There's no law saying that girls need to be tough. In fact, the term "tough" can be construed in a myriad of various ways, making it a great starting point for what qualities to instill in a little girl. In the old days of generations past, the word "tough" meant that there was no crying, no complaining, and definitely no backing down. Nowadays, the term has taken on a different meaning both mentally and physically. It's a loaded phrase that tends to strike concern amongst parents when they worry about sending their child out into the world without it - here's where we help.
Having a tough daughter doesn't mean that she's kicking all the boys in school and making them cry. It means that she's mature enough to handle situations mostly on her own but also knows when to ask for help. It can mean that she's strong emotionally believes she can handle most of what's thrown at her. Most importantly, it means that she believes in herself just as much - if not more -than her parents do. It's a simple balance of encouragement and support in the right places that will enable her to feel this every day of her life.
20 Encourage Her To Feel Emotion Rather Than Suppress It
There is strength in feeling emotion whereas most people mistake being strong for hiding it. There are no winners when it comes to holding in feelings rather than releasing them and talking about it, but the two need to go hand-in-hand. This is especially important for a child as growing up takes a lot.
Girls will be going through puberty and dealing with a wide array of emotions, and knowing her parents have her back can really help to build her self-esteem. This means allowing her to feel whatever it is she's feeling and reassuring her that it's normal, rather than pushing it away and disregarding it.
19 Discipline Is Important But So Is Balance
Discipline is how we learn right from wrong but it's also how we learn to navigate life on our own. However, balance is just as important in the grand scheme of things. If a girl misbehaves, it falls on her parents to urge her back in line and explain to her what has been done wrong.
The way to go about this is what matters, as there is such a thing as too much or not enough. Most kids will be open to learning but sometimes, girls need a little extra care from their dads in order to not close up and become self-conscious. The right balance of correction and affection can really help.
18 Learning To Accept Failure Makes Her Stronger
The one thing parents shouldn't be afraid of is allowing their children to fail once in a while, but it's often a parent's biggest fear. Any good parent desires what's best for their child and that sometimes urges us to interfere and throw our two cents in. There's definitely a time and place for this when they're younger but as they get older, they'll need to make mistakes on their own.
Trying and failing could be the first step before trying and succeeding but they'll never learn that unless they have space and time to figure it out for themselves. This will build character and as long as a reassuring parental presence is there, they'll know you're never too far away should they need help.
17 Praise Comes In Various Ways, So Make It Count
There's no shame in a dad showing his daughter affection and praise, in fact, they really need that. The difference is knowing when to do it and when to lend a helping hand instead. Praising your little girl for everything in the world could eventually lead to unrealistic expectations.
On the other hand, praising her when she's accomplished something big or that she wasn't confident about will go much further. This is an excellent way to build up her confidence without taking away from her moment, and it'll also help her to know what effort and hard work really mean.
16 Believe In Her More Than She Believes In Herself
This is so important. A girl's self-esteem is especially fragile as they're growing up and having her dad on her side can change that completely. A father is the first man in your life (excluding brothers) who's there to support, encourage, and catch you when you fall. For a girl growing up, this can be a make-or-break moment when it comes to toughening up.
She'll learn from you as she watches how you go about things and, in turn, will pick up the same habits. If a father goes out of his way to make it known that he believes in his little girl, then that will help her to believe it.
15 There's A Place For Both Support And Opinion
It takes a tough person to be able to sit down and listen to someone else's opinion of what they're doing. A dad can be the first step in doing this, especially if he has a healthy, open relationship with his daughter.
As long as he supports her, it shouldn't be an issue when voicing his opinion on something he disagrees with. This will help a young girl to learn how to listen to an outside perspective while also fostering trust. All of these things are important to her self-esteem and the confidence that will make her such a tough adult.
14 No Dream Is Off-Limits, Despite Gender
So what if a girl wants to be an NFL player? The saying "girls will be girls" no longer applies to this world since it's more like "girls will be whatever they want to be". Instilling that notion in a little girl is priceless since confidence is one of the most beautiful things she can carry in her arsenal.
It takes a tough little girl to fight her way to the top and be anything she wants to be and that can all begin with belief from her dad. It's important to be her biggest supporter as well as her biggest fan, and that encouragement is all it takes for her to keep trying.
13 Encourage A Sport
This is a classic way of encouraging toughness in any child, but it works. In today's day and age, there's no limit to the number of sports that any girl can join. She can play whatever she wants and this won't only instill this idea of toughness, but it'll also boost her confidence, help hone her social skills, and teach her how to work in a team.
Girls no longer need to sit on the sidelines because they don't think they're good enough -- Instead, encourage her to get out there and play her heart out. Regardless of whether she's a sub or an MVP, she's part of a team.
12 Boys Are Friends, Too
If she tends to gravitate more toward boys then girls, then let her! Kids are innocent and have little concept of the difference between boys and girls at a young age. There's no harm in allowing her to have just as many male friends as female, even if she doesn't have many female friends.
Some girls are more tomboyish than parents realize and this is in no way a bad thing. It just means they'll be more apt to do other things and will go about them in a different way, which is a good thing. They'll also learn from their male friends, who will likely treat them just like one of the guys.
11 Kids Will Be Kids, So Let Them
Allowing your child to make mistakes will inevitably make her tougher. There's a level of excitement as well as fear in making your own decisions, something your little girl will need to eventually do on her own.
There's no harm in allowing her the little things while she's still so young, as they'll only help her to learn later on. Even the smallest decisions can empower her and will make her much tougher because she'll be able to believe in what she's choosing. These little decisions begin to add up and before you know it, she'll be wanting even more responsibility.
10 Don't Take Away Her Voice, Even If She's Young
Your voice is the first thing you have that's all your own. Especially in today's day and age, it's important to allow girls to have a voice that's uniquely hers. Empowerment is the name of the game and sometimes, girls have this bit of sass right off the bat... It's a good thing! That means she's not afraid to voice her opinions or stick up for herself, all of which contribute to being one tough cookie later on. It's important to allow her the space to speak her mind, ask questions, and inquire about the things that interest or bother her.
9 She'll Learn To Take Care Of Herself
Dads, it's okay to step back and take a breather once in a while -- your little girl is perfectly capable of figuring things out on her own! The best thing a dad can do is be there when his daughter needs him and learn to step away when she's striking out on her own. No one remains a child forever and it's important to be there, but not obsessively, when your daughter is coming of age.
In order for her to be able to tough things out, she first needs to learn how to handle them on her own. Trust in her and what you've taught her up to this point, and things will be fine.
8 Zero-Tolerance Bullying: Teach Her How To Improve Self-Esteem
An important thing that any dad -- or parent, period -- can teach their daughters is how to stand up for themselves. This doesn't mean throwing a punch the second someone says they don't like her glasses. Rather, it means to remain calm, confident, and rise above these situations rather than escalating them.
Strength is certainly a sign of toughness and one doesn't truly exist without the other. Helping your daughter to embrace everything about herself despite what others say or think is a beautiful thing and will automatically make her tough. If that fails, then go ahead and proceed with the Karate Kid moves.
7 Encourage Her To Lift Up Others
Nothing is as respectable as a girl lifting up another girl. In a world so full of competition, whether it be about looks or careers, girls have to be ready to believe in themselves no matter what. For a dad, teaching his daughter how to do this from the perspective of guy is so valuable.
Girls trust their fathers as well as what they have to teach them. Being able to lift your daughter up and then showing them how to do that for others is something that will stick with them forever. Knowing how to remain positive is just one of the many ways someone can be tough.
6 Disagreements Are Nothing To Be Afraid Of
They're absolutely going to happen and they're not necessarily a bad thing. Fights happen and they can actually teach your little girl how to be strong in the face of disagreement. Fighting with her father means that she's confident enough in her own opinions and beliefs, but it also means that she's comfortable with her dad.
This is a good sign for making up because it'll allow dads to discuss what happened, praise their daughters for a good fight, and then teach them how to calmly discuss the problem at hand. It won't always go this smoothly but it's something to strive for.
5 Education Is Just As Tough As Attitude
Having the smarts to go along with a tough attitude will just make a little girl that much more of a force to be reckoned with. Education is a valuable facet of human life and everyone should have access to one. Encouraging studies and finding things that interest your little one is the key to unlocking confidence in her own brilliance.
Everyone has a passion and it never hurts to help her find her own. Enabling this kind of courage in her own education will allow her to outsmart the competition, rather than feel uninformed in the face of it.
4 Learn To Listen Because She'll Learn To Discuss
Listening is just as important as doing when it comes to having a daughter. If she feels as though you're not listening, this will automatically send up a red flag and two things will happen. Either she'll begin distrusting you or she'll strive that much harder to gain your attention.
By practicing good listening skills, it will encourage her to communicate and speak up. This is a major confidence boost, as most kids strive for that type of appreciation and pride from their parents. Fathers, in particular, can be a huge part of a girl's confidence in herself, lending itself to her toughness, too.
3 Promote Other Powerful Women
A girl will learn by example. Rather than promoting tough men, don't be afraid to promote tough women, too. They're in everything -- From today's cinema and film to comic books and even the newspaper. Women are making a name for themselves and there's no shame in openly supporting them in front of your daughter.
Girls will see this as a sign that they, too, can be like that someday. It means more coming from someone of the opposite gender i.e. their dads. Positive encouragement of women they relate to can only encourage them to tough out the little and big things in life.
2 Sheltering Her Will Only Lead To Problems Later On
Something to avoid is the act of sheltering your daughter from what life throws at her. Sometimes, it's understandable if they're still too young to deal with or handle certain things. But for the most part, your little girl should be allowed to experience what life has to offer.
This often means learning about things that will be uncomfortable, and even emotional, to talk about... And that's okay. After it's all said and done, she'll walk away with an even tougher attitude than she did before. She'll also be able to look back on that moment and thank you for not shielding her from anything.
1 Start Educating Her About Boys Early On
The scary "B" word: Boys. Often, this is a dad's biggest fear and concern when it comes to his little girl. The worst thing he can do, though, is let this fear be known or restrict her because of it. Kids have a pretty keen sense for what their parents are feeling and if she picks up on the fact that you don't want her doing something, she'll probably do it anyway.
This isn't any way to teach her how to be tough - rather, empower her. Teach her to respect herself and everything within it, body, mind, and soul. This way, she'll be prepared rather than rebellious, and uber tough when she needs to stand up for herself.