From the moment I found out I was expecting a daughter I dreaded the word princess.
You see, as a woman/sister/daughter/mother I am used to being labeled and generalized as “just a girl”, timid, or helpless. You know, the damsel in distress. We are conditioned to need a hero, rather than taught to become a heroine.
I am not against fear, it is an absolutely necessary emotion. Fear keeps us safe. The issue I have with fear is that we are conditioning our daughters to have fear as a primary reaction when they experience something that is outside of their comfort zone. We say “boys will be boys” and we encourage our sons to play in the dirt, to climb a tree and then to jump from the tree, but we tell our daughters to be careful, to wash their hands and pour the tea. We set limits for them before they even try to break barriers because we believe that we are protecting them if we stop them.
But we aren’t protecting them. We are preventing growth and the ability to cope with hard situations. We are teaching them to step away from a high pressure situation instead of stepping up to the plate.
Studies tell us that only 3% of brain activity is conscious, and the remaining 97% of your brain is functioning at a subconscious level. That mere three percent is the doing portion of our life while the ninety-seven percent is the being. The majority of who we are is shaped by the very messages we are told as children, who we become as adults is dictated by the way we handle our circumstances and situations. As parents we have to open our children up, and push them out of their comfort zones. Let them make mistakes, and let them fall. The things our children learn when they skin their knee, have the ability to keep them from getting hurt in bigger ways later in life.
What we should be teaching our daughters, or just our children in general, is to push outside their comfort zone. To think outside the box, and be brave. Bravery is learned, and because it is a learned skill it must be practiced. We as parents have to step back, take a breath, and encourage our daughters to climb that tree and then jump. We need to motivate them to ride a skateboard, nail a flip-kick or ollie, and to race against the boys not just cheer them on.
When we teach our children to operate in a bravery mindset instead of a fear mindset, they learn hazard/risk assessment, delayed gratification, confidence, and resilience, but most importantly they learn that they are able.
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