From the day that my daughter was born, I was smitten. I would just stare at her for hours in disbelief. I couldn’t believe that this beautiful little girl was mine. I look at that sweet face and tell her, “Mai, you are so beautiful.” It seems like such a natural thing to say. So what is so wrong with muttering this phrase to her?
I have read article after article telling me not to do this. The experts will tell you that this is setting your daughters up for a life time of body image problems and that it would put too much emphasis on physical appearance. It is said that instead you should place a focus on their accomplishments. Of course I acknowledge her accomplishments as well. I praise her for new lessons that she’s learned, pictures that she has drawn or for listening when told to do something. She is complimented on many things, but if we are praising our children for being smart or funny wouldn’t the same principles apply? Are we then creating an issue with them putting undue pressure on themselves to be the smartest because we told them that they were smart instead?
It seems that there are less and less things that are safe to say or do these days when it comes to our children. Everybody is judging you. I cannot tell my daughter that she is pretty, I am not supposed to say the word “No”, you shouldn’t spank, you should not yell. Aren’t all of these things setting our children up for something even worse? What will happen when they get older? They will hear the word no at some point in their lives, whether it is from a university, a potential employer or a rejection from a love interest. How will they handle these things when they were treated with kid gloves their whole lives?
I am not a psychologist, I don’t have all the answers, but I am a woman and once was a little girl. I was raised by a woman who told me that I was pretty every day. It did not damage me or leave me believing that the only thing that is important is my outer appearance. I was spanked. That did not leave me with violent tendencies or take any love away from my mother. I was told “no” because it was what I needed to hear.
My daughter is smart. She is imaginative. She is artistic. She is funny. And while she has several attributes that result in her being a pretty girl, with her big heart, humor and vivacious personality, the truth is she is beautiful and I am going to tell her that.
Mai is gorgeous and glad you are going to tell her this more often now. But I totally get this and trust me, I sometimes have a hard time uttering those words. And I too was raised by a very loving mother, but she did say no to me when she had to and spanked me, too. So, I can relate so much to this post and trust me you aren’t the only one on this in the least!
My husband and I want to raise our daughter the same way that we were. It is strange to me all these “rules” that we now have. I grew up fine without them. My daughter will too.
I tell my little girl that she is beautiful multiple times every day 🙂 I think it would give a kid a bigger complex to never hear those words from a parent! Keep on telling her she is the most beautiful, sweetest, funniest, smartest little thing you know 🙂
That is how I feel as well. Like I said, I was always told as a little girl. I grew up very confident in my own skin, but beauty isn’t just about the exterior. My child is beautiful inside and out and she deserves to know that.
So true. The “do nots” of parenting boggle my mind.
It is mind boggling. It makes my head spin. I will raise my child with love, hugs and discipline with some harmless compliments along the way.
Love this! The amounts of this we “are not supposed to do” these days is crazy.
Thanks Jules. I agree. I just saw another article today saying that we should not kiss our kids on their lips because they will perceive it as sexual. WHAT? You think my 2 year old knows what sexual is? Yikes!
I almost didn’t finish reading your post but glad I did, nice share. No so called expert will ever tell me not to call my child or any child beautiful, gifted, talented, out of line, no means no or any other word that I feel is appropriate at the moment. Children deserve praise as well as discipline, they require nourishing moments as well as alone time. In the end I believe each parent must use best judgment for themselves and I agree with you, your daughter is beautiful. Please continue to tell her so often :).
Well said, mommy. I am in complete agreement. I will tell my angel that she is beautiful until the day I die.
Your daughter is gorgeous and I tell mine that she is beautiful too. Strangers tell her she is adorable all the time and I can’t really stop them can I? 😉
Thank you. In one of the articles I read the woman actually did get mad at strangers for telling her daughter that she was pretty. Yikes! You have to tiptoe around everything these days. Imagine offending someone by telling them that they had a beautiful child.
I tell my daughters they are beautiful every chance I get. My youngest was almost lost during pregnancy. While I was on hospitalized bed rest for almost 3 months to save her life, her name came to me on the day she was pictured in a sonogram oh so clearly. She was beautiful. The most beautiful thing I had ever seen. Her weight was in the safe zone and she would enter my world strong, blessing my mere existence. Her name means “beautiful blessing”. Every day, without rhyme or reason, I ask her, ” Did you get more beautiful just now?” She always smiles and hugs me tight.. For goodness sake.. beauty is love.. and that love is so strong. We as mothers need to express this emotion and shower our children with it. Nurturing is beautiful.. Bravo!
How frightening. I am sure you shower those little beauties with love and nurturing every chance you get. Keep on hugging them tight. Thank you for sharing your story.
Love your post! I tell my daughter she is precious and beautiful everyday all day, and I will continue to do so! I wonder how many of these “experts” actually have children, and what exactly makes them an expert?!
I wonder that myself. They are putting too much psychology into parenting these days and taking out the love and discipline. Keep telling her how beautiful she is.
I definitely will! 🙂
Love this so much!! I have seen the articles floating around that say you should do this or that with your children but I just ignore them. I think it would cause more damage if you never told your child “no” and if you didn’t lovingly tell them how beautiful you think they are. I tell my little one every day. =)
I am happy to see that others agree. It seems everywhere I look these days, someone is telling me I have got it all wrong. How could it be wrong to think your child is beautiful. Isn’t a natural motherly reaction? Thanks for your comments.
I totally agree. No matter how we raise our children there is an “expert” out there telling us we are doing it all wrong.
It is very discouraging as a parent to read things like this. It makes you second guess all of your choices even when you don’t agree with what they are saying.
The best advice I ever got on taking advice was, ” Take what you can use and discard the rest”. As far as your daughter goes, YOU and your husband are the experts. Who knows her best? Who cares for her most? Who, ultimately, will be there for her as she grows and develops? Not the “experts”.
Thank you. That is solid advice and it is so true.
I totally tell my boys all the time that they’re smart, brave, handsome.. They need praise to build their confidence. I also make it a point to tell them what they’re good at and to make them try things when they say “I can’t!” I love when my oldest “bakes” cookies and says “I’m a good cooker” 🙂 I think you’re building your daughters confidence and that’s beautiful- she will look in the mirror when she’s older and know that she is, inside and out!
🙂 That is how I view it. I don’t understand how the word beautiful could result insecurity.
good job! I believe that you should tell little girls are pretty. It will get too many other messages telling them otherwise their whole life. You should tell them early on and often. I had a lady wants who just in passing told me I had a beautiful daughter. I told her I thought so too! She then told me make sure to always tell her that. My mother never told me I was once pretty. I have felt ugly my whole life. Weneed to let our daughters know they are beautiful just the way they are. I am glad that you do so with your daughter.
Thanks Charlie. I hope you get told that you are beautiful as an adult because we all should hear it, little girls and big girls alike. That old lady was right, tell her often. I know I am going to with mine.
i agree if u don’t praise her enough she will feel she needs to be even better tell her that she is pretty. People shouldn’t tell u exactly how to raise YOUR child