My Daughter is Beautiful and I Tell Her So Every Day
By Kelly in Austin on December 06, 2011
I read this article a while back. At first blush, I was all, "Yeah! Girl Power! Love us for our minds!" But after a few days of realizing that my mind kept wandering back to the article, I finally acknowledged that something just wasn't sitting right.
The essence of the article is that while it seems to be everyone's default nature to gush over how cute little girls are, you should fight against this urge and avoid commenting on their appearance, instead talking to them only about their interests, what they're reading, etc.
Seems like a good idea, right?
As a mother of a little girl, I am all too aware of the dangers and pitfalls that lie ahead for my daughter. It seems like girls have to deal with 95% of all the self-esteem, depression, body image, and sexuality issues. (Maybe it's because nobody is really talking about how these things affect men, too. But I digress.) Hell, I AM a woman. I had to grow up and deal with all these things. Deal with never feeling skinny enough, or never knowing how to do my hair or makeup the right way, or not having the "in" sense of fashion it seemed like all the other skinnier, prettier girls had.
But here's where I diverge from the author of that article. I know my daughter has a lifetime of dealing with these issues ahead of her. A lifetime of every magazine photo making her feel inadequate.
So rather than ignoring the issue, why not tell her that she's beautiful? Why not build in her a sense of self-confidence from an incredibly young age? Why not leave no doubt in her mind as to how beautiful she is, so that when she starts to be confronted with these images that have the potential to make her feel like she doesn't measure up, she instead tosses her gorgeous brown curls, rolls her luminescent hazel eyes, and recognizes that feeling for what it is: a giant load of horse shit.
I tell my daughter that she's beautiful every.single.day. I use words like pretty and gorgeous. I want her to know without a shadow of a doubt that she is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen in my life.
And you know what? I also tell her how smart she is. Every.single.day. How funny she is. How friendly and sweet she is. What a good sharer she is. How strong she is. How brave she is. How impressive she is with everything that she says and does and thinks.
None of these are mutually exclusive. You don't have to pick one of these. And really, what a disservice you are doing to you own child if you do. Children, daughters, aren't single faceted. They deserve to develop a totally confident sense of their whole self--their mind, their spirit, and their body.
So if you have a daughter, please make sure she knows just how beautiful she really is.
Kelly enjoys the adventure of being a
working, kinda-crunchy, two-under-two mom at
How Hard Can This Be?