Tuesday, August 20, 2013

How to really talk to your daughter...

I recently read an article called "How to Talk to Little Girls" by Lisa Bloom. It's making the rounds on facebook and focusses on getting people to really talk to the little girls in their lives, rather than just praising them for their beauty. It suggests really engaging your daughter/niece/friend in meaningful conversation about their goals and aspirations, their accomplishments and achievements.

It is something I have been mindful of as I have begun this journey of raising my daughter.

The thing is, all the little girls I know already open these sorts of conversations, without being prompted. Little girls don't just seek praise for their cuteness and beauty. They want to show you things - things they've made, things they've seen, things that have made them laugh. They want to show you how much they have going on inside their head, the knowledge they've gained since they last had your undivided attention. They are full of words of wisdom, strange facts and beautiful aspirations. They want to prove to you that they matter, they've grown and they have something to contribute.

I really don't really see the problem with telling a little girl she is beautiful. I tell my little Miss Piggy how gorgeous she is almost every day. If not in conversation, with the looks I give her every time she takes my breath away with her radiance and happiness. Of course, I also tell her how much I love to hear her sing, see her dance, how I love her infectious giggle and her big heart. I'll tell her how proud it makes me to listen to her read, to see her explain something with clarity and tenderness to her little brother; her ability to know just when a little squeeze of my hand is going to make my day infinitely better.

Back when my hair had less grey and I could still run faster than Miss Piggy
 
I can't believe that praising her for her beauty is going to encourage her to one day argue with me over make-up and boys and other grown-up stuff. I refuse to believe that any daughter of mine, raised in this house where civility and  working hard are a prerequisite for parental approval, will honestly ever truly believe that being Australia's Next Top Model is the ultimate honour just because we praised her for her appearance as a tween. 

Soon enough, she will be an awkward teenager, struggling with self-esteem and self-worth when other, far less complimentary, voices drown out my own... so for now, (and forever) I will tell my daughter she is beautiful! And, I will teach her to accept the compliment with grace.

 I agree with Lisa Bloom. We need to listen to the little girls in our lives. Really listen. We also need to praise, encourage and nurture them in ways that gives them the confidence to achieve. But I don't agree that we should stop reminding them of their beauty. We should model for them what a thinking woman sees as true beauty. That beauty is in a smile, a kind word, a gesture. It's in health and happiness. It's in self-confidence, self-worth and pride in oneself. 


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Oh my goodness!!! This post was featured on Maxabella's Rewind last week!!! How very exciting :) When my work week is too busy, dropping into Maxabella Loves with a cuppa in hand is almost like catching up with an old friend for coffee. Thanks for the link :) 

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