Damsel in Distress? Tips to Fight Your Daughter's Princess Syndrome

Useful Tips to Fight Your Daughter's Princess Syndrome
There is nothing wrong in letting your daughter think that she is a little princess. But don't let her get bitten by the Princess Syndrome bug. Think that's already happened? Reading this AptParenting post will help you 'undo' the Princess Syndrome, and bring your sweet little daughter back to you.
AptParenting Staff
Last Updated: Mar 19, 2018
A daughter is one of the most beautiful gifts this world has to give. --- Laurel Atherton
Yes, daughters do make life happier, more cheerful, and more beautiful. They are sweet bundles of joy that hold memories of the past, moments of the present, and hope and promise of the future. And YES! Daughters are gifts of love. But.

What? Did you not expect a 'but' there? Did you think that daughters could never be a menace? Did you think that daughters could never be innocent criminals, pouting away their rosy lips and blinking away their bright eyes to forgiveness? You might be in for a little surprise.

Has your daughter been reading fairy tales and stories about princesses? Has she been religiously following beauty magazines and beauty pageants? Are your daughter's tantrums, conditions, emotional blackmailing episodes, and demands, on the rise?

Take a look at the following scenarios.
Princess
► It is Sarah's 16th birthday, and she throws a Sweet-Sixteen birthday bash, and invites her friends and family to the party. The theme of the party revolves completely around Sarah's life; the walls are covered with pictures from her childhood days to the current moment, the huge birthday cake reads 'PRINCESS SARAH' out loud, the music that is being played is only of Sarah's choice, Sarah is the only one at the party that is dressed in pink, the rest are expected to strictly follow a dress code of black or white, Sarah is seated on a larger-than-life sized throne, and the guests need to go up to the throne to wish her.
Birthday princess
► Twelve-year-old Mia has invited her girlfriends from school and the neighborhood over to her house for a cupcake party that she has organized. Mia has her 'tiara' on, and wants to be seated at the head of the table. She decides that she will have the best-looking cupcake all for herself. She decides who will arrange the games, she wants to be in every group photograph that is clicked, she wants every photograph in which she doesn't look good enough to be deleted, and throws a tantrum if she is interrupted in any way!
Did a wave of déjà vu just wash over you? Did you immediately connect with the scenes at some level? Did the image of your own daughter pop into your head? If the answer to any of these questions is a yes, then it is time to say hello (AND goodbye!) to the Princess Syndrome.
Princess Syndrome
Princess Syndrome is a psychological irregularity that hits girls of all ages - toddlers, little girls, teenagers, and young adults. Girls affected by this syndrome are wishful thinkers, who believe they are entitled to nothing but the best of everything. If not corrected in time, these mannerisms could prevail and continue to exist over time. It is not a medical condition, but it does have its own set of causes and symptoms.

The symptoms could be as subtle as pouting, foot-stomping, frowning more often, focusing only on pretty things, and wearing clothes from only certain brands, or they could be as aggressive as self-obsessing, throwing tantrums, bossing around, being narcissistic... the list is long.

However, the three most important characteristics that define Princess Syndrome perfectly are:
Girls with an acute sense of entitlement.
They just make demands. Not only do they expect that their demands get fulfilled, but they also expect that this should happen without they themselves working towards it.
Girls with the highest pride and self-esteem.
They are bossy. These girls are arrogant, and feed their ego with the belief that they are perfect, and that their perfection deserves nothing but the best.
Girls with impractical expectations from people and life.
Narcissism. They think the world revolves around them. These girls expect the world around them and the people in it to be perfect, and are disappointed when their expectations are not met.
Princesses? Lovable. Princess Syndrome? As attractive and delightful as it may sound, definitely not lovable!

Girls stand for elegance, poise, cuteness, sweetness, and kindness. They are meant to be adorable, funny, charismatic and gorgeous. Whoever likes girls who are arrogant, unkind, egoistic, pretentious, smug, boastful, and self-centered! Yeah, I didn't think so.

So what do you do? Tell your daughter flat-out that she is not a princess? That she is not meant to be one? That she is just a normal girl who is expected not to dream of a life where fairy tales could be a possibility? Of course not. You don't want her to think that she is not precious. You want to make her believe that she is 'one in a million', but, 'the one' who everybody loves, 'the one' whose presence lights up the room, 'the one' who is adored for her kindness and sweet nature, 'the one' whose aura radiates confidence, yet approachability.

If your daughter has been displaying signs of the Princess Syndrome, fret not. It is in the nature of girls, young and old, to be airy and playful at heart. With the right kind of upbringing and reactions to actions, your girl would turn out to be just the fine princess everybody loves - pretty, yet humble, confident, yet gracious, and beautiful, yet kind.
How to Tackle Princess Syndrome
Treat your daughter like you would treat your son!
Father and kids on beach
Parents are wired to spoil their daughters with excess love, care, and an easy life. On the other hand, it is a common misconception that only sons can be the bread earners of the house. So parents instill the values of hard work and responsibility in them. Girls start believing that they just have to ask for what they want, and it will be brought to them, without them having to work for it.
Teach your daughters to work for what they want. Teach them how to bask in the glory of their accomplishments, however small they may be. Let them know that they too can be responsible and dependable. Nothing would instill confidence in her better than letting her know that anybody could depend on her and not be disappointed.
Start teaching her early! Start young!
Preparing little princess
Working parents have less time for their toddlers in today's times. Although it is necessary to work to maintain a decent lifestyle, it is equally important to be an integral part of your daughter's growing years. It is a known fact that kids can be molded as easily as wet clay; that kids and children absorb information and knowledge like a sponge absorbs water. So, it is during these early, formative years, that you should start grafting your daughter's personality with little snippets of wisdom, intelligence, and the right judgment. Teach her in ways that would grab her attention, excite her senses, and leave lasting impressions.

When making use of fairy tales to teach a lesson, the stories could be made-to-order and altered, to send the right message across.
Fairy tales: Don't let them mislead her!
Little girl
Childhood is an innocent age. A magical age. It would not be completely right to tell your sweetheart daughter that fairy tales and princesses are lies. But it would be completely wrong to let her believe that her life is going to be a fairy tale.
Sleeping Beauty did nothing but sleep for a hundred years until her Prince Charming came looking for her, kissed her, and woke her up. The two fell in love with each other, got married, and lived happily ever after. Well, apparently.

Cinderella was visited by a fairy Godmother, who just had to swish her magic wand to transform her and her situation, for good.

The lesson here that you teach your daughter is that, someone will reach out for her, but that needn't be the case every time. She will need to take a stand for herself, make her own decisions, be independent, work for herself, and not just wait for a male, father figure, or fairy to fulfill her needs and desires. Although believing in magic is a sign of hope, just sitting there, waiting for magic to happen is completely uncalled-for.
Competence over beauty! Character over appearances!
Smiling little girl with pink glasses
When you talk about princesses, the first things that come to mind are exquisite tiaras, elegant, long and flowing silk gowns, pretty hairdos, and attractive eyes and faces dolled up to perfection. Girls with the Princess Syndrome deal with the obsession of looking pretty all the time, and only wear clothes that come from a certain high-end brand.
Vintage fairy tale princesses as well as the modern-day models and actresses, who are just 'make-believe perfect beauties', are to blame. Make your little girl understand that superficial beauty does not stay forever. What is needed is competence, character, intelligence, and wisdom. Make sure you teach her well enough that 'knowledge is power'.

The lesson to be learned here is that superficial beauty is not the only kind of beauty. No matter what, you will never succeed in keeping her away from beauty magazines. What you can do is, make sure she knows about women who have accomplished enormous feats at every level, and have been acknowledged and held in the highest regard by the world; irrespective of their physical appearances.
Stop being the dad in shining armor!
Father and daughter at tea party
Unlike in fairy tales and lives of princesses, life is not always a joyride. If it is one for you now, the sooner you realize that it will not always be, the better it is for you (better to be prepared rather than sorry!). Remember, it starts with you. Your kid follows you and learns from your actions.
Your daughter is bound to face difficulties, go through ups and downs, and face competition at every stage. Shielding her from all these possible negative influences with the intention of keeping her from getting hurt or demoralized will only make her weaker and incompetent. Understand that you will not be there for her always. What happens when she is stuck in a situation where you cannot play the role of SuperDad or SuperMom? Competitions, bad phases, fights, when faced with the right spirit, will make her stronger, instill individuality, develop a positive self-esteem, teach her to be self-sufficient, create a realistic body image, and she will able to stand up for herself. Competitions - she will win some, and of course, she will lose some. Being a sore loser is a symptom of Princess Syndrome.

Teach her to accept her shortcomings and work towards overcoming them. Self-reliance is the biggest lesson you can teach her.
Lead by example!
Mother and daughter donating
Instead of always pointing out your daughter's mistakes and telling her how she is doing it wrong, exemplify. Tell her about an incident from your own life, where you went wrong on the same lines. That way, she is not being pointed at, she realizes she is wrong, and she realizes that she is not the only one who could be wrong. This instills a sense of security, and bridges the gap of confidence between you and your daughter.
Make her understand that happiness lies within herself and her actions, and she should not wait for it to come in the form of a knight in shining armor or otherwise. There will be times in life when she will not agree to the reasons and terms. Don't encourage her retaliations to them. Conform with her and condition her well enough to tell you why she disagrees.

Teaching your daughter the lessons of independence, self-sufficiency, ambition, confidence, and humbleness, would prepare her for the toughest test - Life! The key here is to maintain the tricky balance of making her feel one-in-a-million, and making her realize that she cannot be dependent on anyone but herself.