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. 


____________________________

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 :) 

16 comments:

  1. Lovely post. I haven't read the Lisa Bloom article yet (I don't think), but I agree. Really listen, and nurture and encourage them in all areas.

    My middle child - my eldest daughter - is gorgeous. I mean, I think all my kids are, of course, but people are always commenting on her. It worries me because I don't want her to put too much stock on being beautiful (partly simply because family history means the chances of bad acne in a few years time are Very High, which may just ruin the amazing peaches and cream complexion people comment on), but you have got to be right - it's not that we need to avoid telling her she's beautiful, it's that we need to make sure we listen, and nurture her in all areas.

    (Hi, BTW, I just popped over from IBOT).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it special how little girls think we - their mothers - are beautiful, too? Mother-daughter, it's just a lovely symbiotic relationship... except when it's a stand off!!! haha

      Delete
  2. I couldn't agree more! I tell my girl every day she is gorgeous, because in just a few years her self confidence will slowly be torn away by the world and others and the thicker the confidence the better! I do also tell her how smart, caring and sweet she is every day too - great post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I aim to leave an indelible mark in her mind. She won't always see herself as gorgeous, but she'll know I think she is beautiful.

      Delete
  3. Yep, the more little girls who think they are perfect exactly as they are, the better.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have read that post a few times, I disagree with it as well. I think it is important to tell our girls they are beautiful, sure don't let it be the only thing you say to them but certainly don't not tell them. Leaving some fairy wishes and butterfly kisses from #teamIBOT, sorry I didn't swing by on Tues

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for visiting :) You're right, it's a balancing act!

      Delete
  5. Great post, I remember feeling very similarly when I read the article you referenced. I feel that there's a balance and not giving any praise for beauty is dangerous too as they will seek that positive feedback elsewhere. It's also an opportunity to teach about the differences of beauty that they don't have to fit into an airbrush magazine mold to be beautiful.
    (popping over from Maxabella's weekend rewind)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've had conversations with other mums, and you're right - it does seem that if we don't offer those positive, empowering words, someone else (with perhaps not the best intentions) will. I don't want my daughter to fall for the first man who calls her beautiful - I want her to find someone who values the whole package the way that we do.

      Delete
  6. I agree. I want my daughter to be confident, happy and resilient and for her to know she is perfect just as she is. (pooping over late in the weekend from Maxabella's rewind :-))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Resilience is the key! I think a big part of it is believing your family values you, warts and all :) I had a giggle at your comment. Feel free to poop over anytime! :)

      Delete
  7. I feel fine praising my daughter's (and son's) appearance. I find them utterly beautiful and want them to know that it pleases me. I make sure to praise lots of good things they do to make up for it, though! x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aren't they just (utterly beautiful)? I think children open our eyes to true beauty ... both around us and sometimes even inside ourselves.

      Delete
  8. So true. I agree with you. I make sure my daughter knows she's beautiful ... inside and out ... and that it's so wonderful she has such a strong and healthy body. Great post. Thank you x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remind my daughter that so many people hide their true beauty in their smile. Being healthy and happy is so important!

      Delete

I love reading your comments, thanks for stopping by :)