through their life with your guidance will, in turn, create a resilient, confident girl. Together, we can raise a new generation of strong young women. Empowering girls and women to realise their inner strengths to dream and do. We recognise the strength in our girls, their creativity, inquisitiveness, and we hear their voice. My aim, and my hope is that my book, Rise of the Girl, gives you a powerful toolkit to keep and refer to when you have questions you want to answer or when you need to give your daughter guidance and help her to reach her full potential. The sky’s the limit.

Jo Wimble-Groves is the author of Rise of the Girl

Further reading

How parents can manage anxiety about teenagers becoming independent

What do teens today understand about sex and consent?

9 tips for parenting teens post-pandemic

7 ways to improve your relationship with your teenager

5 mindfulness tips to boost resilience in teens