Help your growing girl grow in confidence

Brought to you by Always
Physical changes are only one part of puberty. The brain develops too, affecting mood and confidence. Mums have a vital role to play.

Mind the Confidence Gap

The majority of girls lose their confidence during puberty1. Girls are more likely to blame themselves when something goes wrong, apologise when they are giving an opinion, overthink decisions and dwell on mistakes2. You might recognise this from your own experience and you can change things for your daughter. Arm her with what she needs to combat the confidence gap and show the world that doing things #LikeAGirl is simply amazing.

The right mindset

If a child feels she can’t improve she often won’t even try3. In psychology, that’s called the fixed mindset and girls are more at risk than boys4. The growth mindset, on the other hand, is the belief that you can grow your ability with effort5. This belief is great for kids — it helps them do better in school, seek harder challenges, and bounce back from failures.

Compliments can help

You can encourage your daughter’s growth mindset with compliments. But be careful how you do it. Praising results can make her feel pressured. She may feel she has to improve all the time and become nervous about failure6. Instead, praise the way she goes about things. And how determined she is to win through. This is called “process praise.”

What to praise7:

  • Looking at all the options. Eg: “I’m impressed you thought of several ways to solve that problem.”
  • Being ready for the challenge. Eg: “I’m proud you were up for it.”
  • Keeping going. Eg. “You stuck with it until you figured it out! That’s great!”

What NOT to praise:

  • Physical looks. Eg: “Your hair is so beautiful.”
  • Being clever. Eg: “You’re so smart.”

Setbacks can actually help

Make sure setbacks and mistakes don’t stop her in her tracks! Encourage her to follow her passions, take risks when that’s the right thing to do, and shake off setbacks. Tell her not to be hard on herself and to keep going.

  • Feel her pain. Encourage your girl by saying “I know this is hard, and I’m sorry,” instead of “It’s not a big deal!”
  • Encourage her every step of the way. Help her regroup and plan her next move by asking her to write down some new small goals.
  • Set a good example. When a girl sees her parents rising to the challenge, learning from setbacks and being kind to themselves, it gives her the confidence to do the same8.

As a parent, you can help your daughter take on all the changes of puberty and bloom into the confident young woman she was born to be, proving to us all that she’s unstoppable.

Mum & daughter activities

At Always we have some great ways of building confidence. They’re fun and, by doing them regularly, you can build her confidence together.

Puberty is difficult. Your girl needs to know things will be okay. If you really want to get through to her, you have to tell her how you got through it yourself.

Trading stories

When you admit you had a hard time during puberty too, it will make her feel positive about her own feelings. Explain how you rose above the problems, and she’ll understand that she will.

Nervous about opening up? Try putting things down on paper and trading letters or emails. The important thing is to keep communicating.

Don’t forget the growth mindset. That way of thinking when we truly believe our skills and abilities can improve with practice. It’s an important way to get through puberty. Introduce it by explaining that the brain is like a muscle that gets stronger with exercise, practice, and challenges7.

Brain gym

Help your daughter step out of her comfort zone by asking her to think of a goal. Then write down three steps she can take to achieve that goal and celebrate together when she completes each step! Continue encouraging her to stick with it by reminding her that she is #unstoppable!

Your daughter will face risks with more confidence if she has a healthy attitude towards failure and understands it’s important to keep going.

Role-Models make mistakes too

You know the people your daughter admires. Do a little research and uncover a mistake on their path to success. How did that person deal with the issue? What did it take to pick themselves up and keep going? Remind your daughter of it next time she has a setback.

Track how you praise her

Don’t forget the right praise will be all about the way she does things. When she comes home with a good grade you should say, “You worked really hard to study for that test” instead of “Wow, you’re so smart!” Keep a track of your praise or ask someone else at home to do it. That will make it easier to catch yourself in the moment and make all your praise more helpful.

For more information, check out this course on growth mindset, designed by experts, to help parents like you!

1 Always 2014 Confidence & Puberty Survey – on line survey with 1,300 females ages 16 to 24 2 Nolen-Hoeksema, Susan. Women Who Think Too Much: How to Break Free of Overthinking and Reclaim Your Life. New York: Holt Paperbacks, 2004.
2 Reprint edition.
3 Blackwell, Lisa, Kali H. Trzesniewski, and Carol S. Dweck. "Implicit Theories of Intelligence Predict Achievement Across an Adolescent Transition: A
Longitudinal Study and an Intervention." Child Development 78.1 (2007): 246-63. Print.
4 Gunderson, Elizabeth A., Sarah J. Gripshover, Carol S. Dweck, Susan Goldin-Meadow, and Susan C. Levine. "Parent Praise to 1- to 3-Year-Olds Predicts
Children's Motivational Frameworks 5 Years Later."Child Development 84.5 (2013): 1526-541. Wiley. Web. 24 July 15.
5 Master, Allison. “Growth Mindset.” interview. 16 Apr. 2015 6 Gunderson, Elizabeth A., Sarah J. Gripshover, Carol S. Dweck, Susan Goldin-Meadow, and Susan C.
Levine. "Parent Praise to 1- to 3-Year-Olds Predicts
Children's Motivational Frameworks 5 Years Later."Child Development 84.5 (2013): 1526-541. Wiley. Web. 24 July 15.
7 Dweck, Carol. Promoting Growth Mindsets. Digital.
8 Simmons, Rachel, and Simone Marean. "Growth Mindset." Telephone interview. 9 Apr. 2015 7 Mackey, Allyson P., Alison T. Miller Singley, and Silvia A. Bunge.
"Intensive reasoning training alters patterns of brain connectivity at rest." The Journal
of Neuroscience 33.11 (2013): 4796-4803.


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