Raising Strong, Confident Girls With Forts
Posted March 25, 2017 by Fort Magic
As parents, we agree that raising enthusiastic, confident girls is a worthy goal. After all, timidity and self-doubt leave young girls and the subsequent young women unprotected. Enthusiasm and confidence blend to develop girls destined to change the world from their vantage point. Now, I am not referring to brash, bossy, lacking-in-humility confidence. Rather, I mean humble young women who are eager to learn and ready explore the world while willing to take risks and assert themselves. You might be surprised how the simple play of fort building generates these characteristics in your daughter.
Without a hint to its lasting impact, girls who engage with Fort Magic kits learn to:
— Try out their ideas.
— Take necessary risks.
— Admit their flaws.
— Learn, learn and learn some more.
— Accept failure as an opportunity to improve.
— Say “no” appropriately.
— Reach goals.
— Listen to others.
— Fail to conform.
— Stand up for themselves and others.
— Champion the oppressed.
Our world needs more of this type of girl. Can fort building accomplish all of that? Yes. In combination with a lifestyle that reinforces the principles laid out through fort play, your daughter has a better-than-average chance to grow into a confident woman. Of course, self-doubt may creep in from time to time, but the arsenal to rise above will be established. Fort building encourages your girl to do several things.
Pursue a Passion
When your daughter engages in an activity she loves, your daughter develops perseverance to reach her goals. Plus, mastering challenges along the way boosts her self-esteem and resilience, according to author Rachel Simmons. Strengthening these internal values combats the messages aimed at appearances for lasting confidence. Forts offer endless opportunities for the passion that drives your daughter. Whether building a stable to house a beloved pony or a lab to conduct science experiments, a girl’s imagination is the only limit. Encouraging her to try out new interests, or go into more depth with an ongoing one, adds breadth to her discovery.
Having a constructive voice in decisions builds self-assurance. Plus, learning from the results of those decisions offers valuable fuel for confidence in your daughter. Of course, appropriate limits protect her from undue stress. Playing with forts opens the door to decision-making in a safe environment. Choosing the design, materials, and manner of play enables girls to make decisions without parental intervention. This freedom leads to enthusiasm and develops an I-can-do-it attitude.
Likely one of the most beneficial factors in decision-making is the need to solve problems. Facing a challenge, trying several solutions and finding victory in one of them builds strong coping skills. Again, the lack of parental fixing allows a girl to take ownership and responsibility. The safe space of play forts gives parents the confidence to release control for a time. Girls stretch their mental wings a bit to rework a design that continues to collapse, negotiate a cantankerous working relationship or reimagine the fort’s end to accommodate new information. In particularly difficult or frustrating scenarios, a few solutions can be suggested, but the choice remains in your daughter’s hands.
Not often are girls encouraged to take physical risks. JoAnn Deak, Ph.D., suggests that the lack of physical risk leads to lower self-esteem. As you can imagine, this state leads to less risk taking in general. Approaching physical risk in safe, achievable doses builds confidence even in non-athletic girls. An Olympic-themed fort or a Fort Magic obstacle course lay the foundation of physical risk. Plus, through active play, girls gain a sense of their bodies which builds confidence in an arena determined to undermine their attributes. Learning their ability to navigate a Fort Magic set of hoops or run to catch the fleeing robbers destined for fort jail is invaluable for young girls.
Engage in STEM
Traditionally not encouraged to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects and careers, girls miss the opportunity to excel in these fields. With a growing need for women in these professions, confidence in a girl’s’ ability to calculate, measure and figure numbers begins in youth. The opportunities and high salaries await those who find their passions in this industry. Fort building remains a poster activity for STEM skill development in girls. The design physics, construction science, calculating and measuring math, plus the adjusting required to problem solve, fosters skills and confidence in girls. Whether your daughter wants to be a scientist, mathematician, teacher or homemaker, STEM skills help her perform her occupation well.
Developing ideas and bringing them to fruition through fort building creates excitement in your daughter to think on her own, solve problems and find victory in achieving her goals. This enthusiasm goes hand in hand with confidence as girls learn all they are capable of achieving. Carrying this self-assurance into the future presents happy, giving girls to a world eager for them to make a lasting impact.
How do you use fort building to encourage your daughters to be stronger and more confident? Share your ideas below!
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