Lately I’ve been seeing more and more articles and blog posts and opinion pieces advising parents to not tell their daughters that they are pretty, to say things like “You’re smart” “You’re creative” “You’re Strong, and brave” But don’t tell your daughters they are pretty because they might take that to mean that all that matters is their looks.
Well. You SHOULD be telling your daughter than she is smart, creative, strong, brave, kind, generous, loving, sweet, AND pretty. Everything that makes her special and wonderful you SHOULD tell her about. I grew up believing that I was “The Ugly Duckling” or hoping that I was the Ugly Duckling hoping that I’d grow out of being a buck toothed, stringy mousy brown haired, freckle faced, tub of lard. Whose only saving grace was that I was only dog ugly, not butt ugly…so there was hope. I did not hear the message that I was pretty from those who should have told me, the people I trusted most. The only time my looks were ever mentioned were in comparison to someone else and I always felt second or third best. So the feedback I received was from my peers…and well…Kids are cruel. And my mother was cruel…yes my mother. She’s the one who said that my hair was stringy and mousy brown and hopeless, she’s the one who “teased” me that my freckles were splatters of cow poop, she’s the one who pointed out every last overweight person and told me that when I grew up I’d be just as fat as that person right there. So not only did I have to endure the teasing from classmates I also endured it from my mother.
Fact is. I never had buck teeth. My two front teeth had a slight gap during my later elementary years. My hair is not stringy. It is fine and requires care, something I am happy to help my daughters with but was obviously too much trouble for my own mother. My hair isn’t mousy brown either. It is a perfectly acceptable medium brown. My freckles are beautiful, they fade in the winter and grow dark in the summer, they splatter me with color. I am fat…oh well. I come from fat people.
I catch myself saying things to my kids about their looks, or their hygiene skills and I mentally slap myself because I don’t want to be that parent. The parent that points out flaws, but doesn’t call their child beautiful, or handsome. I try everyday to point out a positive about my kids. Some days are harder than others. But I NEVER want them to look back and remember that time their Mother pointed to a zit on their chin and declared their whole face nasty. I NEVER want them to look back and only remember being told they were attractive once or twice and always as an afterthought.
Where am I going with this.
Tell your children that they are attractive, that they are beautiful, that they are Handsome. You don’t know what they are hearing elsewhere. So tell them. They trust that you are right.
From the Ugly Kid….who might have grown out of the ugly duckling, but isn’t sure she’d call herself a swan.