Parenting often seems to be a juggling act and the balance between extremes frequently eludes me.…
In the aftermath of the hair incident, I spent a lot of time thinking about my interactions with Adri and what I could do to affect the outcome of inevitable similar situations in the future. I realized that while I am always careful to compliment the wide array of her abilities (strength, persistence, kindness, helpfulness, thoughtfulness, clever, hardworking – I could go on), my default for all things appearance related are the usual suspects; cute, pretty, beautiful.
For those of you who know my daughter, you know she is an equal opportunity girlie girl and tomboy (if such labels really need applying). She loves hiking, biking, swimming, gymnastics and climbing up – yes up- the firepole at the playground. She loves drawing and painting and cooking and baking. She loves fishing, road hockey and playing catch with balls or anything she can throw. She loves going to the movies and hair salon dates with mommy. she loves reading books and painting nails. What she loves most of all (at this moment anyways) is dress up. She will put on a million different outfits in a given day and model them for us. Often I’m in the middle of cooking dinner, or feeding her sister or one of a million things, so I look up, smile and say “that looks so beautiful” or something of the like. It seemed like no big deal. But now I’m reconsidering.
Raising two strong, confident, happy, secure girls is no easy task. I considered eliminating ‘beautiful’ words from my vocabulary, but thought that might send a different message all together, so in an effort to be more conscious with my habit of labeling things beautiful, I’m starting the “You Are Beautiful Today” project. Once a day (if possible), when something catches my eye, I’ll share with my girls what makes them beautiful today. They key is that instead of a pretty dress or cute hairdo, I want to highlight their inner beauty. Qualities such as courage, persistence, empathy, gratefulness, confidence and joy make any person radiant.
I don’t know if this will have the impact I am hoping for in my girls, but I figure its a good place to start. I would love to hear your stories of how you bolster your little ones self esteem or a memorable way someone boosted yours. Please share!