Anyone who is the father of a daughter knows that encouraging her self-esteem and sense of self-worth is paramount. As she grows older, your daughter will look to a number of sources for information about the world around her. While your role as her dad makes you one of the most influential people in her life, friends, teachers, relatives and athletic coaches can all shape the woman your little girl will become one day. So how do you deal with the negative messages and images bombarding her every day, messages and images that are telling her things that may be quite contrary to the things you and her mother want to encourage?

Celebrities make terrible role models, for the most part. You have to discuss the fact that celebrities and media personalities aren’t REAL. In addition to these celebrity personalities, your daughter will also learn about herself and the world based on what she sees on television. As both a positive and negative source of information, you should consider speaking to your daughter about the differences between good and bad TV role models.

First off, monitoring and limiting the programs your daughter views can help you filter out inappropriate programs that may depict characters who engage in sex, violence and drug use. However, even shows marketed to young children can be over sexualized and feature racy situations. Rather than shield your daughter from these programs, consider discussing them together to encourage her to think critically about the issues raised. Without seeming preachy, you can guide her through the facts and fictions television presents while guiding her toward forming her own intelligent conclusions about the positive and negative role models she sees.

By opening up a dialogue about television, films, music, the internet, books and magazines early in her life, you’ll start your little girl down a path toward self-respect and independent thought – valuable assets in being a successful and self-aware human being.