Building confidence to say NO!

A recent event prompted me to question my daughter about “something you learnt” from a forum she attended. Can I preface this story by saying that my children often accuse me of overdoing the number of ‘chats’ they are expected to willingly partake in. And further more I would have thought that my daughter was very comfortable with the word NO. Both because my husband and I believe it is an important thing for children to respect and because I observe her confidently using the word.

The aim of the forum she was involved in provided 15-year-old girls with information and tools to guide their social media usage and inform some safety strategies both on and off line. So when asked what she learnt she responded by saying ,“that I can say no to anything.” This blew me away!

My question for you is “Does your daughter really understand and believe that she has the inner strength to say NO!” When I observe girl culture I do see confidence, but I am forced to question the source of this confidence. Is it confidence built from a strong sense of self, or possibility confidence that covers vulnerability?

Whether it is NO I don’t like broccoli or NO I don’t like how you are touching me, or NO I don’t need to drink alcohol, it needs to be an explicit conversation, actually many conversations on a regular basis.

Some food for thought:
• Embrace as many opportunities as possible in as many contexts for your daughter to gain tools to build genuine confidence.
• Remember vulnerability builds strength and we shouldn’t be afraid to show our real selves. WE ARE GOOD ENOUGH!
• As mums it is important to model to our girls that we can stand together, as women, as mums and daughters and friends and sisters. There is room for everyone. Competing and comparing for self worth is toxic.
• Feeling like we are worthy builds real connection and true friendships.

Thanks for reading and enjoy chatting. If you would like to find out more about how to support your daughter to build confidence, check out our up and coming GIRLS CAN! workshop.

Mandy Stephens is the founder and principal educator of Let’s Chat Education.

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