As much as I love being a mum to a precious little girl I know that being a girl in today’s society is very different to how it was when I was growing up.
I spent the first 8 years of my life in Cape Town, I was a total tomboy and my favourite thing to do was play outdoors in my bare feet. We didn’t have magazines aimed at young girls and there was no pressure to look a certain way.
In my later years and once I had moved to Scotland I became more aware of society’s expectations of girls to look a certain way. I remember ‘More’ magazine, a fortnightly read which was aimed at teenage girls and which focused heavily on beauty content and sexual references which definitely wasn’t age appropriate for the average age of their readers. However even with these magazines around I still really didn’t feel any pressure to look or act a certain way.
However forward to 2018. There is so much pressure on young girls now, from make-up ranges aimed at preschool aged kids, padded bras and the rise of social media stars filtering the shit out of their photos to look flawless. One alarming thing I have noticed is that many girls who I follow on social media who have a dance background (I.E studied dance/performing arts) went on to develop eating disorders.
So I want to make sure that I am making the right choices for Amber, even at such a young age and ensure that she grows up feeling confident in her skin. I am fully aware that I can’t protect her from everything and as a bi-racial girl she might come across bullying, I mean just look at the casual racism which the beautiful and smart Meghan Markle has faced in the media for her race.
Now on a positive level, these the ways in which I will ensure that Amber grows up with confidence.
1. I will only talk about myself in positive ways. I won’t ever use negative language about my body.
2. Zero tolerance to diet culture. Kids pick up on everything and remember everything that you say. I won’t stick photos on my fridge of #thinspiration celebrities who I want to look like. I will encourage Amber to have a healthy attitude to food and not use negative words like clean eating or cheat meal when talking about food.
3. We will spend 10 minutes before bed every evening talking about what we did that day which made us feel proud. Let’s focus on gratitude and celebrating even the small wins.
4. I will encourage Amber to try new things. This can be a sport or a new activity. Amber is starting gymnastics this week which she is really looking forward to.
5. Drama Classes. Amber has been doing weekly drama classes with Drama Mob since September last year and her confidence has improved so much. She still has social anxiety in some situations but this is slowing going away and I think it’s due to the positive effect of her lessons.
So there are my tips to increase confidence. I hope that they have been helpful and even though I have aimed this post at my daughter’s development, it is something that we can all take something from, even as adults.