Carol Kim | On Raising Confident Daughters

How to Raise Confident Daughters

Growing up in a traditional family, I wasn’t encouraged to be assertive and speak up for myself. This became a problem when I started facing the real world, where having your own voice is important.  These formative experiences shaped my perspective on navigating life as a woman, and when I gave birth to my first daughter, I wondered “how can I help my daughters grow up to be strong and confident?” Thankfully, my professional experience as a child and family therapist had prepared me to answer that question, and put together a blueprint.

A Framework for Success 

It’s critical that we teach our daughters to:  

1. Set Boundaries

Your daughters need to understand the importance of setting boundaries, for example, respect for their personal space and their right to have opinions. 

For example:

  • “It’s okay to say ‘no’ to hugs if you’re not comfortable.”
  • “When you’re upset, it’s alright to ask for some space.”

These skills teach them to stand up for themselves, communicate needs and respect others. Practicing setting boundaries and saying “no” in a respectful way, and understanding how to react if someone doesn’t respect their boundaries fosters a sense of self-respect and autonomy.

2. Love learning and self-development

Learning is key, not just for grades but for the joy of discovering new things. Whether it’s school, music, or sports, I encourage them to try and learn, building their confidence along the way.

I encourage my daughters to see challenges as opportunities for growth. We celebrate their efforts and achievements, no matter the outcome, to instill a love of learning and a growth mindset.

3. Study Inspirational Women

We talk about women who’ve made a difference, such as Rosa Parks and Marie Curie, to show them that they too can face challenges and achieve great things.

For Example: 

  • What do you think is most interesting about Amelia Earhart? 
  • What kind of challenges did she face? 
  • How did she overcome them? 

Highlighting stories of inspirational women serves to broaden their horizons and encourages them to dream big. We explore various fields, from science to activism, underscoring the message that they can excel in any area they choose.

4. Govern Their Emotions

Understanding and managing emotions is vital. We talk about feeling sad, angry, or stressed and how to deal with these emotions positively.

For example:

  • “Feeling sad is okay. Do you want to talk about it?”
  • “It’s normal to get angry. Let’s take some deep breaths together.”

Learning to navigate emotions is a critical life skill. We practice mindfulness and emotional regulation techniques, such as deep breathing and positive self-talk, to help them manage their feelings effectively. This equips them to handle life’s ups and downs with resilience.

5. Forge and Maintain Healthy Relationships

We discuss what healthy relationships look like, emphasizing respect, kindness, and support among friends and family.

For example:

  • “Good friends respect and support you.”
  • “A real friend is there for you, both in good times and bad.”

Exploring the concept of healthy relationships extends to understanding how to be a good friend and recognizing the qualities of positive relationships. We role-play different scenarios to practice responding to conflict and supporting others, reinforcing the importance of empathy and mutual respect.

6. Prioritize Character Over Looks

I emphasize their inner qualities over appearance, celebrating their achievements, efforts, and passions.


  • “Seeing you keep trying until you solved that problem was awesome. That determination is really valuable.”
  • “You looked so happy performing on stage. It’s great to see you doing things you love.”

Focusing on inner qualities teaches young women to value themselves and others for who they are, not just how they look. In our family, we talk about the importance of kindness, creativity, and determination, and celebrate these qualities in our children and in the people around them.


Raising strong girls is about giving them the tools to feel confident and capable, teaching them their value, and preparing them to make a difference in the world. It’s a journey that involves teaching, learning, and growing together. Through open conversations, shared experiences, and unconditional support, we need to empower our daughters to be their best selves, ready to face whatever challenges come their way with strength, confidence, and grace.

Carol Kim is a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist specializing in child and play therapy. She has over a decade of clinical experience, and has practiced in the San Francisco Bay Area, Boston, and Utah.

Carol is also a popular content creator, whose videos on parenting and mental health have benefited millions across the globe. You can find her content on major social networks under the handle @parenting.resilience

Prior to becoming a therapist and content creator, Carol was a broadcast journalist in Missouri and Oakland California, where her favorite part of the job was sharing the stories of underserved communities.


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