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#1 of 53 Old 05-03-2011, 10:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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


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#2 of 53 Old 05-03-2011, 10:57 AM
 
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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?

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#3 of 53 Old 05-03-2011, 11:06 AM
 
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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.
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#4 of 53 Old 05-03-2011, 11:16 AM
 
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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!


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#5 of 53 Old 05-03-2011, 11:57 AM
 
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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.

 

 

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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
 

 



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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

 

 

 

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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


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#7 of 53 Old 05-03-2011, 12:11 PM
 
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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.

 


 

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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."

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but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#8 of 53 Old 05-03-2011, 12:25 PM
 
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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). 
 

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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.

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#9 of 53 Old 05-03-2011, 12:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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


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#10 of 53 Old 05-03-2011, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.  


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#11 of 53 Old 05-03-2011, 12:40 PM
 
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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.  

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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. 

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#13 of 53 Old 05-03-2011, 12:53 PM
 
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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.

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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.

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#15 of 53 Old 05-03-2011, 01:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.  


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#16 of 53 Old 05-03-2011, 01:44 PM
 
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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.

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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 :)

 

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#18 of 53 Old 05-03-2011, 02:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.  

 

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#19 of 53 Old 05-03-2011, 02:43 PM
 
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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!

 


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#20 of 53 Old 05-03-2011, 04:11 PM
 
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#21 of 53 Old 05-03-2011, 04:24 PM
 
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I get this allll the time with my son too.   He has big curly hair, and a very unusual big bright blue eyes (that change from a really strong blue to bright green depending on what he is wearing), and an olive skin tone.  He is also very petite, the size of a 2yr old although he will be 4 in July! 

People usually first think he is a girl, and comment on how beautiful "she" is.  He now corrects them on his own....  "Im a boy, my name is Levi, I'm three years old, whats your name?"    And then they comment on how smart he is (some then go on about how beautiful "he" is, and how he is going to be a ladies man etc).  

 

Ds is a big talker so will usually distract from the 'looks' by that.   I've taught him to be very polite (please and thank you, nice to meet you, shake hands, etc) which gets a lot of compliments (I guess its not that common anymore for kids to do this,  according to a lot of older people), and he isnt shy and talks to people, so people can see right away there is much much more to him than his looks.    

 

It was harder when he was a baby and all a random person could really see was what he looked like, sense he started talking (he was talking like this and able to hold a converstation by 18months or so), it made a big difference because there was the looks, and then on top of that him being polite and articulate and he likes to talk about things he's done (telling people about a science project he just did or how his bike works, or asking about their pet dog, or even if its a parent, asking all about their kids!

 

 

Sometimes its just a passing comment, and I just say "thanks".   I think ds hears it so much that he doesn't even think about it anymore, which I'm not sure if thats a good thing or not.   

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#22 of 53 Old 05-03-2011, 05:02 PM
 
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You know, when I was younger my dad always told me how beautiful I was, and how great I always looked.  I certainly didn't believe him all the time (especially when I was a super awkward teenager!) but it REALLY helped my self esteem!  I'm the only woman I know that didn't have major self esteem issues when I was growing up. 

 

My parents also praised my other qualities (smart, athletic, fun, etc), but hearing, often, that I was beautiful really helped my self esteem.  I had my moments of being self conscious, but I was the one girl I knew as a teen that wasn't obsessed about my weight, my acne, my hair, make-up (I've never liked wearing make-up), or really anything about my appearance b/c I got that positive feed back at home. 

 

I would try to separate the good qualities, and let beauty be its own.  Yes, your dd is smart, and has other talents than just her looks - but I think you can separate them out.  So, focus on how good she is at building sand castles at the beach, and how great she draws and paints when she's doing crafts, and when she's play dress-up I think its perfectly fine to tell her she's the most beautiful girl you've ever seen.  All good qualities don't need to be emphasized every time you give her a compliment.

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#23 of 53 Old 05-03-2011, 09:30 PM
 
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This is what I was going to say.  I think deep down ALL women WANT to know that we are beautiful.  That somebody, and preferrably our parents and our spouse, find us beautiful.  It doesn't have to be in the typical way, either.  Just that we have a special beauty for the world, and it's all our own.  I think it isn't a bad thing for a child to be filled up with the knowledge that they are beautiful...even if it isn't in the "standard accepted" way.  For a child to know that they ARE beautiful is relieving and freeing, I think.  It doesn't mean that's all she is, or that you have to deflect the comments when they come in.  Just say "thank you" and be sure to fill her up other times with all of the other things she is, too.  I think deflecting it all the time will make her wonder how YOU feel about her. 
 

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You know, when I was younger my dad always told me how beautiful I was, and how great I always looked.  I certainly didn't believe him all the time (especially when I was a super awkward teenager!) but it REALLY helped my self esteem!  I'm the only woman I know that didn't have major self esteem issues when I was growing up. 

 

My parents also praised my other qualities (smart, athletic, fun, etc), but hearing, often, that I was beautiful really helped my self esteem.  I had my moments of being self conscious, but I was the one girl I knew as a teen that wasn't obsessed about my weight, my acne, my hair, make-up (I've never liked wearing make-up), or really anything about my appearance b/c I got that positive feed back at home. 

 

I would try to separate the good qualities, and let beauty be its own.  Yes, your dd is smart, and has other talents than just her looks - but I think you can separate them out.  So, focus on how good she is at building sand castles at the beach, and how great she draws and paints when she's doing crafts, and when she's play dress-up I think its perfectly fine to tell her she's the most beautiful girl you've ever seen.  All good qualities don't need to be emphasized every time you give her a compliment.



 


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DD (just turned 3) gets constant compliments when we go out. She does have the whole blonde-with-blue-eyes thing going on; and Mum and I are both into sewing, so people often compliment her dresses as well.

 

Honestly, at this point I'm just used to it, and I don't let it bug me. DD may very well not be beautiful forever - I frankly disagree with the "all kids are beautiful" statement. I certainly wasn't. :p And then had a truly ghastly adolescence on top of it. Nowadays I don't exactly frighten small children, but I'm not particularly attractive either - I think I peaked at the age of three, which is DD's age now! And I suffered a LOT as a child and teenager from constant comparisons to one particularly beautiful sister (who, interestingly, wasn't blonde-haired and blue-eyed like me; dark eyes and hair, olive skin). My parents never told me once that I was pretty - whether out of a scrupulous sense of honesty or a desire to better my character, I don't know. But I heard them talking about my sister's beauty all the time. So yeah, that was fun.

 

So that's shaped my attitude... which is pretty much to be happy that DD, at least at this stage of her life, is considered beautiful. She doesn't tend to ask me about it, but I tell her she's pretty on a regular basis as well - and she says the same to me, which is rather nice!

 

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.

 

At this stage, "she's beautiful" comments are usually said to me rather than DD anyway, and she ignores those; if someone says something directly to her like "Aren't you cute!" she'll usually look at her dress, as she still largely associates beauty with dressing up!


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#25 of 53 Old 05-04-2011, 12:54 AM
 
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My thoughts on this are really ambiguous and messy.  There are so many complicating factors.  I think mainstream physical beauty is a kind of giftedness, like being smart or athletic or musically gifted, or anything else.  Even though I want my children to be smart, I don't necessarily think that promoting intelligence over beauty as more worthy, when not everyone will have a higher than average IQ for a number of reasons, including how society defines it. Of course you have to acknowledge these kinds of giftedness, and as parents we have to interact with our children in the way that helps them best navigate these complicated waters and turn out to be kind and well-adjusted adults.  

 

Beauty as a gift seems the most nebulous, I guess because it is so subjective, and because it changes.  Many children are beautiful when they are younger, like under 8, but it's difficult to know if they will garner that same attention as they get older, and probably they won't because I think people are more willing to compliment younger children than older ones in this way.  And then there is what I think of as that awkward phase that lasts for a few years, and that's probably crucial with the self esteem thing.

 

It honestly doesn't seem to matter if you're beautiful if you believe that you are at least attractive and worthwhile.  I'm sure we've all known beautiful but self-doubting people, and really confident people who were attractive and had a certain flair, but that were maybe not that conventionally pretty. That internal belief is a different thing from the external reinforcement, and that type of reinforcement can have it's own problems.  So I guess just acknowledging that you think your child is beautiful, other people may think s/he is beautiful and may make comments; then there is the flip side that others might not feel the same way, they may say negative things.  I think it's hard to know how to trust some of the things people say, especially if they want something from you, but I guess that is best left for a later discussion.   

 

I think showcasing what other cultures considers beautiful is important as well.  I find that my kids often have a completely different idea of what pretty is and means than I do.  My older daughter and I don't agree on who we find pretty, and sometimes there are children I find breathtakingly beautiful that other people seem to overlook.  When my daughter was younger, I noticed other parents in my AP/NFL circle of friends would tell their children as beautiful or cute often in the course of playing with them, and then I started doing it because I didn't want people to think I didn't think my children weren't cute.  :lol   But I don't remember hearing this when I grew up.  

 

When I saw photos of myself as a baby, I thought I was cute, so I asked my mom if people thought I was, and she said yes.  But basically I've been fat all my life, so it was always made very clear to me that I wasn't pretty.  For some reason, a glutton for punishment, when I was definitely not pretty (like 11 or so), I asked my older sister if I was pretty and she said, "you're pretty in your own way."  I knew that absolutely meant I wasn't pretty, and that the rare time my mom would say something indicating I was, that she really was lying because she was my mom.  

 

I have tried to come to terms with not being pretty. Over the years I've tried to embrace being ugly as a powerful, self affirming kind of thing, but sometimes I really believe it and it gets me down, which just seems downright shameful considering how blessed I am in life. I take lots of photos of myself, trying to find good ones, but I don't throw away the bad ones either, and I keep the not-so-attractive ones of my children as well as the ones that I think put them in the best light, although I pretty much don't show my older daughter the ones I think she won't like, and I will delete photos if they ask me to.  But just today, I showed my daughter a cell phone pic I took of her on her birthday, and I was surprised that she liked it.  She thinks she is ugly, and she's not.  She hates her nose, and I can understand that, but I think that she has a good nose that she will look really good on her when she grows up a bit.  So I try to be honest, and she's honest back (yeah, I'm glad I don't have your nose, it has way too much cartilage in it).

 

Anyway, today I was taking photos of myself, for some reason, and I was looking at all the things I hate, the more recent things due to age, and I was wondering why in the heck I'm so ugly, but then I honestly did start to think that maybe I'm not, maybe there is a kind of beauty in all things.  I really would like my daughters to have more confidence in how they appear to others, both physically and intellectually, because I do think it hampers your life to be so inept in the things that society values.  But I think kids are least likely to believe their mothers can be objective, so I'm not sure how to handle that.

 

ETA: I'm not really sure how to navigate this with my children, because I think ultimately I want to downplay the idea that being pretty really matters, but somehow it mattered to me and I don't think this was the type of thing promoted in my day and age.  I get criticized by my family when I say things that indicate I don't think my children are beautiful enough, but in some ways my kids seem pretty sanguine about it.  My 7 year old doesn't seem to notice it at all, and my 12 year old can seem to criticize her looks without taking it too seriously--I mean she seems to get where it goes in the grand scheme of things, but it's hard to say how it really influences her.

 

I think it's interesting, however, because my sister is the one who gives me flak for not telling my kids they are beautiful or seemingly not recognizing that they are smart, but her grandkids are stunning and seem pretty bright to me, and it's not like she waxes on about it to them.  So I almost wonder if she's overcompensating, or if it's just she lives with her grandkids and I live with my kids, so we are both used to them and we feel they are under appreciated, or something.

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#26 of 53 Old 05-04-2011, 02:30 AM
 
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Quote:
I have tried to come to terms with not being pretty.

Awww... If that's you in your avatar, I think you're pretty darn cute!

 

(Sorry. Long day.)


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#27 of 53 Old 05-04-2011, 03:44 AM
 
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Ok, if I try to be objective about it--I am above average in looks.  I'm not drop dead gorgeous.  I'm not a movie star.  But I am very good looking, maybe a 7?  Probably an 8 when I am going to the gym 5 days a week.  People have responded positively to my looks throughout my lifetime.  When my older daughter was a baby everyone we passed, including teenage boys, would gasp and stop me to tell me I had the most beautiful baby they have ever seen.  It was weird for me.  I have gotten a lot of compliments personally, people stop me on the street to tell me they like my smile/hair/clothes/whatever, and it is still weird and jarring when it happens to my daughter.  I feel like I should deflect it even though I am thrilled when someone says something to me.

 

I really hate that impulse in myself.  I feel like it probably comes from that awful female competitive place inside me.  I don't want to be ignored now in favor of my much more beautiful young daughter!  It's one of those Opportunity For Growth moments.  What I am trying to do is talk to my daughter about the fact that yes, being good looking is a gift.  It's one you can use how you choose.  She has already picked up on the connection between being well groomed and in a nice dress and WAY more compliments.  She isn't even three.  But she prefers to be in grubby clothes most of the time with unbrushed hair.  It's her raggamuffin look. <3  She likes it because then she has more freedom to move in the world without people singling her out for attention.  I talk to her about how convenient it is to be able to turn on and off that attention.  I'm trying to show her that she can be comfortable and confident about being beautiful and still know that at times you want to downplay it so you can get on with other things.

 

Who knows if it will work or not.  I'm not going to tell anyone to do it my way.  She's only three.  What the heck do I know? :)


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#28 of 53 Old 05-04-2011, 03:53 AM
 
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I felt awkward about this too for a while because DD1 constantly got comments on her golden curls and how beautiful she is, etc...it never stopped, people would pick up her hair and say how they were going to keep it, lol

After a while, she was a little fixated on her hair and asking me if she looked pretty in whatever she was wearing. As she got a little older, she's almost 6 now, her hair got longer and longer and the weight of it made the ringlets move farther down with the top part of her hair being wavy but not the ringlet look. She got upset but when I told her that it was still pretty, she looked at it and said yes she does love it anyway.
People still say they love her hair but it's not as effusive and she doesn't want to cut her hair yet and likes it the way it is.
She still likes to dress in dresses and look pretty, etc... but now she also loves and is proud of the other stuff she can do that has nothing to do with being pretty but with being smart or good at push ups or whatever.

There is a TV show that I love to watch and the majority of the people featured on it say they have never felt pretty. Their self esteem sucks and it overshadowed their lives because they just felt inferior to the people around them even though they have high powered careers or are really admired for their accomplishments. They really are pretty in different ways, some of them are truly beautiful, but they don't see it until they have a new haircut or clothes that complement their features instead of covering them completely. Every single person that I've seen on there feels good about themselves at the end and still look like themselves but instead of trying to hide, they step forward with a totally different attitude.
Like it or not, beauty and physical attractiveness are noticed first and if you feel unattractive it can really change your confidence in yourself.
I think how you feel about your looks is much more important than if you are conventionally beautiful.

I never was told I was pretty when I was growing up and even though I was intellectually "gifted" I still had a lack of confidence until I was older and my good friends found that out and helped me feel better about myself because they thought I was.

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#29 of 53 Old 05-04-2011, 04:07 AM
 
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In my experience it peaks at around 3 or 4

 After that people feel a little more awkward about commenting, I think. I agree that cultivating not appearance related interests, and teaching her to accept praise graciously is probably the best. My "beautiful" dd is 8. She plays year round sports, and isn't really concerned about her looks!


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#30 of 53 Old 05-04-2011, 07:41 AM
 
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I dont think we are encouraging our kids to say "Yes, I am smart too." But we are encouraging other people to stop focussing on just one part of them. Which is perfectly acceptable.

 

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.

 

Also, when your an adult, refocussing praise to something that you consider worthy is acceptable also. I get told I'm pretty. I would rather be told that I am a good mum, a good wife. That I make cute clothes etc. Not a one dimensional focus that I,as a person, had little to do with.

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