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We see a little girl and we tell them that they are so beautiful, and that they look so cute in their outfit. We compliment their looks from such an early age. This isn’t something that happens as much with boys. Sure we tell them they look so cute sometimes, but we aren’t focusing just on that. We don’t compliment their clothes unless it is something quite extraordinary that catches our eye. We do this with girls though. I decided long ago that I wasn’t going to do this with my little girl.
Well I was wrong, and I am so glad that I was wrong. I tell her daily that she is beautiful and looks adorable and cute. I tell her how beautiful her smile is and how her eyes are so big and so perfect. I compliment her looks- every single day. It was the first compliment we gave her- “you are so beautiful”. I am so glad that we tell her this every day. She should know that she is beautiful and she should be confident. The issue isn’t telling girls that they are beautiful- the issue is having that be the only thing we say to them, or always the first thing we say when we see them.
So, when I caught myself telling her how beautiful she is all the time, I decided that I wanted to pair it with other compliments as well. I, of course, already compliment her on how smart she is, how curious she is, how thoughtful and sweet she is, etc. So, when she’s old enough to understand me, she’ll know. But, I decided that when I tell her she’s beautiful, I want to pair it with 2 other things. I want to tell her that she is smart, strong, and beautiful. And as I write this, I want to add one more thing- capable. She is smart, strong, beautiful and capable. I don’t want her to focus on just one of those things, or have one stand out- for she is all of those things and always will be.
I remember when my sister was visiting Caroline for the first time. I forget exactly what happened, but someone said how beautiful she was, and we both chimed in to say tell her ” you are also so smart and so strong”. We smiled, and she told me that she always told her daughter those three things as well. That’s what my sister and I have in common- we were brought up to be smart, strong, and beautiful. We were raised to be independent, and to not need a man or anyone else. We were raised to be women that had careers and could stand on our own two feet. We were raised to be confident in our looks, but also our abilities. We are raising our daughters this way as well.
The next time you see a little girl, I challenge you to stop from saying “you look so beautiful today”. Try out something else. Maybe “you look so smart today”, or “you look so strong today”. Or say it all “you look so beautiful today, and also so smart and so strong”. Let’s show them that we notice other things about them first. Let’s also compliment their beauty, both inside and out. It’s challenging. We are so accustomed to noticing the cuteness and commenting on it. I am guilty of it as well.
Let’s show them that they are capable. Expose them to new things and challenge them to explore all of their options. If they want to play princess- totally fine…but let’s show them a soccer ball. Let’s show them building blocks, and books. Let’s ask them to help put something together, or troubleshoot as we would our boys. Let’s show them that they are beautiful human beings that are also so strong, so smart, and so amazingly capable.
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