Being confident is not about choice. It is also about how you have lived your life. Parents play a crucial role in raising a child. If a child is confident, parents can be given due credits for it. Biology justifies the privileges men have by showing out their physical superiority.
As parents, it has to be understood that your child whether a son or a daughter will be confident if s/he is made to feel that way. Confident individuals need to be given the freedom and support to be who they ultimately want to be. While confident sons are no surprise daughters who are bold and outspoken are looked at with wide eyes.
Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, writes,
“Remember in primary school we learnt that a verb was a ‘doing’ word? Well, a father is as much a verb as a mother…Sometimes mothers, so conditioned to be all and do all, are complicit in diminishing the role of fathers…”
Women have been subjugated by patriarchy, which makes them feel inferior to men. Parents need to make their child feel equal irrespective of gender. She further says,
“Share childcare equally. ‘Equally’ of course depends on you both. It does not have to mean a literal fifty-fifty or a day-by-day scorekeeping but you’ll know when the child-care work is equally shared. You’ll know by your lack of resentment. Because when there is true equality, resentment does not exist.”
Your daughter should be raised irrespective of gender roles. Her ultimate goal should not be to be a daughter, wife or mother but first be an independent woman. Parents should reject the idea of motherhood and work as mutually exclusive. This is will make their daughter have a self-made individuality.
Language defines gender roles. There is a chair-”man” but not a chair-”woman”. God is “He” and rarely “She.” While communicating with your young child as a parent you need to be unbiased. The language should not convey biased messages.
Language is a compilation of prejudices, beliefs and assumptions. Teach your daughter the need of question one’s own language.
Don’t let your daughter give “I am a girl” as an excuse. Explain the importance of dignity to your daughter. The discourse of gender assumes women to be morally better than men. Tell her they are not! Women are as human as men. Female goodness and evil both exist.
Teach your daughter that there are her own standards and experiences cannot be universalised. She is an individual and can not be generalized by stereotypes. Speak about sex with her. Explain that it not merely an act of reproduction. It can be a consequence of something called love. Let her know that her consent is very important. Her comfort is as important as the comfort of the opposite gender.
You may be a good parent but there is scope to be better to raise a daughter who is confident. Your daughter needs your support and understanding to feel independent. Let’s break the gender roles and stereotypes together. Let no child feel inferior only because of their gender.