Raising Your Daughter To Be A Lady


Even if you’re raising a tomboy, every mom needs to hone in on some refining skills to polish your rough and tough sweet girl.  There is nothing wrong with your girl playing  with sticks and bugs, but at the end of the day, deep inside she’s still a little girl.

There are many things we can do as moms to teach our little girls what  “lady-like” behavior is and what it isn’t.

I could remember as a little one myself, when I did something that wasn’t lady-like, my grandmother would tell me looking me straight in the eye, “little ladies don’t do that.”  I find it crucial today to raise a girl who is courteous to others, aware of where she is and be able to know how she should and shouldn’t behave.  Having manners is very important in our family, after all we are a military family and to add my husband was raised in the South.

Who better to turn to when asking about manners, than my polished southern friends in Wilmington, NC.  I think they all went to Emily Post Grad School and majored in Jackie O refinement.  There are no better women to show you how to raise girls with manners than my southern friends.  And my go-to girl is Tracee Meyer who has seen great success first hand with her business, Cape Fear Cotillion.

Recently, I had a babysitter speak to me with such poor manners that I was a little taken back.  When I reminded her to be at my house on a Saturday at a certain time, she would respond with a, “YEP.”  I do not want my girls or my boys to talk that way to people, nevermind those that are employing you.  She sadly never showed up to work and never reached out to apologize.  I found that to be worse than not showing up.  She knew how important our engagement was and she completely forgot about it after several days of reminders.  I would think at the least a nice heartfelt apology would be coming my way.  Instead, I got nothing.  It was really shocking that this young woman had no manners or regard for our family especially with me being a few weeks from giving birth.  Thats when I knew I had to tap into my resources (Tracee to the Rescue) to make sure my girl Dylan, never acts this way.


After all, there’s something gracious about a lady.  She stands out without doing so on purpose. Her life speaks louder than her words and there’s a gentle humility that others are drawn to.  And that is exactly what I would like for my Dylan.

Tips for raising a lady:

  1. Be the example:  It’s a fact that children repeat what they see.  They soak everything up like sponges.  If mom and dad have manners then that’s great.  If they don’t then they are in for a rude awakening.  We try very hard to be stellar examples for our little girl.
  2. Watch your words:  Sure our kids argue, but if my little girl uses words that will hurt her brothers we nip it in the bud right on the spot.  We encourage using nice words with compliments and praise.  We never want her hurting other people with her words.
  3. Clothes Matter:  This one is hard for me because I dress very boho chic.  So naturally she wants to dress the same like her mommy and I am ok with that.  As long as its appropriate and not revealing she can dress mini boho if she would like.  But if you want her to look Jackie O, you better get to Neiman Marcus and start dressing the part.  Either way, you want to encourage femininity.  According to my favorite Cotillion expert, Tracee Meyer,  “its ok to have individuality and dress the way you want as long as its appropriate to what you are attending and always bring your manners to the table.”
  4. Being Sweet and Graceful:  You want your daughter to always display confidence, being sweet and being graceful.  I have seen the opposite and its scary when girls come over that jump off the walls breaking toys and being rude.  I really am perturbed when I see this behavior in little girls, but then again it’s not my kid and the mom seems to allow this.  We are the parents and the sooner we parent and teach sweet and graceful behavior, the better off they will be in society.
  5. Encourage a Good Attitude:  Of course every child can exhibit a bad attitude.  It’s up to us as parents to nip that one right away.  No one will ever notice how cute your kid is if she walks around with a bad attitude.  Tell her it’s not ok and you won’t go on with the day until she loses the bad attitude.
  6. Be affirming with your words:  A little lady in the making needs to be taught character.  We try to praise with positive words.  I can see it in her eyes how those positive words make her light up.  She loves to make her mama proud.
  7. Controlling her Actions!  Encourage Femininity… Make sure she know hers actions have consequences…  I have seen girls act like tyrants before and 9 out of 10 times they do not have consequences.  I have seen girls set off home alarms, break other people’s toys, act completely inappropriately and the parents still do nothing.  Its alarming and not good to allow your little girl behave this way.  Parents should leave with their child if they act this way.  They should remove their little girl from the home they are visiting and teach them it’s not ok to behave this way.


Tracee Meyer, owner of Cape Fear Cotillion says, “Having good manners, to me, is not just about which fork you use. It’s about making others feel comfortable around you. And treating everyone with kindness and respect. ”

Tracee kindly and graciously gave me a few more pointers to add to my arsenal of good habits for my little lady and I think you too will love them:

Communicate with Style:

– Set an example. It does matter what people think. First impressions are extremely hard to change.
– Graciously greet those around you, smile!
– Be on time and respectful of others time
– Make sure everyone feels included

Poise = Promise

– Ladies do not complain: We stay positive!
– Hold doors for others, help those in need.

Be a Great Host/Guest

-No tattling, unless emergency or if someone is in danger
– Offer something to drink to your guests
-Clean up before you leave. Do not leave the host to clean your mess

Table Manners

– Always wait for everyone to be served, and until the host begins, to start eating
– Place napkin in your lap as soon as you are seated. Do not use your napkin as a towel
– When there is one of something left, offer it to others before taking it for yourself
– Silverware should never touch the tablecloth after being used. You may place them on the edge of your plate. When finished, diagonal across your plate
– Sit until you are excused


– Nails: clipped and clean
– Clothes: seasonally correct, not wrinkled. You can have your own individual style AND be dressed appropriately for the occasion. For ex. If you’re going to an interview, party or meeting someone’s parents…put more effort in to your dress. Flip flops and jeans won’t do. Putting effort in to your dress tells the person you are meeting that they are important to you and shows respect. When first meeting, all we have to judge someone on is their appearance. Make sure you’re off to a good start right from the beginning.

If you are local to Wilmington, NC, there are plenty of upcoming classes at Porters Neck Country Club, Pine Valley Country Club and Wrighstville Beach Rec. for ages 3 & up.  First session begins September 15th! Saturday evening Holiday Etiquette Party/Parents Night Out coming in November! Visit the website or contact Tracee Meyer to register  Thank you Tracee for such useful tips!

It’s not easy to teach our little girls how to be little ladies when the world models something very different.  But, as a mother, your influence is profound and relentless.  Your girl looks up to you and longs to fill your shoes.  So be the role model she so deserves.  I would love to hear from you!  Comment below and let me know what you have done that works….












  1. Omg! My last comment got lost!! Anyway– Dylan is a wonderful example of this ; behaving like a lady and yet not having to sacrifice her individuality, style and even ‘Tom-boyed-ness’;) It’s not a double standard as I also know it’s just as important to raise our future gentleman (I read your post on this too;-)) I hope these rituals do not become old fashioned either; but remain classic. I know it’s not always easy to be consistent but I think it’s fun to incorporate these ideas into practical and fun objectives; like letting them choose which dishes to use, to offer beverages/bites to visiting guests. Also great to come up with appropriate ice-breakers (for more naturally shy little hostesses in training) to help break the ice in any situation. It may sound contrived but it’s nice to have s basic plan to help set up great habits moving forward;-)

    1. Danielle Lucia Schaffer

      I love what you wrote…. Letting the little ones choose when hosting…. so brilliant…. I will incorporate that one too… xoxoxo

  2. My post was deleted too?
    I love this post and I love the above comment about helping children host! These are wonderful suggestions and tips about how to help raise sweet little ladies. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that are actions speak louder than words. Maybe I need to get out of my yoga pants a little more often ? Great post ladies!!!! ?

    1. Danielle Lucia Schaffer

      awe I am so glad you liked it renee…. we all need to step out of the yoga pants xoxo

  3. This is spot on! I’m always taken back by lack of manners and respect from kids as well as adults! Love that you are passing down important life lessons.

    1. Danielle Lucia Schaffer

      so glad heather… thanks for your support

  4. test test

  5. Great post D! All is line with Girl Scout way. I remind our girls regularly that I don’t expect them to close friends with everyone, that is not possible as we wouldn’t want them to accept mediocracy, but we do expect them to be polite and conduct themselves appropriately. “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” ― Dalai Lama XIV

    Can we get Cape Fear Cotillion out to San Diego, CA :).

    1. Danielle Lucia Schaffer

      we can get a cotillion here…. she sells the kit to run it…. lets talk

  6. […] have written about the importance of manners in our home for both the boys and the girls and the personal, thoughtful gesture of a hand written note is part of it.  My children also need […]

  7. […] have written about the importance of manners in our home for both the boys and the girls and the personal, thoughtful gesture of a hand written note is part of it.  My children also need […]

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