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How to parent a beautiful child?

post #1 of 53
Thread Starter 

Of course, every child is beautiful. loveeyes.gif

 

However, dd1 is conventionally beautiful (delicate features, huge eyes, etc) and the older she gets, the more people comment on her looks (in front of and directly to her).  I'm not too thrilled with it, but I'm not going to yell at someone for complimenting my child, kwim?  And recently she has started asking me questions like "how do I look?" and "do I look beautiful?"  I usually respond with a silly/joking answer then redirect but I'm wondering if there is a better way to handle it?

 

I don't want to crush her soul orngtongue.gif but I also don't want her to become too fixated with her physical appearance.  I guess I'm just trying to find the middle ground.  She's not quite 3, so I understand some of this is normal behavior; I'm just trying to be proactive.

 

I dunno.  Any suggestions? I can't be the only parent of a gorgeous child! winky.gif

post #2 of 53

My dd does get comments seriously everytime we leave the house about how pretty she is, her hair, her smile etc.  I guess I just figure it is what it is, she really is a very pretty girl.  I know that girls who grow up "pretty" often times feel inferior in other ways or even that they arent pretty enough etc.  While I dont want to focus on her looks and wish others wouldnt I think there could be worse things so I dont really stress about it to much, there are much worse problems to have ykwim?

post #3 of 53
I usually piped up to the person who said something that "she's smart, too"... or "and we just learned to tie our shoes".. or some other something that lets the person know that dwelling on looks is not okay. And for your child.. try to get her to develop some hobbies that have nothing to do with what she looks like.

Pretty isn't something that's earned.. you don't want your kid to rely on looking pretty in life. Instead, have her cultivate manners, social graces and smarts. We also did a martial arts class, too.... just in case anyone gets any ideas about getting close without permission just because she's beautiful.
post #4 of 53

I think just saying "yes you're beautiful ... and funny and smart and thoughtful." Beautiful is a good thing, so no need to act like she's not, just don't let it be her only great trait. And for the record, I was a beautiful child - I had big blue eyes and tons of hair and dimples and smiled a lot. Random relatives still comment that I was the most gorgeous child they'd ever seen. But, I quickly turned into an awkward preteen (like VERY awkward - braces with hair that was out of control and 20 lbs of extra weight) and then finally a very normal looking adult. I'm not trying to down play your daughters beauty (she may very well stay unusually gorgeous!) but it may not be a lifelong thing so just enjoy it!

post #5 of 53

I got this with my oldest girl all the time. She is beautiful. However she is also all sorts of things more important then beautiful.

 

So, I also redircted any comments to how well she was doing in such and such or how smart she was.

 

My youngest dances and is always in her costume. She gets compliments all the time. But again, we redirect to how well she is dong in other areas.

 

 

post #6 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dauphinette View Post

My dd does get comments seriously everytime we leave the house about how pretty she is, her hair, her smile etc.  I guess I just figure it is what it is, she really is a very pretty girl.  I know that girls who grow up "pretty" often times feel inferior in other ways or even that they arent pretty enough etc.  While I dont want to focus on her looks and wish others wouldnt I think there could be worse things so I dont really stress about it to much, there are much worse problems to have ykwim?

I definitely know that there worse things than having a lovely child.  I'm just looking for advise on how to best parent the kid.  I'm not like "omg, poor thing is too pretty!" I just don't want her to turn into a conceited, superficial monster. lol.gif
 

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by philomom View Post

I usually piped up to the person who said something that "she's smart, too"... or "and we just learned to tie our shoes".. or some other something that lets the person know that dwelling on looks is not okay. And for your child.. try to get her to develop some hobbies that have nothing to do with what she looks like.

Pretty isn't something that's earned.. you don't want your kid to rely on looking pretty in life. Instead, have her cultivate manners, social graces and smarts. We also did a martial arts class, too.... just in case anyone gets any ideas about getting close without permission just because she's beautiful.


Yeah, this is what I usually do when strangers make the comments.  If it's someone I know (and who I know will be receptive), I just let them know that we are trying to focus more on the inner beauty.  And dh & I met at kung fu, so it's a given when she's old enough. winky.gif

 

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by berry987 View Post

I think just saying "yes you're beautiful ... and funny and smart and thoughtful." Beautiful is a good thing, so no need to act like she's not, just don't let it be her only great trait. And for the record, I was a beautiful child - I had big blue eyes and tons of hair and dimples and smiled a lot. Random relatives still comment that I was the most gorgeous child they'd ever seen. But, I quickly turned into an awkward preteen (like VERY awkward - braces with hair that was out of control and 20 lbs of extra weight) and then finally a very normal looking adult. I'm not trying to down play your daughters beauty (she may very well stay unusually gorgeous!) but it may not be a lifelong thing so just enjoy it!

 

I'm looking for the balance.  I grew up with a mother who rarely complimented me, and always made it seem that being even slightly attractive was evil.  So it's not that I don't want to acknowledge it at all. I just don't want it to become the basis of her self-identity

 

 

I guess it's just bothering me because she's made several comments today about how pretty she is if she was and asking me if I think she's beautiful.  And I'm just looking for feedback on how best to handle it.  And it seems I'm doing ok, but keep the suggestions coming!  notes.gif

post #7 of 53


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by berry987 View Post

I Random relatives still comment that I was the most gorgeous child they'd ever seen. But, I quickly turned into an awkward preteen (like VERY awkward - braces with hair that was out of control and 20 lbs of extra weight) a


When one of my DDs was little, every time we left the house we got constant comments about her looks -- she's has thick auburn naturally curly hair, big blue eyes, and dimples. She's 12 now and in braces and has some zits!  She's still pretty, even with all that, and she's going to be a knock out in a couple of years when she gets through this stage, but awkwardness is part of the game.

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn08 View Post
I'm looking for the balance.  I grew up with a mother who rarely complimented me, and always made it seem that being even slightly attractive was evil.  So it's not that I don't want to acknowledge it at all. I just don't want it to become the basis of her self-identity

 

 

I guess it's just bothering me because she's made several comments today about how pretty she is if she was and asking me if I think she's beautiful.

Yeah, I want balance too. I think it's OK to enjoy our bodies and like how we look.

 

It reminds of the play "our town."  There's this great scene when  teenage girl asks her mom if she's pretty. The mom says something like "all my kids have good features. I'd be ashamed if they didn't." And the daughter says, "but am I pretty?"

 

I think every  little girl wants her mom to tell her she's pretty, and to really mean it. I think we all want our mommies to see our beauty.
 

And yet none of us wants to be loved or valued for it. We want the people closest to us to see past that, to our true selves.  I think even small children feel this way. "Notice how wonderful my outsides are, but don't get confused and think that matters more than who I really am."

post #8 of 53


I kind of cringed when I read this even though I am sure you didn't mean it how I am about to say... When I was a kid, I got lots of nice compliments about my appearance.  My mom felt strongly that I was getting way too much positive feedback and that I was going to grow to be conceited, etc., so she took it upon herself to make sure that didn't happen with her own much less flattering and sometimes downright hurtful comments. It really had a lasting negative impact on me.  You want to believe no matter what that your own mother thinks you are the best, brightest, most beautiful child on the planet.  I think you are best to just reply to her when she asks how she looks or if she is beautiful "Yes, you are beautiful on the inside and the outside.  I just love how you xyz (something related to her personality, qualities she possesses, etc....something unrelated to outward appearance). 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn08 View Post

 

I don't want to crush her soul orngtongue.gif but I also don't want her to become too fixated with her physical appearance.

post #9 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post


 


When one of my DDs was little, every time we left the house we got constant comments about her looks -- she's has thick auburn naturally curly hair, big blue eyes, and dimples. She's 12 now and in braces and has some zits!  She's still pretty, even with all that, and she's going to be a knock out in a couple of years when she gets through this stage, but awkwardness is part of the game.

 


 

Yeah, I want balance too. I think it's OK to enjoy our bodies and like how we look.

 

It reminds of the play "our town."  There's this great scene when  teenage girl asks her mom if she's pretty. The mom says something like "all my kids have good features. I'd be ashamed if they didn't." And the daughter says, "but am I pretty?"

 

I think every  little girl wants her mom to tell her she's pretty, and to really mean it. I think we all want our mommies to see our beauty.
 

And yet none of us wants to be loved or valued for it. We want the people closest to us to see past that, to our true selves.  I think even small children feel this way. "Notice how wonderful my outsides are, but don't get confused and think that matters more than who I really am."



I love this.  The whole thing.  This is exactly what I'm trying to achieve.  (I thought of that scene in "Our Town" also but couldn't remember the name of the play, so thank you!) But I'm just struggling with the how. shrug.gif

post #10 of 53
Thread Starter 

AP - what happened to you is exactly what I am trying to avoid!  I'm just trying to keep the conversation light-hearted because I fully realize that on the surface it's a pretty silly "problem" to have.  But underneath that is a serious concern.  

post #11 of 53

My dd's have their own striking and unique features, so we're often getting compliments and comments.  They're young (4 & 1) - so this is less of a big thing for us to do at the moment, but I'll usually reaffirm and thank someone for the comment.  And then talk with the girls as we go on our way about how nice it is to get and give compliments to other people, and we'll go on to talk about what qualities/features/things are nice about other people in the store or friends we know, etc.  I like to think it turns it into a 'yes you're special and great dd, and wow! - look how special and great xyz are too! and abc! life is so cool and beautiful!' moment.  

post #12 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn08 View Post

AP - what happened to you is exactly what I am trying to avoid!  I'm just trying to keep the conversation light-hearted because I fully realize that on the surface it's a pretty silly "problem" to have.  But underneath that is a serious concern.  


I get that....I really do.  I guess I am just trying to say that I wouldn't want to get so silly or avoidant in my reply that she starts to wonder or worry what your perception of her is, if you know what I mean.  I think despite everything, she does need reinforcement of "yes, your mother thinks you're beautiful."  How you go about it after that is a different story, and probably can be followed up with redirecting to other positive attributes having nothing to do with appearance, but I would still reinforce physical appearance as being beautiful. 

post #13 of 53

My middle daughter is strikingly beautiful but not in a blonde hair/blue eyed ideal way.  She's tall and olive skinned and has brown hair and hazel eyes with a green ring around them. When/if anyone compliments her on her beauty I tell them, yep, she looks just like her mama!  This throws people off becasue I am fat...and in general people don't see the beauty in fat people.  My other daughters are blonde/blue eyed so they are complimented more often.  I never felt the need to redirect that sort of attention by adding that hey, she's smart too, or plays soccer well, etc.  Honestly as a child grows the compliments regarding their looks come less frequently. I guess you could call me shallow or conceited but I'm proud of my daughters and any compliment about them, be it their looks, their actions, or talents makes me feel good.

post #14 of 53



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn08 View Post



I definitely know that there worse things than having a lovely child.  I'm just looking for advise on how to best parent the kid.  I'm not like "omg, poor thing is too pretty!" I just don't want her to turn into a conceited, superficial monster. lol.gif
 

 




 

I guess I wouldnt parent her any differently, I think you might be focusing on it to much.  I like what another poster wrote about turning intop an awkward teen and an average adult, just enjoy it, beauty in life is a joy.  I think focusing to much on it ie worrying about it, parenting her differently because of it etc. could turn it into an unnecessary burden....just my opinion.

post #15 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dauphinette View Post



 

I guess I wouldnt parent her any differently, I think you might be focusing on it to much.  I like what another poster wrote about turning intop an awkward teen and an average adult, just enjoy it, beauty in life is a joy.  I think focusing to much on it ie worrying about it, parenting her differently because of it etc. could turn it into an unnecessary burden....just my opinion.

Hmm, makes sense.  So it's just me projecting my baggage Sheepish.gif  Should we take this over to Personal Growth?

 

Seriously, this is why I asked in the first place.  In part, to get a different perspective and in part, to work through my own thoughts and emotions.  It really helps clarify why I am reacting the way I am.  

post #16 of 53

As usual I have a bit of a different perspective than many posters.

 

I think you are right to be concerned, especially in light of her recent need for affirmation.  It is especially hard with girls because so much validation in our culture revolves around their physical appearence (especially lots of the princess crap er stuff)...and that can certainly lead to issues with self worth when they get older.

 

Were I you I think I would try to find lots of stories about girls who are awesome because they are smart, athletic, creative etc. and surround her with lots alternative role models.  And then you can refer to these stories later on when she brings up the beauty thing.  "Mama am I pretty?"  of course dear and just like Princess Leah you are feisty and strong in the force too.  Or whatever lol.gif.

 

I think Cinderella Ate My Daughter may be a good read for you.

post #17 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by philomom View Post

I usually piped up to the person who said something that "she's smart, too"... or "and we just learned to tie our shoes".. or some other something that lets the person know that dwelling on looks is not okay. And for your child.. try to get her to develop some hobbies that have nothing to do with what she looks like.

Pretty isn't something that's earned.. you don't want your kid to rely on looking pretty in life. Instead, have her cultivate manners, social graces and smarts. We also did a martial arts class, too.... just in case anyone gets any ideas about getting close without permission just because she's beautiful.



I like this! I have the same concerns, my dd is 2 now and she has heard "you're so beautiful", "you're so pretty" I don't know a THOUSAND times.... it's a great thing to hear but I don't want her focus and pride to be in her looks.

I am going to try this from now on, when it comes from a stranger, so she can experience joy in sharing her other great qualities with people :)

 

post #18 of 53
Thread Starter 

Chamomile Girl - I checked that out and added it to the list.  It also reminded me that I read "Reviving Ophelia" long before I had children.  So maybe that is where some of my concern stems from?  I don't really remember to much of it, tho, so I can't be certain.  I guess I need to add that to my list as well.  

 

*sigh*  Wasn't the stork supposed to leave the instruction manual?

post #19 of 53

DD#2 got lots of compliments on her looks. I taught her to say "Thank You, I'm smart and strong too!" when she was 3 or so. My two little guys (one blonde with blue eyes, the other brown/brown) get lots of compliments on their looks, and I never quite knew how to respond. I usually just say Thank You!

 

post #20 of 53

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Edited by Cascadian - 6/2/11 at 7:39pm
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