I recently wrote a blog post about letting my son like the color pink and letting him play with girl toys. He’s 1.5 years old, so I tell the naysayers to GET OVER IT! I’m also telling the so-called “parenting experts” the same when it comes to telling my daughter that she is pretty.
Experts say that we as parents should compliment our children on their abilities and NOT on their appearances, but I disagree. An article in The Daily Telegraph says that if we compliment our children on looking pretty that we’ll be sending a message that looks are more important; and in turn, this sets them up for body confidence issues in the future. But if we don’t tell them that they are beautiful or handsome, doesn’t that do the same? Can you imagine how you would feel if your mom or dad had never told you how beautiful you are?
Beauty goes deeper than just your outer appearance. That is the message we should be teaching. But let’s face it, looks do matter. Our outer appearances are the first impression any stranger gets. They see us first, then get to know us later. So having confidence in our appearance does matter. Yes, it matters more to have confidence in all of your abilities, and I think that is what the “experts” are trying to get at. But that doesn’t mean that we should stop saying, “you look beautiful” to our daughters.
So, while I’ll tell my daughter how beautiful she is, (because she is!) I’ll also tell her that I appreciate her kindness when she shares or does something thoughtful or selfless for someone else. I’ll praise her creativity and ability to follow directions, and I’ll compliment her dedication and determination when she brings home an all A’s report card.
Be well-rounded in your compliments of your children, is what the “experts” should have said. And I will add to that. Be unafraid to tell your sons how beautiful they are too. The word beautiful is not just meant for girls, and I, for one, think that I have an amazingly beautiful daughter and son!
There is however, one piece of advice that I do agree with on this subject of body confidence. Parents, especially moms, should be careful of how we talk about our own bodies in front of our children. I don’t think I know one single person who doesn’t dislike a part of their body or wishes they weighed about five pounds less. We should keep those opinions to ourselves in front of our children. I know I wish that I didn’t have bony arms and elbows or a few pounds left in the middle from pregnancy. But in front of my children, (yes even at 1.5 because they repeat EVERYTHING) I won’t put myself down. I will compliment myself in front of them on the things that I do like about my appearance.
Will you share your amazingly beautiful children with all of us? Please feel free to leave a comment below sharing something that you complimented your child for recently.
*Post originally published on Sew Crafty Angel.