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10 Ways to Help Instill Self-Confidence in Girls

As girls grow, they are faced with self-esteem issues that affect behavior. Recognizing this and working to instill self-esteem through activities is a win-win for everybody. Here are 10 tips to launch girls on the right path.

  1. Girls want opportunities for leadership. They also want to share in planning and decision-making. As a Girl Scout adult, you can empower girls by giving them a chance to choose activities and share increased responsibility.

  2. Girls want their voices to be heard now, not just when they are older. They want adults to listen and take them seriously. Actively listen to girls' voices, opinions, and ideas. Remember to recognize accomplishments.

  3. Provide girls with a safe place where they can discuss real issues. Girls desire a trusting, confidential environment to feel emotionally safe.

  4. Girls want to choose from a full range of activities. Create opportunities for girls to explore new things, sample diversity, and give back to their communities.

  5. Girls are experiencing teen pressures at younger and younger ages. However, they may have trouble dealing with these issues because their emotional development may not be in sync with their social, cognitive, and sexual development. Let Girl Scouting be a safe, fun environment where girls can just be girls.

  6. Girls' self-images are determined not only by their self-perceptions but also the perceptions of others. It is imperative that adults be positive, honest, and supportive. Girls also need to strengthen cultural beliefs and practices that enhance self-esteem; this includes a competent approach to dealing with body image and nutrition.

  7. Girls are interested in expressing themselves through a variety of ways—fashion, art, community action, the outdoors, and decorating, for example. Take time to find out what girls' interests are and help them tap into their creativity.

  8. Girls want to connect with young women they admire, such as young professionals and college students. They also want to work with "experts" who can share their talents. Offer girls opportunities to connect with a myriad of adult role models.

  9. Girls ages 8–12 are more worried about being teased and made fun of than they are about being attacked with a weapon or being kidnapped. That is how seriously they regard negative attention. Show, by example, how important it is to respect girls' experiences.

  10. In the company of other females, girls can express themselves without fear of being judged by boys. Provide opportunities for girls to build on their strengths and try new things in a supportive all-girl environment.

For more about girls and self-esteem, see these reports from the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI):