Teach your daughter to set expectations
Life of a Girl-Mom

Teach your Daughter to Have and Set Expectations

My daughter will turn 8 years old this year. Eight years old! I can’t even begin to fathom how we got here. I watch her as she grows each day and I want the days to slow down just a bit because there are so many lessons that I want her to learn. So many things I want to share with her. One important lesson I want to teach her is how to have and set expectations.

Teach Your Daughter to Set Expectations

One of the lessons I want my daughter to learn is the importance of setting expectations. I wish I learned to set expectations from a young age because it would have saved me so much time. It is important for a young lady to have expectations for herself and for others.

Set Expectation of how she wants to be treated

It is important that as a girl grows she builds up her self esteem, by understanding her likes and dislikes. Including how people should treat her. One way to teach this lesson is by modeling the behavior. As the mother of a girl, I make sure to use every opportunity to teach my daughter that she should not be disrespected. That she should use her voice, that she should assert herself when necessary. When she comes home from school upset about how a friend treated her, I remind her that she can and should stand up for herself. She can always speak to her teacher if someone hurts her feelings and also tell the friend that she does not like how she has been treated.

Set Expectation for the People She Will Call Friends

I have very few friends, but the friends I do have are loyal, supportive and loving. They accept me for who I am, they are my cheerleaders even when my ideas and actions are uncertain and questionable.

I want my daughter to learn to choose her friends wisely by setting expectations for those friends. Because this will help others to understand her boundaries. My expectations are simply that those I choose to call friends are, to be honest with me, communicate clearly with me when I have hurt them and are supportive of me and are willing to pull me up when I fall.

Teach your daughter to set expectations for her friends. Give her the tools to determine whether or not the people around her have met those expectations. Give her the tools to also know when to walk away from friends who do not meet the expectations. It would encourage you to also support the growth of your daughter by teaching her to be respectful of her friends as well.

Set Expectations for How Men Treat Her

This one is a bit more tricky and requires the assistance and support of a father or a father figure. My husband and I work at modeling this expectation for our young daughter, by making sure that we are intentional about how we speak to each other in her presence.

Since my kids could understand the concept of birthdays and holidays, my husband makes sure that they are involved in the gifting process. For example every holiday, my husband takes my kids to the store and they each get me a card in addition to the one my husband purchases. For my birthday a year ago, my husband gifted me an Apple Watch, he made sure to go with my daughter to pick out the strap she felt mommy would like.

Teaching a girl to set expectations enables her to understand the importance of standards and builds self-esteem and will limit her need for unnecessary attention. Share the lessons you have or will be teaching your daughter.

thanks for exploring this topic with me.

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  • Nishtha

    Lovely thought! Yes all girls (as well as boys) should be taught early in life- their expectations, vision of the world, how to treat and be treated. This world would be a wonderful place if everyone is more aware, inclusive and kind.

  • Stephanie Averill

    I think the most important is to reach her to set expectations about men. This is, unfortunately, one thing I did not learn as a child and have struggled with relationships for the last 20 years.

  • Karletta Marie

    Great points here … and I’m eager to see how our next generation benefits from the work of women in the past. I particularly like your point about “how she wants to be treated.” We teach people how to treat us … how we treat ourselves also contributes to how others respond to us … so important to cultivate this understanding. Thank you for reminding us.


    It is so important to teach girls to set these boundaries from a young age, it will help them to navigate healthy relationships as that get older and be less dependent on people that may provide the wrong kind of structure in a relationship further down the road.

  • Tana

    This is such an important post! I love that you included a discussion on friendships with your daughter. As an elementary school counselor, I’ve seen so many girls struggle with this around ages 8-11. Kids are often more resilient when they have an open dialogue at home and can bounce back from disappoint and challenges!

    • Nikki

      Thank you Tana, it is important that we teach our girls, those we birth and those that we are privileged to know, teach them to know their worth. Thanks for reading.

  • Monica Tatomir

    This is so important, teaching girls how to set expectations about her friends and how men treat her is vital in a society that often overlooks such an essential aspect. Women are consistently misportrayed in society and oftentimes are treated as inferior to men, so your post is vital to raise awareness of this fact and starting it in childhood is essential.

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