I went to a dinner party at a friend’s home last weekend, and met her five-year-old daughter for the first time.Please read the rest: How to Talk to Little Girls
Little Maya was all curly brown hair, doe-like dark eyes, and adorable in her shiny pink nightgown. I wanted to squeal, “Maya, you’re so cute! Look at you! Turn around and model that pretty ruffled gown, you gorgeous thing!”
But I didn’t. I squelched myself. As I always bite my tongue when I meet little girls, restraining myself from my first impulse, which is to tell them how darn cute/ pretty/ beautiful/ well-dressed/ well-manicured/ well-coiffed they are.
What’s wrong with that? It’s our culture’s standard talking-to-little-girls icebreaker, isn’t it? And why not give them a sincere compliment to boost their self-esteem? Because they are so darling I just want to burst when I meet them, honestly.
Hold that thought for just a moment.
This week ABC news reported that nearly half of all three- to six-year-old girls worry about being fat. In my book, Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World, I reveal that fifteen to eighteen percent of girls under twelve now wear mascara, eyeliner and lipstick regularly; eating disorders are up and self-esteem is down; and twenty-five percent of young American women would rather win America’s next top model than the Nobel Peace Prize. Even bright, successful college women say they’d rather be hot than smart. A Miami mom just died from cosmetic surgery, leaving behind two teenagers. This keeps happening, and it breaks my heart.
As I read this post, I realized how often I use appearance as the go-to, first compliment when talking to my niece and other young girls whose parents, etc. I know. While I believe that such compliments have their place, I'm going to try harder to focus in on those attributes and skills that I (or the specific girl I'm talking to) most value in future, especially when making an initial, first-impression comment. Like the Dove Real Beauty and #GirlsUnstoppable campaigns, I believe female (and human) beauty is more than skin deep, and comes in many forms.
How to Talk to Little Girls
The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty
dove real beauty campaign - Google Image Search
Help Make All Girls Unstoppable
Positive Self-Esteem Makes All Girls Unstoppable
But on the other hand:
How To Raise Girls Who Love Their Looks
(And no, I didn't realize until this link addition that the original post, as well as the link I just added, are from 2011... Still as relevant and thought provoking, though...)