We all know a maverick, that free-spirited person who embraces individuality and independence like no other. Have you ever thought about what it takes to become that person? Is it something that they innately have? If not, how is it taught? How do we teach the children in our lives to reach their fullest potential? With there being an even greater discripency among girls in comparison to boys, how do we teach our daughters mental toughness, confidence, and courage?
According to The National Report on Self Esteem 98% girls feel there is "an immense pressure from external sources to look a certain way." A study conducted by the American Association of University Women found that girls who at age 9 were confident, assertive, and felt positive about themselves did a 180 by the time they reached high school, with fewer than a third of the girls feeling the way they felt at age 9. The time just before a girl enters high school is very vital in her development. The Moxie Shoppe had the chance to talk with Roslyn Thomas, mother of 8th grade Taylor, about her parenting style and her thoughts on what it takes to make a maverick.
How important is teaching Taylor about the importance individuality as she enters her teen years?
It has always been one of my main priorities. She is one of the few African American students at her school and I knew early on some of the potential problems she would face. Knowing that, I started early on teaching her that her hair and skin was beautiful, and even though she didn't look like most of her classmates she should never be ashamed of who she naturally is. I always taught her to embrace her uniqueness.
What do you admire most about your daughter?
She has a lot of confidence. I wish I was as confident as she is. She is not afraid to try different styles and trends or mix colors and patterns. She wears what makes her feel good and doesn't care what anyone thinks about it.
What was your role in teaching her to be so confident?
I never speak negatively to her about how she looks or what she likes. I talk to her, I have those needed conversations with her about being happy about who she is. I reenforce it by example as well, because I never speak negatively about myself in front of her. I always show that I am happy with who I am and she should be happy about who she is.
What do you teach her about making mistakes?
I teach Taylor that its ok to make a mistakes, but its not ok to keep making the same mistake. She know that she has to learn and grow from her mistakes without being to hard on herself. Even though she makes mistakes, she also knows that she is not exempt from the consequences of her mistakes.
How important is self-expression among young girls to you and how do you cultivate that?
I try to let Taylor express herself the way she wants. I point out the posive things about what she wears and her personality. I use positive language as much as possible. I teach her that it is ok to step out outside her comfort zone. I constently give her examples of the good qualities that she hasn't recognize in herself yet.
What advice would you give to other people raising girls?
I would let tell them to let girls be who they are. Don't try to make them be something they are not. Get to know your daughters and encourage them. Don't worry about what you like, or what you would do. Sometimes you have to take yourself and your likes out of the equation and focus on them.
What should Taylor and every girl know by the time they reach high school?
They should know to love everything about themselves, do their best, whatever their best is. They should know that they shouldn't be afraid, and that they should have a good heart and project that to the world because thats what they will get back.
Model: Taylor Williams | Photographer: Kimberly Jones for The Moxie Shoppe
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