I recently read Alan’s post from OMG it’s a girl titled “Why I Don’t Call My Daughter “My Pretty Girl” Anymore!” and it got me thinking about this whole body issue thing. His post is awesome and I loved reading it! In fact I read it three times now.
It has got me thinking though about the things we say as parents to our children and I can’t honestly think of one good reason why we can’t tell our children when they look pretty or handsome? Yes there are body issues and look issues that can come with telling them these things also they may take some of it the wrong way and place a bigger value on their looks than what we want.
As in everything we do as a parent there has to be checks and balances! We cannot just walk around saying “how pretty you are!” or “how handsome you are!” all the time otherwise all the value will be placed on their appearance! we need balance in the things we tell our children (not just girls, but our boys as well!)
For example how many times have you heard “boys will be boys!” or “that’s what boys do!”? I’ve said it! It’s kind of like giving permission to what they are doing as acceptable. It puts a value to what they are doing as funny or however they see it? I am not saying it’s wrong I’m just saying checks and balances need to be placed.
There are so many things our children need to hear from us and being “pretty” or being “handsome” is one of them, but there are other things they also need to know! In order to turn around body issues we first have to have a change what is viewed as a beautiful body! That starts at home! It starts with the mum and the dad and what we perceive as beautiful!
I tell my children that everyone is “pretty”, “beautiful” or “handsome” in their own way. Being “pretty”, “beautiful” or “handsome” is more than skin deep it’s who that person is as well inside, so be inside who you want to portray outside as it starts in you!
Other things that should be said a lot is…
- You are strong!
- You are brave!
- you can do anything you want too in life!
- you are amazing!
- You are loved!
- Believe in yourself you can do it!
And I am sure there are a ton I missed, but those are a few! Redefining what beauty means though is going to be a mammoth job and it would take generations to change it, but it starts with one as any change does! So tell your children they are “pretty”, “beautiful” and “handsome” as we all love to hear it and it makes us feel good and there is nothing wrong with that. Just make sure you have your checks and balances in what you encourage in them.