By Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC
Miley Cyrus had us all talking after the MTV-VMA Awards, but the talk wasn’t positive. A woman who had grown up influencing girls with Hannah Montana and Disney doesn’t naturally choose twerking unless she has run out of artistic options or is rebelling against the crowd that helped make her a childhood legend. I am over the story of Miley, but unfortunately moms, girls and young women are not. Young people feel as though Miley was like them, and if Miley is desperate for fame, what will they resort to? Things such as selfies in inappropriate places, body parts texted to boyfriends, and other risky behavior further damages young women’s self-esteem, self-respect, and body image.
We talk frequently about the bad things happening to women and young girls, but focusing on the things that set successful women apart from those sinking into desperation should be studied as well. In fact, there are so many qualities that successful women exhibit in that sets them apart, I decided to remind parents and girls once again. If you can adapt these qualities and practice them each day, you will have the confidence to handle the success you earn. The key to being a successful woman is not dependent on your looks or your body, but rather how you feel about yourself, and strong beliefs in your abilities.
Here are a few general suggestions
* Find a few things you are interested in and explore them.
* Be willing to take risks, but prepare for possible consequences.
* Educate yourself and have a career goal and dream.
* Women and girls who succeed have parents who are on their team of success.
* Befriend women of all ages, careers and ethnicities.
* Choose wisely before you begin dating someone.
* Get a job, if not a paid one, then volunteer for an organization you are passionate about.
* Try to shadow someone in a career of interest. This will help you explore dimensions of the career you may not have thought about.
* Focus on what you want, instead of how you look compared to your friends. Your looks (although they seem important now) aren’t as important to your ultimate happiness and success as is your drive to be successful.
Telling your daughters what not to do will not be as helpful as suggesting things they can do. Embracing these suggestions, and practicing them with your child, will put you in a position to be their number one mentor and on their team for success. Girls have to believe in themselves, and that is a lot easier to do when their parents believe in them too.
– Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC, is a licensed psychotherapist and co-author with Janine J. Sherman, of Start Talking: A Girl’s Guide for You and Your Mom About Health, Sex or Whatever. Read more about the book at www.StartTalkingBook.com and more about Rapini at www.maryjorapini.com.