Raising a Girl After Being a Boy Mom? {Here are 10 Tips}


tips for raising a girl after being a boy momAre you raising a girl after being a boy mom for years? Whether you’re spending your Sunday trying to get a quick nap in or rounding up your boys for a trip to the Louisville Zoo, you’ve probably felt a random, lingering pang of worry about raising a girl. How different will it be? What will she be like? Are you prepared? As a boy mom, being faced with that change can be daunting. However, it’s not as big of a deal as you’d think. 

You’ve probably heard endless, unprompted input from your neighbors, friends, and family on the topic. However, when it comes down to it, the only thing that matters is your children’s health, safety, and comfort. As you transition from being a boy mom to welcoming a girl into the world, keeping these 10 tips for raising a strong daughter in mind can help you prepare.

1. Don’t Assume You Know Who She Is Yet

It’s normal to feel tempted to fit your daughter into a box to make her easier to figure out. However, try your best to avoid it. More often than not, it’s like fitting a square peg into a round hole. Eventually, you’ll have to reconcile your vision of her with who she actually is.

She might be a girl, but that doesn’t mean she’ll be born obsessed with dresses, dolls and rainbows. She might prefer to play with trucks or have an unexplainable fondness for mud. Genetics are powerful — she might end up being more like her brothers than you think.

2. Reflect on How You Speak About Women

Do you ever describe women as bossy, plain, catty, ugly or emotional? Your little girl could internalize those words, leading to low self-esteem. It’s more common than you’d think — one study found 53% of United States girls are unhappy with their bodies.

One of the greatest tips for raising a girl with high self-esteem is to be mindful of how you speak about women. When your daughter is young, language shapes her worldview. It affects how she sees herself when she gets older. Speaking with kindness and love goes a long way.

3. Let Her Express Non-Ladylike Behaviors 

As a boy mom, your first instinct might be to chastise your daughter when she’s being noisy, unruly or rambunctious because you assume she is nothing like your sons by nature. As she grows, remember that it’s okay if she’s not “ladylike.” Allow her to disagree, be loud, and get upset just like you would for her brothers.

4. Reassess How You Navigate Gender Differences

As your children grow, age-appropriate conversations about safety, sexual health and adolescence will become more frequent. Bridging those topics will help you navigate the complexities of raising teens. However, what you say to your boys often differs from what you tell your daughter.

For example, while teaching your high-school-aged kids about the warning signs of alcohol use disorder in a partner is the same — it tends to occur in four stages — puberty talks are totally different. If you never thought about those differences, you’ll have to assess how to navigate them.

5. Remember You’re the First Woman in Her Life

Do you treat yourself with kindness? Do you shy away from pictures because you’re self-conscious? While these are totally normal experiences after having kids, your daughter will pick up on and model those behaviors.

Remember — you’re the first and most important woman in your daughter’s life. One of the best tips for raising a girl with high self-esteem is to assess how you treat yourself and how you let the men in your life treat you. Positive experiences foster self-confidence and self-respect.

6. Involve Your Boys in Her Life from the Start

If you’ve been vocal about being a boy mom, your sons will notice the change even if they’re young. Make them a part of your daughter’s life early on, stressing the importance of loving and respecting her. They should know your daughter is a blessing and you love them all equally.

Consider taking your family to the Louisville Nature Center or Cherokee Park on relaxing weekend outings to let them bond with the baby. An essential tip for raising a strong daughter is to surround her with a supportive, loving family.

7. Think About Who You Want Her to Be

This world has a million and one opinions on how women should look, act and speak, but the only ones that matter are yours and your daughter’s. Your actions during her formative years shape her self-worth and sense of belonging.

Think about what you want your son to become, then compare that to your vision for your daughter. It’s OK if they’re different, but they should be similar — if you wish success and happiness for one, you should want that for the other. Be mindful of the superficial values the world places on women and strive to raise your girl to achieve more. 

8. Decode the Gendered Language You Use 

You’ve probably heard boys are “so much easier” than girls. You might even catch yourself saying phrases like “man up” or “you’re acting like a girl” to your sons. While gendered language may seem insignificant, your daughter will pick up on it immediately. Your sons probably already have, meaning they may subconsciously view women as weaker or inferior.

Tackling these biases can be tough, but it’s well worth the effort. If you work hard to eliminate little instances of sexism from your everyday language, your children will form a healthier outlook on gender.

9. Recognize the Gender Stereotypes You Believe

Think of the ideal day out with your sons and then do the same for your daughter. If your first thought was to take your boys to the Kentucky Science Center and your girl to Mall St. Matthews, you might have a few gender stereotypes you need to address.

Whenever people offer tips for raising a girl with high self-esteem, their go-to is usually to address gender stereotypes as soon as she’s born. While she might fall in love with Barbies, baby dolls and shopping, make sure she gets to be the one to make that decision.

10. Rethink What It Means to Be a Boy Mom

Gender disappointment is the emotional distress you feel when you prefer a son but find out you’re having a girl. Don’t be ashamed if that sentence describes you — a psychologist specializing in women’s health says it isn’t a reflection of your capacity to love your baby.

Navigate these feelings by remembering having a daughter doesn’t make you any less of a boy mom. You still raised strong, intelligent, kind sons — and a new label doesn’t change that. Instead of holding it against your daughter, welcome her arrival as an opportunity for growth.

Strive to Make This Journey a Fun One

Having a girl doesn’t make you less of a mother to your boys. You might’ve lost the coveted title of “boy mom,” but you still put time into raising and loving them. While having a daughter is an adjustment, you’ll eventually reach a point where you can’t imagine life without her. Embrace this journey as the perfect opportunity for your family to grow.


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