Self-esteem is another one of those words that get batted around a lot when it comes to girls. It is actually a word I am not fond of because for me it is only part of the equation. I much prefer the term self-efficacy because it goes one step further.

Self-esteem is about having confidence in one own abilities. Self-efficacy on the other hand is having confidence in one’s own ability to achieve intended results. To me, having confidence in ones abilities are great but it’s what you do with it that really matters. So I’m going to talk self-efficacy, even though I lured you in with a different title!

If you want my thoughts on confidence click here.


So how do we promote self-efficacy in young girls?


1.  Talk to her about the effort it took to get somewhere, not the result.

Often with little thought, we say things like what a brilliant picture, you were awesome today, well done, and while on the surface they all seem fine and they are, I think we do need to take it one step further if we are to promote self-esteem and self-efficacy. We need to look for the ability it took to get there. So is her picture brilliant because of her patience, concentration or creativity? Whatever you think it is, praise your child on the ability. When she comes home upset after an argument with her friend, comfort her but tell her how caring and compassionate she is. If she insists that she gets something, don’t give in (unless you want to) but acknowledge her persistence. It’s always about the ability, keep focused on that.


2.  Don’t focus on the end result, focus on the process.

The best way to knock a girl is to tell her she didn’t achieve what was expected. The pressure on girls to achieve is enormous and the way we speak to girls doesn’t help this, but that is for another article on growth mindset. If we want girls to believe in their abilities and have the confidence to get the results, then we need to focus on what they did to get there. So when something good happens, what did she do to get there and when things don’t go her way, what would she do differently, how would she change the process? It’s all about the process, the steps we take. Focus on these and even when your daughter fails, she will know that all she needs to do is change the plan next time.


3.  Be careful how you speak and act around her.

It’s often the little things, the sigh when she comes home with a grade that wasn’t what we expected, the roll of our eyes at her outfit, or the small cough when she talks about a friend you don’t like. These things have an impact and believe me I know how hard they are to avoid; I am often picked up for my sighs. We must watch how we judge our children and not only that but how we judge other women and girls around her. If we judge another women for the way she is dressed in front of her, we send a strong message to our daughter about what she and cannot wear, We must, I believe respect all our daughter’s choices, whether we agree with them or not. Passing any kind of judgment without being asked for it is never helpful to your daughter or another woman. Respect her for the human she is and only give an opinion if it is asked for. If you mess up or say something you shouldn’t, tell her what you really meant, tell her what you are worried about, tell her what you want from her but never judge her.

And finally remember, whether you think it or not, what you think of your daughter matters. Tell her each day you love her, tell her what you adore about her and let her know that your love is unconditional.



This article has been republished from a recommended author, Sarah Newton, and resource,

The full version can be found at


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