At Stuart, girls are free to be who they want to be: a leader, an athlete, an artist, a philanthropist, a scientist. Girls are given the opportunity to grow, to be challenged, and to challenge others in a safe environment. Our mission is to educate girls for lives of exceptional leadership and service. With outstanding academics and our expert and innovative faculty — who know girls and know each girl well — Stuart girls discover ways to unleash the strength within and transform themselves into brave, bold, powerful, and wonderful young women. We asked the Head of Upper School Courtney Portlock to share her thoughts on how parents can help their daughters become confident leaders.

1. Listen. One of the most important things that parents can do is to listen. Ask your daughter questions. Don’t necessarily respond, but just listen to what your daughter is saying. What is she telling you? What journey is she taking you on? From these conversations you can both discover what’s most important to her.

2. Find activities that pique her interest. Get your daughter involved in a lot of activities. Not overwhelmingly so, but get her involved in things that pique her interest in a unique way. Whether it’s a sporting activity, an art class, or a science class — any type of stimulation that your daughter might be interested in. As a parent, you can help guide your daughter to find these activities and pursue them.

3. Create open lines of communication. Sometimes when you really listen to your daughter and the lines of communication are open, amazing things take place. What I hear sometimes from high school parents is, “They’re not talking to me! Or why won’t they say something?” While this is developmentally appropriate for high school age children, the lines of communication that we open at the two-year-old stage, and beyond, are really important and will help set a foundation for conversations and understanding later.

4. Guide your daughter to create aspirational goals. How often is your daughter asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” While it seems like an innocuous question, it can actually be pretty overwhelming. Instead of asking girls what they want to be when they grow up, why not ask them, “How do you see yourself impacting the world?” Ask your daughter how she sees herself collaborating with others. These kinds of questions will spark her creativity and allow you to better direct and guide her on her journey of leadership and self-discovery.

To learn more about how your daughter will develop her leadership skills through academics, the arts, athletics, service and more at Stuart, we invite you to join us at one of our fall Discovery Days on Sunday, October 20, 1 to 3 p.m., or Thursday, November 7, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Register at www.stuartschool.org/openhouse or call 609-921-2330 to schedule a personal tour.

Stuart Country Day School, 1200 Stuart Road, Princeton.

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