Confidence: How To Help Your Daughter Build Self Esteem

momparentingparentingages and stages

Confidence—Before our daughter was born we got an amazing piece of parenting advice. When your baby cries (even if your baby is 42), there's an instinct to try and soothe away their tears with gentle rocking and hushed words like "Oh, don't cry, angel" or "What's wrong, my sweet"? The advice we got was to keep the rocking but lose the words, or at least those words.

The moral behind it is that we are teaching our kids that there's nothing wrong with crying, there's nothing wrong with feeling bad or being sad, and there's certainly nothing wrong with expressing yourself.

I wish I could remember who shared this with us, because in so many ways it's become the foundation of how we're raising our (now) two kids to be the happiest versions of them they can be. See, we've come to believe that one of the keys to happiness and self-esteem is knowing yourself and feeling you can be yourself, however you find yourself.

As parents, we're trying to give our kids the permission to feel as they feel, want what they want, like what they like, explore without fear...and the tools to express themselves honestly, openly, and productively. We're teaching them to live out loud (sometimes quietly and sometimes in their rooms) and, yes, to get things off their chests because we believe that life is better and more fully lived at any and every age when you speak your truth.

With statistics like 42 percent of girls in grades 1-3 want to be thinner; 51 percent of 9-10 year old girls feel better about themselves when they're dieting; 53 percent of 13 year old girls are unhappy with their bodies and by the time they're 17, 78 percent of them will be, it’s apparent that it’s never been harder to grow up happy and feeling good about yourself than it is today.

As parents, it makes us want to scream and cry. It also made us start Off Our Chests so we could try and make a difference and happy up the planet one woman (and girl) and one shared story at a time. It’s why we’re trying to get support for The Self-Esteem Act, which would require ads and editorial that meaningfully change the human form through airbrushing to carry “Truth In Advertising” labels that let us (and the all of the girls who want to be thinner) know that what we’re seeing has been altered.

It all goes back to the beginning and that great piece of advice. To us, letting our kids speak and be at peace with their truth is everything. As an active participant in the village that’s raising all our kids, we want popular culture to speak its truth too, and let us know when it’s not.

How do you help your child build confidence and self esteem? How do you teach and show your child self love and acceptance?

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Seth Matlins is the Founder of Off Our Chests. He was a former CAA Agent and Global CMO of Live Nation, and his wife Eva was a former teacher and teen counselor. Off Our Chests is a purpose-driven brand that consists of a curated and user-generated website,, seeking to give women a place to express and share their stories in a comfortable and non-judgmental setting. The brand’s dual mottos: “Share your story. Change hers” and “Feel More Better”, convey their idea that facilitating thought, sharing, and discussion is the tool that will help women achieve true happiness. Off Our Chests’ high end T-shirt line, sold at Fred Segal, extends the brand’s mission with “Chestisms”, simple and sometimes cheeky reminders that “life is better lived out-loud, speaking one’s truth, and letting one’s freak flag fly, even if it’s not very freaky at all.


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