CircleBumpCheckedFilledMedicalBookmarkBookmarkTickBookmarkAddCheckBoxCheckBoxFilled

My 7-Part Plan for Raising a Strong Daughter in These Daunting Times

“That ecstatic, full-hearted feeling of knowing we were welcoming a precious baby girl was being invaded by terrifying imagery of the world we live in.”
save article
profile picture of Adriana Quaranto
By Adriana Quaranto, Creator of the 4F’s Given blog
Updated June 3, 2019
writer mom holding her baby daughter with onesie that says the future is female
Image: Adriana Quaranto

It was early Tuesday morning when my fiance Eric and I walked into the OB’s office for the routine bi-monthly pregnancy checkup and ultrasound. We didn’t know the gender of our little peanut yet and we weren’t sure we wanted to find out that day. There are only a few surprises left in life, as they say. But being the Type A obsessive planner that I am, I wondered if leaving that major detail as a surprise would lead to my having a full-on meltdown. I didn’t want to find out. And after months of trying on baby names and finally landing on two that we both loved—one for a boy and one for a girl—we were excited to attach a name to the baby we’d both spent countless hours trying to envision in our minds.

After a few minutes (that seemed like a lifetime), the nurse came in with her manila folder and asked if we wanted to know the gender of our baby. Eric and I looked at each other and simultaneously said, “yes!” The rush of excitement and nerves coursed through me. I could almost hear my heart beating. “You’re having a girl,” she said—and I burst into tears, overwhelmed with emotion. I immediately felt guilty. Wasn’t I supposed to jump for joy? I wasn’t sure what was wrong with me. I was flooded with emotions that I’ve never quite explained, until now.

I never really cared one way or another about the sex of our baby, but when we were told we were having a baby girl, my brain began to stitch together the various realities that Eric and I would be facing as parents—not only the day-to-day routines but also the challenges our little girl will face on her own. That ecstatic, full-hearted feeling of knowing we were welcoming a precious baby girl who we’d raise to be a strong, kind and independent woman was being invaded by terrifying imagery of the world we live in.

Related Video

This world is messed up, systemically and politically, and there’s no sign of it getting better. With climate change in full swing, what will the world look like in 20, 30, 40 years? That idea alone is terrifying enough to incite celibacy, which could explain the historic decline in reproduction. Throw into the mix the realities of being a female in this world, and the worry is amplified. When my daughter comes of age, will women still be fighting for gender equality? Will the fate of her future still be determined by privileged white men? With my face in my hands, I found myself feeling overwhelmed by issues that haven’t improved much in my lifetime. My wish for my daughter to live carefreely and equally was staggering. How do we, as her parents, prepare her?

When we left the office, I looked at Eric and his face had changed. I asked him how he was feeling, and he said, “excited and scared.” When I asked him why, he said, “because the country is polarized, and the world is unjust. I just want her to be safe and I want to protect her.” At that moment, I knew he’d be the very best father to our little girl, and my heart exploded with love. I felt some relief in the fact that I wasn’t alone.

Fast forward to February 28, 2019, when Stella was born. The country is more polarized than ever before. Women are oppressed in many areas of the world with fear of being raped or beaten at any given time. Women are being paid $.80 for every $1 that men earn. More and more men with power, money and fame are being publicly accused of violating women. Racism is rampant across the country.

So what do we do with a little girl growing up in this mess? Can she make a difference? Can we teach her to be compassionate and kickass? The answer: Yes! But how? My parents raised two strong, compassionate women. Reflecting on their approach to parenting and how I might do the same, here’s my seven-part plan:

1. Foster independence and confidence. One way my parents did that was to let me pick out my own clothes. It made for some great photo perusing decades later.

2. Offer advice and guidance rather than place pressure, guilt and obligation. Let her make her own choices and learn that each choice comes with responsibility.

3. Praise her with confirmation and clarity. Give her specific reasons why she’s being praised to build her self-confidence.

4. Encourage competence & education. Teach her many things about the world. Talk to her about current events as well as history.

5. Promote a healthy body image. Talk to her about healthy eating and nutrition instead of contrasting fat and skinny.

6. Prepare her for sexism. Teach her that women are powerful and equal.

7. Point out positive female role models. All hail the Queen, my favorite activist, Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

Make no mistake about it, raising a child—boy or girl—is no walk in the park. But raising a girl can be daunting when we live in a world with so much gender disproportion. Shout out to all those parents out there doing their best to raise the next generation of change-makers, policy-shakers and rule-breakers! The future relies on us to impart the proper tools and strong morals to our babies if we want to see real change. “Be the change we want to see” extends to how we raise our children, because they’re the ones who will shatter those glass ceilings that have been oppressing us for far too long.

Boston-born, Florida-raised and New York City-seasoned, Adriana Quaranto is the owner of an event production, public relations, social media and influencer marketing agency, and a New York Fashion Week show producer. She’s also now a lifestyle blogger documenting her journey into motherhood on her blog 4F’s Given, where she talks about her four favorite F words: family, fashion, food and fitness. She is also a contributing writer for the Miami Moms blog. Follow her journey on Instagram.

Published May 2019

save article
ADVERTISEMENT

Next on Your Reading List

 Ilana Glazer and Michelle Buteau attend "Babes" Special Screening & Reception at The West Hollywood EDITION on May 09, 2024
Babes on Babes: Michelle Buteau and Ilana Glazer on the Daily Wins and Woes of Parenting
By Lauren Barth
stressed and tired mom of 2 children
Are You a ‘Mom in the Trenches?’ Viral TikTok Points to 4 Clues
By Wyndi Kappes
Keshia Knight Pulliam and her two children at home
Keshia Knight Pulliam on Life, Facing Bias and Raising Babies
By Lauren Barth
ADVERTISEMENT
affirmations for black moms to be
Black Moms Empowering Black Moms With Words of Wisdom
By Ashley Simpo
empowering-parenting-products-HERO
9 Empowering Products for Brand-New Parents
By Korin Miller
baby with a smash cake
10 Smash Cake Ideas to Help You Celebrate Baby’s First Birthday
By Wyndi Kappes
family with baby standing outside of home
These Are 2024’s Best States to Raise a Family, Report Says
By Wyndi Kappes
ADVERTISEMENT
toddler playing in his room with toys and teepee
Tips for Purging Your Kids’ Overstuffed Toy Bins
By Lauren Kay
baby playing with mom and dad in nursery room
What to Do if Your Child Has a Preferred Parent
By Blair Sharp
child smiling at thanksgiving dinner
Activities to Help Teach Your Kids to Be Thankful
By Christin Perry
ADVERTISEMENT
mother kissing her toddler son at home
Coping in Crisis: How to Be a Present Parent During Difficult Times
By The Bump Editors
tb-cool-gifts-for-mom-HERO
Cool Gifts for Moms That Deserve a Treat
By Martina Garvey
Khloé Kardashian, Penelope Disick, Kim Kardashian, North West and Kris Jenner attend the "RENAISSANCE WORLD TOUR" at SoFi Stadium on September 04, 2023 in Inglewood, California.
These Are 2023’s Most Influential Celebrity Parents
By Wyndi Kappes
ADVERTISEMENT
Twin Halloween Costumes-hero
Twinning for the Win: 28 Best Twin Costumes for Halloween
By Korin Miller
Amazon Prime Benefits Hero
Awesome Amazon Prime Benefits Parents Didn't Even Know Existed
By Martina Garvey
mom congress in front of capitol building
The 2023 Mom's Agenda: a Path to More Parent-Friendly Legislation
By Wyndi Kappes
Kristin and Deena from big little feelings
Behind-the-Scenes Parenting With the Pros Behind Big Little Feelings
By Lauren Barth
ADVERTISEMENT
black family holding hands while walking on sidewalk outside
How Generational Trauma Affects Black Families—and Ways to Work Toward Healing
By A. Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez
mother and toddler son smiling
What Raising a Child Without Family Has Taught Me About Parenthood
By Hannah Silverman
jesse tyler ferguson and family
Jesse Tyler Ferguson on Parenting, Potty Training and Pride
By Natalie Gontcharova
ADVERTISEMENT
Article removed.
Article removed.
Name added. View Your List