Bringing up daughters can be a road full of twists and turns. It’s exciting yet scary, like cliff jumping into the open sea. Fortunately, how society treats the fairer sex is now changing. Female empowerment campaigns are everywhere, telling little girls that it is possible to be whoever they want to be.
When it comes to female empowerment, advices about acknowledging uniqueness and exuding confidence abound. However, little is said about how imparting good money habits can also help raise happy and thriving daughters.
It’s about time this changes. To raise a girl boss, we should also teach our daughters to be financially independent and to know how to use money smartly. Being money savvy can also help in salary negotiations for when they start building their own careers.
In celebration of the International Day of the Girl, here are tips on how parents can help their little girls make positive choices, money habits included. This healthy mix can help raise strong-willed daughters who can be the bosses of their own future.
1. Focus more on their efforts.
When we recognize the efforts our daughters put into a task, they learn to value the importance of hard work and become motivated by this appreciation. In fact, one study shows that children who are often praised for their intelligence or ability more than their actual hard work displayed less persistence compared with children who are praised for the latter.
One way to let them know that we notice their efforts more is by saying “You worked really hard and all the practice paid off!” instead of “You really are a talented kid.”
2. Get them out of their comfort zone.
Let’s get real: staying in our comfort zone creates a semblance of stability but it doesn’t teach us new things nor help us develop courage. Not fencing our daughters in will help cultivate healthy independence because they have a chance to choose and decide on their own.
Note though that independent children may have the tendency to talk back because they may see things differently and are not afraid to speak up about it. Just keep them in check to make sure that they remain respectful of others’ opinions.
3. Teach them how to accept failure
Failure can be hard, especially for kids. The important thing for us to do in this situation is to make them feel supported by using encouraging words and being there for them.
But failure has a bright side: it’s a chance for them to start again with more knowledge and experience. It can teach them about the importance of hard work and determination, instilling in them the idea that they have to work hard for the things that they want.
4. Teach them to be smart with money
Some parents tend to consider the topic of money as taboo when talking with their kids because, as one saying goes, “Money is the root of evil.” But in reality, talking to our kids about money is a great way to impart a sense of responsibility instead of entitlement. They have to understand that having money is not something automatic; rather, it is something that we parents work hard for, invest time and effort in, and earn. In my case, I always find a way to explain the value of money in a way that can be understood by my six year old – how I use it to buy food that we eat, to pay for electricity so she can watch her favorite show or sleep with the fan on, or to pay for her tuition so she can learn in school where she sees her friends.
For them to find the topic more engaging and to help them understand better, let them actually decide how to spend their own money. Let them enjoy the fruits of their labor. One way I practice this with my eldest daughter is to let her save the money she receives for her birthday and from Christmas aguinaldos (gift). She keeps them in a porcelain piggy bank that we crack open the next year so she can use it to buy anything she wants. This is also a way I teach her about money, saving, delayed gratification, and good spending habits. To take it a step further, parents can even teach her how to invest as early as possible thru mutual funds.
You don’t have to wait for New Year to invest because as soon as you receive your 13th month pay, you already have the means to do so. The yuletide season is the perfect time to pay-off debts and purposefully look for investment options to turn from that one-day millionaire habit to a life path that does not depend on a payroll calendar.
5. Model Good Behavior
A friend once shared how her eight-year-old girl asked her to “just use the credit card again” after she declined to buy her a toy for the fourth time in one month. You see, kids are more likely to mirror what we do than follow what we say. Like it or not, they do pick up a lot after us, which is also why it is important to model healthy self-image and sound money habits. Be especially mindful of the words you say and how you act when you are around your daughter.
There are many ways to walk them through good money habits and it can be as simple as bringing them along to grocery shopping. Have a checklist with you where the target budget spend is noted, then have fun scouring for the best deals with your daughter so she can remember it in practice.
Raising girl bosses is not about teaching our daughters to be domineering. It is more about imparting them with life wisdom, mindfulness, and confidence so that they can be in-charge of their actions and own every bit of it. With a healthy self-image, social skills, sound financial mindset, and our support, our daughters’ possibilities are endless.