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#31 of 53 Old 05-04-2011, 07:57 AM
 
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We get that a lot here too. DD(6) is gorgeous, very petite(32lbs and 48"), black hair/dark brown eyes/light olive skin tone.... and she loves to wear dresses/skirts, frilly hair bows/headbands, necklaces, and lately nail polish. We're talking the epitome of a girly-girl. We hear it all the time starting from when she was a baby, I've had countless people tell me to put her in a pageant/modeling, but we refuse to do it. I just try to play up all her other attributes, other than beauty, as much as possible.

 


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#32 of 53 Old 05-04-2011, 08:04 AM
 
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Is this really a special circumstance?  Don't most kids, especially girls, get this pretty much every time they leave the house (I have often thought how nice to be a little girl and have strangers tell you you're the most beautiful one in the world, reliably, a hundred times a day)?  My daughter is five, we go to a park full of kids pretty much every day. I hear, "she's so beautiful, she has such beautiful hair" eleventy billion times and I probably say something similar back just as often. It's just how people talk about kids.  Don't most parents think their children are exceptionally beautiful?  I know I do. 

 

There are worse things than my daughter growing up thinking she's beautiful and knowing her mother thinks she's beautiful. 

 

For some people, beauty is a fact.  Teach her to say thank you and move on.  For some people, smart or athletic or funny are facts.  If someone complimented your child on any of these, you'd just teach her to say thank you.  Why should pretty be any different?

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#33 of 53 Old 05-04-2011, 09:09 AM
 
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#34 of 53 Old 05-04-2011, 11:02 AM
 
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Originally Posted by NiteNicole View Post

Is this really a special circumstance?  Don't most kids, especially girls, get this pretty much every time they leave the house (I have often thought how nice to be a little girl and have strangers tell you you're the most beautiful one in the world, reliably, a hundred times a day)?  My daughter is five, we go to a park full of kids pretty much every day. I hear, "she's so beautiful, she has such beautiful hair" eleventy billion times and I probably say something similar back just as often. It's just how people talk about kids.  Don't most parents think their children are exceptionally beautiful?  I know I do. 

 

There are worse things than my daughter growing up thinking she's beautiful and knowing her mother thinks she's beautiful. 

 

For some people, beauty is a fact.  Teach her to say thank you and move on.  For some people, smart or athletic or funny are facts.  If someone complimented your child on any of these, you'd just teach her to say thank you.  Why should pretty be any different?


 

No.  This is not universal.  People don't comment on my second daughter being cute or beautiful.  They say she is "sweet".  It's dramatic.  I put her in frillier girly stuff because I'm not as hung up on being gender neutral this time and people will occasionally tell me my son is handsome.  That's about it.  This is going to get awkward.


My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.

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#35 of 53 Old 05-04-2011, 11:54 AM
 
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No.  This is not universal.  People don't comment on my second daughter being cute or beautiful.  They say she is "sweet".  It's dramatic.  I put her in frillier girly stuff because I'm not as hung up on being gender neutral this time and people will occasionally tell me my son is handsome.  That's about it.  This is going to get awkward.


We have experienced this as well, and this is the part of the whole phenomenon that bothers me most. My DD1 attracts attention because of her light blond, curly hair, fair complexion and huge, strikingly blue eyes. She is also lithe and "girly". OTOH, DD2 is more substantially built with olive skin, huge nearly black eyes, and short, curly brown hair.  To me, they are both quite beautiful in their own ways. But to the general public, not so. I even had someone wax on and on about DD1's "beauty" and then look at DD2 and say, "Too bad for her." I could have cried. The last thing I want to create is a competitive dynamic between them about appearance!

 


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#36 of 53 Old 05-04-2011, 11:57 AM
 
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No.  This is not universal.  People don't comment on my second daughter being cute or beautiful.  They say she is "sweet".  It's dramatic.  I put her in frillier girly stuff because I'm not as hung up on being gender neutral this time and people will occasionally tell me my son is handsome.  That's about it.  This is going to get awkward.

I agree that it is not universal.  I have been in situations where there was lots of attention given to my son's looks and not a word said about all the little girls there.  I have posted threads on this before so I don't want to hijack, but suffice it to say it makes me very uncomfortable, and I don't think reinforcing it to my son is the answer.
 

 

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#37 of 53 Old 05-04-2011, 12:17 PM
 
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MY BOYS GET THIS ALL THE TIME. I OFTEN GET ADVICE TO PUT THEM IN COMMERCIALS.I THINK BECAUSE THEY ARE BOYS, ITS LESS OF AN ISSUE THAN IF THEY WERE GIRLS.

 

IN ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION, I WOULD SAY PARENT THEM THE SAME WAY YOU PARENT  ANY CHILD-THE BEST WAY YOU CAN.  I DONT THINK ITS ANY DIFFERENT. ITS OK TO TELL THEM THEY ARE  HANDSOME OR PRETTY, JUST AS LONG AS  THAT IS NOT THE ONLY THING YOU EVER SAY TO THEM, OR THE ONLY QUALITY YOU EVER REMARK ON.

 

ENCOURAGE SENSITIVITY TOWARDS THEIR LESS WELL ENDOWED PEERS, AND TALK ABOUT OTHER VALUES THAN LOOKS.

 

 

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#38 of 53 Old 05-04-2011, 12:24 PM
 
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My older dd has striking features and is often told how beautiful she is, and I do try to downplay it. Growing up, my sister was always told how beautiful she was, and really that became her self image. Unfortunately, she became a pretty plain adult, and since her self image was built around being beautiful, she had a very hard time coming up with something else to hold onto to feel good about. I was a funny looking kid, and people praised me on my intelligence, and never on my looks. No matter how I've looked, I've never felt bad about it, even when covered with pregnancy acne and bloated. I don't really care how I look.

This is a hard issue because in our culture, women are judged on appearance more than anything else. I'd like my girls, even the one with striking features, to not have that be their personal touchstone. And it is for a lot of girls and women.
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#39 of 53 Old 05-04-2011, 12:30 PM
 
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I was always the sibling not receiving the comments. 

My sister`s beauty peaked right around when I started going through the awkward pre-pubescent stage and got really chubby. She had gorgeous light brown hair, gigantic blue eyes, and was really skinny. I definitely paid the price.

But now that we are both grown up, I don`t think she is at all prettier than I am. Her nose has gotten broader and my face has gotten thinner highlighting my high cheekbones. She is still gorgeous (she really does have killer eyes) but I am also pretty, although there is no way I am rating myself.

 

I watched my little cousins as a teenager and one girl was also complimented constantly and the other was not, she was actually rather funny looking as a baby and now their looks have also evened out. They are both still in an awkward stage but are nevertheless gorgeous. I really don`t think beauty as a child necessarily indicates future looks. Some really strange looking kids making stunning adults. 

 

My daughter is the sort of kid that gets compliments, when she stays still long enough, curly blonde hair, hazel eyes, delicate features but she looks like someone who is not beautiful as an adult so I don`t know if the beauty will stick. I do want her to always think that she is gorgeous. For now, I think it is great she has that advantage because grown ups and kids pay a lot more attention to her than they do to other kids but I am not sure how I would handle the situation if my second isn`t as adorable. DH and I are a very odd combo of looks and DH has some very unusual and unique features which I love on him but I don`t know how they would look combined with some of my features.


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#40 of 53 Old 05-04-2011, 03:23 PM
 
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I personally don't like the "Yes, and I'm smart too" kind of responses. I don't like encouraging kids to brag, for one thing; and being smart is really just as arbitrary a gift of God/nature/genetics as beauty is. It's not an indicator of character or moral worth. If a teacher told a child she was smart, would you encourage her to say "Yes, and I'm pretty too"? I think people should be permitted to give specific, non-holistic compliments without being rapped over the knuckles. When I compliment an adult friend, it's usually on something fairly specific which doesn't address her wholeness as a person (ie. "I like your haircut" or "You do amazing crochet"); I'd be rather hurt, or at least put off, if she responded with "Yes, but I'm more than just my haircut - I also have a Masters degree and run a half-marathon every year!". So I'd tend to encourage children to respond graciously to the compliment, and address any issues of holistic self-worth later at home.

 

ITA with this.  Actually anyone who receives compliments on their appearance on a regular basis should learn how to accept them gracefully without making a big deal out of it, looking either awkward or conceited, or making the complimenter feel uncomfortable.  I think the best thing the OP can teach her daughter is how to say "Thank you" politely and move on.

 

I was pretty weird-looking in middle school but blossomed a lot in my mid- to late teens.  I had no idea how to respond to compliments.  I used to say really weird things like, "No I'm not," or "It doesn't matter," or I'd totally ignore the compliment and change the subject.  One day my grandmother took me aside and told me to Just Say Thank You.  That was great advice.

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#41 of 53 Old 05-04-2011, 03:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by shnitzel View Post


 Some really strange looking kids making stunning adults. 


Yeah, I feel like some features take some time to grow into(and look really weird on babies and little kids), but then end up being stunning once the child has grown into them.

 

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#42 of 53 Old 05-04-2011, 03:52 PM
 
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OP I completely, totally understand your discomfort and your concern.  And the thing for me that really makes your specific situation worth your angst (but not permanent angst!) is that your DD is asking you if you think she's pretty and focusing on it.

 

It's one thing if the constant compliments don't seem to phase a child or be internalized much by them.  But when you can tell that they're growing "invested" in it too... that's different.  I am worried about the exact same thing with my DD who gets this all the time, and I absolutely believe in both teaching her as well as anyone nice enough to compliment her that we appreciate the compliment, and it's not the best or most important thing about her.

 

I love the ideas of a PP about making sure to focus with your DD on a few specific interests of hers that she really enjoys, and as people tell her/you how beautiful she is, maybe saying to them "Thank you, but you should see how great a _________er she is!" or "Thank you, she's also smart and strong...".

 

My DD is 2 1/4 but I can tell she's already starting to get... I dunno what the emotion is, but when people compliment her she always very nicely says "Thank you" but I am starting to see some other reaction too.  I feel like she's too young to ask her about that specifically, but what I do in the meantime is to talk to her about her friends a LOT and both tell her and ask her what she likes about her friends.  I NEVER EVER talk about how her friends look.  I talk about almost everything else, and compliment her and her friends on everything.


DH often tells DD how beautiful she looks, and I think that's fine, but he is also always much more impressed and reactive to when she says something smart, funny, or does something cool.  He is over the moon and he shows it, and she's definitely getting from both of us that her looks are nowhere near the top of our list of loved characteristics, yet she also knows we think she is beautiful.

 

As for the very huge possibility that there will be awkward stages in the future, for me that doesn't counteract the fact that if she learns when she's young that looks are very important and her greatest asset, that will make the awkward stage that much MORE difficult, because now she perceives it as important AND she's not getting the same "feedback" she used to.


If/when my DD goes through awkward stages, I hope she'll mostly not be worried about it because she knows that the other, more important qualities haven't changed or keep getting better.

 

I honestly hardly ever remember my dad telling me I was beautiful or pretty.  But I do remember him telling me I could be anything I wanted to be, that he loved me, and that I was a great daughter.  My mom the same.  And my self esteem has mostly been on the healthy side all my life, and I have never been someone who people always said was beautiful.  Cute maybe, but beautiful, hardly ever.  Yet that love and admiration for all sides of me... that is what made me healthy and happy.

 

DD knows and will know that people think she's beautiful, but I worry about the same things you do and absolutely feel it's right to actively re-focus and re-direct.  Not to the point of sending the msg she is not pretty... but definitely to the point of modeling for her the value and appreciation of other much more important characteristics of hers and her family and friends.

 

Good luck OP, you'll be fine no matter how you handle this, but I think you are totally on the right track with being concerned and seeking other ways to message.

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#43 of 53 Old 05-04-2011, 04:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Y'all are no help! If complete strangers on a message board can't figure out my life, how am I suppose to? dizzy.gif

 

Seriously, I appreciate all the input from you wise mommas.  There are lots of specific posts & points that I'd like to address, but my keyboard is acting up something awful and I don't have the patience for a long reply.  But I am listening and taking it all in.  

 

I think I realized something today while playing with dd1.  She is extremely verbal and has no problem voicing her needs/wants.  For example, while I was starting to type this, she jumped in my lap and asked for "lots of kisses".  So her asking me if she is pretty is along the lines of her asking if I love her.  Or for attention, or food, or whatever need she needs filled.

 

rawrawrawrrawr. I'm done typing. irked.gif


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#44 of 53 Old 05-04-2011, 06:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mambera View Post
 One day my grandmother took me aside and told me to Just Say Thank You.  That was great advice.


This is a wonderful point!

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#45 of 53 Old 05-04-2011, 06:34 PM
 
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We have experienced this as well, and this is the part of the whole phenomenon that bothers me most. My DD1 attracts attention because of her light blond, curly hair, fair complexion and huge, strikingly blue eyes. She is also lithe and "girly". OTOH, DD2 is more substantially built with olive skin, huge nearly black eyes, and short, curly brown hair.  To me, they are both quite beautiful in their own ways. But to the general public, not so. I even had someone wax on and on about DD1's "beauty" and then look at DD2 and say, "Too bad for her." I could have cried. The last thing I want to create is a competitive dynamic between them about appearance!

 

 

Mama, you have 2 GORGEOUS girls there.  I would be the one mistaking them for twins!  They are both very beautiful.  In fact, I had to look at your siggy to see if they were twins, LOL.
 

 

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#46 of 53 Old 05-04-2011, 06:36 PM
 
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mambera: For the first, I dunno, 18 months after DH and I started dating - he was my first boyfriend - I responded to all appearance-related compliments with either a scowl or a bitter laugh or a protestation. It was very charming. :p I'm surprised he put up with it, honestly! Now we've been married for 4 1/2 years, and I can occasionally respond graciously... but it's been a hard road! On the rare occasions I get compliments from other people I tend to be more polite, just out of a being-polite-to-people habit (besides which, the only people who seem to find me attractive are old ladies! Not sure if I want to analyse that too deeply; but I can't exactly pout and say "No, I'm not" to a little old lady, now can I?).

 

So yes, very good advice. :)

 

 

 


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#47 of 53 Old 05-04-2011, 06:42 PM
 
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I think I realized something today while playing with dd1.  She is extremely verbal and has no problem voicing her needs/wants.  For example, while I was starting to type this, she jumped in my lap and asked for "lots of kisses".  So her asking me if she is pretty is along the lines of her asking if I love her.  Or for attention, or food, or whatever need she needs filled.

 

 

 

This is my absolute, all time FAVORITE request of my ds's.  I freaking LOVE it when he asks for kisses.  LOVE IT.  Why?  B/c usually he says, "No kisses"  eyesroll.gif
 

 

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#48 of 53 Old 05-04-2011, 06:51 PM
 
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Mama, you have 2 GORGEOUS girls there.  I would be the one mistaking them for twins!  They are both very beautiful.  In fact, I had to look at your siggy to see if they were twins, LOL.
 

 


Awww thanks, mama!  We often get asked if they are twins since DD2 is pretty tall for her age. 

 


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#49 of 53 Old 05-04-2011, 09:41 PM
 
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Awww... If that's you in your avatar, I think you're pretty darn cute!

 

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#50 of 53 Old 05-04-2011, 10:05 PM
 
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I also disagree that IQ is just as genetically determined. Their actual IQ may be somewhat inherited. But what they do with it is more defining. Some kids truely struggle with learning and stating that they have accomplished academic sucess is just as important as their looks.

 


I don't think IQ is all genetically determined, but I don't think appearance is either.  I think there can be a lot of cultural bias in how we perceive the attractiveness or intelligence of a person, and I think we discriminate against people who have lower IQs.  So I get 

 



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No.  This is not universal.  People don't comment on my second daughter being cute or beautiful.  They say she is "sweet".  It's dramatic.  I put her in frillier girly stuff because I'm not as hung up on being gender neutral this time and people will occasionally tell me my son is handsome.  That's about it.  This is going to get awkward.


I remember when my second daughter was born, I kept calling her beautiful.  And then I told my friend that I liked calling her beautiful because...and I trailed off.  And she said, "because she's not?"  And I laughed and said, "Exactly!"  She's 7 years old and definitely not a beautiful kid the way many of the other girls in her class are.  There are some pretty kids in that class.  She often doesn't dress well, she has hated brushing her hair and went with tangles and just didn't care.  And she's not always the nicest or sweetest kid--if she could go a day without saying the F word, I'd be amazed.  But when I've posted photos of her, I've had people tell me she was beautiful.  I guess it's just the photos they are responding to, and I figure people are just saying it to be nice, or because they like how she looks in the photo.  People don't come running up to tell me she's beautiful in person, and usually what I hear from teachers and parents is that the other kids think she is funny.  But I still think it comes up, although she doesn't hear it. 



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ITA with this.  Actually anyone who receives compliments on their appearance on a regular basis should learn how to accept them gracefully without making a big deal out of it, looking either awkward or conceited, or making the complimenter feel uncomfortable.  I think the best thing the OP can teach her daughter is how to say "Thank you" politely and move on.


Yeah, this is true.  I have a hard time accepting compliments, but I tend to smile and say thank you, and try to refrain from saying something self-deprecating, although I'm only successful half the time.

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Oh to be 12 weeks again, and only weigh 6 pounds.  I'm up to over 12.5 now!!!

I think the term "fluffy" is appropriate here. :p


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#52 of 53 Old 05-05-2011, 07:53 PM
 
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I know this post is mostly about girls but I thought I'd share my 2 cents. We live in Hong Kong and I cannot go anywhere without someone telling me how big my ds's eyes are and how beautiful he is. And the thing about living here is that I find people have no qualms about pointing out your features, good or bad.
I also get lots of how beautiful I am and how big my eyes are(he got them from me wink1.gif but I also have coworkers pointing out the massive zit on my face and telling me I've gained or lost weight and it has given me some perspective. I feel like when I first arrived, it made me self conscious but now it is just a comment. Yes my eyes are big, yes I've gained some weight, yes my ds is beautiful...it just is a comment...By people who don't really know you. I say thank you and move on. I'll save the encouraging comments about how smart I think he is for when we are at home. Because I can see how smart he is but all that person on the train can see is what is in front of their eyes.
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#53 of 53 Old 05-10-2011, 05:01 AM
 
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I agree and disagree.  I agree that "Thank you" preferably with return compliment is the appropriate response to teach children.

 

As far as smart or beautiful being an arbitrary gift ... yes some are born with more natural ability than others in these areas, but I teach my children that "smart is as smart does" and "pretty is as pretty does."  Smart being properly developing and acting on one's abilities, is something you do not something you are, and a character issue.  As an example ... bragging about being smart would fall into the category of not smart (which of course we agree on).  I know no other way to deal with the issue of varying intelligence levels except to say the truth, it's as much what you have as what you do with it.

 

Same with looks.  I'm not sure how much being a nice, loving person affects perceived attractiveness but I suspect it's quite a bit.  Also grooming and attention to one's health. 

 

It's a similar deal with the "talent" issue.  Talent, like looks and smarts, is also something you do.  That some children have a natural bent for certain things is not as important as the years and years it takes to develop talent.  I think children who do have a natural bent for something and then put in the hours to develop it, need to be reminded by parents that what they can do is not *who they are* it's what they worked for.  Kids with less natural ability probably figure this out with less instruction.

 

Of course some of us get gifts from our parents, such as careful attention to prenatal and childhood nutrition, lots of books, lots of love, and high priced orthodontia (which is at its best not just about teeth, but about the function and symmetry of the entire face / sinuses / etc).
 

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 I personally don't like the "Yes, and I'm smart too" kind of responses. I don't like encouraging kids to brag, for one thing; and being smart is really just as arbitrary a gift of God/nature/genetics as beauty is. It's not an indicator of character or moral worth.

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