7 things you didn’t realize you need to protect your daughter from

Most parents don't know that these things are dangerous.

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  • If you could, you'd wrap your daughter in bubble wrap and hold her hand through everything just to protect her. However, you want her to grow up strong, and to do that you have to let her go. But letting her go doesn't mean there aren't still things you need to protect her from. In fact, protecting her from these seven things may help her develop strength on her own so she can learn to protect herself:

  • 1. Flattery

  • "Your little shoes are so cute!" or "You have the most gorgeous curly hair" are probably some of the first things adults say when they meet your daughter. Since the only information we have when we first meet someone is her physical appearance, we use what we see to break the ice. However, commenting on physical features sends a powerful message that physical traits are more important than anything else. This message is being received loud and clear as nearly half of all three to five-year-old girls worry about being fat.

  • You can protect your daughter from the negative effects of flattery by being positive about your own looks, allowing her to wear whatever she wants, avoiding saying anything about her looks and engaging her in conversations about books, beliefs, thoughts and goals starting at a young age.

  • 2. Hugs and kisses

  • Never force your daughter to show physical affection, even towards family members. Doing so can leave her vulnerable to abusers. Set the standard early on that she is in charge of her own body and she doesn't have to do anything that makes her feel uncomfortable. Make sure she knows that no one is allowed to tell her what to do with her body.

  • Instead, let it be her choice to hug, shake hands, high five or kiss friends and relatives. She'll probably want to show her affection toward them, but she should know it's her own choice to do so.

  • 3. Pornography

  • We need to stop making excuses about pornography and face the facts. Study after study shows how it rewires the brain, inhibiting your ability to feel real love and causes depression, anxiety and addiction.

  • Not only are we ignoring the detriments of pornography, but we are ignoring the way it affects our daughters. First of all, your daughter is just as likely as your son to look at pornography, but she is less likely to get help when viewing turns to addiction. This is because she (and the rest of the world) sees pornography as a "male problem" and she is embarrassed to admit she needs help.

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  • Second, the depictions of women in pornography can be particularly damaging to girls and can make them lose personal confidence and be more susceptible to abuse because she believes what she sees is normal.

  • Protect your daughter from pornography by teaching her about its harmful effects and by monitoring her internet and media use.

  • 4. Sleepovers

  • Your daughter is simply safer when she is sleeping under your roof and in her own bed. This will probably be disappointing to her but it will keep her safe. Late nights, peer pressure and strangers can make her vulnerable to a slew of bad circumstances. For example, kids are more likely to play questionable games like Truth or Dare and use Oujia boards that lead to bad choices at sleepovers. They are also more vulnerable to peer pressure and sexual assault. Even when its with families you know or in your own home, sleepovers aren't a great idea.

  • 5. Photos

  • Be careful how you share photos of your daughter on social media. Don't post photos that show locations you visit frequently such as schools, parks or details of your home. Photos like these can make it easy for someone to find your location if they end up in in the wrong hands. Likewise, it's important to avoid posting pictures that contain your child's name, such as school assignments, nametags, etc.

  • Photos in questionable hands can be used to harm your child or even digitally kidnap them (where other people take the photos of your child and pretend they are their own).

  • 6. Secrets

  • Keeping secrets can harm your daughter in small ways (like hurting a friend's feelings) or big ways (like not telling an adult about something dangerous). Establish a rule that secrets are not allowed in your house so you can protect your daughter from the dangers they cause. Instead, teach her that surprises - something that you will eventually reveal to others, like a Christmas present - are fun, but secrets are not.

  • 7. Inappropriate media

  • Even unthreatening media can send your daughter bad messages. Many movies and television shows are filled with violence, disobedience, infidelity, sexism and expletives that can influence her development, self-confidence and world view. Instead, choose media that is uplifting and will help her become her best self instead of damaging her. Use the Dove Channel to stream wholesome, positive movies so you can know exactly what your kids are watching. The Dove Channel's rating system details exactly what material you may find objectionable before you watch the movie. Get your free one month trial today!

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Melinda Fox has a bachelor's degree in English and is the Sponsored Content Manager for FamilyShare.com. She loves Shakespeare, listening to her favorite songs on repeat and journaling.

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