or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › The Childhood Years › "You are so gorgeous" - advice ?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

"You are so gorgeous" - advice ? - Page 2

post #21 of 72
Ugh, this really annoys me. It's so targeted at girls too, this 'you're so beautiful' crap. I think it contributes to (and reflects) an overfocus on looks and performance.

I don't have great suggestions for how to deal with it, at that age. My daughter is 3.5 and her hair is very short and she passes for a boy, which minimizes it for us.
post #22 of 72
My girls get this quite a bit and my 7 year said something that had me trying really hard not to laugh. In line at the grocery store a few weeks ago the checker said something like, "Has anyone ever told you what beautiful eyes you have?" And dd said, "Yes, and frankly I'm getting very tired of it." Can't blame her for being honest.
post #23 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by UUMom View Post
In fact, I do have 2 daughters, of different races even, so trust me that I have experienced all range of comments about my children. And yes, that's what we say "People are curious" or "Sometimes people want to chat and they don't always know the exact right thing to say" or, if someone is obviously off their rocker, we might say "That person sure said something silly". And then we can talk about it.
You really didn't answer my question there. You have two daughters. When you go to the grocery store one daughter is receives on average at least four or five compliments from strangers. One gets no positive comments. In my hypothetical inspired by real life example both children are biracial and the one who gets more compliments is the whiter of the two and the compliments are often associated with the combination of "exotic" traits combined with more white features. In that situation you would simply say to her kids "people are curious" or "that's silly". I don't think that fully addresses the situation or the girls' feelings about the steady comments. I don't think that is giving kids enough information to understand the situation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UUMom View Post
A family life of steady, engaged, loving people is going to be what affects my children most, not the occasional imperfect commentary by cashiers in the check out line.
Occasional imperfect? No, not occasional, steady comments over and over again the same ones. And, of course parents have more influence, but other people do have influence. Pretending they don't seems silly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UUMom View Post
I often get the impression that many folks would like to go out into the world, do errands, go to the library etc and never talk to anyone. That's not my life, I don't want it to be my life, so my family and I acutally talk with 'strangers' (check out people, librarians, deli people, people in line at the bank and post office etc etc etc) and discuss things that might need discussing.
I think you are totally mixing up different things. I can only speak for myself. I'm a major extrovert. Two of my closest friends I've met standing in the line! I love to talk to people and love to meet new people and find it one of the fun parts of going new places. It isn't a requirement though for meeting new people that you stand treat their children like you are a livestock judge at the state fair.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UUMom View Post
It's not that people suck, it's that they are human, and humans are very complicated, frustrating beings. We can either accept that and deal with it, or we can turn every comment into a slight and fume about it, rant on how people (except us, of course) are ignorant and stupid. I don't see how that is helpful to children (or adults) as we navigate the world.
The two choices aren't fume and rant or pretend that no one influences our kids and their sense of self but us.

I don't suggest fuming or ranting and obviously I don't say to the kid that people suck (in fact I said it as a minor parenthetical note in a post intended for adults and there is no need to be overly literal about it).

What I suggested to the original poster and will suggest again is that what your kids hear from you is important. If someone is saying something insensitive it is perfectly fine for you to worry less about that random stranger and more about what your kids are hearing. In that situation my approach is to say something sunny and upbeat so that is what my kid hears.

As a matter of manners, I think all people in society could benefit from thinking about what they say to people they don't know. I'd like to see MORE interaction with "strangers" not less. At the same time, I have and will continue to teach my child ways to start up conversations without relying on evaluation of how other people's physical traits measure up to a standard of beauty. I'm sure the majority of the hundreds of people who have commented on our child's "serious stare" meant well. He has a vision problem and it was incredibly confusing to him as a toddler and preschooler why people were always telling he was "too serious" when he was simply trying to gain single vision. It did lessen his confidence in interacting with people and yes, I'd just as soon we change the cultural norm so people don't feel compelled to say stuff like this to kids.
post #24 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roar View Post

Occasional imperfect? No, not occasional, steady comments over and over again the same ones. And, of course parents have more influence, but other people do have influence. Pretending they don't seems silly.
ITA. The cultural messages girls get about how important it is to be pretty are numerous... the word 'onslaught' comes to mind. This issue is far from the occasional comment from a stranger in a vacuum. I think it is a serious problem, as evidenced by the billion dollar diet industry and the popularity of eating disorders, among other indicators.
post #25 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by ani'smama View Post
My girls get this quite a bit and my 7 year said something that had me trying really hard not to laugh. In line at the grocery store a few weeks ago the checker said something like, "Has anyone ever told you what beautiful eyes you have?" And dd said, "Yes, and frankly I'm getting very tired of it." Can't blame her for being honest.
post #26 of 72
I am one of those people that does not take compliments well. I am not sure if it has to do with my childhood, being shy, or what. I do remember the comments to some degree and probably hid behind my mom .

My kids get a lot of compliments. I tend to hear, "Wow, you have beautiful children" directed at me. When the kids hear, they sort of step away or behind me. I wonder how they are interpreting these comments. I usually reply with, "Thanks. Their dad is gorgeous."
Sometimes I do reply with, "they're great kids," or "He's a smart guy, too."
DH sometimes catches himself complimenting DD a lot and worries he is sort of playing into the whole punishment by rewarding too much...dunno.
post #27 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by ani'smama View Post
My girls get this quite a bit and my 7 year said something that had me trying really hard not to laugh. In line at the grocery store a few weeks ago the checker said something like, "Has anyone ever told you what beautiful eyes you have?" And dd said, "Yes, and frankly I'm getting very tired of it." Can't blame her for being honest.
OMG I missed this! Great response.
post #28 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roar View Post

I think it is silly to suggest that how we parent and what we say to our kids matters so much, but that they are totally unaffected by all other forms of socialization. If a boy is told every single time he leaves his house that he's smart and if a girl is told every time she leaves her house she should model - do we think that affects them not even a teeny tiny bit?
Wow--I never suggested that environment plays no factor. I was just wondering if the concern was vanity, insecurity, egocenterism, eating disorder, or what?

I personally *like* compliments. Strangers don't know how kind, intelligent, creative, or dedicated your child is. Sometimes lovely eyes or a radiant smile is all they know about you. And for better or for worse, we have to go through life in the bodies we are born with.

I think it's human nature to appreciate beauty, and while I agree that emphasizing looks over other more important qualities is certainly harmful, we can't control what other people will think or say or feel. What we can do is teach our children that while it's nice to have, say, pretty hair, one day that hair will go grey or get thin and what we're left with will be those internal characteristics. Of course I really think this is a life-long lesson, and I don't expect a 3,5,10, or even 15 year old to "get."

I just don't think that hearing she has pretty eyes is necessarily going to damage a child if she is raised in a family/social environment that values her other qualities, too.

And as far as the boy versus girl comments about looks, my ds actually has always gotten more feedback about his appearance than my dd.
post #29 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
ITA. The cultural messages girls get about how important it is to be pretty are numerous... the word 'onslaught' comes to mind. This issue is far from the occasional comment from a stranger in a vacuum. I think it is a serious problem, as evidenced by the billion dollar diet industry and the popularity of eating disorders, among other indicators.
ITA. But eating disorders are not just about "beauty." Many, if not most, of these men and women also have major issues with control and perfectionism.
post #30 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by ledzepplon View Post
ITA. But eating disorders are not just about "beauty." Many, if not most, of these men and women also have major issues with control and perfectionism.
True. But the reason the perfectionism gets projected onto the goal of being beautiful is because beauty is considered such a basic requirement for women. Otherwise you would see as many anorexic straight men as we do women and gay men.
post #31 of 72
Quote:
No need to go crazy over it, but I do think it something to be aware of how these compliments shape a person. It wouldn't be a big deal if it is now and then but it if is a constant you really do have to be aware of it. If it is one or two people not and then, it isn't that big of a deal. But, if virtually every time you go out person after person says "you are so beautiful", "you should model", etc. that can affect a kid for sure and I have seen girls that this absolutely has affected. Not when they were three maybe, but the steady diet of these comments over time yes, it can affect a kid.
While I agree that such comments are rather stupid, I guess I feel that since we have no control over what other people (strangers in the store, for example) say to our kids, it doesn't make sense to make a big deal out of it. (And I know you're not saying we should, as you indicate we should not "go crazy over it." ) That's why I think a simple "thank you" is appropriate (from the child).

I mean, if a child is physically beautiful by society's standards, peopel ARE going to comment on it. You can't stop them, so the best thing to do is teach your child what the gracious response is. (Though I think the "Frankly I'm sick of hearing it" comment is hilarious! )

And, in general, you can instill in your child values such as seeing inside a person rather than concentrating on the physical appearance. But we should be doing that anyway, you know (or trying, at least)?

Quote:
And, even worse if people say it to one kid in the family and not to the others (yes, that happens - people suck!)
I totally agree. My son gets lots of comments about "how cute!!" he is, and then the obligatory comment is thrown to dd as an afterthought. (For the record, dd is cute too!!!)
post #32 of 72
I have noticed SUCH a difference in the amount of pretty/gorgeous/beautiful comments my kids get. My DD is constantly being complimented on her looks, and DS very rarely gets a compliment about his looks. The strange thing is, I honestly think DS is more conventionally beautiful than DD. I have always chalked it up to her being a girl, but maybe people are just drawn to her more for whatever reason...
post #33 of 72
Both my kids get lots of comments all the time. They pretty much get them equally - DS for his curls and DD for her general beauty. I just say thanks. It has never seemed to have affected either of them - I am not even sure they hear it. If they do, they never say anything to me.

It happens every single time I take them out. And it really doesn't bother me at all. But I might be bothered if one got all the comments and the other never got any as I wouldn't want one to feel bad about themselves.
post #34 of 72
Why is it OK to start a conversation with a child by saying "what beautiful eyes you have!" How often would you do that with an adult? Why not start it about the weather, or what you're buying, or whatever...

Well, our ds gets comments all the time about how beautiful he is, especially his eyes, and strangers rarely say anything about dd. For the record, ds is beautiful with gorgeous eyes (people have stopped me and told me he should do modeling!), and dd is merely 'cute', in a 3 year old kind of way.

I do worry about the effects these kinds of comments will have on her. "Unfortunately" she also doesn't have a conventionally 'beautiful' body type either. Frankly, she's built like a line backer. She's incredibly strong. She's smart as a whip and very socially attuned. She is going to notice this.

I also worry about the effect that they will have on ds. He's very uncomfortable by them, and very conscious that he's being judged. He HATES being judged. He is also very quick at making inferences, and will easily notice that they say he's beautiful and that they don't say this about dd.

Trust me, we're doing all we can to inspire in our children that they are strong, intelligent, caring people. Dd will play sports (line backer?) and be in music. Who knows what ds will do (extra curricular activities for a philosopher kid who wants to be a bus driver??), but it will be something that will help round him out, I hope.

But, strangers could help by NOT making implicit comparisons. By not commenting ONLY about beauty.
post #35 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by becoming View Post
When people comment on my children's looks (DD in particular gets loads of "so pretty!" comments, probably just because she's a girl), I always say, "And she's such a sweet little sister" or "And she's very smart, too." I try to take the focus off of her looks while still praising her for other good qualities.

I don't think comments about her looks are going to damage her, but I certainly don't want her thinking ALL she is, is pretty.
I do the same thing. And since dd became aware of princesses/fairies/etc I've started doing it with fictional characters! Example-- dd will say "Oh I like Cinderella because she is soooo beautiful." And I say "Yes she is. And she's also so cheerful. I like how she sings with her friends, even when she's having a bad day."

post #36 of 72
Maybe we could start changing the definition of 'beautiful' for our children. Saying things like, "helping your brother was a beautiful thing to do," might sound a little weird but it would change how a 3 year old perceives the "you're so beautiful" comment.
post #37 of 72
We get the same compliments about my dd all the time. I don't want her to be stuck up and vain when she's older, but I'm glad. She thinks she's beautiful, and why not? I've a problem with self-esteem since I was a kid, and I would be thrilled if she didn't have the same issues to deal with. I compliment her all the time, but I try to equally compliment how smart, and loving etc, she is also.
post #38 of 72
This is something I think about a lot, too. I have a DS, and people talk about his looks ecvery day. And I mean that litterally.

Now the summer is here, and with that, tourists. And with that, tourists that aran`t used to seeing all the blonde children that runs around here in Norway. And, my son is reaaaallly blonde.

Seriously, though. People stop him, talk about how cute he is, talk about his gorgeous long hair, smile and point at him, talk about how special he looks etc. every time we are outside. And I don`t know what to say to him about this. It doesn`t seem to bother him very much, just makes him a little shy and maybe a little bit uncomfortable. But not much.

Reading this thread with interest.
post #39 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by mummy marja View Post
Maybe we could start changing the definition of 'beautiful' for our children. Saying things like, "helping your brother was a beautiful thing to do," might sound a little weird but it would change how a 3 year old perceives the "you're so beautiful" comment.
Hmmm . . . I really like this suggestion!
post #40 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by UUMom View Post
An Asian woman in a DC salon once told my then Asian toddler
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: The Childhood Years
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › The Childhood Years › "You are so gorgeous" - advice ?