Protecting our daughters by instilling a sense of self

Janis Keyser, MA Early Childhood Education Specialist & Author, shares advice for parents on ways they can protect their daughter by instilling a strong sense of self within them
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Protecting our daughters by instilling a sense of self

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Sometimes parents feel concerned when there girls are out in the world in different kids of situations, with their friends, or when there are older boys present. Parents wonder, what can I do to protect my daughter in that kind of a situation? There are three things to think about. One is, what is your daughter's sense of self? Can she read her own signals? Can she read when a situation is uncomfortable? The other thing is how do I keep good communication so that no matter what happens, no matter how difficult it is? The other thing is accessibility. Can my daughter get to me? Can she call me, can she reach out to me if she gets in a difficult space? Our children start learning these things when they are very young. When we are trying to put our child in a car seat, trying to change their diaper, trying to get them ready for school; all things that they don't want to do. We can still set a limit and say, "You need to get in your car seat." But if we listen to her feelings and we say, "I know you don't want to get in your car seat. I know you want to continue playing." That gives her the message that her feelings are valid. That she can stay in tune with her own feelings, even though the world around her is telling her something else. She doesn't have to disregard her feelings. That we will listen to those feelings, even if we disagree with what we want her to do. I think that our girls having that strong sense of self, having them communicate their feelings, and also, the knowledge that they can always talk to us, no matter how hard the subject is. We are always there for them.

Janis Keyser, MA Early Childhood Education Specialist & Author, shares advice for parents on ways they can protect their daughter by instilling a strong sense of self within them

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Janis Keyser, MA

Early Childhood Education Specialist & Author

Janis Keyser currently works as a site director for a child development program in Mountain View, California. She was a full-time faculty member in the Early Childhood Education Department at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California for 30 years, teaching children, teachers and parents and coordinating a state demonstration infant toddler program. She has written a resource book for parents and one for teachers; and is a nationally recognized speaker at parenting, family and child development conferences, and has conducted workshops nationally and internationally for parents and teachers for over 35 years. She enjoys swimming, kayaking, photography, family games and cooking with friends of all ages.

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