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Little girls, the saying goes, are sugar and spice and everything nice. But they can also be super badass and rule the world someday, just as long as we lead by example. Here, five ways to empower your daughter/niece/the flower girl at that wedding you’re going to next month.

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empower daughters mom smile

Compliment them on something besides their looks

"What adorable shoes!" and "My, aren’t you pretty?" are always nice to hear. But girls need to learn there’s more to life than physical appearance. So fight the urge to fawn over your niece’s frilly party dress, and instead give her props for her awesome drawing skills or hilarious dinnertime banter.

empower daughter mom kiss

Don't make them hug anybody

For a child who’s shy or cautious, being asked to "give the nice bus driver a hug" can feel invasive and traumatic. And as you might imagine, little girls are pushed into awkward hugging way more than boys are. Show your daughter that physical affection is within her rights to control by politely demurring well-meaning huggers or suggesting a less intimate handshake or high-five instead.

empower daughters science

Get them science- or math-based toys

There’s no stopping your daughter from demanding that Barbie Corvette. But if you also arm her with science- or logic-based playthings (we’re fans of this "mind-blowing" science kit), she’s more likely to consider those subjects down the road. (Plus, magnets and test tubes are way more fun than pink plastic cars, in our humble opinion.)

empower daughters wallet

Get them talking about money

When it comes to yearly wages, retirement savings and general financial comfort, women are still lagging behind their male counterparts. One way to combat this? Get your daughter interested early in money and its inherent value. This can be as overt as giving a 6-year-old a weekly allowance and encouraging her to save for something she wants, or as subliminal as talking openly at the dinner table about your own saving and spending habits.

empower daughters mom work

Show them how much you love your job

It’s a proven fact that daughters of working moms are more likely to hold well-paying supervisory positions. But it’s also up to you to show your girls how gratifying and empowering a career can be. So go ahead and apply for that promotion or speak your mind at the shareholders’ meeting. Be the working woman you want your daughter to grow into.

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