Originally Posted by ledzepplon
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.
Well said. I agree.
I like compliments too.
When you first meet someone, you don't know they have a beautiful singing voice.
I see nothing whatsoever wrong with complimenting someone on their appearance. Appreciating someone's physical beauty doesn't necessarily diminish your appreciation of their inner beauty. The implication that it's an either/or proposition is unhealthy.
Saying "She's smart too!" everytime someone compliments a child on her appearance would seem to send the message that physical beauty is necessarily frivolous. It would almost seem to send the message that being physically attractive or attracting attention because you're physically attractive is something to be ashamed of.
Kids who spend most their time in a healthy environment where they're appreciated for who they are grow up to be comfortable with the fact that each person is worthwhile for multiple reasons, some more immediately noticeable than others.
Complimenting someone on their fair skin doesn't imply that deep skin tones are less attractive. Two people who look totally different from one another can both be beautiful. It's probably healthier to compliment many people for many different reasons than to specifically avoid complimenting people on their appearance as if being physically attractive implies you're shallow or don't have other qualities worth appreciating.
It doesn't. It's just often the first thing people notice.