As our cultural imperative for girls to be hot 24/7 has become the new normal, American women have become increasingly unhappy. A life of meaning, a life of ideas and reading books and being valued for our thoughts and accomplishments. I’m much happier when she makes it over the higher jump on a horse. ” Reply That’s the important thing, I think: complimenting where compliments are due. As Lisa alluded to in the article, the problems come when only one aspect of a personality is ever praised – and also if it’s only praise that is ever received.
That’s why I force myself to talk to little girls as follows. So if a girl (or a boy, for that matter) looks good, tell them so. There’s a fine line between being encouraging and being blind to any faults.
Whether or not “looking good” is based on genetics or conscious choices the child made when selecting their outfit and grooming may be too fine a distinction for a five year old to make and they could easily parse it down to “I’m pretty” or “I’m not pretty.” (or handsome).
Reply If a 15 year old dresses well; fine, acknowledge it, good for her, she probably had some say in the matter.
It sets them up for dieting at age 5 and foundation at age 11 and boob jobs at 17 and Botox at 23. She paused, though, a little shy of me, a stranger. But, I think it’s important because she dresses for her own satisfaction, and not any particular style that I can discern. She has shirts with peace signs on them, and of course ones with horses. It’s just something she occasionally makes an effort to do. That being said, I agree that it shouldn’t be the first or only topic of conversation. ” and follow it up with “What have you learned recently?
Reply Thank you for this practical extension ‘how-to’ which will make it easier for adults to talk with children.
Compliments on appearance are easy to make and they don’t lead to validating the whole little person. I have twin girls that are about to turn four years old. My sister-in-law shared an important thought with me when our daughters, who are only 6 months apart, were very young.
But certainly by the time I was 12 I was worried I was fat.
I wish I’d never read a Teen magazine, and instead enjoyed my youth. Reply Maybe you could gently guide the adult to a new way to interact with any child, really, by asking your girls to tell the person what their reading now or about a subject that interests your girls.