I Won't Stop Telling My Daughter She's Beautiful

Mom Moment 16

mirrorQuestion time: do you tell your daughter she's beautiful? I do at least once a day. Sometimes more. Never less. The responses vary. Sometimes she tells me I'm beautiful too. Other times she says, "I know."

She doesn't say it smugly. It's more a simple admission of fact, the same answer you'd give if someone said, "It's raining outside" or "There are eggs in the fridge." She accepts that she's beautiful because for as long as she can remember, I have told her it's true.

And yet, among a certain set of parents, what I'm doing is just this side of abuse.

What's with the backlash against beautiful? According to some, telling a girl she's pretty focuses too much on her looks. Some will say you risk raising a girl who is vain, others that your daughter will be lacking confidence in the more important areas such as academics or athletics.

Just a few weeks ago, blogger and mom Devan McGuinness railed against the people who tell her daughters they're beautiful, stating, "I worry that this typical conversation will influence my girls into thinking that they are only noticed for what they look like -- only after that will someone will take the time to get to know them."

Before that, it was Emma Heist Moss on The Good Men Project warning us that "no matter how old your daughter is she is receiving messages from every angle that tell her that her primary path to success is being beautiful."

The arguments are valid and yet shortsighted. They carry with them an assumption that when a girl is told she's beautiful that it's the only thing she hears.

In some houses, that is the sad reality.

In our house, it couldn't be further from the truth. We also tell our 7-year-old that she's smart. And funny. And silly. And that sometimes she's a little bossy (hey, she needs to hear it from somewhere).

She's hardly lacking in boosters in the important areas of her life, and yes, that includes someone telling her that she's beautiful.

What we look like is still part of us. It may not be the most important thing; but if you say it doesn't matter at all, you're either lying or deluded.

Parents you could tell your daughter all those things and not mention her looks, but as a woman who spent much of her teenage years (and some of the adult ones too) battling an eating disorder, I have to warn against it.

Everyone wants to hear that they're beautiful, even young girls.

As a mother, it's my job to step in, to be the one who makes sure my daughter hears it. If I don't, who will? Who will step up to make sure my daughter feels comfortable in her skin, feels happy with every single part of herself, not just her brain or her strong legs?

Do you believe it's wrong to tell girls they are beautiful?


Image via Theodore Scott/Flickr

girls, puberty


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CPN322 CPN322

I can't quite find the words right now to explain how I feel about this, but don't ever stop telling your daughter she is beautiful. From what you've said, you compliment her on many aspects of her personality and by doing so you are building great self esteem in her. Way to go Jeanne, don't listen to those wack jobs!! Everyone should feel confident in their own skin and building self esteem starts very early. Everyone IS beautiful in their own way. I wish all children were told this.

MammaSam MammaSam

Hell no I won't! I tell her she is beautiful, so smart, funny, perceptive, talented, cute, gorgeous, amazing, a great friend.. I tell her when I see something good as often as I tell her when I see something bad, Like rude behaviour. It's called balance and there is nothing wrong with a girl knowing what she is good at, whar you appreciate about her, and even what she is bad at. I adore my baby girl and will never stop letting her know. It's important to a child to know how their parent feels about them. Telling her I love her is as important as breathing to me. Wish it was the same for every parent.

Jen Werner Lathrop

I think there is a difference between telling her she IS beautiful, as a statement of fact, and telling her she LOOKS beautiful, like it's something she can control and is worth striving for. It seems like semantics, but I think it's an important choice of words

Chelle LeMier

My daughter is beautiful, intelligent, funny, quirky, creative and so much more. We try to point out as many of her positives to her as we can. The world will wear her down. It's our job to build her up.

Melis... Melissa1508

No, I don't believe it's wrong.  I call my daughter "pretty girl" all the time, but I don't feel it's detrimental to her.  Her whole life isn't revolving around whether she's beautiful or not.  We encourage her to read, we praise her for her academic accomplishments...people read too much into parents telling their daughters that they're pretty.

insei... inseineangel

We can't win, can we? 

I call my daughter 'crazy lady'. I have since the day I brought her home from the hospital. Does that mean that by doing so, I'm directing her focus towards her eccentric and sometimes erratic behaviour? Is that going to lead her to a path where she will grow into a complete psycho? No.

Why is it wrong to boost our children up? Tell your daughter she is beautiful. If that's teaching vanity, than go one step further and teach her beauty is inside as well as out. Tell them they're crazy. Teach them to embrace what makes them different. Tell them they're smart. Show them the world is full of things to discover, and there's so much out there to learn.

I say, boo these nay-sayers. What kind of parents are we to be if we cannot (or will not) praise our children and teach them to love themselves?

dearg76 dearg76

I tell my daughter that all the time. I also tell her how sweet she is and how proud of her I am. I will never stop telling her these things and more. I can count on 2 fingers the number of times my mother said she was proud of me - I am 37 and she has only said i was kinda pretty once. Why would you do this to your child? I had such bad self asteem issues when I was younger and honestly I still do. I will not, NOT, let that happen to my daughter, if I can help it.

nonmember avatar kaerae

I don't see how this is a problem as long as you're telling her she's smart and strong too. I think if the ONLY compliment she ever hears is about looks, then it might be an issue. I feel bad for the kids whose parents never praise their kids' looks, because, let's face it, looks matter and they always will. I still tell my sons they're handsome. I think the kids who never hear it are the ones who focus on looks because they were never made secure about it.

Kat Penrod

she needs to know this... when she gets to those teenage years, her peers will pull her down, make her think she isn't... so yes, you need to also do the same with other characteristics, and of course teach her it is the inner beauty that really matters, but building up your child to know that they are all those wonderful things you know they are is never bad.

nonmember avatar Tara

we tell my almost 4 year old she is beautiful at least 2 times a day if not more. but we say she is beautiful inside and out and is also funny, silly, smart, compassionate, kind and all those things make you a beautiful person. we never stress the external beauty, but focus more on the internal beauty.

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