We all want our kids to grow up to be responsible people who will make a difference in society and be “world-changers” in their own way.
Because of this, we do our best to focus on raising our kids with values — ones that we hope they will live out all the way to adulthood.
Now, while values in general need to be taught to both boys and girls, there are specific values that can be emphasized for each gender. Here are some values that girls, in particular, should definitely be taught, according to family and life educator and women's advocate Francesca Sarmiento, who is also mom to a six-year-old girl:
1. Self-worth Sarmiento explains, “Early on, girls should learn to respect themselves simply because they are daughters of God. They are unique creations, each with their own set of gifts, talents and skills. They should be encouraged to believe in themselves even from a young age."
2. Hard work and patience “Girls especially need to learn the value of patience,” Sarmiento says. “As they mature, they will realize that instant gratification will not help them, and they will see that there is value in waiting.”
It’s also important to emphasize that things “become more valuable, significant and important if you work hard at getting them.”
“This also helps them value themselves more in the future, especially when it comes to friendships and relationships (with the opposite sex),” Sarmiento adds.
3. Discipline and responsibility Sarmiento says that girls usually have this innate desire to take on the role of “nurturer”. “They will, in the future, be responsible for someone else’s life and upbringing, thus, they need to learn to be disciplined and responsible for their actions at a young age, so that it becomes second nature to them when they grow up.”
4. Strength in character Sarmiento believes that all girls are "strong and dependable but also interdependent on men who have their own complementing roles”. She adds, “Women are not expected to put one over the other.”
Sarmiento hopes that every girl learns that, as future women, they “have an inner strength that helps them withstand physical and emotional pain. They have a role that will help build character in others,” she emphasizes.
“It is important for girls to be able to understand their roles in the family, in the community and in society. They should learn to be discerning enough to know when to speak what’s on their mind and when it is better to be silent, reflective and prayerful.”
In addition to the values mentioned by Sarmiento, the following are also important values that girls need to learn:
5. Determination We need to teach our girls that they should not be intimidated by what may seem to be a “male-dominated” society. They need to learn to persevere and be committed in pursuing their goals and dreams, no matter what challenges they may face along the way.
6. Tact Our daughters must be taught to embody grace in their thoughts, words and actions, that they should display tact at all times, always taking into consideration other people’s feelings.
Of course, when it comes to teaching our daughters (and our sons) values, the responsibility belongs primarily to us parents. We need to model whatever values we want our kids to learn because, after all, kids learn best by what they see us do, and not what we say.
What other values do you think girls should learn? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!