BUILDING THE BLACK GIRL'S SELF ESTEEM IN THE BLACK FAMILY AND EDUCATION SYSTEM
Does your daughter struggle with low self-esteem? Is it difficult for her to love herself even when you tell her that she is beautiful? Does she feel like she isn’t good enough or does she talk negatively about herself? If raising empowered #naturalhairbeauties is important to you, then you need to be intentional in helping them learn to love themselves. Teaching them the tools to self-connect will help them with the stage that comes before adulthood, their adolescent years. This is a crucial point in time, determining a young person’s identity, molded by peers, family, media, and other influences. It is through this period, that Black girls set their lens beyond family members and search for their own identity in society. Building self-esteem in girls while they’re young will benefit them during their adolescent years. The process can be long and trying, as she grows and learns who she is, but the sooner you can teach your #nhb self-love and acceptance, the more likely she is to grow into a confident, capable adult woman.
First, it is important for us to be informed about self-esteem issues and some of the ways they can impact young Black girls. Recognizing the thoughts and beliefs that affect low self-esteem allows us to change the way we think about them. The adolescent Black girl, who has little love for herself and believes that society does not accept her, may enter womanhood seeking acceptance from the wrong people. For some Black girls, this is the juncture where they may feel a loss of hope, purpose, and self-esteem. Black girls will face prejudice, discrimination, and racism as they grow up. They will also have to deal with stereotypes and people who think that they possess special powers to predict their potential. In the Black family, we need to tell young Black girls that they are important and beautiful and that we love and value them. It is important that we in the Black family raise our expectations, to buffer their negative experiences. We can all do this by being there for them, showing patience, giving praise and encouragement, punishing the behavior, not the girl, showing interest in their hobbies and not being too quick to judge them.
The attention and time that we, in the Black family, give to our #naturalhairbeauties will go a long way in shaping their self-esteem. We cannot sit back, as a Black family, and watch, as our society and other external forces strip away our Black #naturalhairbeauties self-image. Besides the Black family, the education system and environment have a role to play in building the self-esteem of Black girls. Her school should portray positive images of Black girls and women. Additionally, it should offer young Black girls access to Black history programming and allow for critical thinking and expression. This will help her accept her value as a person. As her self-esteem increases, her confidence and well-being will likely soar.