Two weeks ago, W fell, busted her chin and had to receive stitches. Before we left for the doctor, she said to me, “Now I’m not pretty anymore.” That about broke my heart. Of course, I told her she’d always be pretty. But really, what is a mother to do in such a situation?
There are so many differing philosophies on how to raise a little girl. There is one side that believes that we shouldn’t tell our daughters that they are pretty, but say focus on saying that they are smart, brave, etc. While I believe in emphasizing those things, I don’t think that refraining from telling my child she is beautiful will be helpful in the long run. What if down the road, she develops low self-esteem because no one told her she was pretty? I worry about things like that. Of course, I also tell her she is smart and brave; I don’t just focus on exterior qualities.
I have also encountered a number of people who are against the whole princess phenomenon. Of course, Hollywood portrayal may have something to do with this. Princesses are seen as bubble headed girls who constantly need rescuing. But what about the original fairy tales? Princesses were brave; they made sacrifices most of the time. (Of course, many fairy tales have violent origins, not to mention my non happily ever after fairy tale series.) But a little girl dressing up in a fluffy pink dress has an imagination and she uses her brain to make up stories.
My daughter is not constantly walking around in a princess dress, looking at herself in the mirror. She likes to read, write letter/words, and draw. For four years old, I think she is actually a pretty good artist. That is something I actively encourage, as well as other positive things she enjoys.
I don’t see any harm in encouraging a healthy self-confidence in my daughter. Some people may not agree with my methods; but I would rather have a strong little girl who believes in herself than one full of self loathing.