Over the weekend, I read an article about how hurt a mother was after finding a strict diet & exercise plan that her 7yr. old daughter wrote for herself. I felt for the mother in the article because as moms our children having a negative self image bears a reflection on us as parents. Although I felt deep empathy for the mom in the article, I never imagined my daughter having similar thoughts. For confirmation, I asked my soon to be 7 year old if she considered herself beautiful. Her response was devastating! She paused for a moment and shook her head no. Crushed, I asked her why. With a loss for words, she took me by the hand, led me to the bathroom and said , “look. ” At this point I was completely floored by her response! I couldn’t grasp how my daughter would ever feel insecure. Since birth, I’ve always expressed how pretty she was. Apprehensive to crush her spirit any further, I quickly composed myself at the mirror and said , “What I see is a beautiful young lady.” Her face lit up like a Christmas tree! We hugged, and continued with whatever we were doing that day, but my mind couldn’t shake the moment. I began to reflect on where I could have possibly gone wrong as a parent as to why my daughter could not recognize her beauty.
I began to think that maybe my delivery was wrong. Telling my daughter that she is cute or looks pretty is incomparable to staring her in the eye and saying, ” Honey, you are beautiful!” Expecting a child to profess self-affirmations without laying the groundwork is unfair. I then asked myself the question, “Do you think you are beautiful!” Busy maintaining the daily responsibilities as a parent left little room for self reflection. However, the one lesson I’ve learned during my parenting journey is that kids don’t learn from what we say, they learn from what we do. So here are 3 ways I will begin my journey of letting my daughter know that she is smart, cute, pretty, & beautiful.