Introducing the concept of beauty to a young girl may be the start of a lifelong journey of self-acceptance, and wrestling with self-image.
I tell my daughter that she is beautiful every day. I can’t help it… she is (no parenting bias here!).
But is this creating an unhealthy relationship with beauty that could have long term ramifications?
I have struggled with calling myself beautiful my whole life. While I wrestled with these questions I have started to see that to achieve a positive relationship with beauty for my daughter, I may have to take the same steps with myself.
I think I need to start calling, and thinking of, myself as beautiful for my daughter’s sake.
It might just be good for me too.
Should I tell my Daughter she is Beautiful
An emerging message from experts is that telling your daughter that she is beautiful can have negative consequences such as:
- Linking this kind of shallow praise with her self esteem.
- Undermine their desire to excel when the majority of positive feedback they receive is for something that they did not earn.
There is more, but in my view, this is unnecessary and potentially dangerous rules to parent by if it is your natural urge to smother your child with love and praise.
Will these experts ever stop me from telling my daughter that she is pretty? Hell no! But is there a need for balance? I think so.
What I hope to add to this idea of beauty is that it can be found in things that go beyond the physical. That you can be beautiful through your actions as well as your looks.
Kindness, love, and ambition are all things that I find beautiful in other people. So why not expand the definition of beauty in my daughter’s eyes?
How to Make Your Daughters Feel Beautiful
Yes, I will be telling her that she is physically beautiful. I mean, she is…. But I will also use similar language when praising her actions.
This will take some habit development on my part, but there are so many small things that display beauty every day and there is an opportunity to incorporate the right language to broaden that definition of, and her perspective, of what beauty is.
- That was a beautiful thing you did for that person.
- I love that you tried your best, the effort you put in was beautiful.
But this is not enough. I also need to teach her how to see herself as beautiful – something that few women have consistently mastered within themselves.
Why I Tell my Daughter that I’m Beautiful
A young woman will encounter issues with her own self image as she grows. This is unavoidable. Can I use this concept to better prepare her for these challenges in the years ahead?
I would love for her to retain that childlike playfulness, and carefree attitude into adulthood as much as possible.
I think that the best thing that I can do for her is to be an example of a woman comfortable in her own skin. Even if this goes against my own inner voice.
I can’t explain to a child how I see my own imperfections. And why would I? It feels like I would be teaching her to be critical rather than accepting of herself.
I want my daughter to recognize that you can find beauty in everyone, and this starts from within. This starts with me.
Self-acceptance and self-improvement can co-exist. And with the latter being an outward pursuit in many ways it is a way that I can show my daughter that I am beautiful as a person, while also projecting a positive self-image.
If I cannot recognize it in myself, then how can I teach her to see the beauty that I see every time I look at her? This is motivation for consistent exercise if I ever heard it!!
I don’t think I will ever stop telling my daughter that she is beautiful. It will be harder to tell her that I am beautiful, but I can see this as the seed of positive change in my life.
I can be more physically active, I can engage in learning new skills, a better quality diet…. All things that demonstrate self-love, self-respect, and the actions of a beautiful woman.