Navigating your daughters’ preteen years is probably one of the most difficult periods of parenting – for you and them. Issues around lack of confidence, body image and low self-esteem can start to surface during these years. With the added potential stresses of cyberbullying and social media usage, the pressure is real and the impact on families can be overwhelming. Empowering young girls (and boys, of course) is your responsibility as a parent, and it may mean having a guide or a mentor to help them through these preteen and teen issues. Establishing emotional literacy from a young age can positively impact how your daughter copes in life, right through to adulthood.
RAMITA ANAND, the founder of Elevate.RA, spoke to us about the ways she helps mentor young girls to make sense of themselves and the world around them.
Ramita, tell us about the work you do at Elevate.RA.
I help mentor young girls from the ages of nine to 13 years during a tricky time of their development to help them feel empowered. My focus is on what I like to call the “5 superpowers”: confidence, emotional literacy, kindness, empathy and resilience.
I come at this two ways: with experience as a qualified teacher in Canada and UK, and as a parent of a teen girl and a son who has learning challenges. I understand the worries and pressures on both ends.
What issues do you see when you mentor young girls?
Many girls suffer from low self-esteem, anxiety or confidence issues, particularly if they have a learning difference. My aim is to help these girls feel more accepted, championed and ultimately increase their own self-belief. We work on empowering young girls with a tool-belt of skills they can reach for when facing times of challenge or worry.
What should parents of preteen girls be aware about?
If we can teach and mentor young girls with the value of investing in their own superpowers, they have an opportunity to develop a strong foundation. We need to reinforce how our unique differences can become our superpowers.
How do you work with the girls you mentor?
I use a child-led approach; I engage with children from a unique perspective on the multitude of pressures they may face at school, at home, and with peers.
My mission has been to create a learning framework that will guide children to foster their own superpowers. We use techniques that I have used in my classrooms, in one-on-one teaching, and in my role as a parent.
As a qualified teacher and parent what have you noticed about the challenges parents face?
I’ve identified three common challenges that parents face:
- worry and stress that their daughter may not be fulfilling her potential;
- shame, fear and blame associated around their daughter’s progress and development, and not meeting expectations set by the school or themselves; and,
- feelings of confusion and defeat given the effort they have put into understanding her learning profile.
As a parent, it sometimes seems that the more you put in, the less your daughter gains; and the greater the decrease in her confidence. Ultimately, parents want to effectively support their daughters through their challenges, and that’s where the Elevate.RA mentor service can add value.
What made you get into this line of work?
After working as a primary school teacher for many years, I began teaching children with learning differences. My interest in supporting children with such challenges came after having my son, who’s now 10. He was diagnosed with autism at age four. Working through his development on a daily basis cognitively, socially, emotionally, and physically has taught me so much about neurodiversity.
A common thread that emerged from my teaching experiences, across every school I worked in, was the realisation that children must be championed and encouraged to pursue their dreams.
Learning and developing new methods, research, and philosophies to support and mentor children with their learning challenges is my passion.
What inspires you with empowering and mentoring young girls?
Throughout my 15 years in teaching, I realised that I wanted to do something that went beyond the academic curriculum. I want to help young children develop a lifelong skill-set that will benefit them years after they leave school.
Teaching, in addition to my own parenting experience, taught me about guiding and supporting children by building their confidence and resilience, and not giving up on them by pigeon-holing them.
I stand for empowering young girls so they are future-ready.
Finally, what should parents of preteens girls be mindful about as their daughters get older?
If we instil confidence, emotional literacy, kindness, empathy and resilience into the development of our girls at the impressionable and vulnerable years of preadolescence, we can set them on a pathway to success and fulfilment.
This is why I created Elevate.RA, essentially to help parents understand the circumstances and barriers behind their daughter’s challenges, before they hit walls of despair or worry.
To find out more or book a consultation, contact email@example.com or visit www.elevate-ra.com.