Raising Sasha, Malia and Willow: Instilling Confidence In Our Girls

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Compelling, gracious, charismatic and confident. Those are words that have been used to describe First Lady Michelle Obama and actress Jada Pinkett Smith. They’re both famous African American women. And that’s as far as the parallel usually goes. But when I look at them both, I see much more. I see amazing moms raising uberconfident daughters in a world that isn’t always kind to young women of color. Just one look at Malia and Sasha Obama or Willow Smith tells you that they have more than a little something extra. There’s no doubt that they get it from their mamas.

There are plenty of lessons to be learned when it comes to raising our own first daughters and pop princesses:

Make confidence a family affair. Did you ever watch “The Red Table Talk” with Jada Pinkett Smith, her mother and her daughter, Willow? It was a candid discussion about life for women and young women of all ages. What struck me about this show is that there were three generations of confident women sharing their thoughts with the world. And we all can see that Michelle Obama has passed on the confidence to her daughters that she’s received from her mother. Generational poise isn’t reserved for celebrities. By harnessing the wisdom of our own mothers, we can pass on the same self-assurance to our girls.

Use our past as a building block. Michelle Obama often refers to her blue collar upbringing on the South Side of Chicago. And Jada Pinkett Smith has been open about being raised in inner-city Baltimore by a single parent. Undoubtedly, they’ve shared these stories with their children and showed them how these challenges made them the strong women that they are today. Instead of shying away from recounting our own challenges to our girls, let’s use them as building stones to boost our princess’s confidence. One they know how we’ve overcome, they can feel empowered to do the same.

Make our girls Number #1. “. . . We have dinner together as a family just about every night at 6:30 pm.”** That’s a quote from the First Lady. What a level of commitment that must take! If the First Lady of the United States can make her kids a priority, I’m sure that with sacrifices we can do the same. Just think of how much it will boost our girls’ confidence to know that they are our very first priority!

Promote self-expression. There’s been a ton of discussion about Willow Smith’s hair. “How could Jada allow that?” is what you hear. But I applaud how Jada Pinkett Smith encourages her daughter’s unique self-expression. Let’s encourage our daughters to show the world their individuality.

My daughter has as much potential as the Obama girls or Willow Smith. But only by me focusing on her confidence just like a celebrity mom would will she realize this potential.

Mommies, how do you instill confidence in your daughters?

Words By: Yolanda Darville

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