Raising a daughter with character and confidence

Let's face it! We live in a cruel world. I thought it was bad when I was growing up, but it has definitely gotten worst. On top of that, we're faced with pressures and opinions of what it means to be beautiful, qualified, or just good enough. It scares me that I am raising a child in this day and age. I know I can't protect my daughter from it all but at least a high self esteem, confidence and good character will help her along the way. It's my prayer that she will be a change agent and make a positive impact in the world. In order to do that, I feel like there are a few things that I can do to at home to make sure she is on the right track.

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POSITIVE SPEAKING

"Speak to your children as if they are the wisest, kindest, most beautiful and magical humans on earth, for what they believe is what they will become." - Brooke Hampton

When I was growing up, and someone would say something mean, we would say, "Sticks and stones may brake my bones, but words will never hurt me." That was lie. Words do hurt, especiallyin kids. I remember one time I was in the grocery store with Journee, and this mom shouted to her kid, "Come here stupid, why are you so stupid?" My mouth dropped to the floor. The kid was obviously used to it, because it didn't seem to bother him one bit. I'll never forget how Journee looked up at me and grabbed tightly on to my leg. I could read her mind and she was thinking "thank God that's not my mom!" I only speak life and positive words over my girl because she is truly a gift and a blessing from God. I always say things like...

"Wow Journee you are so smart, I can't believe you read that word!"

"Thank you for drawing a picture for me, you are so creative."

"You saved me cake? Wow, you're so thoughtful!"

"I love that you picked up some extra crayons for your friend at school, you are so kind."

The more I speak positive to her, the more positive, smart, creative, and thoughtful she is. What we speak to and over our kids is what they believe and what they become.

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HOUSEHOLD CHORES

Oh yes, I love you to Reeses pieces but you are going to do chores. She is now realizing that chores are actually work. In the past, she would be eager to help out. Now, getting her help sometimes comes with a little nudge. In my opinion, every child should have chores. If you can enter my iphone code, pull up Youtube and Netflix to find Barbie, then you can definitely help out around the house. I am sure chores will give Journee a sense of pride and some responsibility. Chores have helped her to be more mindful of the mess she makes. She knows we will make her clean it up. Like Bahamian parents say, "a little hard work ain't never killed nobody."Now if I could just get her to voluntarily do her chores I will feel so much more accomplished.

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GOOD MANNERS

"The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any." - Fred Astaire

Good Manners are still just as important as they were back in the 80's when I was a child. Answering "what" or "yeah" was a total no, and a sure way to gain consciousness in heaven. The same went for saying, please, thank you and pardon me. When grown folks talked you had to leave the room. Nowadays, kids join the conversation, barely letting their parents get a word in. I believe it goes beyond the verbiage, our actions should be mannerly too. Don't get me wrong, we are NOT perfect at our manners all the time. As a family, we do try every day to teach Journee and also be good examples for her. We have lots of work to do but here are some manners we focus on.

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Write thank you notes for gifts.

Avoid interrupting when adults are speaking.

Stay out of grown folks business.

Eat properly at the table.

Knock on closed doors.

Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing.

Flush the toilet when you're done.

Don't damage other people's toys or belongings.

No bad words allowed.

Clean up after yourself when done eating.

FATHER DAUGHTER BOND

No matter how amazing mommy is, every little girl needs her father. Growing up, I never had a good relationship with my father. At times I felt unwanted and unloved, a feeling no child should ever have. I missed out on piggy back rides, daddy daughter dances, lunch dates, and a good fatherly example of how to be treated by men. However, I am so happy that Journee has a good father daughter bond. Her father's love is shown in word and deed. He sets the standard on how she should be treated and also how she views other men. Her confidence is high because he supports, disciplines, encourages, and spends time with her. What a great role model he is and what a blessed little girl.#theblackmancan

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LEAD BY EXAMPLE

I never realized just how much Journee listens to and imitates us. Often times, she would make a comment, that's exactly what I would say. She's watches my every move. She wants her hair like mine, her clothing to match, lip gloss like mine etc. In the Bahamas when someone is telling a good story (a good piece of gossip....don't judge) that's interesting, the response would sometimes be "Ya Lie" which really means, "are you serious?" or "come on, tell me more." My husband and I would say this to each other all the time. One day we were telling Journee something and her response was "Ya Lie!" Ok, so that's a NO NO. Not her fault entirely but that reminded us to watch what we say. We are on a constant quest to set the right example in all areas of our lives because their are some little eyes and ears taking note.

"Children are like a mirror, what they see and hear they do. Be a good reflection for them." - K Heath

OPEN COMMUNICATION

Mommy and daddy's ear will always be the best listening ear. The lines of communication will always be open between us. I want Journee to know that her feelings and thoughts are just as important as ours or anyone else. I want to know all the details of her day, the good, the bad and everything in between. We usually have the best conversations on the way home from school and at bedtime. Her stories and thoughts are so interesting and entertaining at times.

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ENCOURAGE INDEPENDENCE

I am constantly reminding myself to allow Journee to be independent. It's bitter sweet because I forget. I am reminded when she says, "Wait! I can do it all by myself." As the days pass, it seems like she is more and more independent. We allow her to little things like dress herself, brush her teeth and pack her snacks for school. Of course, we always inspect and follow up after. Independence gives Journee a sense of confidence, and pride knowing that she did the task all by herself. She usually says, "I'm good!" She toots her own horn guys.