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« American Idol predictions | Main | Self-inflicted hair cut of DOOM »

February 23, 2007

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magpie

That's a really nice post - thanks.

Tanya

Posts like this one are why I love reading your blog. Just thought I would finally de-lurk to let you know.

Jenny H.

I could not agree more. With one difference. I have two little boys. I tell them the same thing. That they are beautiful and smart. I think it is important for them to know, that looks aren't everything, but that I will always think that they are beautiful. And I want them to value knowledge. Both of my children are very smart and we encourage that with everything we do together.

Kate

I'm delurking also. Great post. New York magazine had an interesting story last week on the power of praise (and what kind of praise is most effective). Made me rethink how to best convey to my utterly fabulous, amazingly smart, and ridiculously beautifl son just how special he is.
http://nymag.com/news/features/27840/index.html

Heatherg

LOL - labels on jeans.......... boy that takes me back. My parents used to say when the designers wore their name on his jeans, then they would wear his name on their jeans.

My parents were good parents who praised us growing up. Thats my biggest problem with my weight loss, i FEEL comfortable, and I FEEL like i am a hottie, and I dont FEEL fat because all my life, my parents made it clear that i was beautiful, so now i look in the mirror and say, This extra 50 lbs is no biggie because i am beautiful but in reality, i have to get past it and realize, i'm beautiful, but overweight, essentially making me unhealthy.

I FEEL beautiful, but then i look at a picture of me.

Am i making sense here? Its hard to type out in a comment and get across what i am TRYING to say.

Either way, i'm glad my parents praised us, i do it with my children and i think everyone should praise and drill into their kids heads that they are awesome.

jenB

i hope you don't mind me double posting the same comment here as i did on Meghan's site, but:

I am not sure how I will negotiate this as the years go by Charlotte is three. I can protect her from those images when she is really young and then explain them as she gets older. When my niece asked for a Bratz doll, I said I didn't like they way she looked, but how do you explain "whorish" to a five year old? I don't want to hinge her self esteem on anything. Yes, smart is good, funny is good, being pretty is nice, but being a good person is the most important. Being kind and generous and forgiving and loyal and truthful. Beautiful be damned. When she looks nice in a dress, I will tell her she looks great, but it is not going to be a quality that I want her to hinge her self love on. I had enough problems with this growing up, if I can spare her the same pain, I will. Dammit.

xo

Erica

Hi-- I just read an article last week called "The Power (and Peril) of Praising Your Kids" (http://nymag.com/news/features/27840/) that really hit home for me. As a child, I was told constantly by teachers and others that I was soooo smart, soooo pretty. Great self-esteem booster, right? Not so much. It left me feeling like I had to live up to that praise. Because people saw me that way, I felt pressure to not disappoint them. I still feel that, though I'm trying to rewire some of those thoughts in my head.

As a parent, I praise my kids A LOT. I'm so proud of them, amazed by them, and so in love with them! How can I not let them know that? How can I not tell them how smart, how wonderful, how brilliant they are? I'm working on specific rather than general praise. It's tougher than it sounds. ;)

(As a note, I had to ask my mom if they praised me like that as a child, and she said they did quite often, but tried to avoid generalizations. I don't remember this, maybe because I just knew/felt my parents loved me and thought I was smart and so blew off their praise?)

I'm not saying don't praise your kids, and of course all of your points are valid. Children do need to know they are smart, beautiful creatures! I do, however, think the article linked above does provide some powerful food for thought. (And, she IS beautiful!)

Tasha

I grew up with my mom telling me that I was smart and beautiful and that I could handle anything I was given. I have high self esteem about myself and I really think I owe that all to my mom.

Angie

It's funny. As I was reading your entry, I was thinking about what my parents always said to me growing up: "You've got brains and beauty; it's a dynamite combination." And then I read your last sentence. :) Power-packed, indeed.

Katrina

Hi ... love your blog by the way(!) ... Hey if you have a moment, please go and read the following blog entry that I saw just the other day:

http://shapingmyway.blogspot.com/2007/02/in-order-to-be-beautiful.html#comments

It SO WELL describes what you're saying, but through the perception(s) of the blogger's 8 year old girl. I think it is a seriously interesting read!!!

Katrina.

Jackie

My daughter is only 2 months old but I'm already pre-occupied with this notion. Instead I've taken to calling her "the total package" Because she's smart, strong, and beautiful. Incidentally, I think "the total package" would make a really awesome wrestling name. LOL

Amanda

Amanda,
This post really hit home for me. I actually cried during my ultrasound when I discovered I was carrying a girl during my first pregnancy.

I think this world is so hard for a girl, and it's very hard to be parents to girls that grow up healthy, independent with high self esteems. I was scared to be a mother to a GIRL. I have since had ANOTHER girl, and have come to realize that part of my duty (or main life challenge!) is to raise two girls who know they are smart, funny, considerate, kind, beautiful, and strong in body and soul. I do or say something every single day to my 2 year old daughter to make sure she hears a positive message about one of those traits.

Mocha

I feel ya, sister. Went through the same thing with my daughter when strangers would stop her on the street to tell her she wa pretty. I wanted them to know she was intelligent. I'd let them say it and then interject, "If you think that's something, you should hear her read at 4 years old. Or even talk. Wow, the girl can hold a conversation!"

You're a good mom, honey. To be thinking about such things when Genoa is so young and knowing you can affect her life so positively now is excellent.

Amy

AMEN!

DaisyCake

that NY Times article link posted up there is GREAT.

meghan

Great post Amanda. Particularly the points about adolescence, and the shifting of a girls internal focus to all things apperance related, because that is a documented psychological shift that is a part of normal, healthy developemt (the "invisible audience").
It can't hurt to remind your kid that they are beautiful (and that the beauty on the inside matters the most, and shows up on the outside).

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