We all want the best for our daughter, right? The intention is so strong yet sometimes we really need to check ourselves and become aware of how our words and our actions may be adversely shaping her reality. As a mom to two young girls, I am the first to notice how my words and actions may be limiting my girls. Reminding myself that I want to raise girls who are aware of their own personal power and use it in ways to raise their own vibration and the energy of those around them keeps me in check.

“You’re so pretty.”

Consistently focusing on your daughter’s outer appearances instead of her inner intelligence can be detrimental. Making her looks a primary focus creates unhealthy and unreasonable expectations of herself and invites her to put all of her energy into improving her outer beauty rather than expanding her mind. Alternative ways of acknowledging your daughter could be by saying “You’re so strong,” “You’re so brilliant,” “You’re so kind.” If you do want to compliment her outer appearance, find ways to highlight her natural beauty as it relates to her whole self so that you are not necessarily focusing on the features but rather on the person who possesses them. An example could be: I love the way you face lights up when you smile.” What are some other positive statements you could use to compliment your daughter’s inner light?

“I’ll do that for you.”

So often we baby our girls and insist on doing things for them that they ought to and are more than capable of doing for themselves. This is a mother’s natural instinct – I personally struggle with taking a step back all the time. As long as it is safe for her to do so, grant your daughter the space she needs to learn, grow and evolve. This requires consciously holding yourself back at times when you want to step in. She can pour her own milk (What’s the worst that can happen?), clean her own room and resolve her own friendship disputes. How might you encourage your daughter to flex her independence muscles?

“I look awful!”

Every time you think or act in a way that is disrespectful to yourself, you are unintentionally setting your daughter up for a pattern of low self worth. You are her first role model and her first understanding of what it is to be a woman. She is always following all your cues. Even when you think low-quality thoughts about yourself, you are unintentionally acting in a way to validate those thoughts and bring those qualities to life. Choose your words carefully when describing yourself. Trash comments like “I’m so fat” or “I look awful today” because the main message that you are driving home for her is “I am not enough” and that is certainly not the lens through which you want your daughter to view herself. How can you create a more loving relationship with yourself?

“Stop crying.”

Using phrases like this especially as our girls are moving through tough transformative phases of their lives, is basically sending the message that she should hide her emotions. It is my belief that it is through those emotions that we can create meaning and magic in our lives. The ability to express our authentic feelings is what makes us part of the human race while providing us with a connection point to ourselves and to others. Nurture your daughter’s emotions by acknowledging and validating her, even when you don’t understand or don’t agree with her views. What’s one way that you can honor your daughter’s emotions?

“You can’t have your cake and eat it too!”

Yes, life has its ups and downs, and each of us have our fair share of challenges, but why set our daughter up with a belief system that dictates that she can’t have it all? Our daughters are internalizing the language that they hear and using it as their own internal dialogue. Let’s change up our own frequency and show them a world where the possibilities are endless when they are willing to think outside the box work hard for what they want. How would your life have been different if you believed that you could have your cake and eat it too?

“I told you so.”

Saying “I told you so” to your daughter will make her feel like you were hoping that she would inevitably fail and that you would be right. This is not the mindset that we want to be raising our daughters with. Yes, as mothers we want to shelter our little girl and save her from the world – discouraging her however from making her own choices, and yes, making her own mistakes will keep her stagnant and block the flow of fresh experiences into her life. More importantly, it will rob her ability to be resilient by rising above poor judgment calls and less than desirable outcomes, on her own terms. The next time you feel the urge to say the words “I told you so” ask yourself this about your relationship with your daughter: “Would I rather be right or happy?” – I hope you will choose happy and have faith that her mistakes will be her greatest stepping stones in life.

“That’s a man’s job.”

Giving guidance to our girls by saying things like “that’s a man’s job” provides them with the false understanding that their dreams, goals and desires are limited to those that have been predetermined for them as a female. Let’s not limit our girls by dictating what they can and cannot do based on their traditional gender roles. As we well know, a girl’s capabilities are endless and she is fully equipped to do whatever she sets her heart and mind to. Instead allow your daughter’s skills and passions to lead the way in terms of how she chooses to earn money and add value to our planet. How can you support your girl to be her authentic self?

“You need to be more girly.”

So often we hear parents telling their kids to be more “girly” – what does this term really mean? Where does the line get drawn between a girl who likes to paint her nails and one who likes to play sports? Labels in all of their forms {girly, tomboy, the pretty one, etc} will only shove our daughters into a box that will overtime become impossible to break out of as when she should be transitioning and growing. Being a girl who likes to wear pink, do her hair and dance does NOT require a label. Being a girl who likes to play basketball, get her hands dirty and wear make-up does NOT require a label. Let’s embrace and encourage our daughters to simply be who they are and do what they love as they evolve on their own path without the need pigeonhole them.

“You’re a quitter.”

Please stay about from the word quit in all of it’s forms.The girl who is curious and always looking for new opportunities and adventures will show up for life with a very strong sense of self and a strong connection to what brings her joy. One of my clients shared that the few times that she was called a quitter as a little girl really stuck with her. Although she has worked through the limitations that this title imposed on her, it is a constant effort to remind herself that she is a multi-passionate woman with many interests, not a quitter. Calling your daughter a quitter blocks her flow of creativity and disconnects her from exploring her passions. Instead nurture her desire to learn in her own way and at her own pace. How can you applaud your girl for having the confidence and willingness to explore everything that is possible for her?

“Stop eating so much — You’re getting fat.”

For the love of all that is good, do NOT call your daughter fat and do not teach her to tie her self worth to her size. This form of body shaming will only guarantee her a life lacking in self esteem and self love. As her mother, the value that she places on your words could be the trigger to a lifetime of eating disorders. Simply put – erase the word “fat” from your vocabulary. It serves no purpose and solves nothing. If you are truly concerned about her mental and physical health, provide her with healthy food options in the home, and engage her in healthy activities such as taking walks together, doing yoga together or cooking a nutritious meal together. How can you implement a more healthy lifestyle strategy in your home?

“You should be more like…”

By comparing your daughter to others, you are inviting her to always compare herself to everyone who crosses her path. That constant state of self scrutiny will keep her striving for a reality that is not her own and will instill an unrealistic marker for her to live up to. The last thing you want to do is to rob your daughter of her very essence. Instead encourage her to always be better than she was the day before. That is the only form of comparison that will promote her growth. When and if she compares herself to others, teach her to use those feelings as a source of inspiration; show her that that beauty that she notices in another person is only a reflection of her own light and all of the things that are also possible for her. How can you become more mindful of making comparisons?

Let’s lead our daughters by example. Living their best life starts at home and starts with us. Never underestimate the value of your words and their capacity to empower your daughter to live a life that is aligned with all that is authentic and meaningful for her.

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