Raising Daughters with Disabilities: Empower Our Tweens with Self Esteem

It’s up to moms and dads to give them the tools.

For over ten years, Dove has been creating programs to help raise the self-esteem of more than two million Canadian girls and counting—one of those girls happens to be mine. My ten-year-old daughter is changing perceptions about what it means to be “unique.”

Born with a rare chromosome disorder, Avery astounds everyone she meets with her fearless nature, boundless curiosity, and loyal heart.

Her developmental differences pose some particular challenges, now and into the future, but this girl is being raised to believe the truth—that every person has something valuable to offer the world. 

We can tell our daughters every day that they are smart and beautiful and funny and kind, but the goal is for them to really hear it and most importantly, to believe it.

Verbal affirmations—and the positive example when set for them every day—build our girls’ self-esteem. We need this early foundation to be strong enough to withstand the external pressures and criticism and self-doubt that will inevitably appear at some point as they grow more independent.

As our daughters born with disabilities and without enter their tweens and teens, harsh words, peer pressure, comparison, and discrimination (which my child has experienced, but doesn’t yet understand) will cause cracks in that foundation. It’s up to moms and dads to give them the tools to repair those cracks so they can continue to build healthy, happy, fulfilling lives built upon that foundation of unshakable self-esteem.

I feel like if I can give my daughter that, I’ve done my job. And when I’m gone (oh dear… I can’t even go there) and she’s on her own, my girl can continue to draw strength and confidence from the lessons learned early on.

You can help #InspireConfidence in young girls by downloading free resources at selfesteem.dove.ca. The activities are simple to create and deliver. They cost us nothing, but provide so much.

This paragraph is from the Mindful Me Activity Guide and I couldn’t agree with it more.

“Being mindful helps girls not to worry too much about past events or mistakes, or what the future holds. Instead, we want a girl to experience feelings, emotions, sensations, thoughts and events in an accepting way. We want her to celebrate the gifts she has – her qualities, talents, traits, and the quirks that make her unique – and appreciate how important she is to her family, friends and the larger world.”

Mindful Me Party

You can read all about the “very fun, you should totally host one” Mindful Me Party Avery and I hosted last summer here.

Download a few of these free materials and engage in your own daily affirmations with your daughter. And if you’re so inclined, share your experience through photos, tweets etc. Use the hashtag #Inspireconfidence to share and follow along because self-esteem is a beautiful thing.

Mindful Me Activities

The Dove Self-Esteem program continues to offer engaging ways for me to strengthen my daughter’s self-esteem. The program has also had a positive impact on girls like Alexa, Alexis and Bryanna—who are living proof that Dove Self-Esteem programs are helping to influence the early successes of so many young women. Be sure to show this sweet and inspiring video to your daughter:

The Dove Bird

Let’s help our girls build self-esteem! One easy activity is give your daughter this printable decal as a daily reminder to stay confident.

Step1: Put it somewhere she’ll see it every day.

Step 2: Every day for 2 weeks, help her write something to celebrate herself.

Step 3: Share her daily confidence reminders with #InspireConfidence and see how easy it is to help girls start feeling more confident.

Self-esteem is a beautiful thing.

Available at Real Canadian Superstore, Loblaws, Zehrs, Fortinos and Atlantic Superstore or for convenient pick up here.

Lisa is a former elementary school teacher turned disability parenting advocate. Lisa and Avery share snippets of family life on Instagram and on their mother-daughter podcast. They share the happy and the hard, because real life doesn’t have a filter. You can visit them at: aVeryBrightLife.com