UGH! STOP telling my kid she's pretty!!! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 77 Old 05-23-2008, 06:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Mamas of girls, please help. I have a 3.5 yo dd. She is into pink, glitter, anything girly. Fine. No biggy. She likes to camp and play outside (though she's weird about being dirty) and is very smart and creative. BUT. She has this huge obsession with being "pretty". She has thrown tantrums over wearing an outfit that wasn't "pretty enough" because "people won't think I'm pretty". (It was a purple tshirt and khaki shorts BTW)

We have never made a big deal about being pretty. I don't ever wear makeup, am not "hip" with clothing styles (lol), and we have always tried to treat her no differently than we would our son, as far as encouraging climbing, running, imaginative play, etc.

She constantly hears from strangers, acquaintances, and close friends how pretty she is, how she looks like a princess, blahblahblahbarf.

We have eliminated TV, most movies (*maybe* a family movie per week), and books that encourage/put too much emphasis on looks. We talk about how a person is pretty because of how they act, what they do for others, etc. We talk about not needing approval from others to know you're special.


What else can we do to shield her form society's obsession with being pretty?! She is way too young to have this on her mind. I was a tomboy when I was little (who am I kidding, I am still a tomboy lol) so I can't even relate at all.
DH and I plan on making her a shirt that says:

Tell me how smart I am,
tell me I can run fast,
tell me I'm creative...
but please stop telling me
I'm pretty.




BTW, she has been this way for about a year. We thought it was a phase that would pass but she is more concerned now than ever about what people think.

Any ideas?

TIA!
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#2 of 77 Old 05-23-2008, 07:03 PM
 
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You know, I wouldn't worry about it. My girls hear have heard a lot of people say they're pretty or cute. My oldest used to love dressing in pretty things from the time she was a young toddler (very girly, frilly, sparkly things), and used to talk a lot about looking pretty. She used to dress up and ask "do I look pretty?" Sometime after age 5 she started growing out of that. Now at age 8, "pretty" is not a focus for her. Ask her to describe herself and she says she's "smart" and "creative" and "I have a good sense of humor." She still likes pretty outfits sometimes, but that's because she enjoys them and not so much because of what others will think (though she does enjoy a compliment, as most of us do). She wears what feels comfortable, what she likes. She isn't afraid to let her hair be messy, or to try cutting it a different way, because "it's just hair, it grows back." She takes martial arts classes, climbs trees, love science, says that math is her best subject in school.

It's okay, I think, for girls to hear that they're pretty. It's okay for them to think they're pretty. I think the key is to let them know that "pretty" isn't all that matters, and that "pretty" is in the eye of the beholder. eta Now that dd is older, we've had open discussion about society's focus on beauty and unrealistic beauty standards, the pressure to look a certain way, etc. And we'll revisit that conversation plenty, I'm sure.

And yes, I do tell my girls that they're pretty. I also tell them that I appreciate their helpfulness, and that I admire their kindness, and that I'm impressed by their courage, that they are capable, that they ask great questions, that it's neat to see their creativity, that what they just did was so generous/thoughtful and I really appreciate it, etc. I also dyed my own hair purple, because I wanted to, heck with what other people think--it's just hair (modeling is so important, too-- I also don't wear makeup, and am no slave to fashion).
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#3 of 77 Old 05-23-2008, 07:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ashleep View Post
She constantly hears from strangers, acquaintances, and close friends how pretty she is, how she looks like a princess, blahblahblahbarf.
DH and I plan on making her a shirt that says:

Tell me how smart I am,
tell me I can run fast,
tell me I'm creative...
but please stop telling me
I'm pretty.
I like your shirt idea. My 8yo is very girly, but she isn't obsessed with looks. she still wears clothes because she likes them, whether or not they match for example.

Heather, mama to Harriet, Crispin, in with Tom and 2
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#4 of 77 Old 05-23-2008, 07:17 PM
 
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You really can't control what other people say to your DD. And saying "you look pretty" is generally considered a compliment!

Generally, when I meet cute little kids in the supermarket or something, I don't know how smart or creative they are, or how fast they can run (I certainly hope I don't find that out in the middle of a store!) but I can see what they look like.

I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that she cares about getting all these compliments. She may just PREFER the sparkly, princessy clothes, and "people won't think I'm pretty" might be the best way she could think to express the idea that the outfit just wasn't her taste. I mean, she's only 3yo, and she doesn't have the verbal skills she's going to have when she's 5 or 6.

Go ahead and talk to her about how appearances aren't important, wear clothes that make you feel good, not what you think others will like better. It really is OK if the clothes that make her feel good are the sparkly princessy ones.

Ruth, single mommy to 3 quasi-adults
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#5 of 77 Old 05-23-2008, 07:55 PM
 
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A friend of mine has a dd(8) who is one of those girls who is model material. Her dd gets told all the time how pretty she is. They don't want her to think that because she's pretty it means she's above everyone else so they tell her that what she looks on the outside isn't as important as what she's like on the inside. A person can be pretty on the outside but ugly on the inside type of stuff.

you can't shield her from it, what you're doing what what you're telling her is fine. If she doesn't want to wear an outfit becasue someone else may not think it's pretty then ask her if SHE thinks it's pretty becuase that is the only opinion that matters. Everyone has different tastes & if she like it then she should wear it.
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#6 of 77 Old 05-23-2008, 08:40 PM
 
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I agree with Ruthla and CarrieMF. It's just not something I think you should get worked up about. I mean, its just supposed to be a nice thing to say.

And FWIW, I really don't like your t-shirt idea because it makes you sweet little girl come off sounding like "I know I'm pretty, so you can stop telling me all the time."

Oh, and I agree with sledg. What is so wrong with a girl being told she's pretty and feeling pretty? You as parents get to balance that out by teaching her that being physically pretty is just the luck of the draw, and she got lucky. But, that something really impressive is to be compassionate, helpful, caring ... those are things to be proud of because you can cultivate that in yourself. Pretty is just DNA.

(Like my husband who "prides himself" on being tall and thin. I give him major grief, because honestly, how can you be proud of something that you did nothing to achieve? Be proud of your Master's degree, be proud of a painting, or an article you published. But proud of tall and thin? Give me a break!)
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#7 of 77 Old 05-23-2008, 09:16 PM
 
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DD1 used to hear this all the time when she was younger but I think the pretty comments tend to taper off as they grow older. As kids get older and can have conversations, people tend to talk to them as opposed to at them, if that makes sense. DD1 does still hear comments about her eyes but it's not something she really cares about. She seems confused as to why anyone would care about such a thing, lol!

To the OP, I can understand why you feel concerned, given that being pretty seems to be important to your dd right now. I'm sure your dd notices the comments but it's likely that her desire to look pretty has more to do with her personality than the compliments she hears. Some kids just really like to look and dress a certain way, esp. when they're younger!

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#8 of 77 Old 05-23-2008, 09:27 PM
 
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What Ruth said.
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#9 of 77 Old 05-23-2008, 09:36 PM
 
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I feel sorry for kids. They go through this amazingly cute stage and then kaboom they are goofy looking adolecents and no one says they are pretty or cute anymore. People don't tell DD she is cute anymore instead they act like she isn't there and fawn over her brother. Frequently she will ask "Mom why didn't that lady say I was cute too?" The public does some kind of service where they present reality to your kids and then you have to deal with it.
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#10 of 77 Old 05-24-2008, 12:39 AM
 
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My daughters (4&2) think that pretty is wearing a certain color!!! Seriously- they thought people told them that they were pretty because they wore Pink for the 4 yr old and Purple for the 2yr old. They have just now realized that pretty is supposed to be about THEM.

We have recently had to teach 4yr old to say Thank You instead of Yeah, I KNOW- when she's complimented. I also will tell her how smart she is, and that being smart is better than pretty anyday- and why. So, now she will tell people "Thank You, and I'm SMART TOO!"

Hang in there- it sounds like you are doing all you can. Maybe you can spend a day a week focusing on the "GIRLY" stuff- like a mom and daughter home spa day. Makeup (i got my dd some sparkly eye shaddow, bonny bell chap stick, and some makeup sponges) and she stopped being obsessed with pretty. We have a day a month where we do our hair, nails and she gets to use her makeup and she has stopped worring about being pretty- or if she looks pretty.

BTW- I'm a no makeup, tomboy too! I wear frumpy clothes and don't worry about the norm. When I do get "dressed up" I feel out of place- but DH sure is happy! He loves me both ways though- but the makeup is fun too. Hang in there! Sorry to go off topic!

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#11 of 77 Old 05-24-2008, 12:49 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ashleep View Post
DH and I plan on making her a shirt that says:

Tell me how smart I am,
tell me I can run fast,
tell me I'm creative...
but please stop telling me
I'm pretty.
I understand where you're coming from... and agree that society is image-obsessed. But...

What's WRONG with being pretty? I'd be concerned a shirt like that (and an overall attitude like this) would go too far in the opposite direction. Perhaps make your daughter MORE concerned about "how she looks". That you don't WANT her to be pretty?

There's truly not a thing wrong with being pretty. In fact, I KNOW my kids are pretty.

I also know my kids are wicked smart. And I tell them BOTH things. That they are smart, and they are attractive. I certainly tell them MORE often that they are smart, but I don't shy away from telling my daughter she has lovely hair or telling my son he has beautiful eyes.

It HELPS in this world to keep yourself attractive. And when I say that, I DON'T mean looking like a supermodel. But I mean that its worthy to be proud of yourself, your WHOLE self. Which includes looking in the mirror & feeling good, while knowing deep down you are a smart, talented person.

It's all part of a healthy package, IMO.
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#12 of 77 Old 05-24-2008, 12:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the replies.

It's good to hear that most of your DDs outgrew this pretty phase. I am totally fine with her liking pink/sparkly/girly stuff. I know that she truly likes it and it's not to please others. It's that she *also* likes other stuff but won't wear it because other people won't think it's pretty. (her words)

I know I can't control what people say. It's just so frustrating. She is internalizing all these compliments and DH and I can see that she *does* care (a lot) when people comment on her looks. It just feels like she is missing being a kid because she is worrying about all this superficial BS. Some days she will play non-girly stuff and barely mention looks. Most days she asks LOTS if she's pretty with this or that on, and won't so-and-so say how pretty I am. Some days that's all she'll talk about and I want to pull my hair out!

So I should just chill out? :

BTW, the shirt will likely never be made because I have way more pressing crafts. But if I get it done she will only wear it around people she sees regularly who would 'get it'.
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#13 of 77 Old 05-24-2008, 01:35 AM
 
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Originally Posted by CarrieMF View Post
If she doesn't want to wear an outfit becasue someone else may not think it's pretty then ask her if SHE thinks it's pretty becuase that is the only opinion that matters.
A therapist once told me, it's ok to tell your children that they're beautiful or smart or whatever but follow it with, "...but that's just what mommy thinks." Her concern was that some children will hear compliments and start to believe that they are up on a pedestal compared to other children, prettier than others or smarter than others for example. Not all children but some. I see the value of adding that last section to my compliments because it teaches the kids that there are different ideas out there, and that mine are not necessarily the most valuable. I ask my kids all the time, "What do you think?"
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#14 of 77 Old 05-24-2008, 02:08 AM
 
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In my opinion, the OP is right to be concerned. Our children are gendered by all the ideas they are exposed to. The boys get Bob the Builder and the girls get princesses and prettiness. And then we wonder why so many women feel the need to have plastic surgeries and breast implants?

I think that although we can't protect our children from the gender roles which are socially placed upon them, it's our responsibility to help them think about them and respond to them in a thoughtful way. Maybe it's difficult to have a serious conversation about gender with a 3.5 year old, but you could approach it playfully.

i.e. Play dress up with makeup, but instead of the goal being how pretty one could make herself, have it be how silly one could make herself.

Make disguises. Paint mustaches on and wear strange clothes, and try to make it so that no one would recognize you.

Give her some really cool spiderman light up shoes for a present.

Take some pictures of princesses and draw over them, making them into new people. Give them eyeglasses, fireman boots, etc.

I don't know....Any other ideas? My daughter is only two, but I see the same issues coming on with her, and it does worry me.
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#15 of 77 Old 05-24-2008, 02:23 AM
 
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I understand what the OP is talking about and I totally appreciate her concern. What seems to be missing in the responses is HOW this 3.5 old is feeling if she deems herself "not pretty". That is what screamed out at me when I read the OP.

I too have very "pretty" girls based on societal standards. Click on the pics below. I totally understand and go out of my way to get rid of any societal standards of what pretty is in our household, meaning no disney princesses, no barbies/brats or movies with such representations.

I do allow Strawberry Shortcake and Polly Pockets because both encourage diversity in looks and gender.

When people make comments regarding any of my dc looks I pipe up and say "yes they are just as beautiful on the inside, and that is what counts isn't it?!?"

I have a different perspective because I have a sister who is battling for her life and for the last 20 years with anorexia. I see the damage that these societal images have on girls and have heard from her fellow treatment patients about the damage that all of these little "insiduous" comments and images have on girls.

Why is it that 85% of women today have a dismorphic view of their bodies or the way that they look? Why is it that I can pick up any womens magazine and find every second ad about weight loss or beauty enhancement?

I think that we turn a blind eye to the damage it is doing and has done because we don't want to take an honest look in the mirror at ourselves. IMHO.
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#16 of 77 Old 05-24-2008, 03:43 AM
 
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I totally see how it is a problem. Because it is a gender based thing. People always tell dd she looks pretty. (Right now she doesn't really get it or respond to it). But people hardly ever say tell ds he looks cute/handsome. They tend to tell me later when ds is playing or something, but they don't tell him directly.

Why do you have to tell a 2 year old she is pretty? Why should she care what YOU think about HER appearance?!

I wouldn't want my toddler to be worrying about what other people think about her. And I wouldn't want her to worry about her own appearance either. When someone is commenting on her appearance, even it is a positive comment, it also sends the message that other people are judging her. Even if they judge her acceptable physically or positively, they are still judging her. Can she just be 2 without being evaluated?
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#17 of 77 Old 05-24-2008, 04:00 AM
 
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I don't think you can completely sheild her. Just keep doing your own encouragement of her other attributes and ask family members and friends to do the same. They should be respectful of that.

Today dd, 5, told me that her favorite character of a group in a computer game was so-and-so because she was the prettiest.


Mom of a 7 yr old, 4 yr old, and 1 yr old. Wow. How did that happen?
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#18 of 77 Old 05-24-2008, 09:08 AM
 
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Ugh, this is a major sore spot with me. I, apparently, was a cute little kid. However, my parents *never* told me this and discouraged others from telling me as well. A kindly old lady at church made a fuss over me and asked me to twirl my dress (which I was very proud of) at around age 4. As I skipped away, chattering about what a nice lady she was, my dad said, "yes, now never twirl again."

When queried years later, (I was in active therapy, partially for dealing with self esteem issues) my dad said that he thought that I knew that I was pretty and that saying so would give me a big head.

I would suggest to make sure she has a balanced life and let her get the compliments.
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#19 of 77 Old 05-24-2008, 09:29 AM
 
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I was a tomboy when I was little (I still am to some extent) and people would still tell me that I was pretty even when I would wear the most boyish clothes I could find on the girls' side of the store (my mom would freak when I bought boys' clothes) and my backwards baseball cap with my messy ponytail. Maybe she's just pretty. People did tell me that I was smart when they got to know me, though, but random people on the street and family memebers would tell me that I'm pretty. People constantly tell me how cute and handsome DS is when I'm out with him, and I sometimes get a tiny bit concerned that he'll think he's better than everyone else when he hears that, but it was never like that for me.
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#20 of 77 Old 05-24-2008, 10:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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In my opinion, the OP is right to be concerned. Our children are gendered by all the ideas they are exposed to. The boys get Bob the Builder and the girls get princesses and prettiness. And then we wonder why so many women feel the need to have plastic surgeries and breast implants?

I think that although we can't protect our children from the gender roles which are socially placed upon them, it's our responsibility to help them think about them and respond to them in a thoughtful way. Maybe it's difficult to have a serious conversation about gender with a 3.5 year old, but you could approach it playfully.

i.e. Play dress up with makeup, but instead of the goal being how pretty one could make herself, have it be how silly one could make herself.

Make disguises. Paint mustaches on and wear strange clothes, and try to make it so that no one would recognize you.

Give her some really cool spiderman light up shoes for a present.

Take some pictures of princesses and draw over them, making them into new people. Give them eyeglasses, fireman boots, etc.

I don't know....Any other ideas? My daughter is only two, but I see the same issues coming on with her, and it does worry me.
Thankyou! Great ideas!

ETA: Hi Amanda!
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#21 of 77 Old 05-24-2008, 12:03 PM
 
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You know, I wouldn't worry about it. My girls hear have heard a lot of people say they're pretty or cute. My oldest used to love dressing in pretty things from the time she was a young toddler (very girly, frilly, sparkly things), and used to talk a lot about looking pretty. She used to dress up and ask "do I look pretty?" Sometime after age 5 she started growing out of that. Now at age 8, "pretty" is not a focus for her. Ask her to describe herself and she says she's "smart" and "creative" and "I have a good sense of humor." She still likes pretty outfits sometimes, but that's because she enjoys them and not so much because of what others will think (though she does enjoy a compliment, as most of us do). She wears what feels comfortable, what she likes. She isn't afraid to let her hair be messy, or to try cutting it a different way, because "it's just hair, it grows back." She takes martial arts classes, climbs trees, love science, says that math is her best subject in school.

It's okay, I think, for girls to hear that they're pretty. It's okay for them to think they're pretty. I think the key is to let them know that "pretty" isn't all that matters, and that "pretty" is in the eye of the beholder. eta Now that dd is older, we've had open discussion about society's focus on beauty and unrealistic beauty standards, the pressure to look a certain way, etc. And we'll revisit that conversation plenty, I'm sure.

And yes, I do tell my girls that they're pretty. I also tell them that I appreciate their helpfulness, and that I admire their kindness, and that I'm impressed by their courage, that they are capable, that they ask great questions, that it's neat to see their creativity, that what they just did was so generous/thoughtful and I really appreciate it, etc. I also dyed my own hair purple, because I wanted to, heck with what other people think--it's just hair (modeling is so important, too-- I also don't wear makeup, and am no slave to fashion).
I agree with this 100%!

We don't place value on beauty but, I do tell my children they are pretty or beautiful. I don't say I am proud of them because they're beautiful or I love them because they're beautiful but I do think it's ok to tell them they are beautiful and in fact, I think it would be sad for a child to never hear they are pretty or beautiful

Like I said, we don't place any value on beauty, we put value on the important things - I tell them I'm so proud of how hard they work, or how thoughtful and kind they are, that I'm amazed at how talented they are etc...
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#22 of 77 Old 05-24-2008, 03:15 PM
 
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There's a picture book my kids really like, which you might like, called The Paper Bag Princess. In the story, the princess's castle is burned down by a dragon who kidnaps the prince she is going to marry. Even her clothes are burnt, so she puts on a paper bag like a dress. Then she goes to save the prince. She bravely faces the dragon, and outwits him. Then she goes in to rescue the prince. The prince responds this way: "He looked at her and said, "Elizabeth, you are a mess! You smell like ashes, your hair is all tangled and you are wearing a dirty old paper bag. Come back when you are dressed like a real princess." At this point, the princess decides not to marry the prince and goes her own way. (She tells him that he looks quite nice, but he's really a bum.) This is a fun story that definitely sends the message that looks are not the important thing.

There is also a collection of tales with strong heroines called "Not One Damsel In Distress" (maybe not for a 3 year old, but we read it so long ago..). We like to look for books with strong female characters. I think this is one way to combat the cultural obsession with beauty. Find stories to replace those Cinderella's and Sleeping Beauties. Also, we can tell girls stories about real, strong, intelligent, female heroes-my dd is impressed by Rosa Parks, and Harriet Tubman, and Marie Curie for example.

Also, I'm thinking of a kind of Playful Parenting approach not unlike what a pp suggested. My oldest got a makeup set a couple of years ago and I cringed. She loved it. What ended up happening was that dd loved to sit and paint my nails and put makeup on me, and that was a fun time for us. I think that when a child is interested in something, sometimes it's really important to make sure we're not always dismissing that interest but instead acknowledging it and exploring it with them. This way it doesn't turn into this big deal, potentially with power struggles. And as we do this, we can talk about these issues together. I remember dd asking what makeup was for, why people wear it, and we had a nice conversation about that. This was a good time to explore why women wear make-up, what makes a person beautiful, and so on. And you know, dd thought the whole idea of make-up was just silly. Fun to put on mom, but silly.
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#23 of 77 Old 05-24-2008, 05:20 PM
 
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I tell my baby boy everyday how beautiful he is. And I tell my daughter she is beautiful too. And I don't follow it up with "that's just what mama thinks." And I have a problem with that too ... To somehow give them the idea that only their mother thinks their beautiful is just worse.

My DD already went through the phase where she thought that she had to be the best, or her drawing the most beautiful, or her craft the prettiest, etc. And we've already dealt with that by teaching her that she doesn't need to be the best, or smartest or prettiest or fastest. She only has to do the best that she can do, because that's all any of us can. And, if you have done your very best, than you should be proud of your accomplishment, whether you won the prize or were the best or not.

I'm sorry, but I think all children should always hear that they are beautiful. Right now I'm watching a friend deal with a situation with her 6 y.o. being called "negrita fea" at school (ugly dark-skinned girl). They are Puerto Rican/Spanish and we live in Costa Rica, but her daughter is cinammon skinned, and Costa Ricans are very racist. If this little girl never hears from her parents or others that she is beautiful (and she is a pretty girl) then she is going to start to internalize the "negrita fea" comments instead.

And, I would really take Datura's comments to heart. And just try to balance things out for your DD instead of trying to take away from her things that essentially will make her feel good, and help toward building her self esteem. Like it or not, other people (parents, friends, siblings, etc.) play an essential role in the construction of our self-esteem. We don't build it with nothing out of nowhere. It comes from how we interact with others and the world, and the feedback we get.

Build her up with *all* the tools, equally emphasized.
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#24 of 77 Old 05-25-2008, 01:03 AM
 
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I tell my daughter every day how beautiful she is. And how funny and smart and kind. I dont think what the checkout person at Target says to her makes as much of an impact as what I say. And its a compliment, I wouldnt get all worked up about it. Like someone said, they dont see her and know how creative she is. I would *never* say, thats just what mama thinks. Thats just mean IMO.
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#25 of 77 Old 05-25-2008, 03:42 AM
 
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My mom always encouraged me to do for others and told me about a million times that "it's what's on the inside that counts" yet she also always wears make-up and encouraged me to do so as well once I was a teenager, encouraged me to fix my hair and dress cute as a kid, she compliments my looks and my clothes even now.

Now I rarely wear make-up, I've gotten my nails done ONCE (before our wedding), don't do much with my hair, and I really don't put much emphasis on looks, though I do have insecurities and I like looking nice (when time permits! lol) I think that just goes with not living in a bubble?

I guess while I do agree with you to an extent, I don't know if a little compliment here and there really makes long term differences. File that under "things we can't control"
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#26 of 77 Old 05-25-2008, 03:48 AM
 
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Originally Posted by luv2eatamango View Post
A therapist once told me, it's ok to tell your children that they're beautiful or smart or whatever but follow it with, "...but that's just what mommy thinks."

"You have a face that only a mother could love, but you're super creative!"
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#27 of 77 Old 05-25-2008, 03:53 AM
 
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DH and I plan on making her a shirt that says:

Tell me how smart I am,
tell me I can run fast,
tell me I'm creative...
but please stop telling me
I'm pretty.
But what if my daughters aren't all that smart? What if they can't run fast? What if they aren't all that creative? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, to be sure, but to me it falls into the same category with all the other things that we prize in people and for which we reward them. Physical attractiveness, good health, intelligence, athletic ability, artistic ability. I think it's a good idea to take all of it with a grain of salt, not just the pretty thing. I'm more into turning pretty into a statement of fact rather than a compliment, and I'd like my children to think it doesn't matter if you are pretty or ugly, but that doesn't seem to work very well. Usually telling someone she is pretty seems to be an indication more that you admire the person. My 4 year old will tell me I don't have pretty hair when she is angry with me. So when I am telling someone she is pretty, I'm saying it for the same reasons I'm telling her she is athletic, artistic or intelligent. I like her, I admire her, I want her to believe she is these things because I feel like she'll have a better life.

People tell me I'm weird, though, so don't mind me. I had a discussion like this with my sister, and I know she thought I was off my rocker. I was trying to convince her that she shouldn't feel that she is morally superior for being smarter than a person who was prettier than she was. Of course the pretty vs. smart war will wage throughout time, and maybe that is how it should be.
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#28 of 77 Old 05-25-2008, 09:21 AM
 
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I would almost rather someone tell my child that she was pretty than that she was smart, creative or a fast runner. If you want to know why read Dweck's Mindset.

Now, my child may work really hard on her outfit
She may pay attention to her Spanish and speak even when she isn't sure she's got it perfectly
She may spend hours weaving together different themes in a story
She may practice sprinting every night when there is no coach there and she could be watching TV

All these things I value and want to foster in her, and labeling her doesn't serve that end.
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#29 of 77 Old 05-25-2008, 10:03 AM
 
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Originally Posted by luv2eatamango View Post
A therapist once told me, it's ok to tell your children that they're beautiful or smart or whatever but follow it with, "...but that's just what mommy thinks." ..... I ask my kids all the time, "What do you think?"
I've read a few posts since I made this one, and it got me thinking. If mommy is the only one saying (that's just what mommy thinks) after a compliment, then obviously that's not good. It could work if others said it too but no one else says it in our situation. Besides it places a heavy emphasis on thinking and I've been trying to emphasize feelings instead (since birth). Ask instead, "How do you feel about that?"

I don't know, just learning as I go. Great thread!
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#30 of 77 Old 05-25-2008, 12:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by pigpokey View Post
I would almost rather someone tell my child that she was pretty than that she was smart, creative or a fast runner. If you want to know why read Dweck's Mindset.

Now, my child may work really hard on her outfit
She may pay attention to her Spanish and speak even when she isn't sure she's got it perfectly
She may spend hours weaving together different themes in a story
She may practice sprinting every night when there is no coach there and she could be watching TV

All these things I value and want to foster in her, and labeling her doesn't serve that end.
I think this is important too - catching a child doing behaviors you want to reinforce and praise them for it. Hugely important.

But, I don't think that means we can't tell our children that they're pretty, intelligent or a fast runner. It's important not to place value on those things like "I love you because you're pretty" or "You get ice cream because you were the fastest runner".
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