5 Things I'll Never Do in Front of My Daughter

nicole fabian-weberI love having a little girl. While I would've been happy with a baby of either sex, part of me feels like I was destined for a daughter. I grew up in a female-centric household, and before my sweet mother died (and before I was pregnant), I told her the name of my daughter, should I ever have one. Her eyes filled with tears, as she loved it; and lo and behold, years later, I had one. Seems like it was meant to be.

But also, having a girl, like having a boy, comes with a specific set of challenges. We live in a society where women are supposed to be "pretty", thin, "good", demure; and we're bombarded with unrealistic images of airbrushed celebs and reality TV centered around women arguing with one another.

As parents, we'll never be able to shelter our daughters from these things. But we can try our damnedest to instill good values and healthy self-images, so they don't take over.

Here are 5 things I'll never do in front of my daughter.

1. Look in the mirror and critique myself. I hate my hair. Ugh, my eyebrows need to get waxed. I look old and tired. Sadly, rare is the woman who looks in the mirror and only focuses on the things she likes about herself. I want my daughter (all of our daughters) to be one of these women. Why are we conditioned to critique ourselves? This is no way to live. I want to learn to love my reflection, regardless of my age or how badly my roots are showing -- not only for myself, but so my daughter cultivates a healthy image of herself. Children's inner voices are a result of what their parents say and do.

2. Weigh myself. Truth be told, I don't own a scale, so this shouldn't be a problem. But the whole weighing ourselves in front of our kids -- obsessively -- clearly does more harm than good. I want my child to have a healthy relationship with food and a positive body image, regardless of her shape. I don't ever want her to be a slave to some silly little number. It means nothing. She's gorgeous inside and out no matter what.

3. Talk sh*t -- especially about other women. We should unite, not cut each other down. As ridiculous and idiotic as this sounds, Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice is a prime example of why you shouldn't talk about other people in front of your children (or at all!). Her daughters now make fun of the very same people Teresa talks about. And talking smack about everyone is going to be a hard habit to break when you start that young. I want my daughter to see the good in other people, not focus on the bad.

4. Speaking of Real Housewives ... no watching reality TV and/or read trashy magazines in front of her. While part of my job entails writing about Kim Kardashian (and, yes, it's fun), it's not my entire life. I don't ever turn the television on in front of my daughter now, and while I obviously will at some point, she won't see what a Kardashian or a Bachelorette looks like for a long, long time. These things are a fun way for adults to wind down at the end of the day, but they're mindless, superficial, and of absolutely no benefit to children. They focus on appearance and cutting other women down. They shouldn't be part of a child's life.

5. Focus on appearance -- anyone's appearance -- whether it's positive or not. While it's natural to say "She's so pretty" after seeing a gorgeous celeb, or "I love her haircut" after passing a woman with a hairstyle you admire, I don't want my daughter to focus on appearance first. I want her to know that it's what's inside that's important. It's nice to look nice, but that, by no stretch, is what matters most.

What things do you do/don't do in front of your kids to instill good values?


Image via Nicole Fabian-Weber

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nonmember avatar Becky Root

This is a great list and it's good to keep remembering these things as your daughter gets older. My mom truly lived the "If you can't something nice, don't say anything at all" mantra in front of me. It really bugged me at the time that she wouldn't dish with me, but now I am a better woman for it. I still want to dish, but I don't go all out and I won't dish in front of my daughter about her friends and their mothers.

LoveM... LoveMyViolet

I love these self-righteous lists that claim "I'll NEVER do this in front of my child". Never is a pretty strong word. And I personally believe it's never something you should claim in parenting. Your best bet is to try not to and come up with a game plan when you accidentally do the thing you said you would never do.

nonmember avatar blh

You're way to dramatic. Your daughter is going to be worried about her appearance regardless of what you do. Or would you want her walking around looking like crap and not taking any pride in herself? It makes snese to not say "oh im so ugly/fat" whatever, but pray tell whats wrong with saying you need your eyebrow waxed? And not COMPLIMENTING another person's hair/outfit is ridiculous. Looks are important to people and you're not going to change that.

LadyM... LadyMinni

What's wrong with complimenting other people? I make it a point to go up to one person a day, pick out something I like about them, and tell them. Sometimes it can make someone's day. I would love to teach my daughter to do the same thing. I will weigh myself in front of my children so that they can see that not everyone freaks out about weight. I'm healthy, and that makes me happy. I'm pretty sure my kids will know that I get my eyebrows threaded and dye my hair at a pretty young age. I see nothing wrong with saying I need to touch up my roots, or that I need to get threaded, or that I need to shave. Body acceptance is great, but I can't accept what I naturally look like. If my kids can't either, then I'll be showing them the safe ways to change what they don't like. Sure I would love for them to love everything about themselves, but that is unrealistic. I would rather my kids learn what is okay to change -like hair color- and what is best left alone -breast size.

Shannon Pataky

if that is who you are, follow those rules.  I agree, that I don't want my daughter to be self obsorbed with herself.  I don't like that she's 8 years old and already questioning her looks.  But it's going to happen.  in ANY society, it's going to happen.  the trick is to not allow her to judge others for how they choose to look.  THAT is what will break the cycle of these girls turning into paris hilton.  I raise my children on two rules: Respect yourself (by being mindful of your health, feelings, and beliefs) and respecting others will come naturally, and if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it. 

lil_m... lil_mama06

As a mother of 6 daughter's, you can do all the "right" things, they will still have self image issues..Think school and how cruel kids can be..And if anyone tells your daughter they are "ugly", nothing you will say can make her feel better...

truet... truetigress

I agree with this list...but my kids watch these shows with mommy. We love watching Bridezillas and sometimes the Bachelor/Bachelorette, but when we do we discuss the episode together. I make it a point in telling them that that person didn't seem nice, or that wasn't a nice thing to say about the other. I tell her that sometimes people are mean to others, which means we don't have to be like them. She has friends who I don't approve of, but just because I don't approve of the way they act doesn't mean it will change who my daughter is. If she does change (a little bit of attitude over something her friend would have attitude about, then we discuss the fact that she doesn't need to act just like her friend. I give her the speech of "How would you feel if someone said that to you?" or I'll call her by her friend's name when she is acting like that. She'll laugh and then stop. She's only 6 right now. She is learning that there are many people who are different in one way or another and to accept them for who they are but to not let them change the person that she is...


Crystal Rider

No and I wont be doing them in front of my son either~ 

cherylam cherylam

My favorite... I can spend a little on something for me and NOT FEEL GUILTY. When I was growing up, I watched my mother go without decent food or clothing while having money in her wallet, but 'saving it' in case one of us kids needed it. I didn't teach my daughter that habit, and I hope she doesn't teach it to her daughter.

lilyi... lilyismyheart

Rught.. We weigh ourselves but I dont mention loosing weight or being too fat. They step up and I say wow you are getting so big! Yay! But they do know that being healthy means eating healthy. I also dont dress immodestly, I dont want that for my girls. I want them to have self worth and character.

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