Should Girls Be Told They Are Pretty?

self esteem for girlsThere’s a very famous quote from Marilyn Monroe that you might have heard: “All little girls should be told they are pretty, even if they aren’t”.  Hmmm…

This issue comes up a lot in discussions on the relationship between mothers and daughters and girls self esteem.  So many women grow up in our culture thinking that if they are pretty, they are somehow more loveable, more valuable.  I don’t want my girls to feel that way because I see how limiting it is.  I love my little girls SO much and when I look at them, I think to myself that they are so beautiful and yet I’m actually trying not to say this to them so much.  Why?

Like most people, I have my better days and my worse days.  Sometimes I think I look ok, othertimes I think I look horrible.  This comes from my own issues with self esteem (which actually have gotten better over time and especially since I’ve had kids)… Knowing that my husband loves me for who I am has given me so much strength, much more than if I thought he just loved me based on physical appearance, which we all know is fleeting.

To me, focusing on physical appearance can be positive (of course if feels great when someone says we look nice) but oftentimes, it gets taken too far.  I can’t stand it when people are criticized in the media because of how they look and I find it so mean.  I loved when Bethenny said recently that she doesn’t even mention dieting with her little girl.  The whole celebrity weigh loss post baby contest makes me livid: why is it healthy or a sign of success to be in a bikini when your baby is one month old?

Anyway, in today’s vlog I talk about how I am approaching this issue with my girls and it’s certainly not an absolute!  Sometimes I do tell them they’re pretty but I try not to overdo it.  Building self esteem in children is something I do think about, and I try to compliment my kids when they do something really nice for others or work really hard on something versus when they happen to look good.  I guess intuitively I think this is going to give them greater confidence in who they are as people and hopefully make them feel more at peace with themselves.

Do you agree with me and what do you do with your daughters?  Please share!  Xo Melissa

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4 Responses to Should Girls Be Told They Are Pretty?

  1. Dolores Dulaney November 18, 2013 at 11:53 pm #

    I think you are one of the smartest I know.I have had people tell one or two of my daughters they we’re so pretty in front of the others.So I had that and so did the kids,to deal with all through the teen years and it still happens. Keep up what you are doing.I give you so much credit.Actually I had the same thing happen to me and my niece,who was 1 1\2 yrs younger and a cousin. I grew up feeling ugly and stupid still feel that way and now am 79 yrs. old. please keep doing what all parents should be doing. I wish I had a way of getting this to people. I hope you write more articles.

    • Melissa Lawrence December 2, 2013 at 11:42 am #

      Thank you Dolores, you made my day, in fact you made my week! You certainly are a beautiful person!!! xo M

  2. Marisa November 20, 2013 at 7:10 pm #

    I understand. I have 2 daughters and I compliment them EVERYDAY including how beautiful they are. It’s how I feel so I tell them. I don’t think it’s wrong. I don’t feel it’s doing them a disservice by doing so. While I do tell them they’re beautiful daily it’s such a small fraction of characteristics that I praise them on. I’m trying to raise BEAUTIFUL women, mind, body and spirit.

    • Melissa Lawrence December 2, 2013 at 11:41 am #

      That is a lot like me. Just trying to ahve them feel good about themselves for all the many things they are, not just because they are beautiful!