Friday afternoon Emilie and I had a date at the hairdresser. We both went for a trim and walked out feeling all Kardashian. Ian gave tons of compliments, and we took pictures (something I now realise we don’t do enough). While putting on a bit of make-up on Saturday (also something I don’t do very often), Emilie was like wow mum, now you look really pretty. I saw that look and resisted the temptation to say you can put something on too.

child appearance

We proceeded to have a beautiful unplanned day at friends, where Emilie ran around and had the kinda fun only kids can have. She begged me to swim which I proceeded to decline 568975 times. Because uhm, we had just been to the hairdresser? What more was there to explain? A little voice nagged in my head. “Let her be a kid” – and I just shushed that voice. It was only later when she asked me if all the running around outside and sweating had made her hair poofy. Something that we often talk about – once its gone poofy (or gone home as we fondly call it) – it’s tickets for your hair. Boo hoo!

It hadn’t, (thanks Stylish Steppers!) but that wasn’t the point. Right now, because of my reactions, because of the way we compliment and when, because this is a good time for pictures and other times aren’t. She had made the deduction that her hair – worn a certain way makes her more beautiful. I did try to convert her to really liking her curls earlier this year. It is almost as though the damage had already been done because she herself doesn’t really like her curls.


The point is my child already feels like in her natural state she isn’t the most beautiful she could be. πŸ™ That’s on me, because I hate pictures where my eyebrows aren’t done. Without make-up, or the right clothes. When my hair isn’t done a certain way. She hears me say it. She models my behaviour. Luchae wrote an article that very closely ties in with this last week called – To the skinny girl who calls herself fat, it’s one of those reads that makes you re-look at the way you look at yourself. Not for yourself but for your kids.

How you look is not who you are. It doesn’t affect your worth, your intelligence, your ability to show love and kindness. How you look does not determine how valuable you are. – Luchae Williams

What I’m trying to say is. You are so beautiful – just the way you are. No make-up, hair-do, outfit or accessory can accentuate that more than your happiness. So instead of teaching our children to condition their beauty and tie it to material things, why don’t we teach them that happiest girls and boys are the prettiest/handsomest? This doesn’t just mean complimenting them all the time. Kids aren’t dumb.

child appearance

It means loving yourself, and showing them that. Letting them see that. It means accepting yourself. (Much harder said than done I know) Unfortunately it also means not judging others, by their clothes, make up, hair or physical appearance. I know how tempting it is to make a comment when someone looks a little less than ordinary, or even when they are really different. Honestly though, who are we to make any kinds of judgements on anyone?

I know that it’s hard to accept people when you don’t accept yourself. But that is not a problem your child should have to take on from you. Here’s to more self-love, more acceptance, less judgement, and more living your best life.

In the meantime – Are you teaching your kids to love themselves like Bruno Mars says “Just the way they are?”

7 Comments on What are you unconsciously teaching your child about their appearance?

    • I think just the fact that we become more aware of ourselves and what we unconsciously do is step 1. πŸ™‚ you are already on a better foot with your little girl!

  1. I love this. I try to make sure my girls always know that they are beautiful. My eldest’s two front teeth have been missing for a year now and I do have to fight the urge to ask her to smile for pictures with her lips closed, because she is beautiful and I don’t want to give her a complex about it. Great post.

    • You feel me on another level, and have just hit a soft spot for me. I was constantly reminded throughout my childhood that my teeth aren’t straight πŸ™ I had to teach myself to smile with my lips open, and even then I need to double check. Sooooo important that we watch what we say to our kids… <3

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