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How to help your daughter find her voice

March 20, 2018

“Strong Voice, Full Heart” is a mother-daughter empowerment workshop organized through Council for Relationships’ Community Partnership Initiative (CPI). Dr. Sara Corse, Director of CPI, reflects on how mothers can empower their daughters to find their voice and embrace their power.

Empowerment. It is the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling your life and claiming your rights.  We often talk about empowerment in the context of disenfranchisement—when “power” is not equal because of current and historical impacts of sexism, racism and economic disparity.

Similarly, the parent-child relationship is one of unequal power. One of the responsibilities of parenting is to help our children find their voice, discover their talents and passions, grow in integrity and develop their personal power.

This month, a team of Jefferson University Couple and Family Therapy Master’s interns, working under the auspices of the Council for Relationships Community Partnership Initiative (CPI), delivered workshops on Empowerment during the “Mother-Daughter Night” held at the Mastery Charter School at 5601 Christian St. in Philadelphia.

More than 75 mothers and daughters created inspirational mixed media collages together. The energy in the room was high while the pairs shared quotes and stories focused on women’s self-esteem, respect, confidence, persistence, and achievement.

One of the interns co-facilitating the group shared:

“One of the girls told me, “My mom empowers me when she helps me to wake up for school every day, and when she tells me that I can do anything I want to.” I felt a sense of hope. Mothers are fighting for their daughters and teaching them how to fight for themselves, and raising women who will empower other women.”


Here are some tips for cultivating an empowering mother-daughter relationship:


  • Let your daughter know “Your Ideas Matter!” through active listening. Encourage your daughter to share her thoughts and opinions. Ask her what she liked best about her day and follow up with questions like “what did you learn about yourself today?”, “how did this experience make you feel?” or simply, “tell me more!”


  • Reinforce that Beauty is loving your authentic self: Affirm your daughter by giving specific, positive feedback.  Say “you were kind today when you helped your friend carry her backpack” rather than “you’re great!” And remember, embracing your own beauty will encourage your daughter to do the same.


  • Share stories of inspiring women: Expose your daughter to strong female role models; whether it’s a family member or someone in the public arena. And tell your own stories.  Who inspired or empowered you when you were growing up?  What helped you find your voice?


  • Support your daughter’s empowerment in concrete and creative ways: Spend time together making a collage or scrapbook of inspiring quotes or stories, cooking with grandma’s special recipe, or volunteering together. Your undivided attention and time spent together says “you are important to me and your voice matters.”


About the Community Partnership Initiative

Through the Community Partnership Initiative, CFR collaborates with diverse organizations to provide psychotherapy, relationship education, and consultation to underserved communities throughout Philadelphia.

Guided by the principle that healthy relationships are essential to the wellbeing of our entire community, CFR tailors therapeutic and psycho-educational services to the needs of partner agencies.  We offer:

  1. Strategic and On-Site Partnerships where we offer group and family therapy at the partner agency.
  2. Liaison Partnerships, where we get to know the needs of our partner agencies and respond with special programming and a “warm” referral process to make sure clients referred to CFR by our partners are well-served.


Learn more about the Community Partnership Initiative.