Raising Daughters In This Toxic Culture – Some Lessons & Tips
The reason behind “No to girl child” has changed drastically. Earlier, people did not want to have a girl child as they were considered a big responsibility to the family. However, nowadays, people fear having a girl child because of the increased crime rate against women or even little girls. Today’s generation is becoming more sensitive towards the birth of a girl child, and many have understood that a girl is no less than a boy’ and they are equally strong. But still, no to girl child prevails in many parts of the country and you won’t believe, some of the educated people like us don’t want to have a girl child only because of the fear of their safety in today’s world.
Are We Responsible?
Are We Responsible?
I myself have heard pregnant parents saying the same thing, that they don’t discriminate between the gender, but their only fear about girl child is their safety. So, are we guys going in the right direction? Aren’t we the people who are giving the reason for such fears to the new parents? Yes, of course, we are. Or, if I rightly say, either our laws or the company our kids engaged in or maybe our incomplete teachings to our Daughters and Sons.
When I was pregnant, I had the same fear, and I used to think a lot about the child I would give birth to. And that was the time when I thought if I have a daughter, I am going to teach her the below things. But, since God has another plan for me, he blessed me with a Son.
So, here in this blog, I will share those lessons (not only about safety but overall as a person) that every mother or every parent should teach their daughters because girls, unfortunately, are the targets of physical and sexual abuse. I have already written one blog on the teachings; I will provide to my sons, which you can read here.
First and foremost, we should enroll our daughters in – A martial arts course
Physical fitness is not only good for health; it is also good to live your life without any fear. So why Martial arts or Karate or any such class? I got to understand this when I joined the course myself. And frankly, it helped a lot because physical training provides anyone with self-esteem and self-confidence. Confidence to stand for ourselves in challenging situations.
Such training courses teach you the technique to defend yourself and the mindset to do so in any case. So, If we are already aware that we do not need any other person for our defense, and we can push ourselves harder, then we can happily live life on our terms. So, I highly recommend that every parent enroll their child in such classes as soon as possible. And not only girls, but we should enroll our boys as well.
Everything Starts from Home
As they say, first teachers are the parents. So, the first teaching will start at home only. Because your daughter sees you and you are her role model, you should see yourself first. Where do you stand firm, and where do you bend? If you are bending unnecessary and not taking a stand for yourself, your girl will be learning the same. Do you have both boy and girl, and you discriminate between them in any way? If yes, leave it right away.
Encourage your girl always to feel comfortable talking to you about anything, especially if it involves another adult. Teaching them about their body and teaching the correct names of the private parts is equally essential because sometimes, using other words misses the disclosure of the abuse.
Teach them; No means No.
Saying no is not a crime. So teach your girl about her choices and why saying no is not wrong. Teach them that they have the right to say no when they feel any unwelcomed behavior of anyone, even it involves any relatives or a family member, for that matter.
And the important thing is that there is no rule of saying ‘NO.’ Just say it out loud with your actions and eyes. Say it however and whenever you want. Say it when you are being judged or disrespected. Say it when you are not getting treated the way you deserve, and say it when someone touches you in a way you don’t want to be touched. Just say it in a way that the other person hears it loud and very clear.
Periods are a process, not a taboo.
We should talk about the periods freely in front of our children, be it a boy or a girl. Time has changed, and your girl should not feel awkward about it. As a parent, it is our responsibility to keep periods from becoming taboo by talking about them without embarrassment. When I speak about other countries, sex is not taboo, and parents talk about it freely with their children. Being an Indian myself, I understand that it also entirely depends on family values.
Teach her to love her body irrespective of any flaws because there are none!
Tell her that her parents love her the way she is. And she doesn’t need to change for anyone. Even if she wants to change for any other person, it should be herself. Because what matters is how she feels for herself and what she wants to achieve. Most importantly, teach her that she should never try to convince anyone of her worth. If they are not confident about you all on their own, they do not deserve her.
Don’t let her compare herself with anyone else, especially boys.
Tell her that she has her own strengths and weaknesses. Every person is different, and everyone has their talents. Make her believe that you are with her always, no matter what happens. Make her believe that you will help her fulfill her dreams, and there is nothing that anyone else or boys can do and she cannot. Tell her she is no less than anything, anyone. And she is the best of all. Also, tell her that she compares her weaknesses with anyone else, not her strengths.
As a parent, your responsibility is to notify the behaviour change in your girl.
If you notice any change in your girl’s behavior, instead of asking directly what happened, try to involve her in a friendly conversation and don’t be judgemental. Building a healthy relationship with your child and your partner is very important, so your child is comfortable talking and pouring her heart out to you. Try to be an active listener and encourage open communication at home. You should also notice how, when and with whom your child is spending time with.
Tell her to trust her instincts.
Tell her to let someone know if she feels she is getting stalked. Possibly, it is her illusion, or maybe it is happening in reality; whatever it is, if she feels so, she has the right to stay safe, and she should do whatever she wants to keep herself safe. If she wants help, she can ask for it without thinking, ‘Log kya kahenge’ because safety is her priority. It is always okay to stand up for herself.
Her clothes are never wrong.
Tell her that clothes are irrelevant to her abilities. And she should be comfortable in each and everything she wears. More important is to get dressed for herself, not for anyone else. If she is comfortable wearing anything, it’s her choice, and she should not label it as a socialization process. It will be a personal issue if you keep wearing shorts and pulling them down because you are uncomfortable. So never bow down to socialization. It’s your life, your clothes and there should be your choice, that matters.
Talk about the differences between online and the real world.
Create a healthy relationship by talking more and then telling that the online world is not the real world. And she should not feel insecure about other girls, peers, her friends, their boyfriends, or what they show, what they wear or what they do. Make sure that she spends more time with you rather than her online circle. Make rules of no phones during meals or bedtime.
Last but the important note
The most important thing to tell your daughter is that you are with her, always. You have a home with her, no matter what. Moreover, she should have faith in you more than anything else. Always tell her, “TRUST BUT VERIFY.”