Originally Posted by happysmileylady
As important as I think it is to teach children to not value looks, to value personality and accomplishments more...
I think it is more important to teach them to accept compliments graciously.
I agree. I think hyperreacting to any physical complement because you hate any reference to looks is STILL overly focused on looks. In a negative way, perhaps, but the strength of feeling will still make an impression on a child. If a child is athletically gifted, and someone complements them on, IDK, making 15 free throws in 20 seconds or whatever--what message does it send to the child if the parent immediately steps in to say, "Yeah, well, he got an A in math too!" I think that the parent might feel it is telling the child that they think of them as well rounded, I think many children interpret it as "Wow, mom is embarassed by me playing basketball."
I think we need to be careful. Are you (the general you) giving your kids the impression that you are embarassed by their appearance? I know some kids that do feel that way--not because their parents are abusive monsters, but because they cannot accept a complement that's not academic or "success" oriented, they swoop in to bat down or "correct" the complement. That gives not so nice messages too.
Personally, I think a polite "Thank you" to a complement while saying "But no thank you to the modeling, we don't have the time as a family right now" is the best way to go. It keeps it neutral, hopefully less intense, and you're not treating a child's appearance like a disease.
It makes me sad when people perpetuate the idea that all beautiful people are stuck up, stupid, or unaccomplished. There are tons of ugly people who are that. And many beautiful and ugly people that are the opposite. I think we have to be very careful in "defending" our kids against our societal pet peeves that we don't unintentionally give them a very different message than the one we perceive we're giving.
And if people do not think that "accomplishments" are sometimes very much generated in the same accident-of-birth way as looks (and personality) then I think that probably the people who think that don't know very many accomplished people. Some accomplished people are rather stupid. Mean. Unethical. And some people who have no worldly accomplishments to speak of are breathtakingly beautiful (on the inside, or outside, or both). IMO, I don't see beauty, external accomplishments, personality, or brains in a hierarchy. They are nice things to have. So are compliments. I think that deciding one amongst that group is somehow horrible and never to be mentioned is just as wrong as lifting one up as the end all be all. And it also neglects the fact that most people will have none in any large measure, and we can still be fulfilled and happy anyway--and there are many people who have more than one (if not all) in a high degree who are NEVER happy or fulfilled. :(