Wednesday 5 December 2018

Why we shouldn't tell our children that they LOOK beautiful.

I have a bit of a bug bear to share with you.

I hate it, nay detest it, when adults make a comment about a child's appearance - "oh, don't you look beautiful" or "aren't you looking handsome today," or "you look very pretty" or "you look gorgeous in that dress." 

I hate it when people make comments like that to me! Comments like that make me want to respond with "so you only think I'm beautiful when I'm wearing clothes that you approve of? Does that mean that in your eyes, I'm not beautiful when I'm wearing my daggy clothes?" or "And aren't you very rude today!"

We don't call children out on when their hair is scruffy and their clothes are messy. Imagine the response if you said to a child "Oh geez, you look like a hot mess! Not looking very beautiful today are you!" Ummmm, I can hear the tears and tantrums right now!

I don't want my children, in particular my daughter, growing up thinking that she has to look immaculate when she gets dressed in the morning. I don't want O to be constantly concerned that the only trait about herself that matters to those around her, is her appearance.

I want O to be comfortable in her own skin, regardless of whether she has brushed her hair, is still in her pyjamas or if she is wearing her Sunday best.

I tell both of my children on a regular basis that I think that they are wonderful little humans. I tell them on a regular basis how kind and polite they are when interacting with others. I tell them both regularly that I am proud of how brave they are when they overcome obstacles. 

I do tell O that she is beautiful and L that he is handsome BUT not only when they've brushed their hair and are wearing their best clothes. I praise both of my children when I catch them sharing with each other, or with other children. I tell both of my children that they are great friends when I find out that they've looked out for their own friends. I tell both of my children on a regular basis that I love how their brains work!

Do you sense a common theme?

I want both of my children to view themselves as wonderful, kind, polite, brave, strong individuals as these are all great traits to have. Everyone is beautiful in some way, but I don't want my children to view "being beautiful" as the only trait that they should have. A major part of being a parent is imparting our own values on our children. I don't want to send an unintentional, totally avoidable message to my children that their physical appearance is more important than how they think, feel and behave.

When we spend a lot of time talking about something with our children, we send a message to them that that particular topic is important to us. If our children are only told that they are beautiful when they've brushed their hair and are wearing their Sunday best clothes, what message is that sending to them?

I don't want O to become self conscious of her looks. While it drives me insane when she refuses to brush her hair, I will never call her out on it. She is still a beautiful child, inside and out, when her hair is messy.

Why? Because I want O to love the way that she looks.

There are enough pressures on our children from the media and our children's peers as they grow older, to look their absolute best at all times. Our children don't need that pressure from those that are meant to love them unconditionally. 

So the next time that you find yourself about to tell a child, especially one of mine, how beautiful or handsome they are, consider all of the other qualities of the child that you admire or love about them. Consider how you could impart a different, more meaningful message to them instead of telling them how beautiful or handsome you think that they are!

Remember beauty is not everything!

1 comment:

  1. This is a great blog post, I totally understand and agree with what you're saying. We should love ourselves and others when they are dressed up nicely, and when they're in their pjs with messy hair!

    Chloe xx


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