When my children were younger, I read an article about how we talk to girls. We tend to comment on their shoes, their hair, their clothes. And I became very aware of how I talked to my daughter and her friends. And yes, there were a LOT of comments on the curls in their hair, their adorable little shoes and their beautiful long eyelashes. And then I took a look at what I was saying to my son and his friends. And it was definitely different. Certainly not intentional but there were a lot more questions about sports, games and dinosaurs.
Why is that? Probably because girls clothes are so freakin adorable and they are soooo cute.... but it definitely made me think about it and it challenged me to change the way I talked to the girls in my life.
Think about it.
If we are constantly telling little girls that their appearance is the first thing we notice about them, what are we teaching them?
Yes, of course, compliments are nice. And we feel good when we receive them, but how can we make an effort to compliment on something other than their appearance?
Things I starting asking my daughter's friends...
"What books do you like to read?"
"Do you like soccer/swimming/gymnastics?"
"What's your favourite subject in school?"
Things I started saying to my daughter...
"You are so strong".
"You are such a good friend."
"I love how honest you are."
"Your determination is inspiring."
"You are so brave."
"I love your sense of humour.'
"You are so helpful."
"I love how generous you are."
It was... hard. It still is. Yes, I tell my daughter she is beautiful and I compliment her on her appearance and her clothing choices. But that's not the only thing she gets compliments on.
Every night I ask her what's the most beautiful thing about her.
She puts her hand over her chest and says "My heart".
This is my daughter standing on the peak of mountain. She was the one who pushed our family to get up there. She wanted SO BADLY to stand on top of a mountain. And her determination and strength got her up there.
Let's bring up strong, confident, brave, curious girls.
Cause you know what? They will figure out what is important. And as they grow up and start complimenting others, they will focus on something other than the clothes, hair and eyelashes.
This was a note I found on my pillow one night, from my daughter, written when she was 6.
"Mom, I love you and you are so strong."
Perhaps if we start changing the conversation when they are little, the conversation won't need to be changed when they're older.
Let's be the change for our daughters.