This Is How To Raise A Confident Daughter

6:36 AM

Raising independent children is a must as is knowing how to raise a confident daughter. As it turns out, independence and confidence are deeply connected.

On VProud there is an inspiring video and conversation called, "A lesson in pineapple: Have you taught your children to be independent?" In it, the viewer gets to "eavesdrop" on a wonderful set of interactions between a mother and a daughter, showing how stunningly powerful it is when our children are taught to be independent. Watching it, the answer to how to raise a confident daughter becomes seemingly obvious. The topic of parenting with the purpose of raising independent children is a hot one — everyone seems to have an opinion about this as well as good parenting tips about it to share. Writer and mother Angela Amman reflects on this concept with the fascinating lens of being on the cusp of change with her parenting. Her own daughter is making and forming her own friendships, and Angela's input isn't as required as it once was. Angela's beautiful reflection is focused on her daughter's friendships and it is so incredibly interesting to juxtapose it to the Lesson In Pineapple video because as different as both scenarios and mothers may seem at first blush, they share a coveted parenting skill and motive: raising independent children, and even more specifically, raising strong girls. We at VProud obviously support this kind of mothering whole-heartedly and really encourage you to take a look at both the video and Angela's essay. We think that you will find both to be just as inspiring as we did. We will leave you with one last quote in motherhood solidarity — it is absolutely stunning to see women across the world, raising and being strong women.

—The VProud Team

Raising Independent Children Is The New Black

By Angela Amman for VProud

I spent years hosting and attending play dates where children and adults gathered together. We stirred creamer into coffee, moms half chatting, half listening for skirmishes escalating above normal bickering over who would be wearing what from the dress up bin. 

We didn’t mean to be intrusive when we stood up from the table to investigate raised voices. Many of us cradled younger children in our arms or kept an eye on toddlers playing nearby, and ages and appropriate behavior ran blurred together like over saturated watercolor pictures. I still cut grapes in half for my son, and it seemed natural to help his older sister and her young friends work on conflict resolution with the help of an adult to remind them about including everyone and to stop hoarding the best plastic high heels. 

Maybe we would have better off to sip our coffee while it was piping hot, instead of allowing it to cool when we heard squabbling from the nearby playroom. 

Maybe we should have done more, sat closer, insisted on equal time with different toys, enforced by timers or some sort of app.

Maybe I’ll always second-guess mothering decisions when I see my little love coming home with shoulders slumped, feelings hiding behind lots of words about nonsensical details, and a smile that doesn’t reach her eyes. 

Those days aren’t frequent, but their existence shatters the comfortable bubble of mediated playdates and adult interference in the tenuous world of girl friendships. 

Female friendships cut, and the blade is forged of ice and steel: a dismissive glance, ignored phone calls, secrets leaked in whispers. That knife reflects what we fear most about ourselves back onto us, and it slices when we least expect it. 

I’ve felt that blade in my gut.  

I want it far away from my girl, and though I understand I can’t shield her from life, understanding means nothing in the moment I’m wiping away my child’s tears. She’s learning, so much younger than I imagined, how quickly that cool blade of uncertain friendship can turn, and how the hand that holds it isn’t always the one she’d expect. 

I murmur things into her apple-scented hair, reminding her of her kindness and imagination and the way certain friends reach out to hold her hand when she is near. I remind her of her toughness, too, and how she can always find respite between our family’s walls, in our unwavering love. 

Maybe I should stroke her hair without saying a word.

Maybe I should help her build a higher wall around her heart. 

As her tears dry, I know I can’t do that, because she’ll miss out on so much.

The steel that slices through female friendship forges other things, too, filigree chains that seem decorative until they’re tested. Quick smiles and a shared love of running impossibly slow 10Ks lead to cups of coffee. Those moments are the sheen on the strong bonds that surface when you need them: friends who let you sob and vent and rail when you haven’t felt heard, who gently press your fingers under the table when someone talks about a miscarriage, who take you out for wine and make you laugh until you’re furiously searching out a bathroom. 

I see my daughter beginning to thread together those friendship chains, small links made of giggled secrets and easy negotiations between girls who don’t have too much in common except a shared interest in each other and woodland creatures, both real and imagined. 

I’m able to drink my coffee as hot as I’d like it when she and her friends play now. Their hushed voices and muffled laughter don’t drift down the stairs in a way that allows me to know when they might be at odds. I wrap my hands around my mug and work on keeping my feet under the table and away from her door, and I hope she is learning to cherish the friendships that make her smile all the way up to her eyes. 

angela amman vproud
About the author: Angela Amman is a short story and essay writer who collects her family’s stories at Playing with Words and whose personal essays and short stories have appeared in her collection, Nothing Goes Away, and various anthologies. As a part of Listen to Your Mother Metro Detroit, Angela is thrilled to bring others' stories to the stage and to celebrate the magic of words, storytelling, and the courage to share that magic with an audience. Connect with Angela on Instagram, on Facebook, or on Twitter. Join Angela's honest conversations on VProud.

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