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Mother/Daughter 101: Smart Tips for Raising Girls

by Erin Dower

Every mother/daughter relationship is different. Whether you and your daughter are close as can be or constantly battling, find out the key steps in building a strong relationship and raising a happy, healthy girl. (Also take a look at our mother/son relationship tips.)

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mother and daughter in a healthy relationship

Raise Her as a Person — Not a Princess


From the moment you find out you were having a baby girl, people probably showered you with adorable dresses and all things pink and princess-y. There's nothing wrong with dresses, the color pink, and princess movies, toys, and birthday parties. (Many little girls gravitate toward these things, even if their parents cringe at princesses and strive for a gender-neutral environment.) The important thing is to encourage all kinds of imaginative play, not just dressing up pretty and waiting for her prince, for instance. Foster other traits through fantasy play, such as wit, toughness, and assertiveness so that she's not always acting the demure princess role. Teach her to be a well-rounded, well-mannered person and not the ruler of an imaginary kingdom. When she's young, encourage her to step away from her princess playtime to do her chores (not just the dainty ones!), focus on learning and teamwork, and try new things, such as soccer and karate. A 6-year-old fan of princesses is one thing; a 16-year-old who thinks she's a princess is a whole other beast.

Next: Nurture Her Self-Confidence

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