How to Raise a Fierce and Independent Daughter

Oh, Romeo! Romeo? Where the heck art thou? Thou had better not be cramping my independent daughter's style. Away, three-inch fool!


She's the queening it type — OK? When my daughter's 14, sure, she can date, but she'll be doing a whole bunch of other fiercely independent things, too. I vow to raise my daughter to feel confident in her sovereignty of self.

What does it mean to raise a fierce and independent daughter? She will grow up secure in herself and feel empowered to make positive decisions about her life and what she has to offer others. She will say "no" without feeling head-to-toe guilt. She will express her feelings, even when she struggles to decipher what those mean in a tough world, and lead a full life — her life, her choice.


1. LOVE THYSELF, DAUGHTER

Self-love is the gift that keeps on giving, yet it's so hard to give it to oneself. Women, especially, give away compassion and love to others like they're two of Oprah's favorite things. Did you check under your seat yet? Where did you hide your chocolate from your kid? Go on — take a guilty, delicious bite of self-love.

Self-love looks like more than chocolate, but it still feels like chocolate. "Love thyself" may prove the hardest lesson of all to teach. Social media displays delusions of perfectionism, and self-worth remains tightly corseted to size and shape.

Society still expects girls and women to be polite and naive under all circumstances. Beauty presents itself inside and out, but the expression of beauty is through the persistence of empathy, compassion, and love toward the world at large and especially the self. Love thyself. Take care of yourself to have the energy to do and give all the wonders of your heart.

2. FORGIVENESS DOESN'T MEAN FORGETTING

I learned this adage from my mother — "I forgive, but that doesn’t mean I forget." Forgiveness doesn't mean excusing someone else's wrongs, but it's important to move on with life. You must have room in your heart to enjoy life to the fullest.

Humans err — they make mistakes and do stupid human stuff. Fierce ladies mess up, too. Forgiveness fuels more compassion and love. Forgive thyself, too.


3. DON'T LET HATE WIN, BUT ANGER ISN'T WRONG

Hate dwells on the flip side of love, and it pulls people to the lowest of lows. It can be hard to climb back up when you feel such deep hate.

Love is equalizing, and you can't ever make someone feel the way you feel. You can try to imagine the walk inside their shoes — practice empathy. Becoming an empathetic person is something you'll evolve into over the course of your life.

Don't let hate win, but anger isn't wrong. When you feel wronged, anger rises up, but it's not bad or good. Anger shows you where you hurt and why. It's a tool to choose the positive.

4. DON'T SACRIFICE YOUR INNER CHILD

The world is made of concrete, and the nine-to-five is where people go to sacrifice their inner child. Burnout increases risks for chronic diseases and death, but besides the physical, losing what it means to play means losing the innocent, compassionate and open-minded parts of yourself that make up that child-you.

Don't sacrifice your inner child for anyone or anything, dear daughter. Always remember how you learned to create your own rules while playing fairly on the playground, and your imagination expanded the possibilities of any circumstance and who and what you could be — queenie bee. The slide becomes your fortress, and how I love the way you think outside the box!


5. THE BRAIN IS MALLEABLE - LEARN AND NEVER STOP

People judge quickly, and the mind jumps to assumption — which makes a donkey butt out of you and me. It's natural, but jumping to conclusions about something or someone different hinders valuable experience and knowledge from reaching you. Remain open, and that grace will allow others to appreciate your fierceness and learn from you as you learn from them, dear daughter.

The brain is malleable – and 75% of brain development happens between infancy and age 20. You can pick up another language at age 50, and did you know it might be easier for older language learners than young kids? There's no "critical number" to hit as a learner. They say, "Life is the greatest teacher," and humans will always be students. Learn, my fierce daughter, so you become more independent.

6. FIND AND LIVE YOUR PASSION

Life is short, darling. The decades disappear into each other, and the milestones stretch out further apart. Sweet 16 will bloom into 61, and you think about your golden years — which means putting more butter on toast for me, but whatever.

Find and live your passion, because life is short. Master challenges to affirm your intrinsic values, daughter. Love the sound of strings or have a witchy-sense when it comes to spices? Do your thing. I will eat my toast and toast you.


So, darling daughter, if others think you waspish, they'd best beware your sting — but do not forget the condition of your estate, to rejoice in others — and thyself.