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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?

Spongingbobsunderpants Tue 15-Oct-13 21:33:41

When dd does this (rather she tells me than asks!) I always try to say it in the same sentence as funny, clever and kind so she sees these things as equal.

Spongingbobsunderpants Tue 15-Oct-13 21:37:02

Or you can take the approach my grandmother took and say things like "yes, you're quite pretty but that colour doesn't do you any favours" wink

NotAQueef Tue 15-Oct-13 21:38:16

Have never heard of a 2yr old ask this before!
Of course reassure her she's beautiful (what 2yr old isn't?) but also (as I'm sure you do) validate and praise her for being good/clever/kind/funny etc

DuckToWater Tue 15-Oct-13 21:43:37

Kindness isn't self-sacrificing, it's what everyone should aspire to.

EspressoMonkey Tue 15-Oct-13 21:56:38

Absolutely tell her she is pretty. I grew up thinking i was not at all attractive and then spent 12 years working as a model. And i am still paranoid about my looks. My DM insists she never told me i was pretty as she didn't want me to be big headed, she assumed i knew i was pretty. I never did, why would i, nobody told me i was until i was 16! I accept my DM's reasoning but have spent most of my life thinking i am not that attractive because despite what other people say what your parents say or don't say tends to matter more.

suebfg Tue 15-Oct-13 22:00:07

Tell her she is the most beautiful girl in the world! I never stop gushing to my DC that they are the most beautiful children in the world.

FrightFlea Wed 16-Oct-13 10:34:43

I tell my dds that they are gorgeous, pretty, kind, etc. I don't remember ever being told that as a child as like Espresso's mother, modesty was valued more. I remember all the criticisms, they were plentiful. I find it very hard to take a compliment now and always think the person is lying or insincere.

Passthecake30 Wed 16-Oct-13 10:39:42

I would say yes. She is 2!

My mum used to me look at me and say "God, you're ugly". Wasn't great for my confidence, every child should be gorgeous in their parents eyes.

WhizzforAtomms Wed 16-Oct-13 11:30:49

I don't suggest this is going to help with your question but I saw this after a recommendation on mumsnet and think it is great:

Pretty by Katie Makkai

YoureBeingADick Wed 16-Oct-13 11:35:34


Please tell me you answered her and didnt just leave her hanging til you consulted MN?

sandtimerhalfempty Wed 16-Oct-13 11:43:57

I second the pretty amazing

duchesse Wed 16-Oct-13 11:45:35

Say, yes you are pretty, and clever and strong. That should cover all bases and ensure that knows that prettiness isn't all there is to it.

FrauMoose Wed 16-Oct-13 11:49:44

I used to call my daughter 'my cutesy-wootsy-tootsie girl' when she was small. It was - I think - a way of being affectionate, while sending up the whole concept of girls being cute, pretty etc.

MirandaWest Wed 16-Oct-13 11:53:06

I don't like the word pretty, thinking about it. Feels a bit too Disney princess for me. I prefer beautiful. And gorgeous. And wonderful.

TwoStepsBeyond Wed 16-Oct-13 13:06:09

I tell my DD she is beautiful because she is and also because as a concept I feel that beauty is more encompassing than mere 'prettiness'.

I remember seeing Linda Papadopulous on TV once saying that whenever you compliment your DD/child's looks that you should also add something about their other attributes (clever, funny etc) which I do.

I have passed this wisdom onto DP, who has 2 DDs and (like some posters on this thread apparently) seems never to have considered that defining them predominantly by their looks could be damaging to their self-esteem in the long run.

We all like to be told we look nice, that we're beautiful, pretty, cute, hot etc but even as an adult, I also like to be complimented on being clever, strong, capable etc. and somehow this means more because these are things that are within my control, I can take credit for them. If I look pretty its only thanks to half of the Boots make-up counter my parents' genes.

matana Wed 16-Oct-13 14:35:26

She's 2. Tell her she's the most beautiful thing you've ever laid eyes on, it's the truth. I tell my ds this, and more, every single day, several times a day. Plenty of time to teach them that beauty is skin deep when they're old enough to understand such a complex theory!

YoureBeingADick Wed 16-Oct-13 16:12:48

So what did you tell her OP?

nooka Thu 17-Oct-13 00:12:02

Bettercallsaul1 of course it's important for everyone to be kind, generous and empathetic and these are values to try very hard to instill /encourage in our children. It's just incredibly easy to praise very different things in girls and boys and I think it matters in the long run.

People tend to associate particular values with girls and boys, and I think therefore focus on them (for little kids that may be boisterousness for boys and sitting nicely and being pretty for girls, and I think it limits both). This might mean for me and my children praising ds more for the being nice type characteristics whilst praising dd when she is strong, brave, or speaks out for her principles because the outside world is likely not to do so very much. Of course it could be that's the wrong approach too!

I like the 'pretty amazing' response smile My children were generally gorgeous girl and beautiful boy when they were small, just because I like alliteration.

Igloofornow Thu 17-Oct-13 00:25:56

I'm always telling my dc that they are gorgeous, clever, funny, kind blah blah. To me they are absolutely perfect and I know the big wide world will change that but I figure the more I bring them up to believe in themselves the more reserves they'll have left after life knocks it away.

I hate to hear them say, I'm rubbish at or I can't do... and always answer with a positive.

May have some confidence ishoos from negative mother

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