When the question “should you tell your daughter she is pretty?” first reached my ears, I was really confused. I started to question myself if I was doing the right thing as a parent and began learning to understand the reason why so many parents of daughters today are avoiding calling their daughter pretty.
Mole is incredibly cheeky, she loves to dance and waves her arms to the music. Her favourite thing to do is to shout out different animal names or the noises they make when she sees them on TV or in her books. In my mind, Mole is the most beautiful person I have ever seen. My heart is incredibly full for her. But, I have decided that I am going to make a conscious effort to stop telling her she is pretty.
Here is why:
Every single morning, when Mole was dressed, the first thing I would do is give her a big hug and tell her how pretty or beautiful she looked. Once I realised I was doing this without thought, I caught myself saying it through out the day too. The more we talk about a topic to our children, they begin to understand that this topic is important. It could be anything from manners to sharing. Basically, I don’t want the topic of physical appearance to be something that Mole understands as important or more important that any of her other qualities she has.
Living up to expectations
Always making a point to someone that they are pretty or clever will give them the mentality on what they have to live up to. They can get stuck in a comfort zone and waste time and energy worrying about this. When instead, they could be spending their time and energy into being more knowledgable and opening themselves up to a full range of experiences.
What I do to boost my daughters self esteem:
- I focus on praising her process rather than the outcome. I will praise her for her hard work and time and effort she has spent on something. This may even be when she is older and has spent time on her hair. Commenting on that rather than just saying “You look pretty.”
- I Tell her how much she matters to me. Showing and telling her how important she is to me and how much she is on my mind will make her feel amazing and loved.
- I will look at her other qualities. Make them stand out whilst also using words like “pretty” and “beautiful” so she can gain a wider understanding of how beautiful and pretty doesn’t just have to be based of physical appearance. E.G. “Mole you are beautiful for being such a good friend and sharing your toy.”
- Asking her lot’s of questions. Not only does asking your little one lot’s of questions help to boost their memory and language skills. but, asking questions really shows that you have an interest in their life. I love to ask Mole questions on where her favourite toy is or which animal am I pointing at.
So focus on your values and how you can get them across to your children. Becoming aware of your words will help you to stop focusing on how looks are more important than how your child behaves or thinks. Even when it is unintentional.