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My daughter is a happy, giggly, chubby 1-year-old.  She reminds me of myself.  She’s a tough little cookie, born with the Brooklyn attitude her mom was raised with. Who knew I could pass that on.  It’s amazing.

When I look at her, I often think about what I want for her life.  I know I can’t map things out, and I know that despite my desire to keep her from pain, pain is inevitable.  She will get hurt and her heart will be broken.  It’s a fact of life.

But as her mom, what I can do is try to make sure she has everything she needs as a little girl.  I don’t mean material things, but rather those things that help a little girl begin to form her sense of self.  Those things that help a little girl fall in love with who she is.

As moms, we all want our girls to lead lives filled with joy and opportunities.  I know that’s what I want for my baby.  Here are 7 things I think she should have to help her get there one way.

Confidence: We have to do everything in our power to raise confident girls.  That confidence will carry them through every major decision they make in life.  With our words, we have the power to truly build them up.

Love for her hair: Although I don’t think our hair defines us, I do think it plays a major role in how we feel about ourselves.  It’s a part of who we are.  It’s so important for our little girls to love the hair God gave them, rather than compare their hair to anyone else’s.

A positive male role model: Ideally dad should be in the picture and an active part of her life.  He should be the first man that teaches her how she should be loved.  But if that is not possible, a little girl still needs another male role model in her life.  Having that will teach her how to trust men and how a man should treat her.

Something that makes her feel beautiful: Whether it’s a pair of boots, a sparkly headband, or a fun pair of leggings, every girl should have something that just makes her feel pretty when she put it on–something that makes her feel special.

A chance to know her own strength: Our girls need to feel strong.  We shouldn’t keep them from certain activities because they are viewed as things that “boys do.”  We have to let them learn how to be handy around the house, expose them to sports, let them find their place in the world.  Through doing this, they will realize how strong they are and that girls can do anything.

A happy place: It’s important for our little girls to have a happy place.  Maybe it’s somewhere you take them, like the library, or maybe it’s just their bedroom.  Either way, it’s important for them to learn how to identify what surroundings make them feel comfortable and happy

An understanding of the power of friendship: Establishing friendships is important and we should teach our girls about how beautiful and valuable true friendships are.  If they understand the value of true friendship at an early age, they are able to form more meaningful connections with other girls (and one day women) throughout their lives.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Martine Foreman is the editor and co-founder of JustDiva, a lifestyle email publication for today’s Modern Black Woman. To follow her funny and candid take on balancing life as a wife, mom and entrepreneur, you can also check out her personal blog, CandidBelle.

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