1. Let her help you with any small task that can be work. She’ll grow up to be a woman who feels confident stepping up in the home or workplace, no matter the job. It helps build confidence that she is the “best helper ever!”
2. Share with her, show her and stand up for injustice and the oppressed. Volunteer at shelter. Serve food to the needy. You will show her a side of compassion that she will search for in a man some day. It is doing what is right.
3. Do not assume or influence what her interests will be because it is what girls like. Let her show you her interests and likes. It may not be a Barbie doll but a remote control car. But…it will probably be a barbie. In fact, my daughter recently began playing with Lego’s and toy cars, in addition to being obsessed with dolls. So like everyone, your daughter will want to explore. I make a point of it to play rough with her, since she is the oldest (baby on the way!). I even can even talk her into walking on wet grass, dancing in the rain, fighting bad guys with hidden powers and getting muddy sometimes!
4. Attempt to understand her interests even when you do not. Sit through a My Little Pony (MLP) episode and talk about it. Listen and ask questions about the dilemma over not having a cutie mark.
5. Ask her to show you the skills that she knows well and you do not. Let her show you dance moves and how to dance to some music.
6. Tell her that the only person in charge of what happens to her body is her. This also goes to say that the only thing she can control is what she does and the way she reacts.
7. Compliment her and her mother, often. Be creative and truthful with the compliments!
8. Work out schedule conflicts, problems and issues with her mother in front of her (negotiate, negotiate, negotiate!). She will see that women deserve a voice in relationships and will look for someone who will appreciate her voice. It shows her what relationships need to grow.
9. Don’t talk about other women’s bodies in an objectifying or demeaning way. She’s listening, and then examining her own. Compliment her on the way she looks now and not the images of beauty advertized to her.
10. Don’t talk about her changing body, or interest in sexuality, with disgust. Spreading the feeling of shame is not something to teach.
11. Have inside jokes, games, or secrets just between the two of you. Trust me, she’ll remember them forever. A secret shortcut, secret identity or working to become a hero.
12. Encourage her to do the things that scare her because you’ll always have her back. She can get over her fear of heights at the playground with encouragement. At night I always go to her room when she wakes up. I always let her know I’m here to protect her.
13. She will always be your little girl if you put in the effort to keep it that way. Be honest with her in words and actions and she will do the same.
14. Make her promises and then keep them. The only heartbreak in her life should come from others who don’t know how special she is.
15. Talk about women you admire in front of her and she will aspire to be one someday. Start with her mother. If divorced (or not), never talk badly about her mother in front of her. By doing so, she absorbing this negativity as her own.