Parents of girls often hear things like “Oh, she’s a beauty!” Or “She’s going to be a heartbreaker!”, even when their daughter is very young. Girls often get the message from society that they are made of sugar and spice and everything nice and that their main interests should be princesses and unicorns. And while there is nothing wrong with enjoying sparkles and unicorns, it is important that young girls understand that these interests can be a part of them without defining them. So how do girls learn that there are many different interests and opportunities available to them?
Role models play an important part in a young girl’s life. Seeing women represented in successful roles such as CEOs, athletes, artists, or scientists helps girls imagine themselves in those same positions. Having a positive role model can be the difference between having a prevention mindset and having a growth one.
A prevention mindset:
When youth approach life with a desire to prevent or avoid disasters and negative outcomes, they are more likely to gravitate toward role models who will help them learn avoidance strategies. These strategies might include cheating on tests or using drugs and alcohol to escape life challenges.
The other option of a growth mindset offers a much more optimistic outlook.
A growth mindset:
When they see themselves as active learners and achievers who accomplish goals through hard work and perseverance. With this type of mindset, youth strive to achieve their best selves. And they look toward role models to show them the way.
In helping your daughter find a role model, consider her interests and goals. If she is passionate about the arts, she probably won’t be interested in Ada Lovelace. But a young woman fascinated by the stars may gravitate towards role models like Mary Jackson. As you explore why your daughter has chosen the specific role models for girls that she looks up to the most, ask yourself why, and what effect this can have on her future.
How To Be a Positive Role Model
While famous and accomplished women may make good role models, the best role model for your daughter is you. It can feel like a lot of pressure to know that her eyes are always on you, but there are ways that you can be the best role model you can for her:
Be a Good Listener: Teens may not share their lives as easily as they did when they were children, but that doesn’t mean that we stop listening. Sometimes, just the act of being present and allowing your daughter space to talk when she is comfortable can be an effective tool to teach her the importance of holding space for herself and others.
Be Affectionate: One of the best ways of nurturing a positive and happy child is through unconditional love and care. Love is not only about hugging your daughter, taking care of her basic needs. Love is when you exhibit interest in your daughter’s life or show her that you care. Feeling that love from you helps her learn how to express her own love in a healthy way.
Be Honest: Contrary to how it may feel, you don’t have to be perfect. It’s OK that you have weaknesses and flaws. Instead of pretending that you are always right, which is impossible for anyone, acknowledge when you make a mistake. Show your daughter how to graciously acknowledge when she makes her own mistakes and remember that one setback doesn’t negate all of the good things she has done.
Be Gentle With Yourself: There is a saying that “little pitchers have big ears”. It is the idea that our children are always listening. They are listening to how you talk to them, but they are also listening to how you talk about yourself. If you are constantly critiquing things like your body or perceived flaws, this is how she will learn to talk to herself as well. Sometimes you may not even realize how often you mention a diet or how you “need” to work off that dessert. But your daughter hears it and begins thinking that this is how she should view her relationship with food as well. Instead of talking about your “flaws”, try being radically confident. Talk about your strengths and accomplishments. Celebrate your body for being strong and carrying you through life. When viewed through this lens, you can teach your daughter to be confident in her self-esteem.
Set Goals: Setting goals, implementing them, and achieving the same are some of the important aspects of bringing up children. These three aspects may apply in all spheres. Whether it is about your child’s academics or his behavior, you may adopt this approach to achieve results in all fields of life. This is a great opportunity to show your daughter what a growth mindset looks like. You may encourage your child to come forward with his dreams, aspirations, and goals, and work together with your child in achieving them.
Model Healthy Coping Skills: What happens when things go wrong? Do you blow up when that car cuts you off in traffic? Do you give up when you don’t get the promotion you hoped for at work? Life will always have its issues, but what matters is how we deal with them. By modeling healthy coping skills, your daughter learns that there are different ways to solve her problem or deal with big emotions.
Residential Treatment for Success
For young women who are looking to improve self-esteem and tap into that growth mindset, a residential treatment program can provide them with the tools they need for success. The Solstice mission is to support adolescents, and their families, in developing excellence in relationships, influence, character, and health throughout their life journeys. Through relationship-based programming, we help students restore and rebuild healthy, trusting relationships with their families, peers, teachers, and staff.
Solstice East students are highly intelligent and highly sensitive. Our teens are creative and capable, but vulnerable to the pressures of their surroundings. They often experience the world differently through misperceptions and are impacted by issues of anxiety, depression, identity, attachment, mood disorders, and learning disabilities. Solstice East is committed to treating each student through a combination of individual, family, equine, and adventure therapies as well as treating and diagnosing a range of issues including (but not limited to) trauma, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, suicidal ideation, self-harming behaviors, attachment, and identity issues.
At Solstice East, we talk about The Hero’s Journey. The Hero’s Journey is a journey that includes universal themes found in literature, theatre, and film. These themes are prevalent in both ancient and modern societies. During the Hero’s Journey, the hero advances through phases of self-discovery, along the way facing their personal dragons in the form of fears, doubts, and insecurities. As our troubled teen girls advance victoriously through these challenges they grow towards becoming “at-one” with their true self. We work to help our students see themselves as the heroes of their own stories.
The therapeutic alliance, the relationship formed between therapist and student, is one of the most powerful factors in the healing process. Using the relationship-based approach as our guide, the therapists understand the value of spending time with the girls beyond the walls of the therapist’s office. Building rapport outside of the office setting is critical to the development of a therapeutic alliance between the girls and therapists, which is necessary for the healing process. As one of the top residential treatment centers, our therapists often participate in adventure therapy outings, camping trips, recreation activities, and mealtime with residents. Because they have a manageable caseload, they are able to be more involved in these opportunities.
At Solstice East, we help our students and families learn to regulate their emotions through the modalities of mindfulness, relationship therapy, equine-assisted psychotherapy, adventure therapies, and art-based therapies. We emphasize this teaching by training every member of our staff on how to self-regulate, and how to help a teenager develop her own self-regulation skills. We provide our team with opportunities to implement regulation skills in real-life settings to increase their ability to provide attunement, safety, and predictability while in-relationship with your daughter.
Solstice East can help
Solstice East is a top-rated residential treatment center caring for adolescent females ages 14-17. Our 25-acre campus, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains just outside of Asheville, NC, offers on-site equine therapy, an accredited academic schedule, plus world-class therapeutic programming to treat a wide range of trauma and disorders. Our clients receive a unique combination of therapeutic techniques stemming from both traditional and holistic mental health treatments that are gender and age-specific. We strive to empower our students with the ability to believe in themselves by providing the tools, support, and motivation necessary to instill these beliefs for life.
The Solstice mission is to support adolescents, and their families, in developing excellence in relationships, influence, character, and health throughout their life journeys. Through relationship-based programming, we help students restore and rebuild healthy, trusting relationships with their families, peers, teachers, and staff. For more information please call (828) 414-2980.