As girls begin to navigate life more and more on their own, it’s important to help them learn self-confidence. Having confidence in oneself and one’s abilities help girls take healthy risks, stay true to their authentic selves, make choices that align with their goals and dreams, and step up as leaders in their communities. From healthy self-esteem, a positive sense of self, and supporting a positive body image, there are many ways we can build their confidence and support the development of strong girls.
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Build Self-Confidence as a Girl Scout Family
Girls have many people in their lives they rely on for support. From those at home to those in Girl Scouting, “family” is important. Support from positive adults in a girl’s life can show a girl she can do and overcome anything. From reaching out during social distancing to texting and saying “I hope your audition goes great”, there are many ways to be there for your Girl Scout.
Try new things as a family or a troop to show your girl that stepping out of her comfort zone is a safe thing to do. Encouraging girls to speak their minds and ask questions at home helps girls work on their critical thinking skills and become leaders. Support isn’t just for people at home! Troop leaders can send girls cards by mail to say that you can’t wait to see them again. The little things go a long way.
A Little Praise Goes a Long Way
Self-confidence is more than just a smile. It comes from connecting with your girl and the things that really matter to her. If she’s struggling with virtual meetings, acknowledge that you see that this is hard for her and then highlight the skills you know she has that will help her work through it. Then compliment her efforts and successes. Compliments should focus on the new challenges, persistence, and real accomplishments that your Girl Scout makes, instead of outcomes. Focus on using words that push her higher rather than dig her into a deeper hole.
Learning from Failure
Mistakes happen and are expected! Decisions that we might not like sometimes must be made. Life is a bumpy road and no one has all the answers. All or nothing thinking does not celebrate failure for the learning experience that it is. The unexpected happens. Life is always filled with challenging things (sometimes they are small, sometimes large) but modeling how those are handled can show a girl a lot. Let her be upset but also guide her on a path forward. When a girl knows she’s got a parent, troop leader, or friend that will guide and support her, win or lose, she’ll feel empowered!
Emotions Matter, but are Not the Sole Focus.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the emotions tied to a situation, especially when the situation is as intense as a pandemic or a social uprising! While it’s okay to be sad, angry, frustrated, or disappointed, living in that negative emotional space can make you miss the positive things too. Big picture thinking can quickly redirect negative thinking and emotion. Perspective is important!
Helping girls navigate difficult emotions, giving them praise and support, learning from failure, and trying new things are all excellent ways to not only build your girl’s confidence, but to support her on her journey to be a Girl Scout leader. With your help, she’ll be equipped to make chance, spread kindness, and share knowledge with everyone she meets!
What to do next:
- Learn about how Kristine Sumi hosted a series of troop meetings to talk about the difficult issues of inequality coming up in their lives or on the news.
- Model Girl Scout self-confidence for your girls to follow!
- Read other Trailhead parent and volunteer resources on how to build strong and confident Girl Scouts.
Richel Newborg—Richel is a troop leader to Troop 2740 located in Fort Worth, Texas (although she was born and raised in California). Her mom and grandmother were also Girl Scout Leaders. Her favorite memory so far as a troop leader was packing friends, family, and excited girls into her living room (almost 50 people) when their bridging/rededication ceremony was rained out. It was crowded but an awesome celebration of Girl Scouting and they even managed to have a real bridge!Richel is a troop leader to Troop 2740 located in Fort Worth, Texas (although she was born and raised in California). Her mom and grandmother were also Girl Scout Leaders. Her favorite memory so far as a troop leader was packing friends, family, and excited girls into her living room (almost 50 people) when their bridging/rededication ceremony was rained out. It was crowded but an awesome celebration of Girl Scouting and they even managed to have a real bridge!