Great response, in no way do I feel bad when I call my daughter’s beautiful. It is because I want them to see themselves the way I see them beautiful! It a delicate balance of giving them self confidence while not spoiling them.
To put such a light under a basket so the community – but more importantly the little girl herself doesn’t see it — is simply wrong. Especially when it’s motivated by some strange feminist ideal or out of fear.
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So please, become a pioneer, and together let's drop the use of the phrase "mental illness," and search for more inclusive and creative phrases. This is a reminder that our words and even our whole social reality of what is called "normal," are not forced upon us God-given by the heavens, but are constructs that we mortals all co-create, in our imperfection, in our freedom, together.
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I absolutely agree with Holly and Alyssa. Would that someone had ever called me pretty growing up instead of only smart. I wouldn’t have half the issues I’m still battling with self-esteem. 57% of college students are girls. I think the smart message has gotten through. What hasn’t gotten through is tat girls/women can be pretty whether they are razor thin or plump, blond or brunette, black or white, etc.
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I think it should be a lesson in frequency not an abolishment of letting your daughter know she’s beautiful. I have a niece and I tell her she’s beautiful or looks good, but then I also usually say for a pigs butt or something which always makes her laugh. I also ask how schools going, interests, things like that but my mother is bad about telling her how gorgeous she is and complimenting her skinnyness which makes me cringe, and I try to tell my mom that’s how eating disorders start but I guess it’s a generational thing that she isn’t getting the reasoning behind it.
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I have to agree with Holly. In a world where appearance is so valued, not hearing compliments in regards to appearance and/or beauty can make you feel inadequate in that area. I have no issues valuing my intelligence, abilities and myself as a person, but am most shy in the physical beauty area something my parents never focused on.
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The point is about sexism. Do you talk to boys about their beauty, or do you discuss other things? Men are generally not judged on their appearance. Women always are judged on their appearance. Hopefully, your strategy for your daughters will give them more self-confidence and have less stake in their appearances, however, societal pressures will still have a great affect on how they value men and women. It is difficult to counter this.
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I’m the proud mother of two boys (age 9 and 14), and I often comment to them on their beauty. And on their interesting thoughts, their interests and so on. I tell them I don’t care about their marks, but that I care about their commitment to homework and school.
They love being told they’re loved. For their appearence, mind, and soul. They share their love of gaming, reading, playing, jumping etc. with me. And tell me that I am beautiful too.
I have a lovely niece (age 8). She is also beautiful, clever, funny, hard-working and interesting to be with. So I tell her the same things, and listen to her stories, thoughts, and dreams.
So, basically, all children need to be beautiful. Tell them that they are! They also need to hear that they are interesting. So tell that too. The reward is an insight into their thoughts and beliefs, which are often deep and philosophical.