Don’t tell my daughter she is pretty

When I was growing up I was sensitive about my body and the way I looked. I was an athlete so I was always more muscular than the other girls. I never had that naturally skinny teenage body. I was curvy with an ass and boobs. My calves were always a little meatier and even pre-kids I had a little “pouch” on my tummy. It was and is still not easy for me to be “thin”. It takes a LOT.OF. WORK. I never got the attention from boys that some of my other friends got. I just wasn’t as pretty as them. Sure there were times that it bothered me but I eventually got over it and realized that being pretty doesn’t help you in the long run. Being a good person does.

Having a daughter has made me very aware, maybe even hyper-aware that I don’t want any words about body image floating around her three-year old world. As it is, she’s already skin and bones. She is very tall for her age; she has long legs and not an ounce of fat. She and her 1-year-old brother weight about the same.

She has the most beautiful curly strawberry-blonde red hair with piercing blue eyes and very light skin. She’s a very pretty girl but please stop telling her! It drives me crazy. When we are out and about we get stopped on average about 3-4 times. The comments are usually the same with people telling her how pretty she is or what amazing hair she has. I agree with them, yes, she is beautiful. Her hair is magnificent. Some women pay a lot of money at a salon to get the hair that she was gifted. Her eyes are also amazing. I made her, so in my eyes she is the most beautiful little girl out there. However, she doesn’t need to hear it all the time.

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I don’t want her ever to equate her self-worth to her body. I want all the wonderful qualities she exudes to be the highlight of who she is.

I want her world to be flooded with comments about how creative she is. How the colours in her artwork she chose and the piece of art she created are unique. That when she figures out how many ice creams cones we need from the ice cream store for our family she is wonderful at math. I want her to know that when she asks a question she is inquisitive about the world around her. That when I forget the lemons in the produce section of the grocery store and she reminds me that she has a great memory! I want her to know that she is strong when she kicks a soccer ball or climbs the jungle gym herself. When she plays with her baby brother I want her to know that she is gentle. I want her to know that when she shares a toy with a friend she is kind and considerate. I want her to be told that she is caring when she comforts a friend after they have had a fall. I want her to know that when she tells a joke she is funny and has a great sense of humour. I want her to be told that when she goes to the doctor for a needle she is brave. That when she hears a song on the radio and starts to dance that she has great rhythm and has some great dance moves! I want her to know that her love of nature, plants and the outdoors is something to be cherished as we only have one earth and need to take care of it.

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I want her feel extraordinary about all the actions she puts forth in this world and feel proud and accomplished about everything she is and does. I want her to feel confident about the choices she makes but most of all I want her to be happy. My list could go on and on about all the qualities that make her special and unique.

So please, when you see her, feel free to comment on her eyes and hair but please make a comment on something else too! Let’s not let her outer beauty overtake all the fabulous qualities she has inside. After all, it’s her outer beauty that you notice first but it’s her inner beauty that truly shines.

 

Comments

  1. Jovana Golubovic says:

    I absolutely love this post!! Amen to every word you said!! I also cringe when people (including both grandmothers), tell me how Sara is such a pretty girl-I mean, great, thanks but that won’t get her far in life nor is it really important in the long run…

  2. I loved this post too. Such an important message. Good for you for delivering it with clarity.

  3. What a beautiful piece. I completely agree that we need to try to raise children that have self esteem with regards to their accomplishments and not the physical attributes with which they were born. What a great message!

  4. Lauren rutter says:

    Very well written! Great message

  5. lisanewlin says:

    I’ve thought about this premise before and I’m glad you wrote about it. I try so hard not to tell my niece she’s pretty because I don’t want her thinking that’s what really matters in life. This is well said. :-)

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