Lucy is told at least ten times a week that she's cute. I'm not exaggerating, that's actually an conservative estimate. She's often given extra treats... finds her way to the front of the line... and isn't always held accountable the way some kids are (which is another post coming soon).
But this post isn't about bragging over my child's looks. Because, first of all, I can't take any credit for her appearance -- her birth parents get that. But secondly, being attractive isn't an accomplishment. It isn't something one should rely on or be congratulated for. While I, too, think she's irresistible, I don't want her growing up thinking she can just turn it on to get whatever she wants. At three years old, that might be OK but what happens when she's 8? Or an awkward teenager? If she's not equipped with a strong self esteem and awareness of all she has to offer above appearances, then she's going to find herself struggling, with little confidence.
Does telling a child they're cute hurt them in the long run?
I'm no expert, just an (overly) concerned mom. So I turned to psychotherapist and author, Stacy Kaiser, to weigh in on the cute kid topic. "Will she learn she'll get things because she's pretty? Probably. But parents are the greatest influence on kids, not others they meet out in the world. If you keep her grounded, she will be."
As for my concern that she'll lean on her looks as she makes her way through life, Kaiser says, "People who need physical validation do because of something at home. They were either encouraged to do the pageant thing or their parents are obsessed with how they look. Teach her to be down to earth and grounded, pointing out more important things like how smart she is or that she's a good person with a great heart... in the end, that's what will stay with her."
What do you think? Can the comments ever be too much of a good thing?