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Establishing Personal Boundaries

Hello my Beautiful Sisters,

Sorry I’ve been away but I will jump right into it. I have so much to share.

Establishing boundaries is an absolute necessity. No exaggeration! Using my own personal experience here and from my observations of friends, family and my students; females have great difficulty with setting boundaries. Why? One reason comes to mind “ FEAR”. We want to be liked. Period.

Many of us are mothers, sisters, and friends who do not set boundaries. Well ladies we must start. Now! Not after dinner. Or tomorrow’s soccer game or friends party or the next email. Now.

Learning to set personal boundaries is uber healthy for us. Did you hear that? Just like that next doctor’s appointment you were setting up for your daughter. I did one earlier. Setting personal boundaries is not only healthy it is a form of communication to others. Yes communication. We are at best vocally declaring our right to show we have self respect  and we know enough about our self worth not to disregard it.

Oh and by the way we can set personal boundaries and maintain healthy relationships with all of our love ones. Here’s another important note: we can’t enjoy our relationships without setting personal boundaries.

So, here’s 5 ways to end the cycle:

Say No

So many of us are people pleasers and to be honest I am still one to an extent but I’m learning. You see I never want to appear selfish so I put my needs last or never even acknowledge them. Well…be selfish. A certain amount is necessary for self preservation. If I’m tired now I say I’m tired or if I don’t want to go somewhere… I say so. Ladies it’s actually quite liberating.

Limitations

Know your limitations.  Simple. Well maybe not so simple but it’s a place to start. In everything it is important to know what you accept and what you do not. What do you find acceptable to your emotional and physical needs? Once you know your limitations you can communicate those to others. It’s definitely a process.

Assert yourself

Be Assertive

This is certainly not a call to action to go screaming “ I will not take it anymore” Lol although there are moments for that (ME) but it is strongly recommended you stand up for yourself and  give your voice the opportunity to be heard.

Expecting others to automatically know how you feel or how situations affect you is a recipe for disaster.  Being assertive doesn’t apply only to your job but also with your friends and family. I recommend starting with a family member; that should be fun.

Believe in yourself

Believe in Yourself

We are the best people to ask: what are our boundaries? Trust and spend some quiet time learning all your nooks and crannies. Evaluate yourself when you are at work, school, with family, friends, and with your significant other. What actions did you find you had a reaction to? Good and bad. Don’t let others make those decisions for you.

The respect we have for ourselves starts with believing. We know ourselves better than others. Knowing we are unique and special in every way earns us the right to personal boundaries.

Knowledge is Power

Knowledge is Power

Well in order for us to set personal boundaries we must first know what happens when we don’t:

  • Giving more than you have to give.
  • Going against your personal values to please others.
  • Letting others tell you who you are.
  • Not using your voice to speak up when you are treated badly.
  • Allowing others to disrespect you or your wants.
  • Accepting touches (sexual or otherwise) you don’t want.

AND MY PERSONAL NEMESIS…

  • Feeling guilty for saying no.

Setting personal boundaries is not SELFISH it’s SELF-PRESERVATION.

Empower yourself,

Aminah

Depression – 5 Ways You Can Help Your Teenage Daughter

There are many things we want to protect our daughters from starting with the smallest boo boo to the biggest bully in the school yard. But one of the scariest, most paralyzing fear is a situation that creeps in, like a thief in the night to steal the joyous, blossoming, beautiful, smiling daughter you have come to love without boundaries. What happens when that elusive ‘thing’ comes along and makes you feel as though you have been flung out to sea without a raft; you are…for maybe the first time in raising your daughter, lost.

It’s not a boo boo you can put a band-aid on and kiss away. Seemingly it lingers, hovering and over shadowing the beautiful smile you have come to love.

I can tell you that I went through a range of emotions from confusion to sadness to utter fear. I was confused; I mean why wouldn’t I be. I have given my daughter everything and been this great mom (at least in my mind). Utter fear because I, for the first time, didn’t know how to deal with my daughter. My vibrant, laughing daughter had become withdrawn, sullen and hard to communicate with.

I didn’t stay down. I am a female after all, a mom and a teacher. I researched and reached out to family and friends. One friend in particular helped me immensely. I listened, learned and put into practice.

So, here are 5 ways you can help  your teenage daughter who may show signs of depression.

Before I begin here’s some interesting facts:

  • While boys do experience depression by “mid-adolescence girls are twice as more likely to be diagnosed with a mood disorder such as depression or anxiety” (childmind.org)
  • Girls mature faster, we’ve all heard that before, but it turns out that because of this known fact girls develop a greater sensitivity to emotional stimuli.

Take Notice

Pay attention to the subtle signs. Is she becoming withdrawn, sleeping more, not sleeping? Is she more irritable than usual (teenage years), has lost interest in the activities she used to enjoy or has her grades dropped? While these individually could mean other things it still bears mentioning. For my daughter she wasn’t sleeping which lead to irritability.

Be Supportive

Be there. It’s very important to strengthen your relationship with your daughter during these years. The teenage years are tumultuous- with home expectations, the school jungle mentality (survival of the fittest) and the hormonal changes. This time can be rough and there is a lot on her plate. Try to build empathy for her position and circumstance. Put yourself in her shoes. Be that person she goes to when she is feeling low and wants someone to communicate with.

Validate

Many times due to either the busyness of our lifestyles or we have forgotten our teenage years  we may not give credit to the schizophrenic nature of our feelings when we are teenagers. One minute life is super awesome, the next life is an abysmal affair, and then there is the range. We need to validate their feelings. My daughter goes from “Mom I had such a good day at school one day!” to “I hate my school!” I sometimes can’t keep up. She is in middle school and honestly I am appalled by the trials they go through. It’s like court. She must prove her worth! I know… if she only knew.  For now I listen, validate, and try to help her navigate through the jungle.

Check In

In the car, at the grocery, or in the kitchen, check in with your daughter. Doesn’t have to be a long conversation but asking questions and genuinely being curious about what’s going on with them can tell you a lot about their emotional well-being. Show love and concern when checking in, no judgement – just listen. Judging pushes them away. Try your best not to fix their problems (very difficult) but offer suggestions/alternatives. Let them mull those over. Give them some space.

Get Help

Depression is a serious mood disorder and rates are rising in teen girls. Ensuring your girl with depression gets help when you feel as though you have tried all the above and more. Communicate with your daughter let her know you have noticed changes in them and you want to help. Inform them of the different kinds of help that’s out there such as, therapy. For your own knowledge bank there is interpersonal therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and dialectical behavioral therapy; all shown to help teens with depression.

Lastly,

Make sure you are taking care of yourself. Caring for a daughter who may be experiencing depression can be emotionally and mentally exhausting.

For more info https://childmind.org/article/mood-disorders-and-teenage-girls/

Be well

Empowering the Female Spirit

Aminah

Money Matters Ma! 5 ways to teach financial literacy to our girls

I didn’t learn financial responsibility until my late 20’s and even then it was a struggle. You’re supposed to have your stuff together in your 20’s but that point is moot at the moment. I strongly believe financial literacy should not only start from home but also very young. At what age…? well that is debatable. Is five too young? Anyway growing up I hadn’t a clue about budgets, income and expenses! let’s not forget those. I can honestly say I was only concerned about getting my Toys R’ US check and blowing my $100.00 (wait? what! $100!) yes honey I was rolling in it. So I took my well earned money and spent it on whatever trend was passing though.

I have not made that mistake with my own girls and I have made an extra effort to pass along any financial literacy tips I have learned the hard way to my students as well.

So Ma here are some ways you can teach your girls…money matters…

Respect the Green

Respect the Green

Money plays a very important role in our lives. There’s no denying that but our children, our girls must be taught from young ( I say 5) that money, the dollar bill you’ll has value; in the truest sense and it must be respected. While the value of money, the green backs, is an effective tool, if our girls are not taught financial literacy their ticket to financial freedom is lost with their first job. Unfortunately many girls view money by its ability to purchase “stuff” mostly of what they don’t need; this is wasteful. Whether this is on a $2 piece of candy or those pair of jeans they just had to have for $200. Teach that money should not be spent without thought. Respecting the green given or earned means respecting yourself. Empowering girls financially means having them understand that money does not define us but it helps to defend us.

Responsible with money

Be Responsible

The words “financially responsible” rings in my head at the moment and right after that “live within your means”. But what does this mean to our mini mes. How does this translate to our younger female generation? Well the quick answer spend less than you have. Believe me when I tell you I have two extremes with my daughters. My oldest is as frugal as they get and my second daughter… well she never comes back with change from the store… still working on that. It goes a little something like this after returning from the store:

Me: Is there any change?

Daughter: Uh…No.

Me: Did you… get anything on sale?

Daughter: Was I supposed to?  

Me: Sigh.

So on that note, it is a learning process, girls need to learn financial responsibility; understanding that money doesn’t actually flow non stop and that they should learn to track what is being spent and look for best deal.

Budgeting Females

Money Management

Budget. It’s never too early to learn how to budget. Is five too young? First teach the definition of a budget and its importance. Help them to set financial goals and be realistic. Your daughter may want that makeup set or that pair of the latest jeans but can they afford it. I learned this the hard way. I, as I hang my head in shame, bought and bought and never stopped to recognize what I was teaching my children. I have opened bank accounts for my younger children and now when they ask for something I ask them if they can afford it. One lesson: pay yourself first. When you get some money, take out, off the top, money for savings. Savings should be considered a bill. There are so many apps out there now to track spending that it should simplify the mechanics but the lesson must come from you. Definitely try the envelope system, it’s actually a great method to start before introducing a bank account.

Math Money

Math Money

It’s basic but it still needs mentioning. Ensure your girls know that math isn’t just for homework. That it actually applies to our lives as well. Very early we lose many girls when it comes to learning math. We can’t let that happen. Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. I am not sure how many of you still ‘balance a checkbook’ but it’s a great tool to use to help them ‘math’ it out to financial literacy. Make it fun.

Let’s Play with Money

Ok not actual money because I happen to think money is filthy but grab some math games. Is Monopoly still popular? Grab that. There’s also Payday, Buy it Right, Thrive Time for Teens, and one I’m looking to try Act your Wage. There are many more, playing these games should give your girls some seat time in the quest to financial literacy. The goal: financial acumen.

How have you taught your girls financial literacy? I would love some advice as well.

Empowering Girls

Aminah G.

5 ways to improve communication with girls

Unconditional Love

Just talk to me

I don’t know about you but it was very difficult to talk to my mother when I was a teenager. I mean she was there…I suppose but I felt as though I couldn’t just be with my mom the way I could be with my friends. Even my guy friends.

I had a strict upbringing and there really wasn’t any room for “conversations” with my mother because she was always doing something or going somewhere. I could count the number of times I had a heart to heart with my mom. Those days came much later.

So mom’s how do you communicate with your daughters? Do you make a point to talk with them? On daily basis? Don’t get me wrong. It’s a frickin job. As a mom I try to make it a point to at least give my daughters 5 -10 minutes initially. Then I’m off doing some other household task. We do alot! I mean who has the time? Well… make the time because if we don’t, we could be missing out on way more than we would like.

Here’s 5 ways to turn up volume on chatter that’s happening in your daughter’s life.

Face to Face

Girls really open up when you take the time to stop moving and give them face to face communication. Stop trying to multitask like ah boss and pay attention. Many times we want to be great moms and think that this type of a check-in will suffice. It won’t. Our daughters need our undivided attention. Face to face, in this very techno time where our daughters communicate by texting, cellphones and other forms of social media, face to face gains the title of special time. Set aside time for you and your daughter. When we give our daughters face to face communication they will feel how important they are and their conversation is to us through our body language and facial expressions. The dialogue will be relaxed and our girls will open up just a little more each time you sit down for a face to face.

Expect the unexpected

So just when you think you know your daughter… a new bomb gets dropped. I have three daughters and raising my first daughter was an eye-opening, learn by the set of your pants, and sometimes hurtful, experience. But I wouldn’t trade a thing. She taught me having little girls is not sugar and spice and yeah it wasn’t so nice a couple hundred times. So she was definitely my “tester” baby because boy I was ready for the next and the next well mostly. Those stalk deliveries carried a little something extra. I’m so damn thankful.

So expect the “oh yeah mom my friend’s boyfriend felt her up and what do you think I should tell her?” (my friend?) or They want to know about trying some Patroen. I kept it light. I have some real doozies. Expect the unexpected. Let go of the expectations remain open. Breathe cause it’s coming.

Loving means acceptance
Loving means acceptance


Listen with empathy

Empathy is defined as being aware of the others feelings and thoughts. To place yourself in another’s shoes. In other words stop talking and over talking your daughter. Listen with your heart and not your mind. I know that sounds like it came out of some new age CD but as moms we don’t know everything. And if you want to know some things listen. When we listen we hear with more than our ears. We feel their frustration, confusion, joy and pain. We show we have genuine respect for our daughters when we listen. We acknowledge and validate her existence when we listen. She really does have something to say. She who is a gift given in our care and soon will leave us. When we listen with empathy we teach empathy. When we listen love becomes a verb not a noun.

Peaceful interactions
Peaceful interactions

Remain calm and smile

We will always have those days where we wish are children to another dimension. Not forever (wink) but at least until we can take a deep breath. Our days get so hectic as moms and we, let’s face it, forget to enjoy the moment.  We…are…busy, I don’t have to tell you that; but when it comes to keeping those lines of communication open between you and your daughter; stop, remain calm, listen and smile. What she has to say is important. Why? because she has chosen to share. A rare sighting indeed when you have a teenage girl. I heard once in a movie   “ It is always surprising how small a part of life is taken up by meaningful moments. Most often they are over before they start, although they cast a light on the future and make the person who originated them unforgettable. “ This always reminds me to grab the meaningful moments when you can. Your daughter will not forget.

Tell her who you are

Girls love to hear stories about you. When you were a preteen, teenager and young adult. We weren’t always adults. I tell my girls “ I wasn’t always this put together (wink)” But I am willing to bet we could share some hair raising schemes we were involved in and didn’t blink. I think back sometimes and I am amazed I made it into adulthood and had kids! Girls want to know about old love stories, high school drama, your challenges and wins. It is empowering for them to learn how you handled your drama, escaped the clutches of detention and dealt with that one girl who just rubbed you the wrong way. We should never strive to be perfect; we should strive to be human with all our bumps and bruises.