How to Raise a Confident Daughter
With cyber bullying, sexy tween stars and an ever-present pressure to be thin, real moms talk about bringing up girls in today's world.
4. Find Positive Role Models
"I like to expose her to the strong women of rock like Blondie, Regina Spektor, Cyndi Lauper, and Aimee Mann," says Pete, dad to Allie, 10. "Her first concert was Joan Jett—and the image of this totally in-charge bandleader with her own style and loud guitar, stuck with her. She's not sponsored by a cosmetic company and not tottering around like a stick figure. Allie has learned to likes what she likes."
5. Keep It Real
Kids are absorbing ideas about sex from the cultural ether, whether we like it or not. (Case in point: My 4-year-old asked me what "sexy" meant after dancing to LMFAO.) That's why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends starting to talk about sexuality at 18 months by using correct anatomical terms. "If they are old enough to know what an earlobe is, they are old enough to know what a vulva is," says McFadden. Don't wait to talk about sex until they are teenagers. "This should be a lifelong, ongoing dialogue, beginning when they're young," says McFadden. Lorelei uses proper terms (yes, like vulva) with her daughter, and is frank about her menstrual cycle and how babies are born. What does Biology 101 have to do with confidence? "I want to make her feel comfortable in her own skin so that, down the road, she'll enjoy her body and not let it be a source of shame and constant focus."