If a child feels like she can’t improve, she often won’t even try. In psychology, this is called the ﬁxed mindset, and girls are more at risk than boys. The growth mindset – understanding that your skills and abilities improve with practice – is key to building self-esteem and is an important tool in raising conﬁdent daughters.
What’s causing that to happen? Psychologist Roni Cohen-Sandler, author of “Easing Their Stress: Helping Them Thrive in the Age of Pressure,” observed a spike instress levels and psychological crises among young girls. She writes that young girls are “so busy living up to others’ expectations that they either don’t develop or eventually relinquish their own goals. They are so focused on achieving external emblems of success that they don’t get the chance to figure out what really excites them and gives them pleasure. They barely know who they are or who they want to become.”
Once they hit puberty, young girls are bombarded by messages, not just from the media, but also from their peers and friends about who they should be. It can be tough to sort out all those mixed signals, and stressful because it’s impossible to make everybody happy.
Encourage your daughter’s growth mindset through the kind of afﬁrmation you give. Rather than praising the end result, or a ﬁxed quality like intelligence, praise her effort, strategies, and determination – known as ''process praise''. This will make her feel celebrated for her persistence and help her bounce back from failures.