Raising daughters is tricky. And while raising kids, in general, is a challenge, to be sure, moms of daughters have a unique set of hardships. Girls have to balance the pressures of society while also mitigating their internal ambition to do whatever their hearts desire. As such, following the straight and narrow path is the way many girls try to fit in but to be successful, girls need more than just rules to follow and societal expectations to conform to.
They need strong mamas who know how to help their daughters build their confidence, explore the world, and plan for future success. And whether or not you feel successful as a grown woman or not, there are ways you can help your daughter’s odds of reaching her dreams almost from day one. Being a mom is difficult and trying, but the potential reward of growing a successful, dependable, intelligent, confident, and beautiful young woman makes it all worth it in the end!
Of course, it takes a lot of work to raise successful daughters, no matter what your measure of true success may be. To that end, here are twenty ways moms can help raise successful daughters—and some of them are probably things you’re already doing.
20 Don’t Tell Her She Can Be Anything
Of course, every mom wants her daughter to know that she can be and do anything she puts her mind to.
The thing is, we don’t tell boys that—it’s basically assumed from the start.
So instead of making a big show of telling girls how special they are and how capable, why not just let them believe it through living daily life? Rather than imposing limits on your girl or suggesting that certain things are only for boys, let her go where her heart desires, supporting her every step of the way.
Odds are, she’ll never need to be verbally told she can do anything—she’ll already know it.
19 Let Her Struggle & Fail
People who have everything handed to them as children wind up being obnoxious and self-centered adults. And in the real world, struggle builds character, so there’s no harm in messing up every once in a while. Plus, think back to when you did something wrong. You probably learned something from it—like how not to do something or how not to handle a situation.
Living is learning but experiencing difficulties and failing, only to pick yourself up again, just makes you stronger.
Helping your daughter with all her problems or preventing problems in the first place doesn’t teach her how to be strong and overcome.
So hands off, mama!
18 Set An Example Of Hard Work
I’ve read countless stories of how hard-working (and usually single) moms have inspired their children to work hard to achieve their goals. But even if you’re partnered up, there are ways you can set a good example for your daughter, and one of those ways is by working hard.
Whether you’re working a job with long hours or just dealing with demanding circumstances, showing your daughter that it’s possible to excel and overcome at work plus balance life as a mom literally shows her that anything is possible.
And if you’re a stay at home mom, don’t forget to show her just how difficult your job is and how well you do it!
17 Model Healthy Relationships
Another way moms can help mold successful daughters is by showing them what healthy relationships look like. This includes not only your relationship with your partner, but also your relationship with your parents, your friends, and any other children you have. Family relationships are the first influence on a girl’s life, so it’s hugely important that she has people around her who love her, support her, and aren’t afraid to be tough with her when the situation warrants it.
No one is perfect, but showing your daughter that even husbands and wives fight sometimes but always work things out can help her learn how to approach her own relationships.
16 Expect More From Her
Girls are great at sewing and cooking, right? Wrong!
Girls are good at so many things, including math, engineering, and sports! And well-meaning moms can encourage all these areas to help their daughters become well-rounded and successful, well into adulthood.
Even if your daughter claims she’s bad at math or that she just can’t make that goal, be her personal cheerleader and set expectations that are realistic but also challenging.
Expecting more from your daughter shows her that she can achieve success, even in areas that are difficult—with mom’s help and her own intelligence and strong will, too.
15 Encourage Her To Get Messy
Sometimes, moms inadvertently discourage their daughters from truly getting messy at a young age. We dress our girls in frilly outfits, prize their cleanliness, and typically keep them from getting down on the ground and exploring.
But connecting with nature—even in messy ways—is healthy for all kids, not just boys!
And if you let your daughter explore in nature more, you might just be surprised at what she can accomplish. From learning about animals and their habitats to just getting her hands into the dirt, girls benefit in big ways from getting messy and especially exploring on their own.
As hard as it is, moms should step back and let their girls go crazy outside every so often!
14 Nurture Her Interests
Whatever your daughter is naturally interested in, that’s what you should encourage her to pursue.
It might not be the stereotypical pink and princess everything (although it could be!), but whatever your daughter is passionate about, you should think about getting involved in it, too. Showing kids that their passions matter to us helps them to formulate their own identities and their place in the world. Knowing that what they care about is just as important as what mom or dad cares about helps them to feel like they have a place in the world and that they’re respected.
13 Show Her What’s Possible
Of course, you are your daughter’s first and probably most important role model. But did it occur to you to expose her to other formidable female icons, too? From Wonder Woman to your favorite TV and book heroines to important people from history, there are endless role models for girls to admire and relate to.
Not only do girls benefit from seeing these strong role models in their everyday lives, but they’ll learn to recognize that heroes can be boys or girls, regular people or super beings, and maybe even your girl herself.
At the end of the day, seeing powerful women helps both boys and girls to understand that we’re all equal and important.
12 Instill A Love Of Reading
Studies have shown time and time again that reading to our kids is a huge part of their development and early education. For girls, I think this is even more important! Not only do we have a huge opportunity to expose girls to great literature and innovative ideas, but we can also nurture their creativity, show them role models who they can imitate, and introduce new ideas that can take them to exciting places.
Plus, girls who are read to a lot when they’re young will often go on to become voracious readers as grownups, too. And with the ability to read well, you can do practically anything!
11 Teach Her To DIY
Gone are the days when a woman had to stand around waiting for a man to fix whatever needed fixing! Girls these days are stronger, more confident, and more knowledgeable than ever before. Ladies can learn to change tires, change the car’s oil, fix stuff around the house, build things, and even do traditionally male-dominated jobs like construction work, engineering, and others.
To raise a successful daughter, moms should make sure their girls know how to take care of their cars, their homes, and themselves—including how to change the oil, use a screwdriver, operate the lawnmower, and unclog the toilet.
10 Don’t Discount Mom Goals
If your daughter has expressed her interest in becoming a mom from the moment she could talk, don’t fret! Many girls—and boys—start talking about babies early on in life. And while some people think having kids and being a stay at home parent isn’t desirable, it’s a critically important job in our society!
And you don’t want to limit your girl by telling her she has to choose something other than motherhood as a career goal—odds are, her interests will change as she grows.
Besides, by the time she’s an adult, she might want to choose both motherhood and a job that she loves—and there’s nothing wrong with that, either.
9 Give Her Space For Relationships
This is probably the most difficult piece of advice to give to other moms, but it’s got to be said: pushing your tween or teen away from a boy she likes will only make the attraction stronger. After all, we all know how hormones work and how parents will always lose the fight.
The key to raising a successful girl is to give her space to work out her own relationships—in a mature way!
Obviously, this involves being open with your daughter from day one, and she should be prepared to stand up for herself (and her body if it comes to that) in any relationship, whether it’s puppy love or next-level.
8 Keep Communication Open
This tip ties in with giving your daughter space: she should know from a young age that she can come to you with any concerns. Ideally, you’ll have the birds and the bees talk long before she has a serious boyfriend she’s sneaking out to see. Also, instilling values in her comes from being open and honest about mistakes you’ve made in your life, too.
Rather than telling your daughter what you expect from her, share with her along the way so she can make her own decisions—in line with the values you two agree on together.
7 Support Her Own Style
Tween and teen girls are notorious for their offbeat fashion choices, regardless of what style crazes the general population takes on. So don’t be too surprised if your typically demure teen suddenly wants to change her hair or her wardrobe—it’s all part of figuring out who she is as a person.
The best thing parents can do is support their girls’ desires, as long as they’re reasonable.
Supporting your daughter’s style not only makes you a cool mom by default, but it also lets her explore her personality and her boundaries in a safe way. After all, clothing is replaceable and hair grows back!
6 Not Pushing For Mom's Profession
Whatever your “profession,” it’s never a good idea to push it on your daughter. After all, she’s her own person and will likely have very different interests than you do. Therefore, raising a successful daughter involves more than encouraging her to follow in your footsteps.
Even if you’re a completely devoted mom who stays at home all day, that might not be what she wants to do. And even if you’re a completely devoted mom who works a full-time job, that doesn’t mean your daughter will want to do that, either. Essentially, don’t expect that she’ll go on to imitate you in adulthood, as flattering as it might be.
5 Follow Your Heart
Even though you’re a mom now, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow your own dreams. Even if you never got around to accomplishing what you wanted to before having kids, showing your daughter that you haven’t given up on yourself is the best way to show her that she can do whatever she puts her mind to.
Whether it’s finishing up your education, going after your dream job, or quitting work to stay home with your babies, do whatever it is that makes you feel successful—and don’t be shy about sharing that with your daughter. After all, following your heart is a great ability to have!
4 Don’t Criticize Yourself
Most moms are unhappy with some part of their bodies, and it’s totally understandable. Having kids changed our bodies in ways we couldn’t have ever expected. But that doesn’t mean we need to gripe about them in front of our kids, especially our daughters!
Body confidence seems to be at an all-time low among young girls and women, and to keep our daughters from feeling bad about themselves, we need to model plenty of self-love.
And even though our girls don’t appreciate their blemish-free bods right now, showing them that we love our own flawed ones can encourage self-esteem and help your daughter’s self-worth.
3 Open Up On Tough Topics
Although ideally, you should try and be open and keep communication with your daughter from day one, it doesn’t hurt to try and fix things later on! This means opening up about tough topics even as your daughter gets older.
It starts with the birds and the bees talk, but you should continue a dialog throughout puberty and beyond to help your daughter through tough topics.
Sometimes it helps to ignore the eye-rolls and sighs; keep soldiering on and make sure your daughter understands she can always ask questions and come to you for advice—no matter how awkward it might be.
2 Standing Up For Herself Shows Character
Plenty of little girls these days have a hard time standing up for themselves. And in a world that’s still mostly run by men, it’s understandable that she’d feel a bit intimidated out in the world.
That’s why your job as a mom includes showing her how standing up for yourself shows character and confidence, and that she should never be afraid to defend herself.
Being bold is a good quality, and it doesn’t matter if other people don’t like it—your daughter will be more successful the more she’s able to look out for herself, no matter who she offends in the process.
1 Don’t Call Her Bossy, She’s A Boss
There’s been a meme going around for a long time about not calling girls “bossy.”
And while anyone can be bossy, the idea is that little girls who “boss” people around are actually showing off leadership skills and the ability to call the shots with confidence.
And at the end of the day, isn’t that what boss moms are all about? A successful woman is a boss, and your daughter is well on her way there if she’s able to both stand up for herself and push forward for what she wants. Plus, those leadership skills might help one day when she’s the CEO of her own company, and beyond.