On raising strong, resilient kids
with Amanda Stokes, Founder of Raising Strong Daughters
March 8th is International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and a day that marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
This got us thinking: what can we do now to raise the next generation of confident, resilient, game-changing women? How can we ensure our daughters are comfortable and confident in their own skin, that they own their strength and pursue their biggest dreams with purpose and passion?
Young girls are under more pressure now than ever before and as parents, it isn’t always easy to know how to navigate this. We asked Amanda Stokes, Founder of Raising Strong Daughters and mother of three, her tips on raising strong, resilient girls (and children in general - her amazing tips apply to kids)!
1) Model for your children what it means to be human.
Humans are flawed, we all make mistakes, it’s a part of life. Stokes stresses the importance of teaching our children this, “there is no such thing as perfect, it's how we model this for our children that matters.”
It’s okay not to be good at everything, it’s okay to learn from the things that happen to us - making mistakes is okay. Stokes reminds us that mistakes are actually a necessary part of life. Mistakes are how we grow, they're how we learn.
"Humans are not perfect, we don't want our daughters or children to think they're not good enough. They're good enough just how they are,” Stokes says.
If you model how to handle the hard things in life, your children will be better prepared to face challenges themselves as they arise.
2) Let your children struggle.
Stokes compares your child’s struggles to this story of a butterfly: a person walks past a cocoon and, in an attempt to help the butterfly, cuts the top off of the cocoon. The problem is that the struggle of escaping the cocoon is actually what strengthens the butterfly and teaches it how to use its wings. Without that struggle, the butterfly can never take flight.
If you don't allow your children to struggle, they won’t be given the opportunity to discover their own strength, much like the butterfly.
As parents, it's hard to watch your child struggle and it can be difficult to stop ourselves from stepping in to help but when we do this, we're teaching our child that they can’t do the hard things on their own. When we allow them to struggle, Stokes emphasizes, “they have a magical moment at the end of the situation, where they see ‘oh yes, I can do this.’”
Another great (and very simple) tip according to Stokes, is to add the word 'yet'. When your child says, “I can’t do that, I’m no good at this,” challenge them to add the word ‘yet’ to the end of the statement.
“When we add the word yet in, it becomes a whole different story - we can’t all be good at everything but we can work hard, we can inspire and we can learn.”
3) Teach your children that opinions are not facts.
As adults, you know not everyone is going to like you. It’s important that you teach your children that the opinions of others don’t shape who they are. This will help them recognize their own self-worth.
"Self-acceptance, self-belief, self-compassion.. these things need to come from within," Stokes reminds us.
A great way to encourage your children to value their own self-worth is the practice of daily affirmations. A few of Stokes' favourites are: “I’m good enough just the way I am”, “no one is me and that’s my superpower”, and “you don’t have to be perfect to be amazing”.
Stokes has come up with a creative way to incorporate daily affirmations into her own home. She's put up window decals (of affirmations) on her daughters' bathroom mirrors so that the first thing they see every morning are visual reminders of their own inner-power, confidence and self-worth. This helps them start their days off on the right foot.
It's also very important to listen to your children. When your child comes to you with a problem, Stokes suggests posing the question: “do you want my advice or do you want me to listen?” You want to be there for your children, and give them a way to off-load the stress they’re holding on to, but you don’t always have to rush to fix things for them.
Help your child develop the tools they need to work through the opinions others may place upon them and be there to support them (as they need that support). It's 100% okay to re-visit difficult topics or conversations after you've given your child some time. Stokes recommends approaching your child the next day with the question, "remember that conversation we had yesterday - can we revisit that for a second?"
To learn more from Amanda, check out her video below or visit the mini mioche Instagram page.
Amanda Stokes is an Author, Educator, Presenter and the Founder of Raising Strong Daughters - an online community for parents looking for advice and support. Amanda's work is based on all the understandings that she wished she'd understood when she was growing up, and she supports parents to raise self-aware, resilient and reflective young people.