The way to raise strong children is to lead by example.

That was the magic formula that helped Laura Campbell bring up her 14-year-old daughter Emma Ormsby -- a girl who knows a thing or two about leadership and stepping up to support those who need help.

This week the Westlake Girls High School student attended the Girls for Change Leadership Summit: Making a Difference. She was one of 92 girls from all over New Zealand who volunteered to attend the two-day programme during their holidays.

Emma's story about confronting the girls who teased her best friend was published in the Herald today.


Her proud mum, a single mother, said her daughter had always made good choices.

Ms Campbell said she did not know her daughter had stood up to girls who were bullying her best friend in primary school.

"She did not tell me anything about the incident, but I am not surprised she did it. That's who she is."

Ms Campbell decided to complete a masters degree in nursing after her children were born.

"They saw me juggling assignments, stressed over exams and working towards getting good grades, all without compromising time for them -- I guess in a way my studies helped them learn too."

Emma is also an academic high-achiever. Ms Campbell says her daughter set a high standard for herself because she knows she is capable of doing well.

"Sometimes she gets disappointed when it's not an A+ and a B grade, but I always use humour to help her get over it -- she is resilient and she gets over things pretty quickly."

Having attended the first day of the summit, the ambitious teenager said she had learned a lot about herself and was looking forward to day two.

"I loved meeting new, like-minded people. It's great to get together with others who care about the world."

She added she had a better sense of direction now and would like to work for a humanitarian cause, especially those that deal with alleviating poverty.

Ms Campbell said the reason social injustice irks Emma was that diversity had always been part of her life.

"Ever since she was little she has known people from different ethnic backgrounds and various walks of life. To her everyone is equal and deserves to be treated with respect."

So what does it take to raise resilient daughters? Here are Ms Campbell's top tips:

• Love your children and spend time with them.

• Encourage them for the choices they make.

• They observe what you do, so lead by example.