Life Beyond the Norm founder discusses raising strong girls in Detroit

Loretta A. Morman is a licensed therapist, adjunct professor and performing arts coach with degrees from Michigan State University (B.A. in psychology) and University of Chicago (M.A. in Social Service Administration).
Morman is the founder and owner of Life Beyond the Norm and author of “Hello, My Name is Beautiful.” She specializes in holistic therapy, provides etiquette classes and workshops and she is an experienced keynote speaker. She is an advocate for helping young girls gain a healthy and wholesome sense of self-esteem.
Why is it so important to start early when instilling confidence in young women?
I’m a firm believer that in order to be an empowered woman, you must first be a confident girl. Studies have shown that stronger girls create stronger societies. Studies have also shown that when we instill confidence and leadership skills in girls at a younger age, they will reach optimal results in their futures.
If we do not instill confidence in our girls, the alarming statistics of low self-esteem will continue to exist. One study in particular conducted by Dove found that only 11% of girls globally are comfortable using the word beautiful to describe themselves and 72% of girls feel tremendous pressure to be beautiful. So we can see from these statistics alone that this is not just a local issue, but a global one that needs to constantly be addressed.
What issues do you most commonly see in young ladies when it comes to self- image and self-awareness?
The comparison of their body image and outer appearance with their peers and media images. Girls seem to look to their peers and the media for approval and acceptance, and if they do not feel that they fit in, insecurities will begin to set in.
How do you motivate and inspire women, particularly tweens and teenage girls?
I motivate and inspire women, particularly tweens and teenage girls by speaking to them with transparency, humor and confidence. I am a firm believer that in order to empower girls, that I myself must be empowered. Therefore, every day I make an effort to make improvements within my own life in order to be the best example and role model that I can be.
It is my hope that my book, “Hello, My Name is Beautiful,” the self-esteem workshops that I host, and my confidence coaching will continue to motivate and inspire girls all over the world to be the best that they can possibly be.
What are some ways that women can motivate and inspire each other and their daughters?
A few tips are:
1) Have confidence in yourself
Your children and your peers will emulate your behavior. This includes things like making negative comments about your own weight or appearance or casually mentioning that you feel insecure about a particular body part. Try demonstrating healthy habits such as eating a balanced diet, enjoying treats in moderation, exercising (without complaining) and embracing your body the way it is.
2) Choose your words carefully
Mothers, sisters, daughters and friends have immense influence on the younger girls around them and words are powerful. Think twice about commenting on somebody’s appearance, whether in a positive or negative way. Negative comments invite young girls to create an unhealthy sense of beauty. Overly positive comments may inflate the importance of a particular characteristic that your daughter or peers may lack. Therefore, insecurity can emerge. Allow your words to lift up those around you and the self-esteem of the girls you influence will follow.
3) Be a Cheerleader
You have an opportunity to be your daughters’ and your peers’ biggest fan by encouraging them, recognizing their beauty and helping them discover their gifts and talents. Make an effort every day to tell them that they are beautiful and to look at them with loving, rather than critical eyes.
4) Empower
When your daughter and/or peer places value in the world’s opinion, chances are, their self- esteem will decrease. You can empower them by encouraging their individuality and uniqueness. You can also celebrate when they excel at something they enjoy doing. Having something that you are good at (whether it’s a hobby or talent) helps build confidence. Therefore, be there for your daughter and/or peer and help them to see just how powerful they really are.
5) Talk openly about the Media
Be open to talking honestly about the false sense of reality that the media consistently portrays as beauty. Have talks about these images and how they misrepresent real life women. When you are able to see that the media is presenting a one-sided story, you will be able to help other women and girls to do the same.
Are there programs available to young ladies who wish to improve their self- esteem?
There are a lot of local programs that are available to young ladies who wish to improve their self-esteem. Groups like Pretty Brown Girl, American Girl Scouts and even after-school programs are available for girls. I also personally provide confidence coaching and self-esteem workshops throughout the year.
For more information, you can contact the school program director for a list of programs in your area.
For more information please visit Follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @lorettaamorman.

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