I love Disney movies, the color pink, pretty feminine clothes and when my husband holds the door for me. But let’s face it. The all too important notion for girls that “someday their prince will come” is alive and well. From animated movies and pop music to graphic tees and advertising, our female youth are being bombarded with the message that being cute,  sweet and attractive to the opposite sex is what matters most. When, in truth, what makes for a successful life – whether you’re a girl or a boy – is the ability to grow up and be able to take care of yourself, be happy and lead a productive life.

With that in mind, here’s a few ideas to help you help your daughter rule her world.

  1. Let her be the CEO of her.

Telling a young lady she’s bossy sends the wrong message that girls should be seen and not heard. It discourages her from developing leadership abilities she’ll need throughout her life. Let her speak and finish her sentences. Don’t let others interrupt her. When she has an opinion, ask her why she feels that way and then, listen.

2. Encourage her to follow HER dreams.

If she likes art, set up a studio space for her somewhere in your home. Sign her up for an inexpensive art class or do craft projects together. If she wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up, let her adopt and take care of a pet. If she’s athletic, get her on a soccer team, hit the tennis ball with her at the local public courts or train for a 5K with her. 

3. Expect her to show kindness to all people, animals and the environment.

Leadership comes when you know how to do the right thing and get others to follow.  Model positive behaviors for your daughter and expect her to do the same for her friends and classmates. 

4. Bring out the creative entrepreneur in her.

Whether setting up a lemonade stand, selling Girl Scout Cookies or helping out with a school fundraising program, she’ll be empowered when she sees she can make her own money and a difference in society.

5. Respect her.

Don’t talk down to her. Call her by her first name or favorite nickname. Try to avoid words like “sugar, sweetie or dear,” which minimalize her.

6. Give her on-the-job training.

You don’t have to wait for “Take Your Daughter To Work Day” to teach her responsibility and the value of having her own career someday. Take her to the office with you any day, have her help with small but important tasks. And ask her to pitch in with chores at home. Then, thank her for a good day’s work and explain how her efforts made a difference.

7. It’s okay. Let her make mistakes.

Don’t micromanage her. Let her figure things out on her own and learn on her own how to do it better the next time.

8. Challenge her to ask questions.

A curious girl is an educated lifelong learner and problem solver which leads to better opportunities ahead.

9. Support her.

Help her avoid negative influences and learn to identify and develop positive relationships. Tell her she deserves that! And keep on telling her that. After all, no successful leader of tomorrow can do it on her own.

10. Emphasize her talents and accomplishments over looks and appearance.

Unless she’s going to be the world’s next supermodel, provide her with positive reinforcement about her special and unique traits and abilities. Your feedback provides her with an important blueprint in becoming the heroine of her own life.