Teaching Your Daughter about Beauty
Terri and I come from a family of four girls with a mother more practical than most in which there was always a healthy balance between physical beauty and self care. Not so much emphasis was placed on how we looked but rather on how we cared for ourselves from the inside out. By now, your daughter has learned the basics of face washing and hair combing but these routines will begin to blossom as she enters puberty and becomes more concerned with her appearance.
While it may not be a good idea to place excess value on physical appearance it’s also not something to be ignored. We want our daughters to develop a healthy self image and physical appearance is a part of that. Your job is to guide her in that balance. Continue to encourage healthy habits around food, exercise and self care. Take the time to talk about what it means to be healthy and make sure she’s not reaching for someone else’s ideal of physical perfection.
Whether your daughter is a “tom boy”, “girly girly” or a little of both, look for teachable moments to talk to her about what beauty means to you and your family. You can get a good idea of what she’s thinking by asking her to name someone she sees as beautiful and explain why. You can share your values of beauty by doing the same thing. Add this to your list of ongoing conversation topics to have throughout her teen years.
The influence of the media on how women and girls see themselves physically cannot be ignored but keep in mind that up until the age of 12, kids are still listening and watching their parents. While you set limits on TV and internet don’t forget to talk about the images she is seeing. Ask her how the images and situations portrayed on TV compare to what she sees in her own life.
During these tween years your daughter is straddling between being a kid and being a teenager. She’ll have a foot in both worlds as you help her figure out what beauty means to her. Continue to nurture her individual strengths and encourage her to take on more responsibilities. She’ll learn to see herself as someone who has value beyond her physical appearance.