Before I go into this, let me first say THANK YOU! Yesterday was a tough day for me and my social media family surrounded me with love and support. On the 5 year anniversary of my dad’s death, I got nothing but love and I appreciated all of it!
Ok, so I know. I know. That sounds harsh but let me explain.
First off, I DO, in fact, think that she is beautiful but I’m her mom. I’m supposed to right? I mean just look at this face. And it’s a good problem to have but she hears this type of compliment no less than 2 times a day (and I’m not over exaggerating).
But we’ve all heard that complimenting girls on their looks can lead to them not valuing intelligence. That’s a huge concern. When I compliment her…I compliment her on just that and a myriad of other things.
- Things like her uncanny ability to recall where things are. Her brother is HORRIBLE at knowing where he’s left things. SHE can tell you to the exact space where her blanket is.
- Her sense of adventure. She’s not afraid to try something. Watching her ski for the first time was inspiring.
- She can also tell you the reasons why something is the way it is. She understands the way things work and can explain it pretty well for a three year old.
- She listens very well (maybe a little too well). Watching her take swimming lessons, getting feedback from her teacher at school…all indicate that she’s engaging in an thoughtful, intelligent way and I LOVE it.
- The list goes on…
Let me tell you what’s not been so pleasant to observe that makes me say this. And I’m no psychologist but I have to think there’s a relationship, even if it’s small…
Every night before my kids go to sleep, I have 1:1 conversations with them about their day. What did they do? Who did they play with? What made them happy? What made them angry? How did they fix it? You get the idea. Well, the other night MiniE was telling me who she played with that day she said she didn’t play with “xx”. I asked her why…her response still haunts me. “I don’t like her eyes or eyebrows”.
As a mom, the last thing you want to hear is about your own child being anything but perfect and not that I expect mine to but not including someone, especially based on a physical characteristic is not good. What’s even funnier is that this little girl has very similar features to MiniE.
In talking to MiniE about it further, I try to explain the various reasons why her thought process may not be good. I try remind her of what it would feel like if someone didn’t want to play with her. We go through all the conversations but I do start to worry that all this complimenting on her physical features isn’t causing her to put more emphasis on it than she should. Just a thought…I am speculating.
Now I know you’re forming an opinion about this but understand that I want to raise a strong, intelligent, inclusive yet independent woman. I don’t want her self worth to be determined by the types of compliments she gets. Nor do I want the relationships she formed to be based on physical characteristics. As a parent, it’s my job to try to make her see how multi dimensional and incredible she is and help her see that in others. But it’s much harder to do when all she hears is repeated verbal confirmation that beauty is all there is to compliment someone one.
So if you see her, reference the list above. Compliment her on something other than her looks. AND while you’re at it…I challenge you to compliment every child. Pay attention to them. See what they’re good at…what they like and compliment them on those passions, those interests.