2yo asked me if she's pretty, how to handle?

(44 Posts)
ExpatAunty Mon 14-Oct-13 20:05:00

My two year old recently asked 'me pretty mummy? How can I respond and make sure she does not become defined by a concept of beauty?

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Mon 14-Oct-13 20:07:46

Er, tell her yes?

ICameOnTheJitney Mon 14-Oct-13 20:07:55

Oh balls just tell her she's gorgeous! I tell mine they are all the time...AND I tell them they're clever, intuitive, witty...I tell them all those things equally.

What the actual fuck?

The answer is yes dear. You are the prettiest child ever.

End of.

smartmoves Mon 14-Oct-13 20:15:07

Tell her yes, look at your shiny eyes, strong legs, big smile, etc etc. Start associating beauty with health and strength and confidence.

bigTillyMint Mon 14-Oct-13 20:15:35

Tell her she is gorgeous. On the inside as well as the outside.

Deathbyladybirds Mon 14-Oct-13 20:19:44

Tell her she is beautiful.

MarshaBrady Mon 14-Oct-13 20:20:52

I tell my dses they are beautiful all the time. So I don't see why your little dd shouldn't hear the same.

sonlypuppyfat Mon 14-Oct-13 20:21:06

Be a nice mum tell her she's the most beautiful girl in the world to you.

FannyFifer Mon 14-Oct-13 20:22:38

Just tell her no you are ugly.

Wtf of course you tell her she is pretty.

Passmethecrisps Mon 14-Oct-13 20:23:06

I think smart has a good plan. I do her why OP is worried about the 'right' answer. I was crippled by anxiety about not being pretty at a very young age so I am probably projecting.

Wolfiefan Mon 14-Oct-13 20:24:01

Gorgeous, clever, funny, kind, helpful etc is what I tell mine. No they shouldn't feel looks are everything but if we don't find our kids utterly adorable then who will?

AuntieStella Mon 14-Oct-13 20:25:40

Work on the concept of beauty and what qualities are valued in society and why, when she is old enought to grasp what you are inviting her to think about.

Until then, you say 'yes you're beautiful'. For at some stage she'll learn that mothers' opinions on this cannot be trusted as they all say their DC are gorgeous. And if theirs didn't, this will precipitate more of a confidence crisis that a bit of parental going along with a toddler.

nkf Mon 14-Oct-13 20:28:43

I would tell her she is beautiful. Utterly gorgeous. The most beautiful little girl in the world.

smartmoves Mon 14-Oct-13 20:30:00

I think it's valid worry. It's silly to pretend that people don't grow up concerned about the way they look.

I did worry, after I posted, that it seems that I think beauty is limited to things such as health and strength and confidence, whereas loads of kids don't have these. But they will of course have other beautiful attributes.

I'm more interested in the idea of subverting the view of beauty as prettiness we see in pictures/media, etc, and passing onto children the idea that they should feel free and strong and enough to declare their own beauty.

I do think that the idea of beauty needs to be almost aggressively handled and challenged - partly because it clearly does have an impact on people (I have a son, not a daughter).

I think it's a thought well worth thinking.

Habbibu Mon 14-Oct-13 20:30:22

Yy, tell her she's gorgeous. Because she is. She's your wee girl and looking at her makes your heart happy. And that's what beautiful is.

Bettercallsaul1 Mon 14-Oct-13 21:50:03

I would say "You''re very pretty, darling, but as well as that, you're nice, and kind to other people, which is much more important! Although children become aware of the importance attached to beauty very early on, it's also never too soon to start emphasising the qualities that really matter both for their own future happiness and other people's'.

WomanNeedsDivorceLawyer Mon 14-Oct-13 21:59:13

If you are concerned about sending subliminal messages about the value of beauty, then associating it with health and strength is a rather dangerous line to go down. It leads to the conclusion that sick or disabled people can't be beautiful, which I would hope you wouldn't want either.

SLVC Mon 14-Oct-13 22:18:43

Tell her yes she is pretty - on the inside and out. And that being a beautiful person on the inside in the most wonderfully thing of all.

SLVC Mon 14-Oct-13 22:19:17

*wonderful. Damn autocorrect.

DeWe Tue 15-Oct-13 09:48:51

For a start off you say "yes". If you fudge the issue "it doesn't really matter what you look like" they'll probably go away thinking they aren't but you don't want to say.
But I would continue with something along the likes of "and I loved, it when you shared your doll with Katie, you're so kind" or "but even better, you're generous/kind/brilliant at tidying up..." (whatever you want to say).

For the debate people are having on health/disability and beauty. My dd2 (age 9yo) was born without her hand. She is also beautiful in that people do stop to admire her, and comment. Even though, she is very insecure about her appearance because she is aware that she is different than everyone (or nearly) else.
You also do need to think if you go for the "beautiful because you're healthy" that health doesn't always stay. If your dc does then develop health issues then you may find that they have the extra baggage of thinking they've lost their beauty too.

nooka Tue 15-Oct-13 10:00:37

I tried quite hard to avoid calling my dd pretty, because of it's associations with a particular sort of femininity. I'd also watch out with tempering your 'yes' response with other traditionally female characteristics like kindness, generosity or other self sacrificing qualities unless you also throw in some more wild and unique factors too. Possibly I feel that way because I also have a son and I wanted to make sure that they both knew that I valued them for themselves (and ds wasn't so great on the kind/nice front when he was small!)

I tell my children that they are wonderful on a regular basis because I think it's important, but I also keep it at least a bit silly because it's important not to take these things too seriously.

So I'd rather respond to 'me pretty mummy' with 'you are wonderful/gorgeous/fabulous/best dd in the whole wide world dd' plus then I tended to get the response 'your the best mummy too' which was very nice! Now dd is older she just reminds me that she is my only dd grin She is wonderful though smile

Bettercallsaul1 Tue 15-Oct-13 12:09:22

But Nooka - to me, kindness, generosity and empathy are the cardinal virtues and just as important to instil in little boys as girls! I certainly don't see these as purely "feminine" virtues and, in my case, I was just as quick to praise my son as my daughter for acts that were kind, considerate and empathetic. Both sexes should grow up thinking these qualities are vital, both for the sake of other people and for the success of their own relationships with others. Kindness and empathy are the glue that binds society together and the best way to ensure fair and compassionate treatment for all is to stress their importance to girls and boys as early as possible.

mawbroon Tue 15-Oct-13 13:57:02

I've only got DSs, so I know nothing!!

But where has she got the idea from about asking if she is pretty? At age 2? shock

Bettercallsaul1 Tue 15-Oct-13 14:15:55

Disney films, perhaps? (not many homely princesses there!)

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