mothering a daughter

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recently an article titled how to talk to little girls began circling blogs. the article reports, "15 to 18 percent of girls under 12 now wear mascara, eyeliner and lipstick regularly; eating disorders are up and self-esteem is down; and 25 percent of young american women would rather win america's next top model than the nobel peace prize." the author states that instead of complimenting little girls on their appearance, by not relying on what she calls our cultural standard icebreakers, and instead focusing on more intellectual topics such as what they are currently reading, we may be able to teach them that their value is not in their looks as much as in their thoughts and ideas.
i know that i am guilty of speaking to little girls about their appearance, it's hard not to when they are just so damn cute. as i am about to become a mother to a little girl this topic is a bit touchy for me. i would be devastated if my daughter grew up believing that being beautiful was more important than anything. however; i don't think this means that we can't compliment her on her adorable dress or her cute new haircut. perhaps the best way to mother her is to ensure that she has a healthy balance of both physical compliments and conversation that respects her brain. the next time i am around a little girl i will be sure to ask her about books or her favorite food or color before i compliment her looks and hopefully as the author writes, "model for her what a thinking woman says and does."

photo: anna war hier