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Skills for Strong Confident Women

Ask the Experts by Jennifer Mcmann-Buszka, MSNQ

I have two sons and a daughter. My daughter is older and the boys are only two and three years younger. I have witnessed the boys affectionately teasing her, but I can almost see her wither like a beautiful flower on a scorching day. How can I teach her to be strong and confident?

A. From a very early age, women are portrayed on television and in magazines as beautiful with blemish free skin, flawless sparkling white teeth, and of course, a perfectly shaped body. As girls mature and experience acne, braces and awkward bodies due to growth spurts, the contrast to television and magazines is glaring as they look in the mirror.

It's important to reassure your daughter that she not believe the women on television and in magazines always look like that. They have a full crew of people to help them look like that - just before they step in front of the cameras.

Bring out some photos of yourself from when you were younger with the horrible hair cut your mother gave you to save a few dollars. Let her witness how that teenager with half-inch bangs grew into a strong confident mother.

Q. After a long, ugly marriage with an abusive man who totally stripped my sister of all confidence and self-worth, she is finally starting a new life. She has an advanced education and was quite a successful business woman before she got married, but after 10 years in an abusive marriage and out of the workforce, how does she promote herself and put forth a confident image when she goes on interviews?

A. First of all, she must applaud herself for having the strength to leave an abusive, unhealthy marriage. Reinforce to her that not all women could do that - which proves she has the strength within her.

Next, help her define her strengths. Even though she may have been out of the workplace for 10 years, she ran a household, may have handled the finances, cleaned, cooked, shopped and took care of her children's school and after-school activities.

Those may not sound very impressive in a resume, but having exceptional organizational skills, being financial responsible, detail-oriented and successfully at multi-tasking, certainly look good on a resume.

Q. I never had a career, but things have changed for my granddaughter. We all hear in the media that men advance much quicker in the workplace than women. Do you have any tips on how to strengthen her career path?

There is a strong link between managers' confidence levels and ambition. Urge your granddaughter to build a mentoring relationship with a teacher, coach or a successful female family member.

Seeing is believing. Witnessing the success of others and learning from them as to how they achieved their goals, is a very powerful lesson.


McMann-Buszka, MSV will present "The gift of you, the leader: A night for mothers and their middle school daughters" on Wednesday, March 13, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the third of four Family Center Ask the Experts Series being presented in partnership with Beaumont Hospital, Grosse Pointe and Spirit of Women at Beaumont.

A screening of the documentary "Miss Representation" will be viewed. Presentations will be held at the Barnes Early Childhood Center, 20090 Morningside Drive, Grosse Pointe Woods. To register, call 313-432-3832 or visit the calendar >>

Enriched Communities Through Strong Families
The Family Center serves as the community's hub for information, resources and referral for both families and professionals. The Family Center is a non-profit organization founded to promote a deeper understanding of the role of parents and others in supporting our youth to become competent, caring and responsible community members.

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